Nespresso Vertuo and VertuoPlus Coffee Machine Review
A few years ago, Nespresso began experimenting with a completely different capsule design for their innovative coffee machines, and came up with a new style of machine and capsule that produced a different style of coffee: the Nespresso Vertuo range. The new capsules were simply called ‘VertuoLine‘, taking their name from the new machines. The more traditional Nespresso capsule is now referred to as ‘OriginalLine‘ and these are still manufactured by Nespresso. Indeed, the OriginalLine Nespresso coffee capsules are still the most popular overall.
The New Nespresso Vertuo Coffee Machines and Coffee Capsules
To summarise the background reading, VertuoLine machines spin the Nespresso coffee pods at speeds of about 7,000rpm, which result in a different flavour profile when coffee is extracted. This allows for a different variety of flavour and gave rise to the new range of Nespresso VertuoLine machines. If you enjoy smaller coffees (espresso, lungo etc.) then chances are the OriginalLine machines would work better for you. VertuoLine machines cater to larger mug sizes, so if that’s more your thing then we’d recommend looking here – but note that flavour wise, you might prefer the other, so it’s worth trying both!
The first Nespresso VertuoLine machines are being reviewed here: the Nespresso Vertuo and Nespresso VertuoPlus. Let’s get to it!
Nespresso Vertuo Coffee Machine Review
One of the biggest advantages of the Nespresso Vertuo coffee machine is the really rich crema that you get in your coffee cup, even if you’re using a much larger size of coffee. This is the main difference that you’ll notice between the Nespresso OriginalLine and Nespresso VertuoLine series, and the Vertuo here takes full advantage of that!
There are 5 cup sizes for you to choose Nespresso VertuoLine pods from: Alto (414ml), Mug (230ml), Gran Lungo (150ml), Double Espresso (80ml) and Espresso (40ml), up from the previous 3 sizes of Espresso, Ristretto and Lungo. Note that the Nespresso Vertuo machine by default supports 4 of these sizes (it omits Double Espresso, so if you wanted one of these you’d use two Single Espresso sizes instead).
Despite Vertuo capsules coming in a variety of sizes, the unique bar codes displayed around the rim of each capsule tell the Nespresso Vertuo machine exactly what coffee pod you’ve placed inside. Automatic blend recognition does the rest and knows what to do to produce the perfect cup of coffee!
Nespresso Vertuo Coffee Machine Stats and Looks
The Nespresso Vertuo machine itself has a narrow profile and looks quite sleek, especially in a black finish. It weighs 5.45kg (just under 12 pounds) and is 37.1cm in depth by 35.8cm long by 27.4cm in width at the front.
There are four one-touch sizes of coffee that you can have: Alto, Mug, Gran Lungo and Espresso. Note that even though Double Espresso pods are available, this isn’t one of the one-touch options on the Nespresso Vertuo machine. All Nespresso VertuoLine capsules are hermetically sealed (another way for saying the capsules are airtight) to ensure you get the same quality of coffee in every cup you make.
The machine takes 25 seconds to heat up, which is a fairly standard length of time for a Nespresso machine so no complaints there. The water tank is a respectible 1.2L large – not huge, but definitely enough to get by on. The capsule container for when each capsule gets used can also store up to 13 large capsules, so you won’t need to be emptying this every day if you don’t want to. Finally, used capsules can also be recycled!
As far as taste is concerned, our first cup of coffee from the Nespresso Vertuo didn’t disappoint based on our expectations. We tried an Alto sized cup, which is way larger than we’d expect to achieve from the OriginalLine machines, just to see what it’s like. Sure enough, a strong amount of crema was on top – way more than we’d expect from an OriginalLine machine.
Nespresso OriginalLine vs VertuoLine – What’s the Difference in Taste?
The taste of the coffee is comparable but also subtly different: I guess when you have a larger cup it’s not really possible to fill it with an OriginalLine espresso capsule and not dilute it or make two. For that reason, we’d say the taste is still great and what you’d expect from Nespresso but it’s down to personal preference.
