Nespresso Vertuo vs Original: how do the pod machines differ, and which is the better choice?

If you've been shopping for the best Nespresso machine, you may have encountered two types. While the original Nespresso pod coffee makers are well-known, the brand has now added Vertuo pods to its line-up—and these are only compatible with certain machines. Both are popular for their reasons, but what's the difference?

This article will explore everything you need to consider when choosing between the Nespresso Vertuo and the original lines, including drink variety, extraction methods, taste, pricing, and more. Whether you enjoy classic espressos or prefer larger coffee shop-style drinks, one of them may suit you better than the other.

When it comes to the machines themselves, the original Nespresso machines use a high-pressure extraction system, resulting in a traditional espresso with a rich and full-bodied flavor. On the other hand, the Vertuo machines use a unique Centrifusion extraction technology, which spins the capsule while brewing, producing a crema-rich coffee with a silky texture. Keep reading for more of our side-by-side comparisons.

Nespresso Vertuo vs Original: Pricing

One of the biggest differences between these two Nespresso machine types is long-term and short-term pricing. The original pods are compatible with affordable models like the Nespresso Pixie, Nespresso Essenza Mini, Pixie, and Citiz. Of course, higher-end models with built-in milk frothers are pricier. The original line also offers cheaper capsules and a larger variety.

Machines compatible with the newest Vertuo pods, like Nespresso Vertuo Creatista and Vertuo Next, are typically priced around $200, with the Lattissima Vertuo priced at around $500. Due to advanced technology and limited production, Vertuo pods are more expensive than the original line.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
TypeOriginal (price per pod)Vertuo (price per pod)
25-40ml espresso$0.87-$0.92$0.88-$1.08
40-110ml coffee$0.97$1.10
150ml Gran Lungo$1.05$1.10-$1.21
230ml coffee-$1.26-$1.37
355ml coffee-$1.50
535ml carafe-$1.60

Verdict: The original line offers affordable models and a wider variety of cheaper capsules. On the other hand, machines compatible with Vertuo pods are pricier, with Vertuo pods being more expensive due to advanced technology and limited production.

Nespresso Vertuo vs Original: Features

Nespresso machines are pod coffee makers that became popular because of their simplicity. They have a 19-bar pressure system that extracts rich, aromatic espresso with a lovely crema on top. Original capsules come in various flavors and intensities, and the machines typically have two programmable buttons for espresso and lungo sizes. You can get models with a built-in milk frother, perfect for making cappuccinos and lattes.

On the other hand, Nespresso Vertuo machines use Centrifusion technology, an extraction process that spins the capsule up to 7,000 rotations a minute, blending the coffee grounds with water and resulting in excellent crema. 

Unlike the Original machines, Vertuo models can brew five different cup sizes: Espresso, Double Espresso, Gran Lungo, Coffee, and Alto, offering more versatility. They use Vertuo capsules equipped with a barcode that the machine reads to adjust the brewing parameters. Vertuo machines also have automatic capsule ejection and can hold up to 13 large or 20 small used capsules.

  • Verdict: The Nespresso Original machines are designed for espresso lovers who value simplicity and efficiency, while the Nespresso Vertuo machines are perfect for those who enjoy a wide variety of coffee options and advanced brewing technology.

Nespresso Vertuo vs Original: Size & Dimensions

The original Nespresso machines tend to be compact, with a sleek, minimalist design ideal for smaller kitchens. The Vertuo machines, meanwhile, can be slightly larger (though this depends on the model you're choosing), though retaining the same aesthetically-pleasing look.

For a direct comparison, the smallest Nespresso Original machine is the Essenza Mini, which measures H12.8 x W3.3 x D8 inches and weighs just over 5 lbs. It offers two cup sizes—espresso and lungo. Meanwhile, the smaller Vertuo machine is the Vertuo Next, which measures H12.4 x W5.5 x D16.9 inches and weighs 8.8 lbs. It can brew five different sizes.

Of course, the size varies across the ranges, and the Nespresso Creatista Plus measures H6.7 x W15.4 x D12 inches in this comparison.

