The COMPLETE Guide To Nespresso VertuoLine Pods: How They Work, Costs & Our Top Picks (Updated For 2020)

The COMPLETE Guide To Nespresso VertuoLine Pods: How They Work, Costs & Our Top Picks (Updated For 2020)

Struggling to choose the best Nespresso VertuoLine pods?

I don't blame you. There are a ton of options!

Good thing this guide has you covered:

  • Our picks for the best Nespresso VertuoLine pods
  • Reusable VertuoLine pods
  • How VertuoLine differs from OriginalLine

Let’s start there.

Well, after our top picks.

Before we get to the individual reviews, let's take a look at our rankings for the Best Nespresso VertuoLine Pods.

Overall
92
Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Aflorazio (Gran Lungo, Intensity: 4) is an aromatic Arabica blend with washed East African coffee for a bright, floral long espresso with notes of blueberry and jasmine.
Overall
91
Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Voltesso (Espresso, Intensity: 4) is a light and sweet blend of Brazilian and Colombian Arabica beans that stands out from the other espresso capsules for its less intense profile.
Overall
91
Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Odacio (Coffee, Intensity: 7) is bolder than the typical light and fruity single-origin African roasts we usually prefer, but it does have a blend of Nicaraguan and Ethiopian coffees for a complex profile.
Overall
89
Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)

Scuro (Double Espresso, Intensity: 8) is a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffees from Central America and features a smoky profile with hints of sweet chocolate and vanilla.
Overall
88
Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Alto Intenso (Alto, Intensity: 7) features a blend of Costa Rican coffee with a washed Robusta bean from Guatemala, which you won’t find in any other Nespresso capsule, for a bold, woody flavor with hints of caramel.

We've rated and ranked each option you need to know about. Without further ado, here are our official reviews for the Best Nespresso VertuoLine Pods.

Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)
Overall Rating
92
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
93
Freshness (20%)
88
Balance & Acidity (10%)
90
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
92
Roaster Reputation (10%)
92

The Bottom Line

Aflorazio (Gran Lungo, Intensity: 4) is an aromatic Arabica blend with washed East African coffee for a bright, floral long espresso with notes of blueberry and jasmine.

Pros of the Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Pros of Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Cons of the Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Cons of Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine) Overview

Where can you find the Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)?

Where can you find Nespresso Aflorazio Capsules (VertuoLine)?

Find it on Amazon →
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Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)
Overall Rating
91
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
92
Freshness (20%)
88
Balance & Acidity (10%)
88
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
90
Roaster Reputation (10%)
92

The Bottom Line

Voltesso (Espresso, Intensity: 4) is a light and sweet blend of Brazilian and Colombian Arabica beans that stands out from the other espresso capsules for its less intense profile.

Pros of the Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Pros of Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Cons of the Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Cons of Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine) Overview

Where can you find the Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)?

Where can you find Nespresso Voltesso Capsules (VertuoLine)?

Find it on Amazon →
Find it on 1stInCoffee →
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Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)
Overall Rating
91
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
91
Freshness (20%)
88
Balance & Acidity (10%)
91
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
91
Roaster Reputation (10%)
92

The Bottom Line

Odacio (Coffee, Intensity: 7) is bolder than the typical light and fruity single-origin African roasts we usually prefer, but it does have a blend of Nicaraguan and Ethiopian coffees for a complex profile.

Pros of the Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Pros of Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Cons of the Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Cons of Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine) Overview

Where can you find the Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)?

Where can you find Nespresso Odacio Capsules (VertuoLine)?

Find it on Amazon →
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Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)
Overall Rating
89
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
90
Freshness (20%)
88
Balance & Acidity (10%)
86
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
90
Roaster Reputation (10%)
92

The Bottom Line

Scuro (Double Espresso, Intensity: 8) is a blend of Arabica and Robusta coffees from Central America and features a smoky profile with hints of sweet chocolate and vanilla.

Pros of the Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)

Pros of Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)

Cons of the Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)

Cons of Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine) Overview

Where can you find the Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)?

Where can you find Nespresso Scuro Capsules (VertuoLine)?

