Ethical Coffee Company Espresso, Espressivo for Nespresso Capsule Brewers, 10-Count

For our espresso capsules, we select the best crops of Arabica coffee from Colombia, Central America, India, Ethiopia, Kenya and elsewhere. The focus is always on guaranteeing the highest quality in the coffee we source. The next step is the roasting ritual, which allows the coffee aromas to develop as the green coffee is transformed into roasted beans. The green coffee is slowly heated to 220°C before being allowed to cool. The result is finely roasted and delicately flavored coffee beans that are ground ready to be made into a perfect espresso. A slow roasting process is used to ensure quality coffee and to lock in all the aromas. We avoid so-called “modern industrial techniques, which are more profitable but detrimental to the coffee flavor. Our unique blends and recipes are exclusively designed to ensure a perfect balance and quantity in each capsule. The result is a perfect combination of body and aroma in every cup of espresso.

Quick facts

  • Authentic Italian espresso has strong personality
  • Blend of Arabica with a hint of Robusta for an intensively powerful experience, a rounded feel in the mouth and subtle flavor combination that enhances its character, particularly its lingering aftertaste
  • Intensity rating is 5 out of 6; Intensity is a combination of roasting degree/grinding and composition of the blend. The higher on the scale, the stronger the coffee
  • Unique fully biodegradable capsules are made from plant-based materials and protect the environment
  • Made in France

Top reviews

Don’t waste your money

This review is based on using these pods with a Nespresso Espresso machine. Don’t waste your money. This coffee is not espresso. It is a high priced 40ml cup of thin and weak drip coffee at best. It does not have the body, it does not have the flavor, and it does not have the crema that will get from the Nespresso pods.
JennellLufkin, TX

Officially the worst.

Simply terrible. Awful. I’ve never tasted a worse espresso in my life.

ECC Espressivo vs. Nespresso Roma vs. Nespresso Ristretto … I expected to write a detailed taste review after pulling each of these shots this morning, comparing the flavor profiles and nuances side-by-side. But after tasting the ECC Espressivo, I realized that any comparisons to the Nespresso pods would be completely worthless. The Espressivo is so horrible, it’s a huge disappointment that shouldn’t even exist. To call it “gas station coffee” would be an upgrade.

About a 1/3 of the way through the Espressivo pull, I noticed that the stream was quite watery and blonde. At first, the crema appeared similar to the Nespresso pods … but then, just 1 minute later, the Espressivo’s crema had all but disappeared (while the Roma/Ristretto crema was unchanged). Translation: It’s not really espresso.

I love the lower price. I love the biodegradable aspect. I love that a non-Nespresso pod option exists. I was so excited about this ECC pod, but I couldn’t be more disappointed. The taste was so terrible that I can’t even give it an extra star for price/eco-friendliness.

If you’re looking for your Nespresso machine to give you bitter and watery swill like it came from a Senseo machine, this Espressivo is the pod that you’ve been dreaming about. On the other hand, if you bought your Nespresso machine to produce good quality espresso, please stay FAR, FAR AWAY from this product.

AiFoster, OR

not as good as Nespresso’s darker capsules

I have tried a few varieties of these ECC capsules in my CitiZ machine so far and will submit separate reviews under the different product listings over the coming few days.

What’s common to all of these capsules is that the CitiZ machine is a little more difficult to close when using an ECC capsule versus a Nespresso capsule. Also, before the espresso starts coming out of the machine, the capsule makes a bit of a popping. Both of these issues are addressed on ECC’s website, where they try to assure customers that this is normal and should not cause any concern.

So, on to this particular variety, the Espressivo. I’m a little surprised by the other reviews posted so far. Unless the design of the CitiZ changed drastically, I’m not sure why one of the other reviewers was unable to use the ECC capsule. As to the flavor, while I agree with the other reviewer so far that it isn’t as good as Nespresso’s darker roasts, I’m not in agreement that it’s nothing more than bad drip coffee. I actually think the Espressivo ECC capsule tastes okay — definitely stronger than drip coffee — and in my CitiZ it produced as much crema as a Nespresso capsule. Unfortunately, however, the flavor seems kind of “one note” compared to my favorite Nespresso capsules. Given that the cost of the ECC capsules on Amazon isn’t that much less than Nespresso capsules available through the Nespresso club (about a 12% cost savings), one has to factor in the “green” factor of the ECC capsules to help them decide which capsule to choose. While I personally feel a lot better about being able to compost the ECC capsules, I also want the best possible flavor from my CitiZ — that’s why I bought it instead of a much less expensive espresso machine. I’m afraid that unless another variety of the ECC capsules is more to my liking, I’ll be sticking with the Nespresso capsules.