If you prefer a larger ‘coffee shop large’ style mug of coffee, we suspect you’ll enjoy the VertuoLine range more than the OriginalLine. You simply can’t get the same quality of crema at volume with the other machines, and in this department the Nespresso Vertuo did extremely well.
For those who prefer their shorter drinks (espresso etc.) the VertuoLine also is fine here – smaller pods for espresso still work extremely well! However, the sheer range of flavours available in OriginalLine is greater than VertuoLine right now, so if variety is what you’re after we’d go with OriginalLine (read our guide on the OriginalLine capsules and their flavour profiles) Otherwise, it looks like the new VertuoLine is here to stay, and we mainly love the quality crema even in larger cups!
Nespresso have also released a Vertuo Plus coffee machine, although most marketing materials simply say they’ve released the Vertuo and don’t make a big deal out of having two slightly different models.
The Vertuo Plus differs from the Vertuo in two main ways: the machine head of the coffee machine has an automatic opening and closing mechanism, and you can also move the water tank to suit space in your home or office.
We view the automatic machine head opening / closing as a nice to have, but ultimately it’s a little bit gimmicky. We don’t really mind opening and closing it ourselves that much. However, being able to decide where to put the water for your coffee machine means we got to place it in various places (some near plug sockets so are tactically important) that we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to fit the Nespresso Vertuo machine as well. So overall, if you think it would help place it somewhere, we’d happily go with the VertuoPlus! If you have a large, open space and you’re fine with the coffee machine simply sitting on your counter with nothing around it, then buying the Nespresso Vertuo is perfectly fine.
Nespresso Vertuo & VertuoPlus: Milk Based Coffee
Neither the Nespresso Vertuo or VertuoPlus come designed to make milk-based coffee such as lattes and cappuccinos. However, if you are enjoying the crema from the coffee here and also want to have this combined with your favourite milk based drink, you can do this by adding an Aeroccino milk frother. This can be done as a bundle when you receive your machine, or you can also buy an Aeroccino separately.
Note that the Aeroccino is the same product that works with the Nespresso OriginalLine machines as well, so if you have another machine that you’d like to move your Aeroccino from, you can absolutely do that!
We enjoyed tasting the coffee from the Nespresso Vertuo and VertuoPlus machines, and especially like that Nespresso are still trying to push the boundaries for what we can expect from an ‘instant’ (or near enough!) coffee at home. The new centrifugal technology in the VertuoLine pods has really opened doors for larger coffee cup sizes. There’s no doubt in our minds that anyone who enjoys a mug (or larger!) of coffee would prefer the VertuoLine serving style to OriginalLine, because the volume of coffee you get is simply larger! For that reason, the Nespresso Vertuo and VertuoPlus is the clear cut favourite for larger-sized coffee drink lovers.
It’s a nice touch to include the Nespresso VertuoPlus with a way to move the water tank as well, which may be important in some compact kitchens so you can decide exactly where to place the water for your coffee. Making this an optional second model also means that those who don’t need this feature, don’t need to pay a different price to get it as well – which we can appreciate!
The biggest potential downside to the Vertuo and VertuoPlus comes from those of us who enjoy a wider variety of coffee. Simply put, the VertuoLine does espresso just as well with a delicious crema to boot but has fewer capsules on the market right now to choose from, compared to OriginalLine machines. This means that if you value having lots of different types of coffee throughout the year then an OriginalLine machine such as the Nespresso Prodigio or Nespresso Creatista might be better suited for you.
We hope this has been a helpful review and guide to help you make a decision about the Nespresso Vertuo and VertuoPlus coffee machines! Please do share this page and link to us if you’ve found it helpful. Thanks!
Starbucks® Expands Nespresso Range with House and Milder Blends
Expansion to 8 Starbucks® Nespresso Pods / Capsules
A year or two ago, Starbucks® experimented by partnering with Nespresso to produce four different Nespresso capsules: the Fairtrade Espresso Roast, Kenya Single Origin, Colombia Single Origin and Guatemala Antigua Single Origin.
Following the success of these blends, Starbucks® have been inundated with requests to include a broader range of coffees. Specifically, Nespresso comparible lighter blends were recommended by a lot of customers, and while it’s taken quite a few months, Starbucks® have responded!
