Brewing espresso at home is usually more of a hobby than a quick dose of caffeine. Not only does the budding home espresso enthusiast need to buy an expensive espresso machine and grinder, but they also need to spend the time to learn how to use this gear to it’s fullest.
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Not everyone has the means to buy this gear and/or the desire for a new, time-consuming hobby. If this sounds like you, a Nespresso pod-based coffee maker might be right up your alley. But which machine should you go for? A Nespresso Original coffee maker? Or a machine from Nespresso’s new Vertuo line?
How are the two different and which is better? Let’s take a look.
What Is Nespresso Vertuo
Nespresso Vertuo is a line of premium pod coffee machines made by Nespresso. Vertuo is Nespresso’s new line of coffee makers that, according to Nespresso, uses Centrifusion technology and a barcode system to extract every last bit of flavor from each coffee capsule.
The mention of a barcode here might have you curious— how and why would a coffee maker use a barcode? Check out the sections below to see why a barcode system is actually a really cool idea!
Benefits of Using Nespresso Vertuo
Redesigned Capsules With Barcode
One of the biggest things that set the Vertuo line apart from the Original Nespresso machines is the pods themselves. On the pods’ underside, just below the rim, you’ll see a sequence of black lines. These lines are actually a barcode. This barcode provides the Vertuo machine with information such as the flow and volume of water, temperature, infusion time, and capsule rotation.
The Vertuo machines read these barcodes and brews each pod as instructed by the barcode. No need for you, the user, to adjust anything. Just add the pod and press go. The machine takes care of the rest.
The Original Nespresso machines are largely aimed at brewing espresso-style, very short coffees. This is why most people struggled with putting a standard sized mug or travel cup under the coffee outlet. It is also why most Original Nespresso coffee makers come with a milk frother or offer a milk frothing package.
The Vertuo machines, on the other hand, are designed to brew anything from espresso up to a 14-ounce cup of coffee. Great for anyone wanting more than an espresso shot.
Super Easy to Use
Thanks to their use of the barcode system, the Vertuo machines are effortless to use. The machine takes care of all the brew settings. All you need to do is choose your pods.
How Does the Nespresso Vertuo Work
Let’s talk about the technology inside the Vertuo machines and how it might differ from the Original Nespresso coffee makers.
As has been mentioned a couple of times, the Vertuo machines use what Nespresso calls ‘Centrifusion Technology.’ What this essentially means is that the coffee pod rotates really fast when it is in the machine. We’re talking, like, 7000rpm fast! Hot water is pumped into the rotating pod, thoroughly mixing the coffee and the hot water and infusing it before flowing into the cup below.
According to Nespresso, the Vertuo machines read the barcodes on the pods and adjust their settings accordingly. A machine might adjust the brew temperature and rate at which the water pumps into the pod, preinfusion time, pod rotation speed, and total brew time. All this information comes from the individual pod’s barcode.
The resulting coffee is richer and more flavourful, with a thicker layer of golden crema.
Pros and Cons of Using Nespresso Vertuo
- Can brew larger drinks.
- While they are a little harder to find than for the Nespresso Original, you can get reusable capsules. Reusable Nespresso pods can help protect the environment.
- Super easy to use, thanks to the barcodes.
- There are far fewer pods available when compared to the Original Nespresso pods.
- Vertuo pods are expensive.
Nespresso Vertuo Features
The Vertuo machines offer three distinct advantages over the Nespresso Original machines. Technology, brew sizes, and ease of use.
Nespresso has implemented what they call ‘Centrifusion Technology’ for the new line of Vertuo machines. This technology spins the pods super quickly while the coffee is brewing. What this does is it mixes the coffee and the water evenly, allowing for a better extraction.
Five Cup Sizes
The Vertuo line of machines offers a brewing capacity anywhere from a single 40ml espresso shot, all the way up to a 14oz cup of coffee. Nespresso Original machines generally only offer espresso shots— not the best for lovers of filter style coffee or Americano drinkers.
Thanks to the unique barcode system, Vertuo machines are ridiculously easy to use. Add a pod, press a single button and the machine does the rest. It will choose the perfect settings for each pod based on the information it reads from the barcode.
Types of Nespresso Vertuo Capsules
As with Nespresso Original machines, Vertuo coffee makers have a variety of different capsules to choose from. The Vertuo selection certainly can’t beat the incredible variety of K-cups for your machine if you are using a Keurig. However, there is still a decent number of capsules to keep most users happy.
