Price check: speciality coffees vs nespresso

Price check: speciality coffees vs nespresso

How well-priced are speciality coffees in comparison with the world’s most popular espresso brand? We did the sums. The result might surprise you.

Cast an eye over your favourite speciality coffee and it’s fair to say that you know what you’re getting. A unique handcrafted flavour. Unbeatable freshness, thanks to the roast date stamped onto the packaging. A supply chain that you can believe in. Maybe even a personal relationship with the local coffee shop that stocks your label of choice.

And, perhaps most importantly, the hands-on satisfaction derived from personally brewing up a cup exactly the way you like it.

Like the name says, speciality coffee should be special. But not only for special occasions; it’s a special brew to be enjoyed on a daily basis.

Along with those first impressions, the price of your speciality coffee might also get your attention.

Typically, speciality coffees cost anything from CHF30 to CHF70 (€25–€60). Even at the mid-range of that price bracket, CHF50 might seem like a lot to pay for a 1kg bag of coffee. But is it really?

First, let’s take a look at how much espresso pleasure you can expect to get out of your 1kg bag of finely ground goodness. Then let’s compare what the hugely popular Nespresso home brewing capsule system offers.

Generally speaking, nine grams of coffee is what is used for a standard espresso shot. That means that, in theory, 1kg of speciality coffee should yield 111 espressos. We say “in theory” because any barista will tell you that it’s more realistic to expect to get 80 to 90 espressos from a 1kg bag due to the inevitable extra usage for double shots, setting up the machine and so on.

So, let’s be conservative and work with 90 espressos from a 1kg bag of speciality coffee. If that 1kg bag costs CHF50, then some quick arithmetic will tell you that one espresso winds up costing just CHF0.55.

And the average price of a Nespresso capsule? Pretty much between 50 to 60 CHF cents. (Prices vary slightly from country to country, but can easily be checked on the Nespresso websites.)

In other words, as far as cost goes, your home-brewed speciality espresso shot falls into exactly the same price bracket as the Nespresso capsule coffee found in so many households around the world.

Of course, it’s not for nothing that Nespresso is the market leader in espresso machines. The Nespresso capsule system is easy to use, reliable and, for a mass-produced coffee, consistently delivers a decent tasting espresso.

On the other hand, convenience always comes with some compromises – in Nespresso’s case, on eco-friendly packaging and genuine freshness of the grind. Each sleeve of 10 Nespresso capsules contains just 60g of coffee (6g coffee per capsule) but leaves plenty of aluminium left over to be recycled, and the ‘best before’ date indicates a lengthy 12-month consumption window.

In the final analysis, however, whatever separates a cherished speciality brew from a Nespresso shot in terms of style and delivery and even taste, there’s one thing that speciality coffees and Nespresso have in common: in their separate categories, both are great products at the same price.

Back to blog