Nespresso Vertuo Vs Original: Which One Should You Buy?

In a hurry? Our choice are Nespresso Vertuo single-serve coffee machines.

Nespresso is the original single-serve coffee company.

But nowadays they have two different lines of machines.

Which one is better?

Let’s settle this Nespresso Vertuo vs Original debate once and for all.

I believe the Vertuo line is the better all-around option. But I’ll give you an overview of each line and then put them head to head before declaring a winner.

Let’s dive in!

Comparison Chart

Vertuo LineOriginal Line
Fewer features to choose fromMore options throughout the line
Centrifusion technology for an even extraction19 bars of pressure for good espresso
Barcode technology for each pod, no fiddling with settingsStandard Nespresso pods
Great brewed coffee, okay espressoGood espresso, with crema for making milk drinks
Does brew coffee and espressoDoes espresso, but with milk system options
Better for a budgetA little more expensive
Brew coffee drinker who likes an espresso now and then.Espresso drinkers who like the convenience of single-serve pods.

Nespresso Vertuo Overview

The Nespresso Vertuo line was launched in 2014. Nespresso needed a line of machines that catered to a non-espresso market.

Specifically, North Americans don’t drink as much espresso as Europeans. Nespresso needed a machine that could produce a full mug of coffee like a regular coffee maker, instead of just espresso.

And the Vertuo line was born.

It’s important to remember, however, that the Vertuo line still has all the great features of a Nespresso machine.

The Vertuo line is still capable of making okay espresso. It still uses Barcode and Centrifusion technology. But it does mugs of coffee.

One downside of the Vertuo line is that none of these machines have integrated milk systems. That means that you can’t make a latte or cappuccino without getting a handheld milk frother.

What the Vertuo line does offer is a generally lower price point and the ability to brew mugs of coffee instead of just espresso.

The Vertuo Next can even brew 18 oz carafes, along with being WiFi connected so you can brew straight from your phone.

Pros

  • Generally cheaper than the Original line
  • Ability to brew mugs of coffee instead of just espresso
  • Barcode and Centrifusion technology means you get consistent and quality coffee
  • Big selection of coffees and flavors from Nespresso so you can pick and choose your favorite

Cons

  • No integrated milk system in the Vertuo line, so if you want milk drinks you’ll need to get a milk frother
  • Not compatible with third-party pods, so you’ll always have to buy pods from Nespresso
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Nespresso Original Overview

The Nespresso Original line is just that: the original Nespresso single-serve machines.

Nespresso launched its first machines in 1986 to the European market. They targeted a machine that could produce quality espresso at the touch of a button. 

The point was to create an espresso machine that took pods and made the process easy for consumers.

Because the Original line focuses on espresso, most of the machines come with integrated milk systems. That means you can make lattes and cappuccinos without needing an extra milk frother.

Most of the machines only do two cup sizes, however, a single or double espresso.

That’s a downside if you’re someone who likes a mug of coffee in the morning and not just espresso.

But the upside is that some machines such as the Lattissima Pro and Gran Lattissima both have 9 pre-programmed recipes to choose from.

The Creatista Plus and Creatista Pro even have steam wands to give you even more control over your milk.

Pros

  • Espresso-focused machines mean that they do espresso really well with consistent results
  • 19 bars of pressure means that you get a proper espresso with crema
  • More options in terms of milk systems give you an opportunity to choose a coffee machine that perfectly matches your needs
  • A ton of different espresso pods available so you can pick your favorites

Cons

  • Only does espresso, so you can’t brew a cup of coffee on the Original line
  • More expensive than the Vertuo line
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Nespresso Vertuo vs Original: The Difference

Now that you have a good overview of each line, it’s time to put them head to head and declare a winner.

I realize that these two lines serve different purposes, but I picked out aspects that apply to both lines.

After each section, I’ll give my vote on which one comes out on top.

Machines

The machines in the Vertuo line are all pretty much the same. What separates them are small features.

All you really have to choose from in the Vertuo line is how many cup sizes you want to brew.

The Original line, on the other hand, has a much wider range of machines. The two Creatista machines have a dedicated steam wand. The steam wand allows you to take full control over your milk.

The Lattissima machines have integrated milk systems and pre-programmed recipes. You can make a latte with just the touch of a button.

Or, you can go with the Citiz or Essenza Mini, which don’t have a milk system and are designed only for espresso.

The other machines in the Original line have neither and only do espresso.

Winner: I have to go with the Original line. They have more options to choose from, so it feels like you’re choosing a machine that fits your needs.

Extraction Method

vertuo coffee maker

There is really only one big difference between Vertuo and Original when it comes to extraction.