There are now four new Starbucks® Nespresso capsule flavours: the Veranda Blend, Blonde Espresso Roast, House Blend and Decaf Espresso Roast!
Starbucks® Nespresso Veranda Blend
One of the new Starbucks® Nespresso pod blends is called the Veranda Blend. It primarily sources coffee from Latin America, where lush coffee groves grow in the unique climate there.
The Veranda Nespresso blend has a very mellow and flavourful taste, which comes across as quite soft. It is very lightly roasted, contrasting with the older blends.
Starbucks® Blonde Espresso Roast
The Blonde espresso roast is another light roast, but here Starbucks® draws out brighter, sweeter flavours to go into this Starbucks® Nespresso pod.
Rather than being a single origin, this is a lighter blend of different coffees to get the result that Starbucks® was looking for. The resulting cup of coffee is rather balanced and can be enjoyed at any time of day.
Starbucks® House Blend Nespresso Lungo Pod / Capsule
Alongside the lighter blends, there has also been a more traditional roast added to the Starbucks® Nespresso pod range. The Starbucks® House blend is the very first one that they created back in 1971.
The beans here are also Latin American but are roasted to a much further extent than the lighter roasts above, to a dark chestnut colour. Very flavourful, balancing notes of cocoa and nuts.
Starbucks® Decaf Fairtrade Espresso Roast
The final new addition to the Starbucks® lineup is another classic. Starbucks® first foray into this decaf blend began in 1975, and has basically not changed since.
This roast is very caramelly with some nice, deep, sweet notes.
Where Can I Buy Starbucks® Nespresso Pods / Capsules?
The newest additions to the Starbucks® Nespresso range are not yet available on Amazon, but all of the four original flavours plus the Decaf Fairtrade Espresso Roast coffee pod are available in variety packs. You can check them out below!
What is Nespresso OriginalLine and Nespresso VertuoLine?
Nespresso now produce different types of coffee pods – Nespresso Virtuoline are the newcomers on the scene compared to Nespresso OriginalLine, which is what we would call the ‘original’ Nespresso capsules. The original capsules were shaped like the coffee pods we have seen since they became commonplace. They have slightly angled straight sides with a shallow angle at the top.
The new Nespresso VertuoLine capsules are dome shaped and as a result, look rather different! These capsules will not fit into Nespresso OriginalLine machines. Similarly, OriginalLine capsules won’t fit into the new VertuoLine machines.
Nespresso VertuoLine machines were originally developed for the American market, where people wanted to see capsules that would fill larger sizes of coffee cup beyond Nespresso’s Lungo size – for a quick explanation of Nespresso’s coffee sizes Espresso, Ristretto and Lungo, visit our coffee size guide here
When were Nespresso VertuoLine Machines Released?
The VertuoLine machines were first released in the United States in 2014, and were initially not available in Europe. The launch date in Europe was October 2016, with the Nespresso VertuoLine launching in France and expanding to the rest of Europe as well. Nowadays, the machines are available globally.
So what’s the difference between the two? Aside from having different ranges of machines, the main difference is how they are brewed.
Nespresso VertuoLine Brewing Method: The Difference Compared to OriginalLine
The Nespresso VertuoLine capsules brewed coffee differently to the OriginalLine capsules, which focused on puncturing the capsule and extracting the coffee under 19 bars of pressure. VertuoLine capsules are instead spun inside the Nespresso coffee machine, at speeds of about 7,000rpm. As a result, the coffee is extracted by a centrifuge, compared to using direct pressure – and has a different flavour profile. There is also a larger layer of foam / crema that is produced this way, compared to Nespresso OriginalLine capsules.
Does Nespresso VertuoLine Taste Better than Nespresso OriginalLine?
We should advise that the taste of VertuoLine coffee has not been met with universal acclaim. Many people have found they prefer the OriginalLine capsules when making a coffee, especially consumers in Europe. If you enjoy having enough intensity in your coffee pod to comfortably fill a larger cup, though, we think VertuoLine may provide you with a more enjoyable experience. At the end of the day, everyone is different! One great way to tell is to walk into a Nespresso shop on your nearest city high street or similar, and ask to try coffee from both. That would let you make a decision based on your taste so that you buy the right one!
