Finding the cheapest coffee pods that actually taste good is no easy feat.
With hundreds of coffee pods on the market fighting it out, some have taken to incredibly low prices as a unique selling point. But does low price mean low standards? In general, we’d say yes. Some cheap coffee pods might use cheaper materials which might not perforate as intended, leaving you with half a mug of coffee. Others just flat out taste bad.
But fortunately there are a few gems out there that we feel are undervalued in terms of price. We’ve tried and tested a variety of cheaply priced coffee pods and have listed below the ones we feel offer good value for money.
1. Espresso Italia
The Espresso Italia offers fantastic value for money. These Nespresso compatible pods come in a variety of different flavours with some better than others. For example, the brown pod offers a sweet chocolate taste with notes of biscuit and nuts and is perfect for that mid-afternoon refreshing caffeine hit.
As an espresso it’s smooth and the uniform grounds inside the pods ensure you don’t get any bitterness.
- Excellent value for money
- A variety of pods gives you something different
- Cost-effective if you like to drink good coffee regularly
- They provide nice, deep flavours
- The lid perforates properly and is compatible with Nespresso machines
- Made out of plastic
- You may come across pods that simply don’t go well with your pallet
2. Kenco (Cheap Tassimo Coffee Pods)
If you’re looking for cheap Tassimo coffee pods, you should definitely try Kenco. The single origin Arabica coffee is sourced from the high altitudes in Colombia and result in a fruity but well balanced taste.
Costa have similar pods to these but the lack of discernible difference in taste is what makes Kenco great value for money.
Symbolic of typical Colombian coffee, these pods are dark and strong and are perfect for those “I need to drag myself out of bed” mornings.
- Great, full flavours
- Much cheaper than the Costa branded Tassimo pods
- Available as a subscription service
- Made specifically for Tassimo machines
- A little too much packaging for our liking
3. A Modo Mio Oro (Cheapest Lavazza Coffee Pods)
A Modo Mio Oro are the cheapest Lavazza coffee pods on the market but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad quality. They contain a blend of different South and Central American coffees and combine to make an intense blend that’s rated 10 on Lavazza’s scale.
The taste is very interesting and is recommended to those who like their coffee with a woody and nutty flavour. They’re on the strong side and when used as an espresso can have a slight bitterness to them although it doesn’t really take anything away from the overall taste and aroma.
- They’re the cheapest Lavazza coffee pods
- Are perfect for those who like strong coffee
- Great value for money
- Aren’t biodegradable like some of Lavazza’s other pods
The Solimo, which is an Amazon brand, benefits from having massive financial backing. They’re the cheapest pods on this list and honestly, they’re not actually that bad.
Compatible with Nespresso machines (although not the Vertuo), the pods contain 100% Arabica coffee and has a sweet and mild taste. It’s a dark roast but is rated as a 3/5 on the strength scale.
Does it taste as good as the original Nespresso pods? Absolutely not. Are they ideal for the casual coffee drinker? We’d say so. The taste isn’t going to blow you away but they’re still very drinkable and more importantly, fit seamlessly with Nespresso machines.
- Has perfect compatibility with Nespresso machines
- Cheapest coffee pods on the market
- Packaged in a protective atmosphere and thus remains fresh
- Great as an everyday coffee
- Plastic pods
5. PureGusto (Cheap ESE Pods)
PureGusto have won the Great Taste award 4 times since 2014 and are high quality yet cheap ESE pods. This particular pack comes in a variety of 4 different coffees (25 pods each) and really gives you a chance to discover what you don’t like and what you’re not keen on.
One of our favourite features of the ESE pods is that they’re packed within 1 hour of roasting. As you might know, the longer a coffee has been exposed to the oxidation process, the staler it becomes and thus loses its flavour.
One thing we would mention is that on a couple of occasions we noticed that the water pressure wasn’t quite doing enough to get a full extraction but you can remedy this by pressing the pods before brewing to loosen up the coffee grounds.
- Great tasting coffee
- Comes in a variety of flavours so you can find your favourite
- Excellent value for money
- Some of the freshest coffee found in ESE pods
- You’ll need to loosen up the coffee grounds by pressing on them before using for efficient extraction
Whilst some coffee aficionados would consider it blasphemous to even mention Starbucks, the truth is, for cheap coffee pods they’re perfect. With 8 different roasts and blends to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice.
Whether you like a lighter body and mellow roast or something with robust, bold flavours, this variety pack contains many options to help you find the best flavour for you. And if there’s some you dislike, just use them when you have visitors – win win!