Vertuo capsules are characterized by their rounded shape— looking more like a bowl than a cup. Due to the Nespresso patented brewing system for these machines, there are currently no Vertuo capsules made by other third-party coffee companies.
Capsules for the Vertuo come in 5 different sizes. Each capsule will brew a certain coffee size, anywhere from a 40ml espresso up to a 14-ounce mug.
Espresso capsules for the Vertuo brew a 40ml shot of espresso. There are decaf and lighter roast options here, as well as dark and medium roasts. Virtuo espresso capsules can be used to brew up a latte or a flat white, too.
These double espresso capsules brew an 80ml, long espresso. The 3 options here are fairly dark roasted, designed to be used with milk.
Gran Lungo (Americano)
If you want to brew up a decent sized 150ml cup of coffee, similar to a traditional Americano, give the Gran Lungo capsules a go. These Gran Lungo capsules work great on their own or with a dash of creamer. This may be a good opportunity to try making your own creamer!
Mug Vertuo Coffee
At 230ml, the Mug Veruto Coffee capsules are probably in the highest demand. It seems that the Vertuo machine was probably designed with this size in mind, especially to entice over many people from the US who aren’t quite fans of espresso coffee.
The Mug Vertuo Coffee capsules currently have 15 different flavors in the line-up. These cover a wide base of tastes, including dark and intense, fruity and light, both half-caff and decaf, and a few single origin and flavored coffees.
Finally, we have the big boys! These Alto Vertuo capsules brew a 14-ounce cup of coffee, perfect for a travel mug or small carafe to share. Flavor options are pretty light here, with only two to choose from.
Crafted for Milk
There are a few capsules from the selection that are designed to be used to make milk coffee. These coffees are roasted a little darker than the others to help the coffee flavors cut through the milk’s flavor. Note that these capsules don’t include milk— you need to steam and add it yourself.
How to Use Nespresso Vertuo
The Nespresso Vertuo is one of the easiest single-serve coffee makers to use. Simply add a pod and press go. Let’s take a look at exactly what to do.
You will need:
- Nespresso Vertuo machine
- Nespresso Vertuo capsule
Step 1 – Fill the machine with water
Be sure that your machine is turned off. A cup of coffee is 98% water. So the water we use for brewing is vital. Fill the water tank of your machine with fresh drinking water. Then re-seat the water tank back onto the machine.
Step 2 – Turn on the machine
Next, power on your machine. Wait around 15 seconds until the light stops blinking. Place your mug under the outlet. Be sure that the mug or cup you are using is big enough for the capsule you are using. Each capsule brews a certain size of coffee.
Step 3 – Add a capsule
Unlock and lift the brew head, then insert a Vertuo capsule into the holder. The capsule goes in with the dome shape at the bottom. Close the brew head and lock it by turning the lever to the left.
Step 4 – Brew
Press the start button and the coffee will begin to brew. The Vertuo line machine will read the data attached to the barcode and will automatically stop. If you need to stop the brew cycle for any reason, press the brew button. If your brew has finished and you’d like to add a little more coffee to the cup, press the brew button again.
Step 5 – Remove the capsule
After every cup, you brew, be sure to remove the capsule from the machine immediately. To do this, simply lift the brew head and the capsule will be ejected into the used capsules container.
How to Clean Nespresso Vertuo
A clean machine is super important for brewing delicious coffee. Over time, the minerals in the water and the oils in coffee begin to build up within the machine. This can lead to pipe blockages, which will also lead to leakages.
When it’s time to clean your Vertuo coffee maker, the machine’s light will blink 3 times, then will become steady. Let’s go through the simple cleaning process now.
You will need:
- Vertuo machine
- Nespresso Descaling Kit
- Large container
Step 1 – Prepare the machine
Ensure the machine is off. Unlock and lift the brew head. This will eject any capsule that is still in the holder. Then close the lid and leave it unlocked. Empty the capsule container and the drip tray, then return them to the machine.
Step 2 – Fill the water tank
Fill the water tank with 17 ounces or 500ml of water. Then add one packet of Nespresso descaling solution. Reseat the water tank and power on the machine by pressing the button. Wait for the machine to heat up.
Step 3 – Begin the descaling cycle
Once the machine is ready, we need to enter descaling mode. To do this, press and hold the button for at least 7 seconds. The light will begin quickly blinking. Now turn the lever left to the locked position, then right again to the unlocked position. Now hold the button again for 7 seconds. The light will be blinking quickly once again. We are now in descaling mode.
