Café-style coffee is made simple; that’s what Nespresso promises us. But what’s not so simple is determining what takes the prize in the Nespresso Vertuo vs original debate. To help you decide, we’ve put these siblings head-to-head to compare some of their key features.
Which machine will reign supreme? Read our guide to find out.
Nespresso Original Line
The Nespresso machine hardly needs an introduction. As the first to popularize coffee pods, the brand has become virtually synonymous with single-serve machines. At its most basic, the original line made the brand so popular: espresso-style coffee with incredible speed and convenience.
But along the way, the range has expanded. It now includes machines that can even make espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos at the touch of a button.
- Third-party pods available
- Wider variety of machines
- Budget options available
- Only makes espresso
In 2014, Nespresso branched out with the VertuoLine, intending to appeal to a broader coffee lovers market. The machine introduced a new way of extracting coffee, known as centrifugation. This allows it to make both espresso and coffee and adds a thick layer of crema.
The crema layer is really the performance feature that makes Nespresso’s product stand out.
Another novel feature is the addition of a barcode system, which determines the precise brewing settings for each VertuoLine capsule. These new capsules also allow the Vertuo machines to brew for larger cup sizes, from 4oz right up to 14oz. There’s no built-in milk frothing, but the manufacturer claims these coffees pair well with cold milk (1).
- Makes espresso and coffee
- Quiet extraction
- Options for larger drinks
- Only uses branded capsules
Features face to face: Nespresso VertuoLine vs original
To better judge the Nespresso original vs Vertuo showdown, we need to look at each machine’s specifics. Are you looking for the coffee maker that’s cheapest to run, or is it more critical for you to buy something versatile? Let’s see how the features of each machine fare.
Ease of use
The whole point of a pod machine is that it’s simple, making sense for both lines to do pretty well here. Nespresso’s original coffee machines were first designed to give you café-style drinks at the touch of a button. For the most part, there will be just one or two buttons (espresso and lungo). However, these are programmable, giving you the choice of how much water you want in your coffee. You also have the option to stop the water mid-flow.
The way that the VertuoLine has been designed takes any decision making out of the user’s hands. Vertuo capsules feature a barcode that is read by the machine on insertion. The machine will then determine the amount of water, the brew temperature, pressure, and brew time that’s right for that particular coffee (2). It involves more variables than the original machines, but it’s all done automatically.
Winner: VertuoLine. While they’re both as easy as pie to use, the Vertuo coffee maker removes the need to tweak the amount of water to get the perfect brew.
This is a tough one, as the original and Vertuo have flexibility in different areas. If you want a choice of coffee machines and pods, then there are many more options available with the classic. Nespresso machines range from the most basic models to barista-style behemoths with a built-in milk frother. There’s not just Nespresso but also other coffee capsule brands for espresso, tea, and hot chocolate when it comes to pods.
But once you’ve chosen your coffee machine, the Vertuo gives you more versatility on a day-to-day basis. The option to brew both coffee and espresso is a game-changer. And with the available stand-alone Aeroccino, you won’t miss out on lattes or cappuccinos.
The Nespresso Vertuo line offers much more (yet much less) variety.
Sure, you’re stuck with the brand’s own capsules, but the fact that there are different sizes for different drinks means your long coffees aren’t just getting more water.
Winner: Tie. Having a choice of different machines is excellent, but so can make a 14oz alto from a single capsule.
Nespresso has always marketed its machines as more of a luxury item than other single-serve coffee makers (vs Keurig, for example). But the truth is there are machines to suit almost every budget. In the original line, you can get basic buys like the Inissia or all the bells and whistles on a coffee machine in the high hundreds, such as the Creatista Plus. Nespresso capsules are, of course, more expensive than making buying beans and grinding yourself. But there is the option to buy third-party Nespresso compatible capsules that will make your daily cup of joe a little cheaper.
