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Nespresso Vertuo vs Original: Which Line Is Better? (2023)

Nespresso Vertuo vs Original machines
Nespresso Original vs Vertuo

If you just started shopping for a Nespresso, you might be confused by all of the models. What is the difference between Nespresso Vertuo vs Original machines? I’m glad you are here because these two lines are very different! Understanding how they differ before you buy makes it more likely that you will be happy with your choice. Keep reading to learn more.

The #1 Most Important Nespresso Vertuo vs Original Difference: Espresso or Coffee?

The most important factor when deciding between a Nespresso Vertuoline vs classic Original machine is the type of coffee you like drink.

The Nespresso Original line models brew only espresso pods. Espresso is a highly concentrated coffee served in small shots. Espresso is the only type of coffee that can be used to make drinks like lattes, macchiatos, cappuccinos, americanos and flat whites. If you want to be able to make these at home, you need to be able to brew espresso. Both models can do that!

nespresso cappuccino
Nespresso cappuccino
Nespresso latte macchiato

However, the Vertuo line can also make larger pod sizes. There’s a traditional American 8 oz coffee. The Vertuo Next, Vertuo Pop and the new Vertuo Creatista can also brew two larger coffee pod sizes. Those include 12 oz alto coffee pods at some point this year and an 18 oz pour over style carafe of coffee for when you need to serve several people.

Pick a Vertuo if your morning drink is a regular coffee or if you enjoy both coffee and espresso-based drinks. If you are only interested in espresso, you’ll have more options and better espresso with a classic Original model. Keep reading to learn why.

Nespresso Vertuo vs Original Differences In Features

Brewing Technology

Purists will say that Original models will make a better shot of espresso than Vertuo models. That’s because they use a different brewing tech.

The classic Original line brews using a 19-bar high pressure pump system. Manual and semi-automatic espresso machines also use a high pressure system to extract the coffee. That means that the Original line makes a really authentic espresso. The 19 bars of pressure enable classic Original machines to extract the full flavor and aroma from the beans at the ideal temperature.

Vertuo machines spin the pods at high speeds inside the brew head
Vertuo machines spin the pods at high speeds inside the brew head

In contrast, the Vertuoline uses a new centrifusion technology. It makes many holes in a pod all around the edge and then fills the pod with hot water. The Vertuo then spins the pod around at high speeds to extract the coffee. The coffee then flows into your cup.

So an espresso from an Original model will be more authentic vs one made from a Vertuo machine. But is a Vertuo espresso bad? I have both models and use them to make espresso. I enjoy them both. However, I think the espresso made by my Original model is a bit hotter. If you prefer to drink iced lattes, this might not matter to you.

Milk Frothing & Steaming Functionality

If you like lattes and cappuccinos, you’ll need to be able to steam and froth milk. Only the higher end Original models like the Creatista and Lattissima will have milk heating built in. The only Vertuoline model that has milk frothing built is is the new Vertuo Creatista by Breville, released in March 2023.

If you get a Vertuo or a more basic Original model, you will need to get a frother accessory. Nespresso sells two milk frothers, the Aeroccino 3 and 4. They are super easy to use to to make both hot and cold drinks.

Nespresso Aeroccino 3
Nespresso Aeroccino 3

How Do Nespresso Vertuo vs Original Machine Prices Compare?

Nespresso Vertuo models that brew both coffee and espresso are a little bit more expensive vs the basic Original brewers. The suggested retail price is around $180 to $209 for Vertuo models. However, you can sometimes find them on sale for as low as $130. The exception is the new Vertuo Creatista with milk frothing, which has an MSRP of $749. Since this model is brand new, not much is known about its reliability.

There is a much bigger range in price for the Original line. There are some higher end ones that have more advanced features. These include built-in milk frothing and an extra year of warranty coverage. The Creatista and Lattissima models, for example, can sell for $400 to $600. But there are more affordable options with the basic functionality you need to brew great espresso. The Essenza Mini and the Pixie are both popular. You can find one for $150 to $200. However, you may want to spend a bit more to get a bundle with the frother.

Nespresso Vertuo vs Original Pods

Selection

If you like espresso drinks, you’ll find more variety with Nespresso Original than the Vertuo models. There are 38 different espresso pods for the Original line. There is a wide range of both intensity levels and caffeine levels to pick from. In contrast, there are only 14 espresso pods for Vertuo (some single and some double shots).

Nespresso Vertuo Pod Sizes
Nespresso Vertuo Pod Sizes

The Vertuoline machines have plenty of coffee pods (at least for me). There are 17 eight oz coffee pods here in the US. Plus, if you buy the Vertuo Next or the new Vertuo Creatista, you’ll be able to use two larger size coffee pods that only work with this Vertuoline model. Those are the 18 oz pour over carafe pods and the new 12 oz extra large alto coffee pods.

If that is not enough variety for you, you may want to consider Keurig vs Nespresso. You won’t be able to make espresso with Keurig, but you’ll have many more coffees to choose from. Remember, there are NO coffee pods for the Original line.

Prices

Unfortunately, Nespresso recently raised the prices for both espresso and coffee pods around the world. Here are the latest US cost per pod reflecting the price increase at the start of 2023. No matter what model you choose, the pods only come in 10-packs. So for budgeting purposes, you should take the cost per pod below and multiply by 10 to get to the cost of the sleeve.