Vertuo Coffee Pod / Capsule Sizes
One of the big design decisions made when introducing the VertuoLine range was larger coffee cup sizes. Particularly in America, consumers were eager for a capsule solution to larger cups and mugs. As a result, Nespresso Vertuo capsules come in five (5!!) different sizes:
Espresso – the smallest Vertuo coffee pod, this is simply designed to be blended with 40ml of water.
Double Espresso – as suggested by the name, doubling the amount of water to 80ml
Gran Lungo – 150ml of water is used to make a coffee with this capsule
Mug – this is still small by western ‘mug’ standards, but 230ml of water is used to blend with this coffee pod, making it larger than any standard size offered by the OriginalLine range
Alto – at 414ml, this is by far the largest coffee that a single Nespresso Vertuo pod can make as standard
VertuoLine Barcode Recognition Helps Pod Sizes but Blocks Third Party Pods
Nespresso have designed a unique barcode system using the outside rim of their VertuoLine coffee pods. There is a barcode included with each capsule that tells the machine how large the coffee is going to be (from Espresso to Alto), which means the correct amount of water gets added.
There is also a secondary reason for this – because Nespresso machines officially recognise different Vertuo coffee capsules, it may block the recognition of some third party Vertuo capsules. As a result, it makes buying non-Nespresso capsules a bit trickier. Even if you end up finding a capsule that works, there’s no guarantee it will work indefinitely! Updates to Nespresso machines could end up blocking these in the future For this reason, many OriginalLine third party capsule makers have steered clear of making third party VertuoLine capsules to date. They could well exist en-masse in the future, though!
Conclusions: Nespresso VertuoLine vs Nespresso OriginalLine
We will always recommend you taste the coffee from both types of Nespresso machine yourself before deciding what to buy, but there are a few obvious pros and cons to selecting each:
Nespresso VertuoLine coffee machines are designed to cater to larger cup sizes. If you’re looking for a much larger size of cup to put your coffee in on a daily basis, chances are a coffee pod designed for that size would naturally taste nicer than a more concentrated ‘shot’ of coffee that you’d have to dilute!
Nespresso OriginalLine machines are compatible with far more third-party coffee pod manufacturers because there is no barcode verification technology written into OriginalLine capsules. If you are a fan of a specific third party coffee capsule, then you would probably want to stay with these for now.
Nespresso VertuoLine Centrifusion technology allows Nespresso to play around with subtler flavours, extracting aromas via spinning the capsule rather than using pure pressure. This brewing method also produces a larger crema / foam, so if you’re a fan of this in your coffee then we think you’d enjoy the new VertuoLine machines!
We will shortly be publishing a full guide to Nespresso VertuoLine machines and a top line review of our favourites. and in the meantime you can compare our Nespresso OriginalLine series of machines with our Nespresso OriginalLine Comparison Guide here. You can even choose based on prize & capacity to filter down to the machine that’s most suited to you!
Looking for Nespresso Christmas gifts? 2017 promises to be the biggest year yet for Nespresso, with more machines and coffee variations than ever before.
There is plenty of hardware to choose from if you’re looking to buy a Nespresso coffee machine for Christmas: from entry level machines for the newly-introduced to beautiful top-of-the-range machines that you can even practice your latte art with!
Nespresso have also released three new Christmas variations for 2017, and we’ll take a look at these as well. Let’s dive in and help you decide what the best gift is this festive season for the coffee-loving Santa in your life!
Nespresso Gift Guide: The Types of Nespresso Machine
There are many different types of Nespresso coffee machine, but they broadly fit into three categories:
Advanced Nespresso Machines
The ‘cream of the crop’ Nespresso ranges include coffee machines that are designed with higher build quality and more features. These machines could have all-metal casing, cup warmers, more temperature and texturing options for water and milk respectively, and have additional advanced features that other machines wouldn’t have.
These machines include the following ranges:
KitchenAid – premium materials and iconic KitchenAid design
Creatista – the Nespresso machine you can texture milk and practice latte art with!