Step 4 – Descale
Place a large 600ml container under the coffee outlet, lock the machine by turning the lever left, then press the button. The Vertuo will now work the descaling solution through the machine. When finished, thoroughly rinse out the water tank, drip tray, and cup support.
Step 5 – Rinse
Refill the water tank with 600ml of clean water, then reseat the water tank. Place a container under the coffee outlet and press the button. This will run the clean water through the machine, rising away the descaling solution. The Vertuo machine will stop when the rinsing is complete.
Step 6 – Exit descaling mode
To exit descaling mode, unlock the brew head and hold the button for 7 seconds. The light will stop flashing and become steady. And that’s about it!
All you need to do now is leave the machine for 10 minutes or let it dry. You are now ready to brew coffee with your clean machine!
What Is Nespresso Original
Nespresso Original is what we call Nespresso’s standard line of machines.
These are Nespresso’s original single-serve coffee makers— super fast and super easy. No need to measuring the right amount of coffee and no need to have an espresso machine and grinder. Nespresso Original machines pretty much do everything for you. Just choose your capsule and size and the machine does the rest!
With 3 size options, ristretto, espresso, and lungo, Nespresso Original machines are designed to brew espresso style coffee only. You can add hot water to make an Americano or add milk to make a cappuccino to this espresso.
Benefits of Using Nespresso Original
So Many Coffee Options
Because Nespresso Original capsules are much older, and the technology is far less complicated, there are loads of different capsules available from hundreds of different roasters. Peet’s Starbucks, Lavazza, and Illy all make Nespresso Orginal capsules, just to name a few.
Original Capsules Are Cheaper
Nespresso Original capsules are more affordable than Veruo capsules. Most Nespresso original capsules come at around $1 or less, while Veruo capsules are usually upward of $1.50.
Loads of Accessories
Want to mount a pod organizer on your wall? No problem! There are loads of accessories out there that are compatible with Nespresso Original capsules. These include wall mounts for your pods, as well as drawers, reusable capsules, and pod towers. It is much easier to find accessories for the original Nespresso machine than for the Vertuo line of coffee makers.
How Does Nespresso Original Work
Original Nespresso machines work in a similar way as traditional espresso machines. They use pressurized water to exact as much of the coffee as possible.
So what happens when we place a pod into the machine, choose a size, and the machine begins brewing?
First, three little needles puncture the capsule at the top, forcing hot, pressurized water into the capsule. Eventually, as the pressure builds, the capsule rupture’s foil bottom allows the brewed coffee to flow from the capsule and into the cup below.
Pros and Cons of Using Nespresso Original
- Lots of different options and choices of coffee beans, from hundreds of different coffee roasters.
- Capsules are more affordable than Vertuo capsules.
- Many more machine options available.
- Only three sizes, none of which brew a full cup of filter style coffee.
- Due to the pump that the machine uses to build pressure, Nespresso Original machines are a little louder.
Nespresso Original Features
Nespresso Original machines are designed to brew short, espresso-style coffee. As such, they often come with milk frothers to help make milk based coffees. They also use an entirely different method of extracting the coffee when compared to a Vertuoline machine. Let’s take a look at the key features of the Nespresso Original machines.
Modern Pressure Extraction System
Original Nespresso coffee makers opt for a pressures based extraction system. This system uses pressurized hot water to extract the coffee forcefully. This results in a rich, vibrant espresso that can taste delicious when using the right capsules.
Built-In Milk Frothers
Fancy a super easy flat white or a cafe latte?
Because original Nespresso machines are designed to brew espresso, many of them include a milk frother. For those unfamiliar, a milk frother is a device that heats and froths milk for you. They are easy to use and produce really nice, creamy milk.
This is similar to how you’d make a latte using an espresso machine. Only with a Nespresso Original, the machine does all the work— all you need to do is pour the milk.
For those super busy folk who want a milky coffee without any of the fuss of pouring or frothing, one of the latte machines in the Nespresso Original line might be the ticket. These machines do it all at the press of a button. They brew the espresso, steam the milk, and pour it into the cup.
Possibly one of the best things about the Nespresso Original machines is how compatible they are with third party equipment. Both the capsules and the machines. This makes choosing a machine that fit your needs— whether that be a budget machine or the high-quality USA made coffee maker, much easier.
Types of Nespresso Original Capsules
Nespresso Original capsules are characterized by their cup shape. They are pretty different from the dome or bowl-shaped capsules of the Nespresso Vertuo. Unlike the Vertuo capsules, the Original capsules don’t contain a barcode to choose the brew settings. This means that you’ll choose your own brew size based on the capsules you are using.