Our personal favourite from the bunch is the Caffè Verona. It’s well balanced and lands in the medium roast range. The taste is a consistent dark cocoa that gives it a nice degree of sweetness.
If you already have a good idea of what kind of coffee you like, all 8 options are available to buy as a standalone coffee.
- The 8 unique coffees caters to all taste pallets
- Suitable to drink at any time of the day
- Aluminium pods make for a better tasting coffee
- Nespresso compatible
- The price fluctuates quite often so check the price to see if you’re getting a good deal before buying
7. Nescafe (Cheap Dolce Gusto Pods)
Nescafe have some of the best tasting yet cheap Dolce Gusto pods and are probably the best value you’ll get if you own a Dolce Gusto machine. Better yet, these pods are consistently on offer meaning you can get them from as little as £0.20 per pod on occasion.
The grounds within the pods tend to be extremely fresh due to the pods being hermetically sealed. This essentially means they’re completely air-tight and thus don’t get exposed to the oxidation process that typically makes coffee go off.
The coffee itself consists of 3 quarters milk to 1 quarter coffee with that 1 quarter of coffee being extremely strong. The end result is something similar to a flat white but not quite as milky. The frothy top is a nice finish.
- High quality, cheap Dolce Gusto pods
- Has a smooth, non-bitter taste
- Perfect for those who like a milky coffee
- Too much packaging feels like a bit of a waste
L’OR is a fantastic tasting choice, minus the price tag of some of the more premium coffee pods. Some of the coffees in the variety pack include the light bodied Splendente and the intense Onyx which is perfect for those who prefer a fuller body and rich taste.
Our personal favourite from the available options is the Forza which has a complex nutty taste with a delicate crema that leaves a lasting amber aftertaste but there are plenty to choose from to find your favourite.
We actually tried quite a few of these coffees during our testing and were pleasantly surprised by how consistent the taste was. When opening the pods, the grounds looked to be extremely even and this explained the lack of any real bitterness or sourness that can be associated with cheaper pods.
- The consistency is second to none
- Great range of different coffees to try
- Suitable for the Nespresso recycling scheme
- Cafe-level taste
- The overall standard doesn’t quite match up to the original Nespresso pods
CaffeLuxe are another cheap Dolce Gusto pod but come in more variety than the Nescafe pods, albeit at a slightly higher cost. This particular collection contains 50 pods with varieties such as the flat white, cappuccino and caramel latte.
Do they taste as good as the Dolce Gusto original pods? It’s hard to say and that in itself is a compliment. Whilst the cheapest coffee pods don’t tend match up to the originals for obvious reasons, we didn’t find the taste of these to be too dissimilar.
One thing we really liked about these pods are how well they suit Dolce Gusto machines. Some cheap Dolce Gusto pods are a little bit fiddly when it comes to compatibility but the CaffeLuxe pods have no such problems.
- Fit seamlessly in Dolce Gusto machines
- Come in a variety of flavours
- Perfect for the home or office
- Some flavours can be too far on the sweet side
How Much of a Difference Is There Between Cheap and Expensive Coffee Pods?
Like most things in the world, it depends. Some of the cheapest coffee pods being sold in the UK (some on our list for example) actually taste very good and are certainly worth the upgrade from instant coffee. Of course, there’s always the opportunity to come across cheap coffee pods that just don’t taste that good.
If you’re not keen on any of the coffees on our list, we do have some general guidance to follow. The most important is to make sure the pods have actual ground coffee in them. Some of the cheapest coffee pods will have something close to instant coffee which means they can sell it for cheap but of course, the taste isn’t anywhere near as good as the more expensive pods.
At the end of the day, you’re not going to be getting the Nespresso quality (which is our personal favourite when it comes to pods) but there are some bargains to be had. Especially for those who are on a budget and don’t mind downgrading slightly for something that’s more cost effective.
There we have it – the cheapest coffee pods that are still actually tasty. Whilst this list isn’t exhaustive, it should provide you with a good guide to find something that you’ll enjoy at a fraction of the cost of the more expensive coffee pods.
You may have noticed that quite a few of the coffees to land on our list are variety packs. The reason we’ve done this is because it gives you a good opportunity to find something you like before committing to a larger batch. Of course, if you think you already have a good idea of the tastes and flavours you’re after, you can go ahead and buy them individually.
If you enjoyed reading this and have learnt something new, feel free to check out our recent ‘best Nespresso compatible capsules‘ article!