These are slightly more advanced Nespresso coffee machines that may suit users who have had an entry level Nespresso machine or other basic coffee machine before. They typically include a few additional features such as the ability to make milk-based coffees, have different water temperature and volume settings or even offer phone connectivity via an app.
Prodigio – Nespresso’s first Bluetooth enabled connected coffee machine!
Entry Level Nespresso Machines
These Nespresso machines are mainly designed for people who are new to Nespresso and their ranges. They typically provide few options for what coffee you want, but will produce a consistently strong water-based coffee. The most basic machines generally offer an espresso and lungo size, but a few also offer a ristretto option (for more information about what these sizes mean, check out our lungo, ristretto & espresso blog post).
Christmas 2017: Which Nespresso Coffee Machine Should I Buy?
Now that we’ve explained basic categorisation, we can go ahead and break down which Nespresso machine might work best for the person you’re buying for. Please remember that while we do our best to inform and recommend, everyone is different and you might decide that a different model of Nespresso machine is the right one for you – which is great!
The High End Coffee Enthusiast
For the person who really enjoys his or her coffee and likes to take time to create the perfect cup, we recommend the Nespresso Creatista coffee machine. It is the top of the line machine Nespresso currently offer, and the only one with a dedicated milk texturing steam pipe as well.
The Creatista has a large number of built-in water volume and temperature functions, as well as dedicated settings for you to choose how to texture your milk. It is the ultimate Nespresso machine in terms of customisation, and it is also made from premium materials with a fantastic build quality.
Many of us have a friend or family member who demands the very best in whatever they buy, and put great emphasis on getting the highest quality and best looking things for use at home. For these people, we would recommend the Nespresso KitchenAid. KitchenAid is an iconic brand with a wonderful and long history – the shape of the Nespresso KitchenAid is unmistakable and the timeless design would fit in well with a high-end kitchen.
For someone who enjoys their gadgets or is an early adopter, we recommend the Nespresso Expert & Milk. Nespresso’s latest addition to their connected coffee machine range is their most advanced yet. It incorporates an app that lets you make a brew at a scheduled time as well as notify you if the number of capsules you have is running low, or your machine needs maintenance.
If you’re buying a Nespresso machine for someone who enjoys their milk-based coffees but you don’t want to splash out on a top-of-the-range Creatista, you may appreciate the simpler but consistently high quality Lattissima Pro. It’s at a lower price point, has ready-made milk options and the touch screen on the top (which is the biggest day-to-day difference between the Lattissima Pro and Lattissima Plus models) makes it a joy to use on a regular basis.
For a basic coffee machine that’s small / convenient and also fun, we recommend the Pixie. The Pixie range can be stylised by buying custom side plates to suit or accent the room you put it in. It’s a lot of fun, but also quite simple and very easy to operate. This is ideal for a busy professional who wants basic black coffee but appreciates quality and style.
Finally, if you know someone who is making their very first foray into Nespresso (or perhaps coffee at all!), or someone who you know only wants a consistently good espresso and nothing else – we would recommend the Nespresso Inissia coffee machine.
We wouldn’t necessarily recommend the Inissia for anyone who already has a Nespresso machine (as there are many that you could ‘upgrade’ to), but for a pure espresso experience this could be your perfect ticket!
Nespresso have also released three new coffee pod variations for the festive season! They are called the Confetto Snowball, Confetto Licorice and the Confetto Orangette.
The three new variations have colourful, candy-inspired capsules associated with them. Craig & Karl helped Nespresso design these, and they look beautiful! But more importantly, what’s inside and how do they taste?
Nespresso Confetto Snowball
The Snowball is a really fun pairing of subtle coconut (!!) notes on top of a sweet, vanilla espresso. It’s really quite delicious and perhaps ideal as a standalone fun flavoured coffee (possibly with a sweet cake as well it could be a bit much for some people). Nespresso has this at an intensity rating of 6.
