Nespresso Pod Sizes Explained: How To Choose, Program & Reset

Mike C
Written By Mike C

I've been writing about coffee and espresso machines for 3 years. My goal is to provide you with helpful content that you can trust based on my own personal experiences, information from manufacturers, and tips and tricks I've gathered from other coffee and espresso machine users.

I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

The Ultimate Guide To Nespresso Pod Sizes

If you are new to the world of Nespresso, you may be a bit confused by the different pods you can choose from. The pod shapes and sizes will be different based on what type of Nespresso you have, Vertuo vs Original. There are more sizes to choose from with the Vertuo. They are not interchangeable so be sure to read up on the pods specific to the model you have. If you haven’t bought a Nespresso yet and you are just looking to learn, this difference in pod sizes is a key thing to understand!

Nespresso original pod shape vs vertuo pod shape
Nespresso Vertuo and Original machines use different types of capsules that are not interchangeable

Nespresso Vertuoline Pod Sizes

All Nespresso Vertuoline machines can brew four different pod sizes. There are 2 pod sizes that only work with the Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop or the new Vertuo Creatista and Vertuo Lattissima. Those are the 18 oz pour over carafe pods and the new 12 oz Alto extra large coffee pods that were released in March 2023. Not only do the four different pods vary in size and caffeine levels, but they differ in taste. You should also use only certain pods for some recipes, like lattes or americanos.

Vertuo PodBrew Size
Espresso1.35 fl oz
Double Espresso2.7 fl oz
Gran Lungo5 fl oz
Coffee7.77 fl oz
Alto (Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop, Vertuo Creatista or Vertuo Lattissima only)12 fl oz
Carafe (Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop, Vertuo Creatista or Vertuo Lattissima only)18 fl oz
Nespresso vertuo pod sizes
Single Espresso Double Espresso Gran Lungo and Coffee Pods

Single Espresso (1.35 fl oz)

Espresso is a highly concentrated coffee served in small shots. The volume is only 1.35 fl oz so don’t expect it to fill your mug. You can drink it black if you like or use it in many different recipes. In fact, espresso is the only type of pod that can be used to make drinks like lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos and americanos.

Vertuo Espresso Variety Pack
  • Includes 20 Diavolitto Intensity 11 and 20 Altissio Intensity 9 Nespresso VertuoLine coffee pods
  • Bold espresso with rich, intense flavor from a fusion of South American Arabica and Central American Robusta beans

Double Espresso (2.7 fl oz)

A Nespresso double espresso pod is just like a single espresso but – no surprise here – twice the size (2.7 fl oz). This makes it a great choice for when you want to make a bigger latte or cappuccino since you should not run a single pod twice. Not only is using a double faster than brewing two single pods twice, but it is cheaper too! A single espresso pod costs 95 cents, whereas a double espresso pod only costs $1.10. There’s even a double espresso pod for iced lattes called Iced Leggero. It’s one of my favorites.

Vertuo Iced Leggero Double Espresso
  • SENSORIAL PROFILE: Chill out with this refreshing iced coffee’s light and thirst-quenching fruitiness on a rounded cereal note.
  • MEDIUM ROAST: We roast Barista Creations Ice Leggero in two splits. The first split’s light and short to enhance the floral notes typical of Ethiopian Arabica. The second split is a medium roast to bring balance and roundness to the cup.

Gran Lungo (5 fl oz)

A Nespresso Vertuo Gran Lungo is a 5 fl oz espresso drink. It is brewed with much more water than a double espresso shot. As a result, it will have more volume and more caffeine. That means you can enjoy a gran lungo longer. The taste will be less intense than a regular espresso, though also more bitter. This is a good option if you want something to sip on that will last you for a while.

Coffee (7.7 fl oz)

Nespresso Vertuo coffee pods make a regular 8 ounce American cup of coffee. There are flavored pods as well as unflavored pods. When you want a drink that will fill your mug without needing a lot of milk, a Vertuo coffee pod is the way to go. These coffee pods brew with a delicious, though not traditional, crema on top just like the espresso pods.

Vertuo Medium & Dark Roast Coffee Variety Pack
  • NESPRESSO VERTUOLINE VARIETY PACK ASSORTMENT: This Nespresso coffee assortment offers 30 Nespresso Pods in a variety of 3 best-selling coffee blends for the Nespresso VertuoLine System.10 Stormio, 10 Odacio, 10 Melozio
  • INTENSITY: This assortment will let you explore the rich tastes of the following Nespresso Capsules: Stormio (Intensity 8), Odacio (Intensity 7) ; Melozio (Intensity 6). It’s the perfect choice to discover a distinctive range of extraordinary coffees

Alto (12 fl oz)

If you have the Vertuo Next, Vertuo Creatista, Vertuo Lattissima or Vertuo Pop model, you can buy Alto pods make an extra large cup of regular American coffee. You’ll get 12 ounces of coffee with an Alto pod compared to the 8 ounce you would get from a regular Vertuo coffee pod. There are currently two Alto pod flavors, Ambrato and Onice. These replace the now discontinued Alto XL pods you may have heard about. Those were 14 oz coffee pods that worked with all Vertuoline models.

