Nespresso makes the best pod-based coffee makers available.
That’s a fact.
(OK, it’s an opinion, and only one opinion at that!)
In 2014, after years of capsule coffee excellence, Nespresso released their new and improved VertuoLine.
Nespresso customers rejoice!
Or should they?
Nespresso VertuoLine vs Original machines — before you buy a Nespresso espresso machine, you need to decide which of these two systems better suits your needs.
I firmly choose one over the over the other.
Which do I like?
You can skip to the conclusion for that.
Table of Contents
Nespresso VertuoLine vs Original: The Comparison
Let’s dig into the above differences in more detail.
OriginalLine machines offer two brew sizes: 1.35 oz espresso and 3.70 oz lungo. Some OriginalLine machines also offer a 0.70 oz ristretto shot.
VertuoLine machines offer those same brew sizes but add the ability to brew a full cup of coffee up to 17 oz.
OK, so you can’t brew coffee in the most literal sense of the word, but you can brew an Americano. That would be similar to the “Long Black” in the image below, which shows the different kinds of coffee beverages you can make with an espresso base.
Barcode Scanning System
OriginalLine machines don’t have any kind of barcode scanning system. Pop in a compatible capsule and go.
VertuoLine machines feature a barcode scanning system similar to Keurig’s 2.0 technology. The system tells the machine a capsule has been inserted and tailors the brew settings — volume and duration — to that capsule’s particular recipe.
These are what the two capsule types look like:
Why the extra fuss?
- To actually tailor the extraction parameters and water volume for the capsule you’re using
- To make it more difficult for you to use unlicensed Nespresso capsules
There are a bunch of companies that sell discounted Nespresso compatible capsules, but they all have one thing in common: None of them sell VertuoLine capsules.
Nespresso’s barcode scanning technology has thus far eliminated the competition for VertuoLine compatible capsules.
- Nespresso Capsules: The Complete Buyer’s Guide
- Nespresso VertuoLine Pods: Honest Consumer’s Guide
- The 8 Types of Nespresso Capsule Holders for Awesome Style & Function
OriginalLine machines make an espresso the old fashioned way: apply pressure and hot water via an internal pump.
VertuoLine machines do something different to brew a more advanced coffee (read: not necessarily better).
Instead of applying pressure, VertuoLine machines use the pressure resulting from Centrifusion for extraction.
It’s Nespresso’s term for the rapid pod rotation incorporated in the VertuoLine process. This step adds time but also yields a thicker, more pronounced crema. However, many will tell you the OriginalLine brewers actually have a more authentic crema and that the Centrifusion process results in a foamier crema.
Cost Per Capsule
OriginalLine capsules cost around $0.75-$0.85 per capsule.
VertuoLine capsules cost around $0.90-$1.25 per capsule.
Compared to all pod- and capsule-based coffee makers, Nespresso is definitely on the pricier side (as the table below shows).
But OriginalLine owners have another option: 3rd party OriginalLine compatible capsules. These can be purchased for as little as $0.35 per capsule.
|Capsule or Pod||Cost, 1 Serving||Cost, 365 Servings||Savings Over Coffee Shop|
Your tastes may vary but judging by espresso quality, capsule compatibility and cost, my recommendation is to stick with an OriginalLine machine.
Which Nespresso models are available?
For anyone who’s tried to decipher the myriad Keurig models, you’ll be happy to know there are far fewer Nespresso models.
- Nespresso Essenza Mini Review
- Nespresso CitiZ and Milk Review
- Nespresso Pixie Review
- Nespresso Inissia Bundle Review
- Nespresso CitiZ vs Pixie: What’s the Difference?
In fact, by my count there are 17 different Nespresso machines across the OriginalLine and VertuoLine universes.
What are the difference between them all?
We break down the product specs in our post dedicated to comparing Nespresso machines, so check that out.
Click here or the image above to compare product specs and reviews for every Nespresso model.
At a glance, Nespresso’s machines will across the following major features:
- OriginalLine vs VertuoLine
- Water reservoir size
- Brew sizes (some offer ristretto, lungo, or even long coffee)
- Whether they come with an integrated frother (e.g., the Lattissima series)
- Wireless app connectivity (e.g., the Prodigio)
- Weight and dimensions
- Power consumption
(Oh, and one model made Oprah’s Favorite Things of 2017.)
Nespresso VertuoLine vs Original: The Verdict
The Coffee Maven Conclusion
Nespresso VertuoLine vs Original: How are they different?
- VertuoLine brews up to 17 oz coffees
- VertuoLine incorporates capsule scanning technology
- VertuoLine capsules cost more and you can’t find 3rd party alternatives
- VertuoLine uses Centrifusion (rapid spinning) to extract your coffee; no pump
- VertuoLine uses lower temperature water to extract
My recommendation: Stick with the OriginalLine machine. Generally they have a lower cost to acquire and use less restrictive and cheaper capsules, and I think they make a better espresso beverage with a more authentic crema than VertuoLine machines.
My favorite Nespresso OriginalLine machine is the Nespresso Pixie.
Have you ever compared Nespresso VertuoLine vs Original? What did you think? Comment below!