Nespresso Original machines offer 3 different sizes. Ristretto, which is a shorter ‘restricted’ shot of espresso. Espresso, which is a standard 40ml shot of espresso. And lungo, which is a ‘long’ espresso shot, weighing it at 110ml.
While hundreds of third-party coffee roasters make capsules, Nespresso also has a hefty line-up of coffees to suit most tastes. Let’s take a look at the options available at Nespresso.
The Ispirazione Italiana line of capsules is inspired by Italian roasts. This translates to dark roasted coffee. These capsules are strong and intense, bitter, and best used as part of a milky coffee like a cappuccino. The milk helps reduce the bitterness while the coffee retains its intensity. There are also a couple of decaf options as part of this line.
Espresso and Lungo
The espresso and lungo capsules pretty much cover the entire gamut of roasts. From dark and intense to light and smooth. Each capsule will have a brew size indicated on it.
These coffees are all about single origins. While many of the other coffees listed above and below might be blends of different coffees, the Master Origin line is of single origin. What this should ideally mean for our taste buds is more specific coffees. One coffee might taste like berries, while another might taste like stone fruits.
These coffees can be consumed as espresso or as part of a milk based coffee, too.
If you are looking for something a little different, maybe something with some extra flavor, give the Barista Creations a go. These capsules include flavors such as Vanilla Eclair, Coco Truffle, and Scuro. Some are designed to be blended with milk; others are great as a shot of espresso.
Combine one of these coffees with the delicious flavor of chocolate espresso beans for a tasty sweet treat.
How to Use Nespresso Original
Single-serve coffee makers are well known for being easy to use. And Nespresso Orginal machines are no exception. Let’s go through the ins and outs of using one of these machines. While there are many different models, they all work in largely the same way.
You will need:
- Nespresso Original coffee machine
- Nespresso Original capsule
- Mug or espresso cup
Step 1 – Fill the machine with water
Make sure the machine is powered off, then fill the water tank with clean drinking water. Reseat the water tank and turn on the machine by pressing the button. Wait for the machine to heat up. This may take around 30 seconds, depending on your machine. The light will blink as the machine heats up, and will become solid when ready.
Step 2 – Insert a capsule
Place a cup or mug under the coffee outlet. Choose the size you want to brew— either ristretto, espresso, or lungo, according to your chosen capsule. Once you have chosen a size, insert the capsule. Brewing will begin automatically. If you need to stop the brew cycle at any point, press the brew button. If you want to top up your cup, wait till brewing is complete, press the brew button again.
Some machines will differ slightly at this stage. Some you add the pod first, then choose the size.
Step 3 – Eject the capsule
It is important to remove the capsule when brewing is complete. Some machines will do this for you, while for others, it needs to be done manually. Simply remove the used capsule and enjoy your espresso!
How to Clean Nespresso Original
Whether it’s a full-blown espresso machine or a single-serve coffee maker, all machines need to be cleaned at some point. Most of the issues people have with single-serve coffee makers are due to blockages, usually caused by mineral or coffee oil build-up. These issues can easily be fixed by descaling the machine. Let’s look at how to do that now.
You will need:
- Nespresso Original machine
- Nespresso Descaling Kit
- Large Container
Step 1 – Prepare the machine
Ensure the machine is powered off. Empty your drip tray and used capsule holder, then return the capsule holder to the machine. Don’t replace the drip tray just yet. Instead, we’re going to place a large container under the coffee outlet.
Step 2 – Add water and descaling solution
Next, add 500ml of water and 1 packet of descaling solution to the water tank. Now switch on your machine and let it heat up.
Step 3 – Enter descaling mode
This next step will differ from machine to machine. Entering the machine’s descaling mode is usually done by pressing a combination of the machine’s buttons for a set amount of time. These are the instructions for the Nespresso U Original coffee maker.
To enter descaling mode on the Nespresso U, simultaneously press the three size buttons for 3 seconds. The machine will beep. Then open the sliding window. Press the three size buttons for 3 seconds again. The machine will beep, and the lights will blink quickly. Descaling mode is now activated.
Step 4 – Descale
Close the sliding window to begin the descale cycle. Let the cycle finish. Once the cycle has finished, pour the used descale solution in the container back into the water reservoir. Return the container to beneath the coffee outlet, then press any of the machine buttons. The solution will flow through once more.
