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These Nespresso Alto and Cold Brew Pods Don't Work - Here's Why

These Nespresso Alto and Cold Brew Pods Don’t Work – Here’s Why

Nespresso Guides Apr 16, 2023

If you are having trouble brewing the Nespresso Alto and cold brew-style pods, don’t worry, your Vertuo machine is not broken, it’s the pods!

Why Nespresso Alto or Cold Brew Pod Are Not Working in Vertuo

If you got yourself some Nespresso Alto Ambrato, Alto Onice Pods, or the Cold Brew Intense pod, but you insert it into your Vertuo machine and it does not work, the problem is Vertuo compatibility, these pods are not designed to work in all machines.

Vertuo Model Compatibility

Nespresso Alto Pod Not Working

Nespresso redesigned these pods to work in newer Vertuo models only.

They will only work in these models…

So, if you are trying to brew an Alto pod in a:

Your brew button will start blinking twice, then stop. Which means, it doesn’t recognize the pod.

These Nespresso Alto and Cold Brew Pods Don't Work - Here's Why
This is the message seen on Nespresso’s website when buying Alto coffee pods

What To Do If Your Vertuo Is Not Compatible

If you confirmed that your Nespresso Vertuo is an older version and won’t work with cold brew or coffee Alto pods, I recommend that you reach out to Nespresso customer service and explain the situation. There’s a good chance you’ll get a refund. While I can’t promise you that, it’s certainly worth a try.

The Upgraded Nespresso Alto Pods (12 oz Coffee)

Even though Nespresso has reintroduced the Alto pod again, they made some drastic changes that will make many users unhappy

1- They don’t work in all Vertuo models

2- Alto coffee pods are now 12 oz serving instead of 14 oz

3- They are sold in a set of 7 pods per sleeve instead of 10

Let’s start with the names of the 12 oz Pods

  • Alto Ambrato: Light roast coffee
  • Alto Onice: Dark Roast Coffee
  • Cold Brew Style Intense: Dark Roast Cold Brew style coffee

Keep reading below for more info on these pods, the caffeine content and more.

Why Nespresso Changed The Serving Size From 14 oz to 12 oz

old vs new nespresso alto pod
image source

There’s actually a good explanation for why Nespresso has decided to make the Alto serving size smaller:

  • Old Alto coffee pods had the same amount of coffee grounds as the Coffee 7.7 oz size, yet, it was used to brew 14 oz. That made customers complain about how weak the coffee tasted, which probably led to Nespresso discontinuing them and replacing them with the new pod.
  • Now, the redesigned Alto pod is larger, contains more ground coffee, and brews a bit smaller, which results in a richer and stronger-tasting cup of coffee.

Now that we have cleared which machines are compatible with Nespresso 12 oz pods, here’s the currently available selection for that serving size (as of the time of writing)

Cold Brew Style Intense

Nespresso Cold Brew Style Intense

Nespresso Cold Brew Style is a 12 oz pod that brews a coffee that embodies a traditional cold brew but is done within minutes.

This coffee pod is inspired by the cold brew method. To start, Nespresso advises that you use cool water in the water reservoir. The machine will start to brew hot, just to extract all the flavor from the coffee grounds, and then it will start to brew at the same temperature as the water in the reservoir.

Brew this pod over ice for the best results.

Caffeine Content: 114 mg per serving (each pod is 2 servings)

Grounds per pod: 17 grams

How To Brew Nespresso Cold Brew Pod

This pod works just like any other pod. Insert the pod in your Nespresso Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop or Vertuo Creatista and start the brewing process.

Nespresso recommends that you add 4 ice cubes to the cup before brewing and let the coffee brew over the ice. You can add additional ice cubes to chill the coffee.

Nespresso recommends this exact recipe for the Cold Brew pod:

“For the best experience, use cool water (below 10°C / 50F) in your Vertuo Creatista, Vertuo Next or Vertuo Pop+ water tank and add 3-4 ice cubes to your coffee. 12 fl oz (355 ml) = 2 servings of 6 fl oz (172.5 ml).”

Alto Onice XL Coffee Pod

Nespresso Alto Onice XL Coffee Pod

If you love a dark roast, intense cup of coffee, you’ll love Alto Onice. Made from a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, it is high on bitterness, roastiness and body, and it’s low on acidity.

Caffeine Content: 190 mg per 12 oz

Grounds per pod: 17 grams

Alto Ambrato XL Coffee Pod

Nespresso Alto Ambrato XL Coffee Pod

This pod is the opposite of Onice. If you’re looking for an easy and mild-tasting cup of coffee, Nespresso Alto Ambrato is the way to go.

Also contains a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans, but Ambrato is a light roast coffee blend. So it is lower on the roastiness and bitterness scale.

Caffeine Content: 170 mg per 12 oz

Grounds per pod: 17 grams

Nespresso Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee Pods

All Vertuo machines can brew Nespresso’s line of Over Ice coffee like Ice Forte and Ice Freddo.

But what is the difference between Cold Brew vs Iced Coffee Pods?

Cold Brew PodOver Ice Coffee Pod
Works with Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop and Vertuo Creatista ONLYWorks with all Nespresso Vertuo machines
Serving size: 12 oz Serving size: 7.7 oz or 2.7 oz

How The Iced Coffee Pods Works

The Iced coffee pods brew hot over ice. It starts out hot, then it drops slightly in temperature, but it continues to be hot over ice. Unlike Cold Brew pod, which actually bypasses the heating element and brews at room temperature in its second phase.

Nespresso recommends that you brew these pods in a cup full of ice, then add additional ice to your liking after to chill it even more.

Is 12 oz The Largest Serving Size on Nespresso Vertuo?

These Nespresso Alto and Cold Brew Pods Don't Work - Here's Why

No, there’s one additional larger size and that is the Nespresso Pour Over Style pod, which is an 18 oz serving size. Like 12 oz pods, the 18 oz Carafe pod is also exclusive to Nespresso Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop, Vertuo Creatista and Vertuo Lattissima.

Should You Upgrade Your Vertuo Machine To Brew Alto Coffee Pods?

The new Alto pods are locked to Nespresso Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop, and possibly newer models of Nespresso Vertuo machines.

Is it worth it to upgrade from an older Vertuo to a Vertuo Next or Vertuo Pop just to brew Alto pods?

Personally, I don’t think it’s worth it unless you can get a really good deal on a new machine.

  • Nespresso Alto pods now brew 12 oz, unlike the older pods that used to brew 14 oz.
  • They come in a package of 7 instead of 10.
  • They cost about $1.50 per pod (as of the time of writing).

The price per volume is not bad at all. The problem is in the machine model. Nespresso Vertuo Next is not as reliable as previous Vertuo models. Giving up your VertuoPlus to a Vertuo Next is a shame.

I would suggest waiting to see if newer, more reliable models, become available and compatible with Nespresso Alto pods. But for now, stick to your older Vertuo machines.