Espresso master

Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine (Original Line)

Espresso plus coffee

Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine (Vertuo Line)

The Original Line Nespresso machines, such as the Essenza Mini, are only compatible with the small Original Line capsules. These capsules can be used to brew a Ristretto (.85 ounces), Espresso (1.35 ounces), or Lungo (3.7 ounces). If you want a larger cup of coffee, you can add water, which is called an Americano. Or, you can brew more than one capsule into your glass. Of course, you can also make an endless variety of espresso-based drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, and the like.

$119 at Amazon

Pros

  • Makes quick and delicious espresso with crema
  • 19 bar high-pressure extraction
  • Over two dozen different Nespresso capsules available
  • Third-party capsules available
  • Can brew three sizes (Ristretto, Espresso, Lungo)

Cons

  • Limited to espresso and espresso-based drinks

The Vertuo Line machines, such as the VertuoPlus Deluxe, are only compatible with the larger Vertuo Line capsules. These capsules come in three different sizes but will brew five different sizes of coffee. Each capsule has a bar code which the machine reads to automatically brew the right size with just a touch of a button. The beverage sizes are: Espresso (1.35 ounces), Double Espresso (2.7 ounces), Gran Lungo (5 ounces), Coffee (7.77 ounces), and Alto XL (14 ounces).

$100 at Amazon

Pros

  • Make fast and tasty espresso and coffee
  • Extraction by Centrifusion™
  • Over two dozen capsules available
  • Can brew five different cup sizes (Espresso, Double Espresso, Gran Lungo, Coffee, Alto)
  • Unique bar code allows one-touch operation regardless of size

Cons

  • No third-party capsules available

An Original Line machine is the best option for people who prefer espresso and espresso-based drinks such as americanos and lattes. The Original Line also has the widest variety of espresso capsules available, both from Nespresso and from third parties (which can be far cheaper.) A Vertuo Line machine is the best option for people who usually drink regular coffee, especially if you like a big mug. There are espresso capsules available for the Vertuo Line, but the selection is much smaller and more expensive.

Back up. What's a Nespresso machine, anyway?

Nespresso is the ultimate in convenience coffee. I've tried quite a few brewing methods over the years, and I've found Nespresso offers the easiest brewing method with the best-tasting coffee. It's as easy as a Keurig machine with stronger, better-tasting results. It's faster and easier than pour-over, cold brew, french press, and drip with more consistently delicious results. Notice I didn't say it was the cheapest because it's not. The cost of the machines themselves aside, the capsules are not inexpensive.

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I chose the particular machines linked in the article because I own them, but any machine within each line should yield the same results. I picked the lower-priced versions of each line; if you want more features, there are more options available. I'm not a milk-in-my-coffee drinker, but if you are, you can buy a machine with a milk frother built in. You can also just purchase a frother separately.

NespressoSource: iMore

What's the difference between Original and Vertuo?

The Original Line and Vertuo Line machines use two totally different kinds of brewing technology. The Original Line machines use 19 bar high-pressure extraction, which is the closest to what a traditional espresso machine does. The high pressure is what makes espresso what it is: a tiny but very strong coffee with a crema (foam on top.)

The Vertuo Line uses its patented Centrifusion™ to brew the coffee. This method spins the capsule, utilizing centrifugal force to brew. You still get a crema, but some people do not find this method makes as authentic an espresso as the high-pressure extraction. I think it's fine, but I prefer to use my Original Line machine to make espresso drinks.

The Original Line has just one small capsule size. Depending on which button you press (or how long you hold it down,) you can brew three different beverage sizes from one capsule: Ristretto (.85 ounces), Espresso (1.35 ounces), or Lungo (3.7 ounces). Add water to make an Americano, or milk and foam to make other espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos and lattes.

The Vertuo Line has three different capsule sizes that produce five different beverage sizes: Espresso (1.35 ounces) from the smallest capsule, Double Espresso (2.7 ounces) and Gran Lungo (5 ounces) from the medium capsule, and Coffee (7.77 ounces) and Alto XL (14 ounces) from the largest capsule. Each capsule has a bar code which the machine reads, so all you need to do is press the button to get the correct brew. You don't need to worry about which is which, except that you need to be sure to place the right size mug underneath.

Can I buy third-party capsules?

The patent on the Original Line capsules has expired, which means that third parties are free to make compatible capsules. While some are similarly priced to Nespresso's, others are substantially cheaper. Plus, you just get a lot more choices when you factor in the third parties.

The patent on the Vertuo Line capsules, however, is not expiring anytime soon. So if you buy a Vertuo line machine, you must purchase the Nespresso capsules. It's essential to take the cost of the capsules into account even more than the cost of the machine since the cost of the capsules adds up pretty quickly. While all of Nespresso's capsules are recyclable, most third-party capsules are not.

Original Line Vertuo Line
Capsules available over two dozen over two dozen
Number of capsule sizes one three
Number of brew sizes three five
Maximum size brew 3.7 ounces 14 ounces
Brew technology 19 bar high-pressure extraction Centrifusion™
Makes espresso? Yes Yes
Makes large coffee? No Yes
Third-party capsules available Yes No
Decaf options Yes Yes
Flavored options Yes Yes
Limited edition options Yes Yes
Capsule cost From $.70 From $.85
Capsules recyclable? Yes Yes

I can't say one line is "better" than the other. Heck, I couldn't even pick for myself, which is how I ended up with one of each. But I can tell you unequivocally that if you prefer espresso and espresso-based drinks, the Original Line is the way to go. It makes the most authentic espresso, and the Original Line Nespresso capsules are cheaper than the Vertuo capsules. You can save even more with third-party capsules for the Original Line machines.

On the other hand, if you enjoy wrapping your hands around a full mug of coffee, you'll want a Vertuo Line machine. Sure, you can fill a mug with multiple Original Line capsules and add water and/or milk to get a big beverage, but it will be more cost-effective to use a single large Vertuo capsule than two or more Original ones.

The larger Vertuo capsules, which make the 7.7 and 14-ounce coffees, do generally cost more than the Original espresso-sized ones, but not double. When I want to sip a big drink, I go for the Vertuo. When I just want a little kick of caffeine but not a big mug, I go for the Original.

Espresso master

Nespresso Essenza Mini Espresso Machine (Original Line)

Brew perfect espressos every time

The Original Line machines are ideal for espresso and espresso-based drinks like cappuccinos, Americanos, and lattes. All of the capsules are the same size and can be brewed as a Ristretto (.85 ounces), Espresso (1.35 ounces), or Lungo (3.7 ounces). If you want a larger beverage, you'll either add water or milk or use multiple capsules. There are third-party capsules available for this line, so you can save money on coffee.

Espresso plus coffee

Nespresso VertuoPlus Deluxe Coffee and Espresso Machine (Vertuo Line)

For regular or large-sized coffee most of the time

The Vertuo machines are ideal for the person who usually wants a big cup of joe. Yes, you can still make an espresso with a Vertuo machine, but it's brewed with centrifugal force rather than high pressure. And the capsules cost more for the same 1.35-ounce size drink. A Vertuo machine brews five different sizes: Espresso (1.35 ounces), Double Espresso (2.7 ounces), Gran Lungo (5 ounces), Coffee (7.77 ounces), and Alto XL (14 ounces). You cannot get third-party Vertuo capsules, so you are limited to Nespresso's own coffee offerings.

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