Best Compostable Coffee Pods 2023

Although convenient, the environmental impact of lots of individual pods can quickly add up, especially if you’re having multiple coffees a day. Whilst most coffee pods were originally plastic or aluminium (not always easy to recycle), there are now a range of eco-friendly pods that are compostable, biodegradable and easier to recycle. You can still enjoy a wide range of different coffees – including rare, single-origin and decaf coffee blends – whilst being a little kinder on the environment. Our coffee expert Celeste Wong tested a range of eco-friendly pods to find the best on the market – these are her top 10 picks.

10 best eco-friendly coffee pods at a glance

  • Best coffee pods with sweeter notes: Pact Coffee, from £9.95 for 14
  • Best GMO-free coffee pods: Volcano Coffee Works, from £6.50 for a pack of 10
  • Best straight forward coffee pods: Grind, £9.95 for a pack of 20
  • Best carbon negative coffee pods: Kiss The Hippo, from £11 for 20
  • Best for Americano-style coffee: Lavazza Eco-caps, from £4.99 for a pack of 16
  • Best for subtle coffee: Norlo, £9 for a pack of 15
  • Best coffee pods for espresso: Penningtons Coffee Roasters, £4.50 for a pack of 10
  • Best for rare ranges of coffee: Colonna Coffee, £10-15 for a box of 10
  • Best aluminium-free coffee pods: Moving Beans, £3.25 for a box of 10
  • Best easy compostable option: Lost Sheep Coffee, from £4.50 for a pack of 10

Best eco-friendly coffee pods 2023

Pact Coffee

Four long tubes for capsules next to four rows of colourful coffee capsules

Best coffee pods with sweeter notes

Pact Coffee has a range of pods to choose from: browse by roast, origin or flavour profile to find one that suits your taste. The colourful packaging is a welcome delivery and the mixed box selection of 40 pods contains all four origins of coffee capsules to give you some variety. Pods are 100% recyclable, and a ‘pods and recycler bundle’ is available containing an Ecofriendly Pod Recycler to ensure the pods are accurately disposed of.

There are detailed, accurate tasting notes on the box. My two favourites were the Rwanda and Honduras: the Rwanda pod is described as ‘raspberries and cream’ and this coffee certainly had a raspberry-style acidity and a creamy mouthfeel. The Honduras was bright and fruity, great as an espresso. The Brazil and Columbian pods would suit people who enjoy the more chocolatey, nutty and rich notes from an espresso.

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Available from:
Pact Coffee (from £9.95 for 14)

Volcano Coffee Works

A 10 pack of Volcano compostable coffee capsules in black packaging

Best GMO-free coffee pods

Volcano Coffee Works offers four pod choices, including decaf. All are ethically sourced, biodegradable and vegan-friendly. Pods are made from 100% compostable, GMO-free, bio-based material derived from sugarcane. There is a multi-pack of 200 capsules for £100 which is a good option for offices, studios or the multiple times a day espresso drinker. You can also sign up for subscriptions with many variations of frequency, starting with a 40 pack or more and free delivery.

I tried Volcano’s Balanced pods, which also have the Great Taste 2019 seal of approval. The espresso is strikingly balanced, and while there is no recommendation whether to drink the coffee best as an espresso or lungo, the lungo was equally enjoyable. The words ‘biodegradable & compostable’ are printed on the pods, which adds a helpful reminder when using. Volcano reassures you that the pods will be biodegraded in about 90 days – it feels really good to know a time limit on when compostable pods are actually decomposed by.

Available from:
Volcano Coffee Works (from £6.50 for pack of 10)


A pack of coffee capsules in bright pink packaging

Best straight forward coffee pods

Grind offers House, Light, Dark or Decaf pods, all of which come in a refillable (and recyclable) chic Grind branded tin. When you subscribe to the pods, you get a free tin, 20% off and free shipping. All your pods after that come in letter-box friendly boxes.

Grind coffee is certified organic, ethically sourced and plastic-free. The compostable coffee pods are made from biodegradable bioplastic, while the lid is made of PLA and paper – Grind specifies the pods will break down within six weeks in industrial compost. What I like about the offering in general is that it feels really simple and straightforward.

I tried out the House blend capsules, which is the same blend used in the Grind cafes. There’s limited information on the packaging, and they don’t actually disclose the origins of the beans anywhere easily that I can see. If you like milky coffees, I would definitely recommend drinking this capsule with milk, which I preferred over drinking it black. If you are strictly a black coffee drinker I’d suggest trying the Light or Dark capsules.

Available from:
Amazon (£27 for 60 pods)
Grind (from £9.95 for 20 pods)

Kiss the Hippo

A pack of 8 organic coffee capsules in white packaging

Best carbon negative coffee pods

Kiss the Hippo offers three different coffee pods: Organic House Blend (sweet and strong), Organic Classic Blend (darker and more intense in flavour) and Organic Decaf. All are organic-certified, ethically sourced, 100% compostable, plastic-free and completely carbon negative – a huge eco-friendly asset, going beyond just carbon-neutral. Pods are available in packs of 20 or 30, plus you can subscribe to packs of 30 and save 15%. For every subscription, Kiss the Hippo plant a tree in partnership with On a Mission. Packaging is minimal, clean and neat.

The House Blend was my favourite: the coffee was bright and very sweet tasting, with a little acidity to lighten the espresso. The Organic Classic blend from the Americas tastes bolder than the house blend and produced a solid lungo. The decaf was really pleasant: the espresso is sweet, light in body and mouth feel, and doesn’t leave a bitter aftertaste. An excellent option for decaf drinkers – and even handy for impromptu espresso martinis! Overall, really enjoyable and drinkable.

Available from:
Kiss the Hippo (from £11 for 20 pods)
Amazon (from £18 for 30 pods)

Lavazza Eco-caps

A 10 pack of compostable coffee capsules from Lavazza

Best for Americano-style coffee

Lavazza offers five styles of eco-capsules: Espresso Deciso, Lungo Intenso, Espresso Armonico, Lungo Avvolgente and Bio-Organic. Each type has a helpful intensity rating and a specific guide to how long to extract the shot. Lavazza runs foundation projects focused on helping farmers and communities with their infrastructure and production to yield and supply higher quality coffees, encourage more women in coffee, and implement sustainable practices. It is worth noting that Lavazza has its own design of machine, with a different shaped capsule to classic Nespresso.

While these may not be as complex or delicate as some of the other capsules, I like that it’s clear which pods should be used for either espresso or lungo. The Espresso Decisio is creamy and much less bitter than I expected, with a sweet aftertaste. It’s bold and a strong shot of espresso for the morning. The Lungo Intenso was smooth and would suit an Americano style coffee. In the past, Lavazza coffees in its commercial range have been a bit dark or bitter for me, however these capsules were a pleasant surprise comparatively.

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