Pour-Over Carafe (18 fl oz)

If you have the Vertuo Next, Vertuo Creatista, Vertuo Lattissima or Vertuo Pop model, you have the option to brew a carafe pour-over style pod. This will be 18 ounces in volume, which is more than two times the size of a regular Nespresso coffee pod. This is an economical pod to use when you have to serve several people coffee.

Nespresso Original Line Pod Sizes

Espresso (1.35 fl oz)

Espresso is a highly concentrated coffee served in small shots. The volume is only 1.35 ounce. You can drink it black if you like or use it in many different recipes. In fact, espresso is the only type of pod that can be used to make drinks like lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos and americanos.

Lungo (3.7 fl oz)

A Nespresso Original lungo is a 3.7 ounce espresso drink. It is brewed with more water than a regular espresso shot. As a result, it will have more volume and more caffeine. That means you can enjoy a lungo longer than a regular espresso. The taste will be less intense, though also more bitter.

Morning Lungo Blends Variety Pack
  • Contains 50 Nespresso Capsules in 4 popular Lungo blends for the Original Line System
  • Includes mild medium & dark roast coffee with intensities ranging from 4 to 9
  • Lungo range capsules brew large 3.7 oz servings of espresso
  • Aluminum capsules are fully recyclable through Nespresso’s recycling program
  • For use only with Nespresso OriginalLine machines not VertuoLine

Ristretto (0.85 fl oz)

If you have the Latissima Gran or Pro, Creatista Plus or Creatista Pro, you will also have the option of brewing a ristretto shot. This is a short espresso shot. Because it uses less water than a regular shot, it will have a stronger, more concentrated flavor. To make a traditional flat white, you’ll want to use two ristretto shots. I also tend to favor ristretto shots when I am making an affogato to enjoy at night. The ristretto pod comes in both caffeinated and decaf varieties.

Ristretto Intenso, 10 count, Pack of 5
  • POWERFUL AND CONTRASTING: This Nespresso coffee combines some of the best South American Arabicas from sources such as Colombia and Brazil, with great, lightly acidic East African Arabicas and a touch of Robusta for added zing

How To Choose A Cup Size on Nespresso

Vertuo Models

For a Vertuoline machine, you do not have to worry about choosing the right cup size when you go to hit brew. That’s because all Vertuo models use a patented barcode system to read the size of each pod. If you flip the pod over you will see this barcode around the rim of the pod. This tells the machine exactly how much water to use for the type of coffee you want to make. It will automatically use less for a single espresso pod and much more for a coffee pod, for example.

Vertuo pod barcode
Vertuo pod barcode

Original Models

Original line machines require a bit more attention to detail because there are no barcodes. You insert either a lungo or espresso pod. Then, for most basic models like the Essenza Mini, you press one of two buttons to brew. There is small cup button for espresso, and a large cup button for a lungo. If you insert an espresso pod and hit the large brew button, the machine won’t stop you because it can’t read what type of pod you are using. It’s up to you to select the right button! You should only brew espresso pods as espresso and lungo pods as lungo. Most espresso pods won’t have enough grinds to make a proper lungo. You’ll end up with an over-extracted pod and a lungo that tastes bitter or burnt.

How To Program A Change To Default Nespresso Cup Sizes

Personally, I think the default cup sizes will give you the best tasting espresso or coffee. However, some people decide they want more or less volume. Fortunately for them, Nespresso makes it pretty easy to program a custom cup size.

Vertuo Plus, Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop, Vertuo Creatista, Vertuo Lattissima, Vertuo and Evoluo

The programming is specific to each cup size. You can program any of them from 10 to 500 ml. Insert the pod type you want to customize – single espresso, double espresso, gran lungo or coffee. Then press and hold the button to start brewing. Release the button when your desired volume has been reached. Your machine will use this programmed setting every time that type of pod is inserted. You’ll have to press the button once the next time. You’ll only have to hold it down if you want to change the size again.

Lattissima One, CitiZ, Essenza Mini, Pixie and Inissia

To program a custom espresso size, first insert an espresso pod. Then press and hold the small cup button. Release the button when your desired volume has been brewed. To customize the lungo size, do the same but with a lungo pod and using the large cup button. The machine will remember your settings for the button(s) you have programmed.

Gran Lattissima

To program the amount of espresso, press and hold the espresso button for at least 3 seconds. Release when you have reached your desired amount. If you are preparing a drink with milk, you will need to hold down the espresso button again until your desired level of milk has been added. The machine will remember both settings.

Lattissima Pro

You can change the default size for any beverage option. Turn the machine on. When it is done heating up, press the settings icon to open the menu. Scroll down to select “volume progr.” Choose program and then select the drink you want to customize. Press the validation button (with the lit checkmark) to confirm. The display will then guide you through the reset of the programming process.

Creatista Plus or Creatista Pro

These Creatista models have a display that make adjusting settings really easy. Just navigate to the drink you want to customize and hit select. It will pull up a menu where you can easily change the coffee volume, milk froth volume and milk temperature.

How To Reset Nespresso Cup Sizes

If you’ve changed the default cup sizes on your machine and are not happy with the results, you can restore the original settings. You’ll just need to run a factory reset. The steps are different for every model. If you don’t have your user manual, see my related post to find detailed instructions on how to reset your Nespresso.

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