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Comparison: Nespresso Original vs. Nespresso Vertuo Machines

Revolutionizing the coffee market?

Single serve coffee machines have been on the market and enjoying a boom among coffee consumers for a little more than 30 years, bringing great taste and convenience together. The brand Nespresso is known for its line of high-end home espresso machines. They have become a leader at the forefront, surpassing competitors in categories such as design, functionality, and quality.

In 2014, after successfully selling single-serve coffee machines and capsules for over two decades, Nespresso launched a new system, the VertuoLine system, pursuing their self-declared goal of “revolutionizing the North American coffee market”. In contrast to the previous (OriginalLine) machines, which are mainly used to prepare small shots of traditional espresso, the Vertuo system was designed to brew larger cups of coffee.

Today, Nespresso lovers have to decide: Do I go with the classical machines and capsules? Or do I want to try something new? In order to make an informed choice, it is essential to understand the differences between the two systems, and to take a closer look at their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Below, you can find a short comparison of the two product lines, Original and Vertuo. We will explain the pros and cons of each system and tell you what kind of coffee drinker each line suits. We hope our guide will assist you in choosing the right machine!

Original Vertuo
Available machines
  • Essenza Mini
  • Pixie
  • CitiZ
  • CitiZ&Milk
  • Expert
  • Lattissima+
  • KitchenAid
  • Lattissima One
  • Lattissima Touch
  • Lattissima Pro
  • Creatista Uno
  • Creatista
  • Creatista Plus
  • VertuoPlus
  • Evoluo
  • Vertuo
Milk frothing

(some machines have a built-in frother, others can be bought with or without the Aeroccino frothing accessory)

(none of the machines have a built-in frother, but all of them can be bought with the Aeroccino frothing accessory

Cheapest machine $149 (Essenza Mini) $199 (Vertuo, VertuoPlus & Evoluo)
Most expensive machine $599 (Lattissima Pro, Creatista Plus) $199 (Vertuo, VertuoPlus & Evoluo)
Brews espresso & lungo
Brews long coffee
Brewing technology Pump (up to 19 bar) Centrifusion™ (centrifugal force)
Number of available Nespresso coffees 25 24
Average cost per Nespresso pod $0.72 $1.03
3rd party pods available

Gourmesso capsules_compatible pods with Nespresso choose from more than 25 blends

One brand, two brewing technologies

The main difference between the VertuoLine system and the alternate line of Nespresso single serve espresso machines is the brewing technology itself.

VertuoLine machines employ so-called "Centrifusion”, a technology which uses centrifugal force instead of the pump pressure that other Nespresso machines utilize: The Vertuo coffee pod fits into the capsule door on top of the machine and is pierced when closed and locked into position. The machine then reads a barcode printed around the outside edge of the capsule, and adjusts the temperature, brewing time and length to suit the specific coffee you are preparing. “Centrifusion” means that the pod will spin rapidly, at 7,000 rotations per minute, while being infused with water. This is how a VertuoLine machine brews your coffee! OriginalLine machines use up to 19 bars of pressure to extract the coffee flavor – with their high-pressure extraction system, they come closer to traditional espresso machines.

One major issue with the Vertuo system is that the temperature used is a bit lower than the temperature used in OriginalLine machines. Lower temperature means that less flavors will be extracted from the grounds. The result is a somewhat milder coffee. Coffees made by OriginalLine machines are hotter, and usually have a much stronger taste.

Another difference is that the “Centrifusion” technology leads to a lot more crema, which is also foamier than the crema produced by OriginalLine machines. However, fans of classic espresso will probably argue that the OriginalLine crema is actually more authentic.

Differences in capsules – differences in size

OriginalLine Nespresso machine capsules all come in the same size – but you can basically make three different-sized drinks: ristretto (25 ml), espresso (40 ml), or lungo (110 ml). The product range includes different types and intensities of coffee, including decaf varieties and special editions. All in all, Nespresso offer 25 different Original blends. A single capsule costs between $0.70 and $0.75.

Since the disappearance of most of the Nespresso OriginalLine capsule patents in 2012, more and more third-party suppliers of compatible pods have become established on the market, many of which offer capsules that are a lot cheaper than the original.

The dome-shaped VertuoLine pods are available in three different sizes, which make four drink options: espresso (40 ml), gran lungo (150 ml), mug (237 ml), and alto (414 ml). On their website, Nespresso currently offers 24 different blends. As with the Original pods, they regularly bring out limited editions. Prices vary between $0.85 and $1.20 per capsule, which makes the Vertuo pods comparatively expensive.

Unlike the OriginalLine pods, Vertuo capsules feature a barcode that tells the machine exactly what kind of coffee is inside. The machine then automatically adjusts the brewing process. It is probably due to this more complex system that, at least until now, third-party manufacturers have not been able to make their own compatible pods. This means that you will have to use the original, relatively pricey Nespresso capsules.

Available Nespresso machines

On their website, Nespresso currently offer 13 different OriginalLine models, compared to three different VertuoLine machines. All machines excel in design and function – but there are some major differences between them.

The VertuoLine models usually have a bigger water tank and pod disposal container, both of which sit on either side of the machine. The water tank on most of Nespresso’s OriginalLine machines can be found in the back and is slightly smaller. Of course, the size of the tank and the empty capsule container also vary from model to model, but as a general rule of thumb, VertuoLine machines do not have to be refilled as often.

Another difference is that Vertuo machines only have one button, whereas most OriginalLine machines come with at least two. When using a Vertuo machine, there is no need to change settings because the brewing process it automatically adjusted to each capsule. A light on top of the machine tells you that the capsule has been recognized and that the preparation has started.

While some OriginalLine machines come with a built-in milk frother, none of the VertuoLine machines have one. But: Even if there is no milk foaming ability for the in-machine foaming, the Aeroccino milk frother is available as an added accessory for both Vertuo and Original machines and will round out the coffee house experience if you prefer a latte, cappuccino or just a bit of steamed milk in your coffee.

Regarding prices, all three VertuoLine machines are currently offered for $199. A bundle that includes a machine as well as an Aeroccino is available for $249. The OriginalLine machines vary in prices. The most basic model, the Essenza Mini, currently costs $149, while more comprehensive machines such as the Lattissima Pro or the Creatista Plus reach prices of up to $599.

Which Nespresso system should you choose?

If you plan to drink mostly espresso, we suggest you stick to OriginalLine machines as the results come closer to a classic Italian coffee. The crema is thinner, and the taste is usually stronger. With a VertuoLine machine, expect to pay up to 20 % more for the same drink! And keep in mind that VertuoLine, at least until now, is a closed system that does not allow for the use of third-party pods.

VertuoLine machines could be interesting for everyone who likes to drink larger cups of coffee with a lot of foamy, smooth crema. However, it is difficult to find a real added value. Other than the fact that it makes longer drinks, we cannot see a major improvement in the VertuoLine. And you can also create longer coffee specialties using a basic OriginalLine machine, e.g. by adding another capsule or milk.

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