The VertuoLine machines have a higher starting point, but they’re all around the same price – there are no cost options. The real cost here comes when you need to buy your capsules. Compared to original Nespresso pods, they’re more expensive. It might be only a matter of cents, but it adds up pretty quickly if you drink coffee as we do.
Winner: Original line. While you can spend big on the high-end coffee makers in this line, you do have the choice of both very affordable machines and cheaper coffee capsules.
The quality of the coffee you get from your single-serve brewer will depend on the coffee you use and how it’s extracted. And when it comes to Nespresso Vertuoline vs original, you will find a difference.
First is the extraction system. Regardless of the size or the budget, all Nespresso original coffee makers have the same brewing technology, with 19 bars of pressure. This means that you get great consistency in taste across the range. You’re not going to get the quality you would compared to espresso machines, but as a speedy alternative, it’s pretty decent.
The Nespresso Vertuo boasts the ability to form crema on both coffee and espresso. But despite its fame, prominent crema does not necessarily indicate an excellent tasting coffee (3). The Vertuo Line machines have a lower brewing temperature than the originals, which does affect the final taste of the extraction (4). Where the Vertuo does excel is the ability to make more flavorful long drinks.
With the Vertuo Kine, you’re limited to specific capsules – currently around 30. So, if you don’t like the flavor of the coffees on offer, that’s too bad. Nespresso capsules for the original line number about the same, but you can branch out with third-party offerings to get a wide range of coffee flavors. You can also buy a reusable coffee pod that will allow you to use freshly ground beans.
Winner: Nespresso Original. While the Vertuo Line’s centrifugation system makes some pretty great coffee, the original line’s brew is more in line with an authentic espresso experience.
If you’re looking for a clear winner of the Nespresso Vertuo vs original lines, we’re afraid we don’t have a definitive answer for you. It all comes down to what you’re looking for in a single-serve machine and how you like to drink your coffee.
Use Nespresso Original if:
- You only drink espresso-based drinks
- You want to use third party capsules or reusable pods
- You want a wider variety of machines
Use Nespresso VertuoLine if:
- You drink both espresso and coffee
- You like your coffee in large quantities
- You love thick crema
The best Nespresso machine for you will depend on what you need from a coffee maker. We like the Nespresso CitiZ by De’Longhi from the original line. It’s compact with a great design but uses 19 bar pressure and technology as larger machines.
The difference between Nespresso and Keurig machines is predominately in the extraction method. Keurig machines make a brew closer to drip coffee, while original Nespresso machines work on pressure like an espresso machine.
No, you cannot use original pods in Vertuo machines for several reasons. The coffee pods for each machine are not only different shapes but also different sizes. They also work with two other extractions methods, so the pods don’t have the same functionality. Finally, the original capsules don’t have the barcode needed to start the extraction process with the Vertuo machines.
- Vertuo system: Long Coffee REDEFINED: Nespresso UK. (n.d.). Retrieved February 09, 2021, from https://www.nespresso.com/uk/en/vertuo-coffee-redefined
- Vertuo next matte black & Aeroccino3 Milk Frother: Vertuo Coffee Machine: Nespresso. (n.d.). Retrieved February 09, 2021, from https://www.nespresso.com/us/en/order/machines/vertuo/vertuo-next-matte-black-aeroccino3-milk-frother-bundle
- Laranjeira-Petrich, I. (2020, April 21). Crema: How it’s Formed, what it tells us, & how to learn from it. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/04/crema-how-its-formed-what-it-tells-us-how-to-learn-from-it/
- Brones, A. (2019, May 02). How important is water temperature when brewing coffee? Retrieved from https://www.thekitchn.com/do-you-need-to-worry-about-water-temperature-when-brewing-coffee-smart-coffee-regular-joes-216229
Husband, father and former journalist, I’ve combined my love of writing with my love of coffee to create this site. I love high end products, but write all my content with budget conscious coffee enthusiasts in mind. I prefer light roasts, and my normal brew is some sort of pour over, although my guilty pleasure is the occasional flat white.