Nespresso is one of the industry leaders in the single serve coffee and espresso market, and for my money the search for a pod-based coffee maker begins and ends with their machines.
The company released their VertuoLine series in 2014, marketing a better single serve experience.
But what makes VertuoLine different than other Nespresso machines?
Let’s start there.
Table of Contents
- 1 Nespresso VertuoLine vs OriginalLine
- 2 Nespresso VertuoLine Pods
- 3 Nespresso VertuoLine Pod Varieties
Nespresso VertuoLine vs OriginalLine
Nespresso makes several espresso machine models, but they all fall under two lines:
And just like Keurig’s two different brewing systems — Keurig 1.0 and Keurig 2.0 — Nespresso’s two different lines feature different brewing technologies.
These are the key differences:
I prefer Nespresso’s OriginalLine machines to their VertuoLine machines because of the differences above — the OriginalLine Nespresso Pixie is my favorite single cup coffee maker — but this guide is about Nespresso VertuoLine pods.
Read our Nespresso VertuoLine vs Original comparison for additional detail.
Let’s talk about VertuoLine pods!
Nespresso VertuoLine Pods
VertuoLine machines use Nespresso VertuoLine Grand Cru capsules to brew espresso, lungo and standard coffee style beverages.
Nespresso’s barcode scanning technology uses barcode rings on the capsules to optimize the brew process for the specific capsule you’ve selected.
Because VertuoLine machines brew both espresso- and coffee-sized beverages, VertuoLine pods come in two different sizes, as shown in the accompanying image.
How Do VertuoLine Pods Work?
The pods are inserted into the machine with a downward-facing dome.
Note: 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.
The barcode provides the machine’s intelligent extraction system with customized extraction parameters which, powered by revolutionary Centrifusion technology, give you your desired beverage.
Intelligent extraction system. Customized extraction parameters. Revolutionary Centrifusion technology.
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 of several mostly unnecessary, and potentially deleterious, technological innovations that complicate your espresso.
Let’s break down these fantastic phrases:
Intelligent extraction system: This is Nespresso’s branding for their 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 whether you have an espresso pod or full-sized coffee pod and modifies both the volume of hot water to use and the total extraction time. That’s pretty much it.
Revolutionary Centrifusion technology: Instead of apply pressure via pump, VertuoLine machines 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. Centrifugal extraction doesn’t quite match pump extraction, leaving the resulting beverage a little underextracted. And while you’ll see a more pronounced crema, it’s foamier than a great crema should be.
Cost Per Cup
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 Complete Guide to Nespresso Capsules, compares the single serving cost of the various single serve pods across brewing systems:
|Capsule or Pod||Cost, 1 Serving||Cost, 365 Servings||Savings Over Coffee Shop|
Nespresso Caffeine Content
A cup of coffee has around 100 mg of caffeine whereas an espresso has around 55 mg of caffeine, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Nespresso VertuoLine pods pack varying amounts of caffeine due to the two different pod sizes: espresso and full coffee-sized pods.
- VertuoLine espresso pods have around 70 mg of caffeine
- VertuoLine coffee pods have around 165 mg of caffeine
Source: Caffeine Informer
This makes VertuoLine pods significantly more caffeinated than your standard espresso or coffee.
Nespresso VertuoLine Pod Varieties
Nespresso makes 12 different VertuoLine coffee pods and 4 different VertuoLine espresso pods, all of which vary in intensity and flavor.
Best Nespresso VertuoLine Espresso Pods
There are only 4 to choose from:
- Diavolitto: Highly intense and powerful (Intensity: 11)
- Altissio: Full-bodied and creamy (Intensity: 9)
- Voltesso: Sweet and light (Intensity: 4)
- Decaffeinato Intenso: Decaf but dense and harmonious (Intensity: 7)
I’m addicted to rich, roasty coffee flavors, so naturally my favorite is the Diavolitto.
Best Nespresso VertuoLine Coffee Pods
These are the 12 VertuoLine coffee pods sorted from most to least intense (with half- and decaffeinated pods at the bottom):
- Intenso: Dense and deep (Intensity: 9)
- Stormo: Rich and strong (Intensity: 8)
- Odacio: Bold and lively (Intensity: 7)
- Melozio: Smooth and balanced (Intensity: 6)
- Hazelino: Hazelnut flavor (Intensity: 6)
- Vanizio: Vanilla flavor (Intensity: 6)
- Caramelizio: Caramel flavor (Intensity: 6)
- Elvazio: Delicate and fruity (Intensity: 4)
- Giornio: Floral and velvety (Intensity: 4)
- Solelio: Fruity and light-bodied (Intensity: 2)
- Half Caffeinato: Sweet, velvety and half-caffeinated (Intensity: 5)
- Decaffeinato: Round, malty and decaffeinated (Intensity: 6)
Which is the best? Again, your tastes may vary, but my favorite is the Odacio capsule.
- COFFEE BLEND: A bold and lively coffee blend for the Nespresso VertuoLine System
- COUNT: 10 capsules per box. Each capsule brews 7.8 ounce cup of coffee
- ROAST LEVEL: Dark roast coffee - Nespresso Intensity 7
- COFFEE ORIGIN: 100% Arabica - Split roasted Ethiopian & Nicaraguan Beans
- WE RECYCLE: Aluminum capsules ensure 100% recyclability and guarantee coffee freshness
You can also find variety packs catered to your overall flavor profile. They’ll contain both espresso and coffee pods.
Nespresso VertuoLine Milder Sampler Pack
Nespresso VertuoLine Intense Sampler Pack
- INTENSE ASSORTMENT: A variety of 4 intensely roasted coffee and espresso blends for the Nespresso VertuoLine System
- CONTAINS: 40 Capsules - 10 Odacio, 10 Stormier, 10 Altissio, 10 Diavolitto
- ROAST LEVELS: Dark roast coffees and espressos - Nespresso Intensities 7, 8, 9, & 11
- WE RECYCLE: Aluminum capsules ensure 100% recyclability and guarantee coffee freshness
- VERTUOLINE ONLY: Capsules are not compatible with Original Line machines
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.
- Cheaper cost per cup
- Less wasteful
- Ability to use any coffee roast you prefer
- 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:
- INCLUDES: 50 foil seals, 1 reusable cap, 20 filters, 1 capsule holder, coffee scoop, cleaning brush, and instructions
- 2 SOLUTIONS: Foils and cap / filter with capsule / pod holder. Try them!
- IT WORKS: Fits all standard Nespresso VertuoLine machines, makes beautiful crema, create capsules / pods with your favorite coffee, your capsules are refillable / reusable
- SAFE & GREEN: 100-percent recyclable, food-safe materials, and BPA-free, reduced environmental impact
- DISCLAIMER: Nespresso and their logos are brands registered by Société des Produits Nestlé SA. Brand names and references of machine models are made solely with the aim of indicating our products compatibility. Our products and company are not associated in any way with the above companies.
It comes with 4 basic components which combine to replicate a single-serve pod:
- Reusable pod
- Paper filter
- Foil seal
- 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.
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.
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.
Are you a Nespresso VertuoLine pod/capsule user? What are your helpful consumer tips or favorite pod varieties to use? Let us know in the comments!