Nespresso has two lines of capsule-based espresso machines:
For our money, OriginalLine machines are better than VertuoLine machines.
Why do we say that? We have 5 reasons, which we explain in full detail in our Nespresso VertuoLine vs Original comparison.
1. Pump vs Centrifusion
VertuoLine machines do away with a standard pump (which all espresso machines have) and use rapid capsule spinning to generate pressure. In side-by-side comparisons, we think VertuoLine coffee is a little under-extracted when compared to OriginalLine coffee.
2. Coffee Temperature
Possibly a result of Centrifusion, we also find OriginalLine coffee to be a little hotter than VertuoLine coffee.
3. Crema Consistency
The crema is that hazel-colored layer on top of your espresso. VertuoLine machines have an airier, "whipped" crema due to Centrifusion. This makes it more pronounced and aromatic, but it doesn't have the taste or mouthfeel of authentic crema. OriginalLine machines get closer.
4. Capsule Cost
Nespresso's OriginalLine capsules are less expensive than VertuoLine capsules. It varies by capsule, but generally OriginalLine capsules are around 30% less expensive.
5. Capsule Scanning
VertuoLine machines use capsule scanning technology to read the type of capsule you're inserting (they have different sizes for espresso, double espresso, coffee, etc.). This scanning system also locks out 3rd-party capsules, which are less expensive. That means OriginalLine machines accept cheaper 3rd-party capsules from brands like HiLine and Gourmesso. Some capsules can be as cheap at $0.35 per coffee, a substantial savings over Nespresso brand capsules (especially more expensive Nespresso VertuoLine capsules).
But that doesn't mean VertuoLine machines are worthless.
If you're looking for a dual-use brewer for both standard coffee and espresso, a VertuoLine model might be just what you're looking for.