Pod SizeNespresso Vertuo Pods Starting PriceNespresso Original Pods Starting Price
Espresso$0.98$0.80
Double Espresso$1.15N/A
Lungo / Gran Lungo$1.15$0.85
Coffee$1.25N/A
Alto (Next & Vertuo Creatista only)$1.50N/A
Carafe (Next & Vertuo Creatista only)$1.65N/A
Nespresso Pod Pricing (March 2023)

You’ll see that the single espresso pods are cheaper for the Original line vs the Vertuo line. That’s another reason why espresso drinkers are usually better off with an Original. However, you’ll notice that the Vertuo double espresso pod is a great value vs two Original espresso pods. You’d save 45 cents if you use a single Vertuo double instead of two Original singles. Keep this in mind if you tend to make larger espresso drinks.

You cannot use Original pods in a Vertuo machine or vice versa. You also should avoid using pods twice to try to save money. You’ll end up with a drink that tastes bitter or burnt.

3rd Party Compatible Pods

Other than Nespresso pods, you’ll only be able to find Vertuo Pods by Starbucks. These tend to be slightly more expensive than the Nespresso capsules. There are no other third party Vertuoline capsules. There likely won’t be until around 2030 when a patent on the Vertuo pod design expires.

In contrast, you can find lots of compatible capsules for the Original line. There are Starbucks pods, but also many other brands like Peet’s and Lavazza. Many stores like Target, Williams-Sonoma and even Trader Joe’s make their own version of these pods too. That makes it convenient if you are trying to figure out where to buy pods close to you. Note that Keurig K-Cups cannot be used in either Nespresso model.

My Recommended Nespresso Original and Vertuo Models

I think buying a Nespresso is definitely worth it. I have both the Original and Vertuo. Here are my recommended models for each line.

Original Premium Pick – Nespresso Creatista Plus

Nespresso Original Creatista Plus
Nespresso Creatista Plus

I’ve been a delighted owner of the Breville Nespresso Creatista Plus since May of 2021. Before getting the Creatista, I would often go to coffee shops when I wanted something more indulgent than what I could make at home with the very basic drip coffee maker. Now I can easily make milk-based espresso drinks at home by just pressing a few buttons.

The range of drinks you can prepare with the Creatista Plus with the push of some buttons is what makes this machine so special. There are 7 drinks to choose from: Flat White, Cappuccino, Latte, Latte Macchiato, Espresso, Lungo and Ristretto.

Milk frothing and steaming functionality is built directly into the machine. No separate accessories like the Aeroccino are needed to make milk-based drinks. Just use the stainless steel milk jug that comes in the box to quickly and easily prep the milk.

The Creatista Plus is definitely one of the most beautiful Nespresso machines. My model is the brushed stainless steel finish. You may be able to find it in other colors at retailers like Williams-Sonoma, including Sea Salt White, Black Truffle, and Damson Blue.

See my related posts for an in-depth review of the Creatista Plus. If you really want to splurge, you can even consider the newer Creatista Pro, which has a color touchscreen.

Original Budget Pick – Nespresso Essenza Mini

The Essenza Mini is one of the most affordable Original machines on the market. The suggested retail price is around $169. The bundle with the Aeroccino 3 milk frother has a suggested price of $219 (a $50 savings vs buying both separately). However, you may be able to find it on sale from time to time on AmazonBed Bath and Beyond and other retailers.

nespresso essenza mini
Nespresso Essenza Mini

A family member has the Essenza Mini with the frother. I get to use that when I visit them. It makes the same quality espresso or lungo as the more premium Original Nespresso machines. The limitation is that it doesn’t have a built in milk frother. That isn’t a problem if you like to drink your espresso or lungo black, with a splash of cold milk or americano style. However, If you want to drink a latte or cappuccino you will need to get a frother like the Nespresso Aeroccino 3 or 4.

The small footprint of the Essenza Mini makes it a great choice if you are tight on counter space. However, it also means that it will require a bit more time for regular maintenance. The water tank is quite small (only 20 oz) and the used capsule container only holds six pods. See my related posts for an in-depth review of the Essenza Mini.

Vertuo Pick – Nespresso Vertuo Plus

Have you decided that a Vertuo is right for you? If so, avoid the Vertuo Next no matter how good of a price you find. Lots of owners complain about the reliability of the Next. You will be better off buying any of the other three models: the Evoluo, Vertuo or VertuoPlus. I have had my VertuoPlus since the end of 2021. I have been very happy with it so far.

nespresso vertuo plus
Nespresso Vertuo Plus

The Vertuo Plus is the only Nespresso model that has a motorized lid that will open and close by itself with the gentle push on the lever.  It also is the only Vertuo model to have a moveable water reservoir. You can move it behind the machine, to the side or at a 45 degree angle. The water tank holds 40 oz, which means you won’t have to refill it too often. The used capsule container can hold up to 10 coffee pods. I usually empty mine just once a week.

In addition to the standard model, there is the Nespresso Vertuo Plus Deluxe. This is great choice if you want a coffee maker that has it all: chrome accents, faster startup speed, less frequent maintenance, and an adjustable water tank.

FAQ: Does Nespresso Breville vs Delonghi Matter?

When you are shopping, don’t worry about the Breville vs De’Longhi names. Both are official manufacturing partners. Nespresso designs the core tech, Breville and De’Longhi only design the exterior. Functionality and reliability is the same. The only difference is design. I would pick the cheaper one unless you have a really strong design preference. If you still are not sure, you can also see my other post on what Nespresso to buy and which Nespresso machines I think are best.

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