Find it on Amazon →
Find it on 1stInCoffee →
Find it on →
Check out the instead →

Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)
Overall Rating
88
Flavor & Aroma (50%)
87
Freshness (20%)
88
Balance & Acidity (10%)
86
Body & Mouthfeel (10%)
88
Roaster Reputation (10%)
92

The Bottom Line

Alto Intenso (Alto, Intensity: 7) features a blend of Costa Rican coffee with a washed Robusta bean from Guatemala, which you won’t find in any other Nespresso capsule, for a bold, woody flavor with hints of caramel.

Pros of the Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Pros of Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Cons of the Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Cons of Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)

Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine) Overview

Where can you find the Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)?

Where can you find Nespresso Alto Intenso Capsules (VertuoLine)?

Find it on Amazon →
Find it on 1stInCoffee →
Find it on →
Check out the instead →

Nespresso VertuoLine vs OriginalLine

Nespresso makes several espresso machine models, but they all fall under two lines:

  • OriginalLine
  • VertuoLine

These are the key differences:

FeatureOriginalLineVertuoLine
Serving SizesRistretto (0.85 oz), Espresso (1.35 oz), Lungo (3.70 oz)Ristretto (0.85 oz), Espresso (1.35 oz), Double Espresso (2.70 oz), Gran Lungo (5 oz), Coffee (7.8 oz), Alto XL (14 oz)
Barcode Scanning SystemNoYes
Extraction PressureApplied by pump up to 19 barsApplied by Centrifusion (rapid pod spinning) with no pump and less than 19 bars
Extraction TemperatureHigherLower
Cost Per Capsule$0.70-$0.85$0.90-$1.25
3rd Party Capsules AvailableYesNo
SummaryOriginalLine machines use more standard pump espresso machine technology and brew a hotter beverage for a lower cost per pod.VertuoLine machines extract your beverage through rapid capsule spinning, which sometimes yields an underextracted beverage with a foamier crema.

Each system has a different pod or capsule, and they aren't interchangeable.

Nespresso OriginalLine and VertuoLine machines uses different types of pods.

In fact, VertuoLine machines have 5 different types of capsules:

  • Espresso (1.35 oz)
  • Double Espresso (2.70 oz)
  • Gran Lungo (5 oz)
  • Coffee (7.8 oz)
  • Alto XL (14 oz)

I prefer Nespresso’s OriginalLine machines to their VertuoLine machines because of the differences above, but this guide is about Nespresso VertuoLine pods.

Editor’s Note: We have an excellent guide that compares specs for all 20+ Nespresso machines ever produced. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re shopping for a new machine.

Let’s talk about VertuoLine pods.

Nespresso VertuoLine Pods

VertuoLine machines use Nespresso VertuoLine Grand Cru capsules to brew espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, and standard coffee style beverages.

Nespresso VertuoLine pods come in several types, depending on the beverage you want, but they all have a barcode scanning system.

There are 5 different pod sizes that let you brew everything from 1.35 oz espresso to 14 oz long coffees.

  • Espresso: 1.35 oz
  • Double Espresso: 2.7 oz
  • Gran Lungo: 5 oz
  • Coffee: 7.8 oz
  • Alto XL: 14 oz

With Nespresso’s custom sizing feature, you can stretch that 14 oz Alto XL pod out to a max 17 oz brew size.

The VertuoLine Barcode Scanning System

Nespresso’s barcode scanning technology uses barcode rings on the pods to optimize the brew process for the specific capsule you’ve selected.

  • Water volume
  • Temperature
  • Rotational speed (for Centrifusion extraction)
  • Flow rate
  • Water contact time
VertuoLine pods are inserted with the dome facing downward, placing the barcode on top of the scanner.

How do VertuoLine pods work?

VertuoLine pods are inserted into the machine with a downward-facing dome.

Not a yoga position.

This orients the circular barcode ring on top of the scanning system’s laser, allowing the machine to read the pod as it spins. You don’t need to line the pod up anywhere. Just plop it in and shut the lid.

Nespresso VertuoLine machines scan the capsule to ensure it’s part of the Nespresso ecosystem. (Source: ZDNet.com)

The barcode provides the machine’s intelligent extraction system with customized extraction parameters which, powered by revolutionary Centrifusion technology, give you your desired beverage.

What the heck does all this crap mean?

I’ve got to give Nespresso’s marketing team some credit here. That’s some seriously fancy wording. Let’s break down these fantastic phrases.