KalaDuncan, NE

Strange Item

Made of Vegeplast’s bioplastic. Requires a significantly harder push on the Nespresso lever to punture the thick capsule. Coffee tastes mediocre and is nowhere near the quality of real Nespresso aluminum capsules. These Ethical Coffee capsules are only 10 cents less than the .60 cents each real Nespresso capsules ordered directly from Nespresso with $6.95 two day shipping. Amazon does not allow returns of these/food item.
ToriHemlock, NY

Too weak vs Nespresso Roma and Ristretto

I use Nespresso Roma, and my wife uses Nespresso Ristretto. We bought Cremosa and Espressivo as possible substitutes, because lower per-capsule price, free shipping with my Amazon Prime, and I don’t have to use the Outpresso to recycle. But we don’t like the coffee. Others may prefer it, I’m sure but its not for us. Too weak and we don’t like the flavor. I’m cheap and maybe not as picky so I will use them up over time, but after trying both Cremosa and Espressivo, my wife will have none of it. One of life’s little pleasures especially for her is good coffee, and these are no substitute.
NicolLitchfield, IL

Bitter, Weak and Thin

I have a Nespresso C100 and use the Ristretto capsules. Ordered these as I like the concept of ‘ethical coffee.’ Huge disappointment. I find the coffee is weak and not like espresso at all. Plus, the aftertaste has a bitter quality to it. The crema is thin with no richness. Overall, a poor substitute. If you like your Nespresso, you can try these but beware, you are not getting the same product.
GordonGreenbush, MN


I was pretty excited after reading the TImes article and seeing that the price was significantly lower than the Nespresso capsules – especially as I didn’t have to worry about shipping costs as an Amazon Prime customer. Unfortunately, the flavor & quality just doesn’t make it for me. I won’t be ordering these again.
BeliaCache, IL

Great Coffee AND Green Cap

I bought the Ethical Coffee Company Espressivo. It tastes great. Very satisfying:)…… and it has a green cap…. and thats amazing!
PasqualeLincoln, NM

Real espresso taste

I purchased the Ethical Coffee Capsules this week to try on my Nespresso Lattissima that I purchased from Sur La Table-which did not sell Nespresso capsules-Strange.
I picked the ECC Espressivo for its strong intensity rating as I like a strong espresso. I popped the first capsule into the machine and pulled down the lever and heard the pop of the capsule and soon smelled a very pleasant aroma that immediately reminded me of the Italian coffee shops of Milan. THe Espressivo had a very strong taste and a smooth finish and gave me just the right lift I was looking for. I then had a latte the next day and the combination of milk & crema was perfect- I am sold. The convenience of getting the capsules delivered right to our door (free of charge) is brilliant along with the whole biodegradable capsule which my wife said she would put into our garden is a nice feeling. I have already ordered the other flavors.

Coffee guy!

ArethaTahlequah, OK

Not workable

I bought this item and it doesn’t work on my Nespresso Citiz which I bought in 2010. And this is unreturnable item. Want to save money and actually lost money.
StarrSavannah, GA

excellent coffee

great coffee, one of the best prices, fit the machine, easy to use, green for the environment, great taste.
i am purchasing another one now.
ShandiSchooleys Mountain, NJ

Totally Worth It!!!!

Its an awesome product, coffee tastes delicious!!!!
I didnt expected it to be as good as Nespresso capsules but they are!!! I totally recommend this product.
SenaCecilia, LA

Will clog your machine and Amazon will not accept your return

I liked the idea of having an alternative source of “pods” for my Nespresso machine. Unfortunately this is not fulfilling its promises. After making coffee with these alternative pods, the pods stay stuck in the machine and you need pliers to take them out, not convenient at all especially in the morning when I am barely awake.
What is worse is that you can’t return the pods to Amazon so essentially you will throw away 25 or more dollars, and that’s bad.
StewartKings Canyon National Pk, CA

