- Value: 18/20
- Functionality: 20/20
- Ease of Use: 20/20
- Aesthetics: 20/20
- Taste: 19/20
- TOTAL: 97/100
First things first, let’s address the elephant in the room: Not everyone is on board with single-serve coffee machines. Purists will say the coffee tastes like plastic, the masses will balk at the price of each pod and environmentally conscious consumers will frown at the potential to create waste (but more on that later).
Well, I’m here to tell you that a gurgling Keurig spitting out mediocre (and yes, plastic-tasting) coffee is no longer your only option for whipping up a strong brew at home. If you, like me, go to sleep dreaming about your first cup each morning, but don’t have the patience for pour-over or French press, then the high-quality Nespresso VertuoPlus is for you. It gives you the café experience you crave, in under three minutes, and somehow solves all the concerns above. Not convinced it's worth the investment? Let me answer your pressing questions.
Why Should I Opt for the Nespresso VertuoPlus Over the Original?
Unlike the OG Nespresso machines, which only create espresso shots, the Vertuo line brews a full range of single-serve espresso and coffee beverages (18 to 1.35 ounces). This is ideal for families or roommates who have differing tastes, or if your preferences simply change based on the time of day. For example, you can have a cup of coffee in the morning, then a quick shot of espresso post-lunch with the push of a button. It’s like a supped-up Keurig and espresso machine, all in one.
How Does It Work?
Pop in the pod, push the button and you’re good to go. No, honestly, it’s that easy. The VertuoPlus line uses an intelligent extraction system that recognizes each pod, thanks to a barcode on the rim of the capsule. That means you don’t need to ever manually adjust the setting on the machine—the type of capsule dictates the brew and the drink size. The machine also uses the precise amount of coffee, water and energy needed for that specific cup, which reduces waste and minimizes carbon footprint (hear that, skeptics?).
What Does the Coffee Taste Like?
Well, that kind of depends on the pod you use, but overall, I’d say that the flavor of most drinks is full-bodied. The machine creates a quality shot of espresso each time with a perfect crema, quite comparable to what a traditional espresso machine would pull. As for the coffee, admittedly it tastes more like espresso than drip coffee—meaning, it’s a lot stronger than your standard coffee maker. However, I enjoy a strong cup, so this isn’t a drawback for me.
As for the pods, the VertuoLine come in five cup sizes: Alto (414ml), Mug (230ml), Gran Lungo (150ml), Double Espresso (80ml) and Espresso (40ml). From dark and strong to mild and smooth, there are over 30 coffee blends to choose from. My standard order is the Intenso mug pods and the Voltesso espresso pods, but I’m also a big fan of the limited-edition flavors and was loving the Hazelino Muffin as a sweet treat during the holidays.
For those who are concerned about price, I try to strategically order the pods during special offers like “Buy eight sleeves (of 10) and get one or two free” which brings the per-cup price down. I also bundled the Aeroccino Milk Frother with my purchase (saving $50) and it has expanded my coffee capabilities even more. We’re talking homemade lattes, cappuccinos and even a macchiato for when I’m feeling real fancy. This has helped tremendously during quarantine, since I’m less inclined to spend money at a coffee shop.
What’s the Deal with Recycling the Pods?
OK, so I know the use of pods can seem like a lot of waste. We’ve all seen the infographics of non-recyclable pods circling the earth. But Nespresso makes it really easy to recycle their aluminum versions. Each order comes with a couple of pre-paid recycle bags. Once you fill them up, just drop them off at your local UPS. It really couldn’t be easier. The brand also recently came out with an unobtrusive black canister to store the used pods. I just place the shipping bag into the canister (kind of like a garbage liner) and when it’s full, off it goes. You never know what happens to that paper or plastic cup from the coffeeshop you toss in the recycle bin, but these coffee pods go on to be used to create anything from pens to bicycles, while Nespresso makes sure the grounds are used for compost.
Be Honest, Is It Really Worth the Price?
The Nespresso machines used to come with a much higher price tag, but the newer VertuoLine starts around $150 ($200 if you bundle it with the milk frother). You also have to factor in the cost of the coffee pods. The Nespresso VertuoLine now costs $0.90 to $1.35 per serving. However, one-coffee-per-day at a local café would cost around $4, which adds up to at least $120 per month. Using a Nespresso machine and capsules, in comparison, will cost you $200 up front, and but only $30 per month for capsules. When you think about it, those are some caffeinated savings we can get behind.