The Original line uses 19 bars of pressure to ensure you get proper espresso. The Vertuo line uses Centrifusion technology. 

Centrifusion is Nespresso’s brewing method that runs water in a circle through the pod instead of straight through. Think of it like water circling a drain.

Centrifusion makes it so that all the coffee is extracted evenly, giving you a balanced cup.

The Original line acts more like home espresso machines. They build up pressure in the pod itself to evenly and completely extract the coffee for espresso.

Winner: It’s a toss-up. It really depends on what you want to drink. If you primarily drink espresso, the Original line is a clear winner. If you only drink brewed coffee, the Vertuo line comes out on top.

Capsules

Because of the two different brewing methods in the Orginal and Vertuo lines, each line has a different capsule.

The Original line capsules are bigger and taller than the Vertuo line. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they are better.

The Nespresso capsule is shaped more like a portafilter, or the part of the espresso machine that holds the coffee. That’s because the Nespresso Original machine produces enough pressure to create a full espresso.

The Vertuo line uses smaller, more rounded pods. The thing about these pods, though, is that they each have a barcode on the rim.

The Vertuo machines use the barcode to determine the settings that work best for that specific coffee. That means you don’t have to fiddle with settings or adjust the temperature. The Vertuo machines do all the work for you.

Winner: It has to be Vertuo. The barcode on a coffee pod makes getting the perfect coffee drink every time super easy.

Texture & Taste

nespresso original coffee maker

The Original line focuses on espresso. And in my experience, the espresso that comes out of an Original line machine is pretty good.

It isn’t quite up to the standard of a coffee shop or even a dedicated home espresso machine. But for the convenience and speed, it’s pretty hard to beat.

The Vertuo line, on the other hand, does an alright espresso. For a true espresso, the Original line is better.

The espresso that comes out of a Vertuo line machine tastes more like a really strong French press or Aero Press.

That’s not to say the coffee isn’t good, just that it’s not a true espresso like you get in a shop.

The brewed coffee that comes from a Vertuo machine tastes very good. 

Winner: Vertuo takes this round. I wouldn’t recommend the espresso settings on a Vertuo. But the brewed coffee tastes consistently better than an Original line espresso.

Drinks

The Vertuo line was created to do brewed coffee and espresso. And they are capable of doing both. But that’s where the drinks stop.

None of the Vertuo machines have milk systems. And the Vertuo espressos aren’t as good as the Original espressos.

The Original line, on the other hand, focuses on espresso and most of those machines have milk systems.

Some Original machines even have pre-programmed recipes so you can make a latte with just the push of a button.

Winner: I’m going with the Original line this time. Only because they open up more types of drinks. The Vertuo line really only does brew coffee well.

Price

The Original line is more expensive. It’s really as simple as that. Because they all have 19 bars of pressure, they cost more.

It’s like paying for an upgraded engine in a new car. In order to get that extra horsepower, you’ll need to pay a little more.

The Vertuo line is a little simpler under the hood, and that means the price point is a little lower.

Winner: Nespresso Vertuo machine is the way to go if you’re on a budget.

FAQ

There are still a few burning questions I want to cover about the two Nespresso lines.

Here are a few of the most common ones.

Can you use Nespresso Original pods in Nespresso Vertuo?

Unfortunately not. Vertuo and Original pods are of different sizes and shapes, so they are not cross-compatible.

Can I use Starbucks pods in Nespresso Vertuo?

You can! Starbucks does sell Nespresso pods. Just be sure you get pods that are compatible with the Nespresso Vertuo coffee pods.

Does Nespresso Vertuo make hot chocolate?

Nespresso doesn’t sell hot chocolate pods for the Vertuo. However, there are some third-party hot chocolate pods that claim to work in the Vertuo. I can’t vouch for them.

Verdict

In my opinion, the overall winner is the Nespresso VertuoLine machine. It has more versatility in terms of coffee drinks, has a lower price point, and a more even extraction method.

That being said, Nespresso OriginalLine machines are a better choice for someone who primarily drinks espresso.

Go with a Vertuo machine if:

  • You mainly drink brewed coffee with an occasional espresso
  • You need a machine that’s budget-friendly
  • You don’t want to fiddle with settings

Go with an Original machine if:

  • You mainly drink espresso and want a great espresso machine
  • You want to create milk drinks like lattes or cappuccinos
  • You don’t mind spending a little more for better espresso

If you go with a Vertuo machine, I would highly suggest the classic Nespresso Vertuo. It’s at a great price and has all the benefits and features of the rest of the Vertuo line.

If you go with an Original, I would recommend the Lattissima Pro. The integrated milk system and assisted cleaning make it a really solid choice.

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.