Nespresso Confetto Licorice
The Confetto Licorice is more than the flavour of the sweet candy, combining the flavour with a variety of spices to really give this espresso variation a bit of a kick. The notes are still subtle so it won’t overpower the coffee itself. This is one best enjoyed perhaps as a complement to a snack, to help you best enjoy the spicy contrasting flavours. The intensity here is a 6 on Nespresso’s scale.
Nespresso Confetto Orangette
The Confetto Orangette capsule isn’t just (although it is mainly!) about orange – to contrast the flavour of the peel, which is actually slightly bitter, Nespresso have also put a hint of chocolate into this variation. The intensity of this final Nespresso variation is also a 6.
You can try these new seasonal variation capsules now:
Nespresso are now starting to attract attention from some of the world’s largest coffee brands – and Starbucks® has entered the ring with new Starbucks® Nespresso compatible capsules.
Duncan Moir, who is the EMEA vice-president for channel development, says “Our customers value convenience and expect excellent coffee wherever they are. The single-serve coffee capsule market is growing fast, and by launching these new espresso capsules we have a great opportunity to bring the Starbucks® quality coffee experience to even more consumers right where they want it, at home.”
There is no information about the level of collaboration between Starbucks® and Nespresso, as some third party manufacturers in the past have reported compatibility issues when Nespresso produced new machines. We can only assume that some collaboration has taken place, given the size of these companies and the production capacity they both have.
Starbucks® have launched four distinct types of Nespresso compatible capsule. In their marketing they avoid the use of the Nespresso name as other brands can also take the ‘K-Cup’ type capsules. Instead, they refer to these simply as Starbucks® Espresso capsules, or Starbucks® Espresso pods.
Let’s take a look at the four types of coffee capsules that Starbucks® have launched in more detail: the Fairtrade Espresso Roast capsule, Guatemala Antigua Espresso capsule, Kenya Espresso capsule and Colombia Espresso capsule.
Starbucks® Fairtrade Espresso Roast Capsule
Starbuck’s® signature espresso roast comes home with you in a capsule that can be described as their ‘baseline’ offering as they venture into coffee capsules and coffee pods.
The Fairtrade Espresso Roast capsule is a rich blend with a hint of caramel, which is the same house roast that Starbucks® use in their coffee as standard. To quote Starbucks®, “a recipe for caramelly sweetness so right it’s never been changed.”
The Starbucks® Guatemala Antigua espresso capsule is a medium roast single origin coffee.
It’s farmed from the Antigua Valley in Guatemala where farmers take pride in traditional cultivation methods. It is more complex in flavour compared to the standard Fairtrade Espresso Roast, with flavours including lemon, chocolate and soft spice.
Starbuck’s® Kenya Espresso capsule is a single-origin capsule that is much brighter in flavour than the rest of the range.
There is a lot of acidity that can be tasted in this coffee, with more pronounced citrus flavours and wine-like notes that make it taste distinctly different. Notes of grapefruit and blackcurrant in particular can be spotted, and these get more pronounced as the coffee cools as well.
The Starbucks® Colombia Espresso capsule is a pretty traditional single origin Colombian coffee, but that doesn’t detract from the signature flavour you get.
The farms that produce these coffee beans are at high altitude in the Latin American countryside. The result is a very round body with still a decent amount of juicy taste – but where you can tell it’s different is the nutty finish which is the signature taste of this particular coffee. This is a medium roast with rich undertones and a walnut-like finish.
Starbucks® espresso capsules work with all normal Nespresso machines that you would buy for home use. The only machines that Starbucks® Espresso Capsules do not work with, are built-in units such as those in a Miele integrated unit or a business solution Nespresso machine. For 99% of us, it should be no problem at all.
Please also note that Starbucks® manufacture their own brand of capsule coffee machine called Verismo. These have different and unique pod styles and don’t take the ‘standard’ K-cup sizes seen here, so these will not be compatible.
Conclusions and Where to Buy Starbucks® Espresso Capsules / Starbucks® Espresso Pods
You can buy these Starbucks® coffee capsules from participating Starbucks® stores, where they are rolling out the product range throughout the first half of 2017. You can also buy variety packs of these coffees online through the links below. We hope you’ve enjoyed this review of all four types of Starbucks® Nespresso compatible capsules!