What's The Difference Between Nespresso XL Coffee Pods And Regular Ones?

Nespresso lovers are a devoted group of coffee connoisseurs, to be sure. There's a lot to love there, from high-tech machines to one-touch operation, and a wide array of international coffees tucked into cute little capsules. Most pods produce an eight-ounce cup of coffee. But if caffeine by the bucket is your thing, figuratively speaking, there's a version called XL pods that'll load you up with even more for the long haul. 

The core difference between Nespresso XL coffee pods and regular ones is that the XLs produce more coffee. Most deliver 12 ounces, but one pod pumps out a whopping 18 ounces. They're also available in only a handful of coffee types, four to be exact. If you're willing to invest in the right machine, enjoy a smaller range of coffee flavors, and pay a few cents more per pod, then the Nespresso XL experience may become your new go-to java routine. These XL coffee pods are a bit of an anomaly in the Nespresso world, mainly because they're exclusive to a select few machines.

Nespresso offers two types of machines and corresponding pods: the "original system" and the newer Vertuo machines. The original machines don't participate at all in the XL party; only four types of Vertuo machines are designed to accept the larger pods. You'll need a relatively affordable Vertuo Next or Pop machine, or the more elaborate and pricey Vertuo Creatista or Lattissima machine. Then there are the compatible pods — two options for traditional Nespresso coffee brewing, and two for specialty techniques. 

What are the four Nespresso XL coffee pods?

There is indeed a difference between standard Vertuo pods and the ones available in XL sizes. Most noticeable is the more limited selection of coffee roasts and blends for the four larger Nespresso XL pods. Here's a brief look at the defining characteristics of each one. Alto Ambrato pods represent the XL line in its light roast category, with an intensity level of four out of 12 on Nespresso's intensity scale. It carries tasting notes of sweet caramel, toasted cereal, and light fruitiness. 

The split-roasted beans are a blend of Arabicas from Brazil and Mexico, plus a fine Robusta from Uganda. The pour into your cup equals a hearty 12 ounces. Next, the medium roast is called Alto Onice, landing at a seven out of 12 on the intensity scale. This one also pours 12 ounces of complex, multiple-origin Arabica beans from India and Columbia. It bears a strong, roasted, earthy flavor of spices, cocoa, and caramel. The third 12-ounce XL offering is unique in that it's designed as a Cold Brew Style pod. 

For this one, the machine goes into a cycle of hot brewing the roasted beans, followed by a wash of cool water to temper any bitterness. You end up with smooth, roasty caramel deliciousness from 100% Arabica beans, both Guatemalan and Brazilian Bourbon beans (which, despite their name, don't contain any alcohol). Finally, there's the dark roast Pour-Over Style XL pod, which produces either 12 ounces or a full 18 ounces for carafe sharing. The roast level is a three out of five on Nespresso's scale, landing in your cup with smoky tones and extra crema.