Dolce Gusto compatible pods: are they worth it?

The majority of users who want to buy Dolce Gusto compatible pods instead of the original ones is due to one of these factors:

  • Price. You can find official Dolce Gusto pods for £0,24 (USD 0.66 / AUD 0.56), while compatible ones can be found for about 40% cheaper.
  • Variety. Dolce Gusto offers a wide variety of flavors. However, there are still more options within the compatible ones.
  • Quality. The coffee in Dolce Gusto pods is not among the best in the coffee pod market.

If you want to save money on coffee, increase the quality and expand the variety available, you should change your preparation method and not look for compatible coffee pods. You should opt for manual pour-over drip coffee makers (such as the Hario V60, Kalita Wave or Chemex) or traditional espresso machines.

But if you want to continue with your Dolce Gusto because it is practical, convenient, and very fast, read on.

Do the Dolce Gusto-compatible pods work well?

Knowing if a compatible pod will work in your coffee maker is the first thing a user should consider since coffee pods are food, and on very rare occasions, you will receive a refund if they do not work.

I have bought compatible pods from other brands (Nespresso and Lavazza), which has been a total disaster. However, based on my own experience, it is very rare that Dolce Gusto-compatible pods do not work well due to the simplicity of the perforation and water injection system.

Although looking for user reviews in different online stores, almost all brands of compatible pods have some comments related to malfunctioning of the compatible pods:

Comment about malfunctioning of Dolce Gusto compatible pods
Comment about malfunctioning of Dolce Gusto compatible pods

The final decision is yours, but after reading some comments, it is scary to buy any coffee pod that is not original.

How much do Dolce Gusto original pods cost?

Before we start talking about the price of the compatible Dolce Gusto pods, we must know the price of the original coffee pods to compare the two types.

The original Dolce Gusto pods have a different cost if you are in America, Australia, or Europe. As Dolce Gusto is a European brand, in the United States and Australia, they cost 2-3 times more than in Europe:

  • In the UK, they cost £0.24 per unit (average price).
  • In the United States, they cost USD 0.66 per unit (average price).
  • In Australia, they cost AUD 0.56 per unit (average price).

Did you know that the business of coffee pod brands such as Dolce Gusto is in the coffee and not in the machine?

How much do Dolce Gusto compatible pods cost?

Regarding buying compatible pods, we have two options; 1- Go to online stores, where there is a great variety, or 2- Go to traditional supermarkets, where there are more and more Dolce Gusto compatible pods, especially white labels.

Price of Dolce Gusto compatible pods online

  • The online cheapest Dolce Gusto compatible pods in the UK today (18/09/2022) cost £0,16 per unit; they are the variety Colombia from Note d’Espresso. If you surf the internet a bit, you should find other compatible pods between £0.16 and £0.21 without any problem.
  • In the United States, you will not find compatible Dolce Gusto pods as cheap as in the UK. In this case, the cheapest pods cost between $0.39 and $0.45. For example, these Italian Coffee pods cost $0.39 per unit.
  • In Australia, it is very difficult to find coffee pods compatible with Dolce Gusto, so the problem here is not price but availability.

In short, the prices of Dolce Gusto compatible pods should be around 40% cheaper than the original ones. If you find prices close to this, you will buy as cheaply as possible.

Price of Dolce Gusto compatible pods in supermarkets

The most popular Dolce Gusto compatible pods may be the white brand, depending on where you live and the supermarket you visit. This is because, in addition to a very reasonable price, the supermarket brand guarantees the quality of the product.

As a reference, we will use two of the largest supermarkets in the UK. In Tesco and Asda, we can find different varieties of Dolce Gusto compatible pods like “Costa” for just £0.19 per unit.

How much can you save by buying compatible pods?

Undoubtedly, Dolce Gusto compatible pods are cheaper than the original ones, but now you have to ask yourself how much you save using compatible pods.

For example, in the UK, taking £0.24 as the unit price of the original pods and £0.16 as the unit price of the compatible ones, we save 30%. In other words, if you drink one coffee a day, you save almost £32 a year: Instead of paying £90, you will pay £58.

Is there more variety of compatible Dolce Gusto pods than the original ones?

Dolce Gusto has a wide variety of coffee pods, especially for coffee drinks with milk. From the beginning, Dolce Gusto focused on families, covering all the classic beverages such as cappuccino, latte, flat white, etc.

However, there are hundreds of variations of classic coffee drinks that Dolce Gusto does not have. For example, Note d’Espresso offers flavors like hazelnut, caramel, vanilla, chocolate/orange, chocolate/hazelnut, crème brûlée, etc.

We can not only widen the variety by looking at milk drinks. We can also discover different flavors and intensities in espressos, as Il Caffè Italiano shows us with its Dek, Trieste, Venezia, Firenze, Roma, and Napoli varieties. These coffee pods cost £0.16 per unit.

Different varieties of Il Caffe Italiano
Different varieties of Il Caffe Italiano

Is the coffee in the Dolce Gusto compatible pods better than the original ones?

I have already written an article explaining how their taste is far from the best on the market, but they do not taste bad. On many occasions, if an original Dolce Gusto pod tastes bad, it can be due to other factors, such as the cleanliness of the coffee maker or the condition of that particular pod.

Although I also explained in the article comparing Dolce Gusto and Tassimo coffee makers that the biggest difference between these two brands was in the better coffee flavor of the Tassimo pods.

That said, it may seem that any compatible pod will taste better than the original one; however, this is not always true. For example, as I write these lines, I am tasting a Dolce Gusto cappuccino from Happy Belly, which is quite a bit worse than the original Dolce Gusto.

  • Can the taste of Dolce Gusto pods be improved? YES.
  • Is any compatible pod better than the original? NO.
  • How do I know that a compatible pod tastes good? Read (real) reviews in online stores.


Buying Dolce Gusto-compatible pods will save you money if they cost around 40% less than the original ones. However, finding compatible pods much cheaper than the original ones will not be easy, and you will have to surf the internet a lot until you find the flavor you want at the price you want.

Thanks to the compatible pods, you will have the opportunity to try flavors, roasts, and intensities that Dolce Gusto does not offer you with its original pods. Although here, you also have to read reviews from other users before purchasing to ensure the quality is what you expect.

Written by Pablo Barrantes Nevado
I am Pablo Barrantes, a coffee lover. I decided to start this website to solve all the doubts that arise every day when preparing our favorite drink: coffee. I am an industrial engineer by profession, but I have worked in coffee shops for many years, where I have learned all the secrets about coffee machines and coffee. My passion for coffee has led me to investigate and study beyond the obvious, and thanks to this, I can offer solutions and give news about coffee and coffee makers. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I research, document and write here.

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