Best Eco Coffee Pods 2021 | 9 Recyclable & Compostable Brands

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9 Best Recyclable & Compostable Coffee Pods for a Greener Start to Your Morning

Because we can’t function without our morning brew.

best coffee pods

We get it, life changed when you got a coffee pod machine and started making espresso at home, but the impact they have on the environment leaves you with a worse taste in your mouth than lingering coffee breath. Enter: recyclable coffee pods and compostable coffee pods.

There are plenty of eco coffee pod brands these days, so don't worry your morning routine isn't ruined. You can get your much needed caffeine boost whilst doing your bit for the environment.

Best recyclable and compostable coffee pods

Since working from home, our coffee machine has been put to good use on a daily basis. But the more pods we get through, the more we got thinking, how is this little habit from an eco standpoint?

The environmental problem with coffee pods

Well, it turns out, not great. Some reports estimate that around 60 billion (!) capsules end up in landfill each year. That’s a lot of coffee. But the good news is yours doesn't have to be one of them.

We’ve tracked down the tastiest eco-friendly coffee pods, made from recyclable aluminum, or compostable-friendly materials. Home composting is a super environmentally friendly way of dealing with kitchen and garden waste, and if you’re into your gardening, it’s great for healthy soil. However, even if you don’t have your own green patch, most councils accept compostable pods in the green food waste bin, just check before you throw them in.

If you’re going down the recycling route, the Dualit EcoPress Aluminium Coffee Capsule Recycling Tool is our new favourite kitchen gadget. It works by separating the foil from the used capsule, and empties the coffee grinds ready for the recycling bin.

How we test

To find the best recyclable and compostable coffee pods and help you get your morning off to a flying start, we gave the Women’s Health Lab panel 15 original-style Nespresso-compatible coffee pods to try. Looking for complex cups to rival your local coffee shop, these are the best-tasting pods with added eco-credentials.

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1
Joint best compostable coffee pod
Halo Honduras Nespresso Compatible Capsule
halo.coffee
£7.00

A month goes by in a flash, but that’s all that’s needed for these compostable pods to disappear! Ok, so they’re not the cheapest, but inside, each one is packed with speciality-grade coffee from Honduras, which is roasted to taste like walnuts and milk chocolate — divine. If you’re feeling especially green, you could try planting some strawberry seeds in your used pod, as coffee is a great natural fertilizer. 

Key specifications
Type: Compostable (home and industrially)
Price per pod: 70p
Subscription available: Yes
Certified-organic: No

2
Joint best compostable coffee pod
Kiss the Hippo Nespresso Compatible Compostable Pods
bestcoffee.guide
£5.50

Kiss the Hippo is mega eco-conscious. To start with, its farmers are paid 50% above the Fairtrade price, then once the coffee beans arrive here in the UK, they’re taken to its carbon-neutral roastery. And if you sign up for a subscription (which we’re confident you will once you’ve tasted the complex notes of berries and toast), the brand will also plant a tree on your behalf. And all you have to do is press the button — sounds like a good deal to us.

Key specifications
Type: Compostable (home and industrially)
Price per pod: 55p
Subscription available: Yes
Certified-organic: Yes

3
Best recyclable coffee pod
Co-op Irresistible Single Origin Espresso Fairtrade Coffee Pods
coop.co.uk
£3.50

If you had presumed eco-friendly pods had to be expensive, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find our best-tasting recyclable pods are from good ol’ Co-op. They’re still Fairtrade, and produced a rich, full-bodied brew, complete with frothy crema. Impressive! 

Key specifications
Type: Recyclable aluminium
Price per pod: 35p
Subscription available: No
Certified-organic: No

4
Best recyclable eco coffee pod on subscription
Pact Sertao Pods
pactcoffee.com
£19.95

We’re all for subscriptions that make our life easier, and coffee most definitely falls into that category. To sweeten the deal, you’ll also save money on Pact’s recyclables when you sign up for a regular delivery. These Brazilian beans made a creamy, fruity and sweet brew, which works just as well with or without a splash of milk.

Key specifications
Type: Recyclable aluminium
Price per pod: 50p
Subscription available: Yes
Certified-organic: No

5
Best for caramel notes
CRU Kafe Organic Espresso Coffee Capsules
amazon.co.uk
£19.80

We’ve already cleaned up our beauty routine, and now our coffee is in for the organic treatment. Our panel detected some sweet caramel notes in this espresso-style serve, making it oh-so-easy to drink, particularly with milk. Suitable for recycling, they’re also Fairtrade to boot.

Key specifications
Type: Recyclable aluminium
Price per pod: 33p
Subscription available: Yes
Certified-organic: Yes

6
Best coffee shop replacement
Grind Coffee House Blend Coffee Pods
harveynichols.com
£15.95

One thing we do miss about the commute is the opportunity to pick up a proper coffee shop coffee. Thankfully, Grind has got our back, packaging the very same ground beans used in store into a convenient compostable for at home use. Gently roasted, smooth and sweet, we’d recommend keeping the pink tin and stocking up on the refill pack once you’re through with your first batch. 

Key specifications
Type: Compostable (Industrially)
Price per pod: 76p
Subscription available: Yes via the Grind website
Certified-organic:  Yes

7
Best lungo
Lavazza Lungo Intenso Eco Caps
lavazza.co.uk
£3.00

It’s easy to get distracted with speciality serves (iced toffee nut latte with unsweetened oat milk, anyone?), but for those that prefer a long black coffee (which is generally the healthiest way to drink it anyway), this is the perfect pod. It creates a complex lungo with notes of butterscotch and toasted hazelnuts, complete with a velvety crema. Simple, but delicious. 

Key specifications
Type: Compostable (Industrially)
Price per pod: 30p
Subscription available: No
Certified-organic:  No

8
Best for a strong coffee
Volcano Coffee Works Balanced All Day Coffee Pods
volcanocoffeeworks.com
£6.50

Proving a little pod can be every bit as powerful as a barista-made brew, Volcano Coffee Works produced the strongest coffee we tested. Adding a drop of milk really brings out the chocolate-coated brazil nut quality, however there’s absolutely no bitterness even when drunk black — making it ideal for any time of day.

Key specifications
Type: Compostable (Industrially)
Price per pod: 65p
Subscription available: No
Certified-organic: No

9
Best Italian-style coffee
Eden Project Italian Espresso Compostable Coffee Pods
amazon.co.uk
£20.99

If you’re heading to Cornwall this summer, you might stumble across the Eden Project’s colossal Rainforest Biome. These fairtrade coffee pods are part of the brand’s eco-friendly at-home range, so you can have your Italian-style espresso without contributing to landfill. 

Key specifications
Type: Compostable (home and industrially)
Price per pod: 35p
Subscription available: No
Certified-organic: No

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