Step 5 – Rinse
Discard the descale solution, then empty the water tank. Refill the tank with freshwater. Return the container to under the coffee outlet. Press any button to begin the rinse cycle. The machine will stop automatically when finished.
Step 6 – Clean the exterior parts
Now empty and thoroughly rinse and dry the drip tray and the used capsule holder. Return them to the machine. Thoroughly rinse the water tank, too.
Step 7 – Exit the descaling mode
Simultaneously press and hold the three buttons for 3 seconds to exit descaling mode. The machine will beep. The machine is now nice and clean and ready to brew once again!
Nespresso Vertuo vs Original Comparison
Now we’ve learned about each machine and what each machine can do, let’s compare the two! Which machine does what the best?
Types of Drinks
Nespresso Original machines are the better option if you like milk coffees. Thanks to having either a milk frother attached or being an all in one latte machine, brewing a latte or cappuccino is super easy with a Nespresso Original machine.
Nespresso Vertuo machines are best for black coffees of any size. If you want an espresso one day and a travel mug full of filter style coffee the next, the Vertuo is probably the better choice for you.
We’ll call this one a tie, as both machines offer unique and different drinks.
Both machines can brew short coffees, anywhere from a super short ristretto up to a 110ml lungo.
The Vertuo machines can brew up to 440ml of coffee, making it a great choice to love filter style or Americano coffees.
Many Nespresso Orignal machines come with a milk frother, and some are single button latte machines. Perfect for anyone who likes milk coffees.
When it comes to brewing size, the Nespresso Vertuo wins thanks to its wide range of cup sizes.
There is usually a best extraction method for each type of coffee. The best cold brew coffee maker uses immersion to extract the coffee, and a V60 uses infusion.
While both the Nespresso Vertuo and the Original both produce espresso, they do so differently.
The Nespresso Vertuo uses Centrifusion technology.
The Nespresso Original coffee makers all use pressure.
There is no clear-cut winner here, as there is no evidence to suggest that one tastes superior to the other. We’ll call this one a tie.
The Vertuo and Original coffee makers use an entity different capsule system. They are not interchangeable.
At the moment, no third-party coffee roasters are making the Nespresso Vertuo capsules.
There are hundreds of different roasters making capsules for Original Nespresso machines.
When it comes to the variety of capsules, the win absolutely goes to Nespresso Original.
If you want to brew up a tasty latte, you’ll need some nice milk foam. We can turn milk into thick foam using a milk frother. And many Nespresso Original machines come with an included or built-in milk frother.
Vertuo machines, on the other hand, generally do not. It will need to be purchased separately. This isn’t such a big deal as milk frothers are pretty easy to find.
Because many of the Original machines are designed to be used as latte machines, the Nespresso Original takes the win on this one.
As with the capsules, the Nespresso Orignal line offers many different machines made by various manufacturers. This makes choosing a machine within your budget or with the feature set that you want much easier.
The Vertuo line of machines are Nespresso brand only, meaning there are only a few options.
When it comes to the range of machines available, the Nespresso Original wins again!
Jump down to the conclusion to see the all-around winner!
FAQ About Nespresso Vertuo vs Original
Can I use Original Nespresso pods in the Vertuo?
Because the two capsules are so different, both in shape and in the technology involved, no, they are not interchangeable.
Are Vertuo capsules more expensive?
Generally, yes. In comparing Keurig and Nespresso capsules, Nespresso Vertuo capsules are the most expensive of the three.
Can I use Starbucks pods in Nespresso Vertuo?
Unlike the Original Nespresso machines, there are currently no third-party Virtuo pods. Only the pods made by Nespresso for the Vertuo machines can be used.
Does Nespresso Vertuo have a milk frother?
Not quite. Nespresso does offer a milk frother called the Aeroccino, but it isn’t built into the Vertuo machine.
What is the difference between Nespresso Vertuo and VertuoPlus?
The biggest difference is the size and the build. The water tank on the VertuoPlus can be placed on either side of the machine, whereas the tank on the Vertuo is fixed. The VirtuoPlus tends to be a little quieter than the Vertuo.
After taking a good look at each machine and what they can do, we finally have a winner.
When we take everything into account, including the capsule options, price, and overall usefulness of the machine, the Nespresso Original takes the win. The Nespresso Original offers more coffee options, is cheaper, and often comes with a milk frother. And if you want to brew a filter style coffee, just add some hot water to your espresso shot.
However, If you want to use a single-serve coffee maker for the fastest brewing of filter style coffee, and you don’t mind the limited coffee options, the Vertuo might be for you.