Why the size difference? Vertuo machines are specifically designed to offer five cup sizes: Espresso, Double Espresso, Gran Lungo, Coffee, and Alto. These machines require a larger water tank and capsule drawer to accommodate these brew sizes. On the other hand, Nespresso Original machines are more compact and designed to brew traditional espresso shots. They use a high-pressure 19-bar extraction system, which takes up less space than the Centrifusion technology used in Vertuo machines.

  • Verdict: The Original machines are compact and lightweight, making them ideal for smaller spaces and portability. In contrast, the Vertuo machines are slightly larger and heavier. The Nespresso Vertuo machines are larger because they can brew a wider range of coffee sizes and use advanced brewing technology.

Nespresso Essenza Mini with pod held above, and drip tray removed

(Image credit: Future / Dan Fauzi)

Nespresso Vertuo vs Original: Drinks variety

The original Nespresso pods offer a wide choice, with dozens of espresso pods available from both the brand and third-party companies and reusable capsules. This means you get a lot of flavors to choose from, including ristretto, espresso, and lungo, and brands like Starbucks (shop Medium Roast House Blend Coffee, 50 pack, $29.18 at Amazon) can get in on the action.

The Nespresso Vertuo line, on the other hand, is great if you want to brew larger coffees, meaning it's ideal for fans of Americanos or other coffee shop-style drinks. That said, the choice of pods is slightly more limited, with fewer available at the time of writing. They're also exclusive to Nespresso and harder to buy elsewhere.

  • Verdict: The original Nespresso range offers a huge selection of espresso pods from the brand and third-party companies. On the other hand, the Nespresso Vertuo line is great for larger drinks but has a more limited selection. However, both Nespresso machines can make a range of barista coffees. If the machine has milk-frothing capabilities, you could also make hot chocolate (without the pods).

nespresso machine and hot chocolate header image

(Image credit: Future)

Nespresso Vertuo vs Original: Taste

Original Nespresso pods are designed for traditional espresso extraction. They produce a full-flavored, robust taste with a rich crema by forcing hot water through the coffee grounds using a high-pressure pump. This method is good for strong, intense coffee.

On the other hand, Vertuo pods use a centrifusion extraction method, blending coffee with water at high speeds to produce a smoother, less bitter coffee with a perfect layer of crema. This method allows for a wider variety of coffee sizes, but limits compatibility due to the barcode system.

Original Nespresso pods are specifically designed for espresso and espresso-based drinks, providing a classic and robust flavor for those who enjoy a rich, full-bodied espresso with a creamy crema. Vertuo pods use a different extraction method, allowing for more distinct flavors designed for larger drinks. The product is milder and less bitter with a thick crema and is generally more subtle in taste.

  • Verdict: Nespresso original pods yield a strong, full-flavored espresso with a rich crema through high-pressure hot water extraction. On the other hand, Vertuo pods use centrifusion for a smoother, less bitter coffee with a consistent crema, but have limited capsule compatibility. Each caters to different preferences, offering unique flavor profiles.

Nespresso Vertuo Next being tested in writer's home

(Image credit: Future)

Nespresso Vertuo vs Original: Our verdict

The Nespresso original line caters to those who prefer a classic, robust espresso flavor and a wide range of affordable pods, with options for reusable capsules. Offering espresso pods from Nespresso and third-party companies, it includes flavors such as ristretto, espresso, and lungo. The traditional espresso extraction method delivers a full-bodied, rich taste with a creamy crema. Compatible machines, like the Nespresso Pixie and Essenza Mini, are relatively affordable.

On the other hand, the Nespresso Vertuo line suits those who enjoy larger coffee shop-style drinks. While it offers a more limited selection of pods, the centrifusion extraction method produces a smoother, less bitter coffee with a consistent crema. However, due to advanced technology and limited production, machines and pods for the Vertuo line are pricier.

Caroline Preece
Deputy Editor

Caroline is the Deputy Editor of Top Ten Reviews. Joining Future at the start of 2021, she has since served her time across all of the company’s home titles, including Real Homes, Ideal Home, Livingetc, and Homes & Gardens. Caroline has spent years testing out products for the home, which she trials in her cozy one-bedroom basement apartment in Suffolk, UK. She’s passionate about helping people choose the very best appliances, tech, and anything else that might make their lives easier, more cost-efficient, or just more fun.