I Like it

A friend told me about these new capsules available that fit the Nespresso machine – I have tried the Espressivo blend and have been pleasantly surprised – the machine is a little hard to close but worked fine for me – I like the smooth taste and the crema on top is great. I am sold! Also, trying to be environmentally aware is important to me as I am “lytgreen” so I like that the whole deal is bio-degradable as well
PearlMansfield, IL

Not a bad alternative

I bought a package of these when they first came out. My initial reaction was the price difference did not justify purchasing these. The capsules work well. The flavor of the coffee is good but, there is not as much creama as the Nespresso capsules. With the new lower prices, these are a good alternative to Nespresso, but they are a compromise. If you want the best flavor and creama, stick with Nespresso but, if you want a cheaper, almost as good altrnative, give them a try. I really wish they would package several varieties in one “intoductory” package so I could try five varieties without having to buy five fifferent five packs of the same variety. The descriptions don’t give much of a clue as to how the coffe will taste and how strong it is. If you purchase a five pack and aren’t fond of the flavor or intensity, you have a lot of coffee you may not like. I may try these again although, for now, I’m going to stay with the tried and true (and expensive) Nespresso brand. Maybe the competition will slow down the frequent price increases from Nespresso.
UPDATE: Prices have come down dramatically on these. Still not as good as Nespresso originals, but Nespresso’s customer service stinks so bad and their prices so high, I’m done buying from them. These are close and environmentally much friendlier.
AnnalisaFort Monroe, VA

Weak at best.

I tried it a few times. First to just try. Then again to compare against Nespresso Capriccio (green pod) which has an intensity of 5 and is made like the ECC’s Expressivo. Arabica and Robusto mix. The Nespresso Capriccio is not my favorite because it is relatively weak. Then I tasted the Expressivo, I was amazed how much weaker an espresso can get and to legally call it espresso. Folger’s makes much better coffee and I think Folger’s is boring. I like the environmental friendliness of this company, but it has to make a better tasting product. This stuff was horrible. I still have 48 pods to drink. I guess I will give it away to my environmentalist friends as a gift.

So disappointed.

ZenaDixon, IA

Ecopackaging 5 stars, Coffee 3 stars

An eco-conscious competitor to Nespresso? YAY, I thought, this would be good. And it sort of is.

The packaging is great as it gets away from Nestle’s use of we-don’t-care-about-the-planet metal (aluminum?). Five stars for that.

On the other hand, the coffee isn’t so great. I bought these without a review and without much information about what type I was buying — I guess I’m a maverick like that (ha). Although I got them on time, and had apparently purchased an espresso that was considered 4 out of 5 in strength, it really tasted like a 1.5 out of 5 in strength. So, I’m NOT impressed with the coffee — and I am NOT a coffee expert.

Bottom line is, I might try them again if I can find out which espresso is strongest. And, I might try them again because I hate the planet-hating, overpriced monopoly that Nestle has on Nespresso pods… but I gotta say that Nestle’s Nespresso pods are tastier.

So would some entrepreneur mind doing something about this dilemma? Kthnxbai

RonaldSebeka, MN

Good Product Worth The Money

Found the product to work perfectly fine in my machine. Never got stuck and
always removed itself with ease. Quality of coffee is good not great. But at
this price it is a no brainer. I can make a double for far less than Nespresso
charges for a single expresso. Competition is good..I do not like operating
under a monopoly were the price is fixed and never varies with demand. Take
notice Nespresso.
TanikaPort Hueneme, CA

you get what you pay for

I wish they spent as much time on making the espresso taste good as they did on making green packaging… I bought them knowing it wasnt very good simply so I can use the heck out of my nespresso, but the more I drink the more I realize how bad they taste… They are cheap though, but I have to drink 2 to get any effect. It’s more like mid grade coffee shots rather than espresso. At this point I’m using them simply to get rid of them. The nespresso pods taste like gold compared to these.
…..oh well it feeds the urge ….you get what you pay for.
MerryLeslie, MO

Taste is personal

I like this and I am switching, although I will continue to buy some Nespresso capsules — as well as Illy capsules for my Illy machine upstairs.

It is hard to predict who will like the ECC coffees and who will not: many things contribute to the experience, and not even just taste, aroma, and looks. I am from Italy, and lived in one of the Italian “coffee capitals” — Trieste, home of Illy, Hausbrandt, San Giusto, and others.

I suggest you try this without bias and with neutral expectations. If yr experience is positive, you are lucky and this coffee will save you money, and the Earth some environmental grief.