“Intelligent extraction system”

This is Nespresso’s branding for its barcode scanning system, which scans the pod and determines which type of beverage to make.

“Customized extraction parameters”

Using the intelligent extraction system, the machine identifies which of the 5 pod sizes you’re using and modifies the water volume, temperature, spin rate, flow rate, and water contact time to achieve your chosen beverage.

“Revolutionary Centrifusion technology”

Instead of applying pressure via pump (like OriginalLine machines), VertuoLine models spin the pod up to 7,000 times per minute to create enough centrifugal force to act like a pump.

Is the Centrifusion technology better? I don’t think so. Pressure-wise, centrifugal extraction doesn’t quite match pump extraction, leaving the resulting beverage a little under-extracted. And while you’ll see a more pronounced crema, it’s foamier than a great crema should be.

Cost Per VertuoLine Capsule

Nespresso capsules aren’t cheap, especially compared to Keurig K-Cup pods, but VertuoLine pods are more expensive than OriginalLine pods.

The table below, replicated from our guide on where to buy Nespresso capsules, compares the per-cup cost of various single-serve pods across brewing systems:

Capsule or PodCost, 1 ServingCost, 365 ServingsSavings Over Coffee Shop
Coffee Shop$3.50-$4.50$1,460$0
Nespresso Original$0.70-$0.85$292$1,168
Nespresso Vertuo$0.90-$1.25$402$1,058
Keurig K-Cup$0.35-$0.65$219$1,241

Additionally, Nespresso offers exclusive and limited release pods that highlight special coffee regions, harvesting/processing/roasting techniques, etc.

Nespresso VertuoLine Reusable Pods

Nespresso VertuoLine pod and capsule coffees are middle-of-the-road in terms of cost per cup. They’re cheaper than a daily trip to your local coffee shop but more expensive than Nespresso OriginalLine or Keurig pods.

Combined with the wastefulness of single-serve coffee pods — which consumers care about to varying degrees — a market has developed for reusable VertuoLine pods.

The benefits:

  • Cheaper cost per cup
  • Less wasteful
  • Ability to use any coffee roast you prefer

The drawbacks:

  • More time consuming
  • More cleaning
  • Have to make sure you have all of the components in stock

A great The only reusable pod is the MyCap V-Pack for Nespresso VertuoLine machines:

It comes with 4 basic components which combine to replicate a single-serve pod:

  1. Reusable pod
  2. Paper filter
  3. Foil seal
  4. Reusable cap

You assemble them in that order — filter on the bottom, then coffee grounds, then foil seal topped with reusable cap — to create your own makeshift, homemade VertuoLine pod.

It’s more complicated than the Keurig My K-Cup pod, which has a mesh filter basket to which you add your grounds, but the MyCap is the only available reusable pod for VertuoLine machines. It will also work for both espresso and coffee-sized beverages.

Note: The MyCap V-Pack will not work with Nespresso OriginalLine machines. For those you’ll need something like these plastic pods or these stainless steel pods.

The MyCap V-Pack shown above is a starter kit and comes with the following items:

  • 1 reusable pod
  • 1 reusable cap
  • 50 foil seals
  • 20 paper filters
  • Serving scoop
  • Cleaning brush

This starter kit will get you through 20 servings before you run out of paper filters, which you can buy more of for around $0.75 per filter. The foils only cost around $0.15 per foil. Combined that’s around $0.90 per cup.

All-in, including the initial startup cost for the reusable pod, you’ll break even on your investment around serving number 45.

For daily espresso drinkers that’s a 1.5-month payback period assuming a $1.10 cost for the single serve capsule.

Save money. Do right by the environment. Use whatever espresso beans you prefer.

Related: Best Espresso Beans (And How to Save When Buying Them)

The only downsides are the small amount of additional cleaning required, the extra time to assemble your pods and the slight hassle of making sure you have both foils and filters in stock.

If you’re really cheap, you can purchase the foils alone for around $0.15 per foil and reseal already-used single serve Nespresso pods. Nespresso cautions against this as the pods are not designed for repeated use, but you may be able to reuse one single serve pod upwards of 3-6 times by filling with your own grounds and resealing with the foil (provided the pod itself hasn’t been punctured). I don’t recommend this but it is an option.

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