One suggestion to keep you honest in testing the new coffee: don’t just compare the Espressivo and yr choice of Nespresso side by side — DO A BLIND TEST. With two cups that are exactly alike, the same amount of sugar, if any, try both coffees in sequence. Ask an accomplice to keep track of which cup contains which coffee, and see what the test reveals.

AssuntaDrew, MS

Enjoy your coffee, and save the environment!

I was very excited to learn that there is an alternative capsule to the Nespresso machine. Best of all, its green! When you are done with the capsule, you are able to drop the whole capsule right into your compost pile or recycle bin.

The flavor was excellent, and I had no issues with the Espressivo capsules fitting into my Nespresso machine.

Overall great taste, cheaper capsules for the Nespresso machine, and you get to save the environment! I give it five stars.

WhitneyGustavus, AK

espressivo yes!

I finally received my shipment of the Espressivo. I had tried this and went to order it for myself for use with my Citiz machine and I am really pleased all the way around – both the crema and the flavor are excellent. I plan on trying some of the other flavors down the road but really am enjoying the Espressivo. Ethical Coffee Company has a new customer. besides the shipping taking a little longer than expected I think this is great.
LynMartinsville, IN

Biodegradable is why I switched

Just bought the Espressivo flavor. I am so excited for a green biodegradable cap that I can just toss in my compost bin. I drink a lot of coffee so I feel great that I am not filling up our landfills!
RebeccaOak Park, CA

Weak stuff

This was the strongest Ethical Coffee Company blend I could find on Amazon in Feb, 2012. It’s quite weak; not even close to Nespresso’s Ristretto blend.

As others have noted, it’s also significantly harder to pull down the lever on these capsules than on Nespresso capsules.

Big disappointment.

IsrealSaffell, AR

Ethical Coffee Nespresso capsules

No wonder they were so cheap. They don’t work very well in my machine because of the “biodegradable” packaging. I wouldn’t buy them again.
GillianCovina, CA

adequate alternative, discount price

Ethical Coffee seems to be the only alternative to Nespresso available in the US (there’s another in Europe). The price differential isn’t huge (about 20%), but it adds up with everyday use. Nespresso has about a dozen caffeinated styles to Ethical Coffee’s two, so those with discriminating tastes will prefer to pay extra for a more precise flavor profile available from Nespresso. To my taste the Ethical Coffee capsule most resembles the Nespresso Capriccio. The Ethical Coffee capsule seems to be biodegradable, which the Nespresso capsule definitely is not.
ShannonEbro, FL

Incorrect description

I am certain that this company is well-meaning. Unfortunately, I am out $50. The capsules are clearly not compatible and should not be marketed as compatible with Nespresso. I liked the idea that I read, but they absolutely do not work. You may not get a refund, either. Do not buy this product.
PhebeTotz, KY

Great tasting coffee and environmentally responsible

Bought this coffee in Europe when I was traveling and was pleased to find it on amazon when I returned home. Great taste and love the fact that the pods are biodegradable! The Nespresso capsules are an environmental disaster.
SherleneCalvert City, KY

Resist Temptation!

Bottom line, these taste like cheap hotel coffee. Your least favorite Nespresso capsule variety is 100X better tasting than these capsules. Taste is what matters, ECC capsules are awful.

This goes for Cremoso, Indiad’oro, Espressivo – unfortunately, I bought all three types. Hardly a difference between them, but I listed them in awful to undrinkable order.

However, if that’s not enough of a reason to avoid, consider these;

-they’re difficult to insert in Nespresso machines
-they’re difficult to remove from Nespresso machines
-they frequently blister during brewing, thus “brewing” coffee from the side of the capsules
-they are stale right out of the package (though the expiration date reads otherwise)
-all ten per box are not quite vacuum-sealed in plastic, hence opening the plastic hastens further spoilage
-they are only a dime less than real Nespresso capsules!!!

I actually threw away unused capsules, they were that bad. They are not worth free. Quite weak for a company started by a former Nespresso executive. Perhaps they have a serious quality control issue in the U.S.?

ArmindaAxson, GA

Coffee pods

Good product. Flavor was acceptable. The only down side…pods get stuck in the machine if not ejected ASAP. Pretty annoying. Great price, so I guess you get what you pay for.
KerryEmeigh, PA