Best Nespresso Vertuoline Pods and Capsules: What’s all the hype?

By Shabbir
Last update:

Nespresso machines have been well known for brewing really good coffee and having a very large variety of flavors available, but they’ve also been known to become quite expensive in the long run.

The specialty of Nespresso machines are the pods. The pods contain coffee grounds and flavorings and using pressure extraction, the machine brews a really nice shot or two of espresso.

In 2014, Nespresso released a new “technology” for brewing coffee and called it Vertuoline. There are a wide variety of capsules available, but we feel that the best Nespresso VertuoLine pods are the Intenso pods for intense coffee, or the Altissio for a balanced cup.

10 Best Nespresso VertuoLine Pods: Top Picks for 2020

1. Nespresso VertuoLine Intenso Pods

Our favorite VertuoLine pod is the Intenso. As the name gives away, these pods are really, really intense. Normally, espresso is brewed best with medium-dark roasts, but these are more towards the darker side.

The resulting shot is a deep, bold flavored shot crafted from the best South American coffee beans. A word of warning, though: these shots may be a little too strong for you if you’re not used to drinking intense coffee.

If you’ve developed a taste for strong espresso, you’ll love the bold, earthy notes that this pod brings out. You will even get a hint of brown sugar.

2. Nespresso Vertuoline Melozio Pods

While the Intenso pods are on one extreme of the intensity scale, the Melozio pods are comparatively lighter roasts. Sourced from Brazil, the resulting cup will be nice and balanced, with hints of sweetness and still that toastiness that you love in espresso.

The reason these pods are number 2 on the list is that they’re great alternatives for folks who want to get started with espresso and Nespresso machines but would prefer to start with something that’s not too strong.

Even when I got started in coffee, I preferred lighter and sweeter blends before eventually graduating towards more intense roasts.

The Melozio pods also make great bases for cappuccinos and lattes.

3. Nespresso Vertuoline Voltesso Pods

The Voltesso is an ideal drink to have as an espresso shot. It’s also on the lighter end of roasts, but the flavors are really sharp and sweet, which go well against the background taste of espresso.

The Voltesso’s aroma is nothing short of legendary. The moment your machine dispenses the shot, you’ll get a whiff of hazelnuts and brown sugar. It will feel like you’re having coffee in a Parisian bakery!

Overall, this is a great pod for someone who wants something they can enjoy every day and is still undecided between going the light roast route or the dark roast route.

4. Nespresso Vertuoline Stormio Pods

If you’re a little adventurous with your coffee, you’ll love the Stormio pods. Stormio pods are like a storm of flavors where a very interesting medley of flavors come together and rain on your taste buds.

You’ll get a mix of spiciness and toasty, cereal notes. The combination is very interesting and will be a really new experiencce.

Some people may find the flavor combination a little strange, though, so if you’re not too sure about committing, consider trying Stormio pods in a sampler before ordering a whole bunch!

5. Nespresso Vertuoline Altissio Pods

The middle choice in our list is a pod that is a middle-ground coffee. It’s everything you’d expect from an espresso shot: the crema, smooth body, and bold taste. It’s like the comfort food of espresso.

Overall, it’s a dark roast, which tends to produce a little more crema thanks to the extra oils in the beans. The Altissio pods are made with Costa Rican beans. Costa Rica is one of the most famous coffee-producing nations in the world.

If you’re looking for something very balanced, the Altissio pods are a great choice. They’ll brew a shot that will always meet your expectations and give you a warm, satisfying espresso sensation in every sip.

6. Nespresso Vertuoline Intenso Decaffeinato

Just because you wish to avoid caffeine does not mean you need to sacrifice drinking great coffee. The sweet, mildly intense flavor will fool your taste buds into thinking you’re just drinking regular coffee.

Many folks want to watch their caffeine intake for health reasons, or as a personal choice. Nespresso has done a good job with the Intenso Decaffeinato to make a shot which still tastes great but does not have the caffeine concentration of a typical espresso,

It’s still a dark roast, so you’ll get the intense, earthy tastes that are commonly found in these roasts.

7. Nespresso Vertuoline Caramelizio Pods

For those of us who prefer really sweet coffees, the Caramelizio is a good choice. The Caramelizio pods are light roasts and noticeably sweet.

It’s almost like adding sugar to your coffee, except there’s actually no added sugar.

Seasoned espresso lovers may not like the extra sweetness though, as they may prefer the full-bodied, bold shots that are typical of espresso.

However, if you or your significant other prefers really sweet coffee, these pods are good to have around so they can enjoy espresso too!

8. Nespresso Vertuoline Solelio Pods

The Solelio pods have a really bright, fruity flavor to them. These are also comparatively lighter roasts, which help bring out the fruity flavors. The beans are sourced from South America and Africa, so it’s an interesting continental mix.

Since these are also lighter roasts, you can expect that the resulting shot will not be as full-bodied as a darker espresso.

Overall, though, it’s definitely an interesting flavor combination and if you like punchy coffee that tickles your taste buds, the Solelio pods are worth a shot!

9. Nespresso Vertuoline Vanizio Pods

Who doesn’t like vanilla, right? The Vanizio pods have a combination of a rich coffee flavor mixed with the smooth, satisfying aroma and taste of vanilla.

There’s no added flavoring, though. The beans themselves have these flavor notes, along with a touch of malt! It’s like an espresso milkshake, but without the milk and calories!

These are medium roasted beans, which make them very balanced for brewing espresso. They won’t be quite as light as some of the other blends we’ve mentioned here, nor will they be too dark and intense.

10. Nespresso Vertuoline Hazelino Pods

Last but not least, we have the Hazelino pods. Hazelnut is just one of those flavors that gel with coffee, and these beans bring out the richness of hazelnuts, sugar, and butter.

Central American and Brazilian beans bring out the flavor in the resulting espresso shot.

The Hazelino pods contain medium roasted beans, which brings a good balance to the cup. The shot will still be full-bodied, but won’t have the in-your-face intensity of darker roasts.

If you like hazelnuts and pralines, these pods will be a hit.


What is VertuoLine and how does it work?

Vertuoline still uses pods, but Nespresso cites two new changes/innovations in the way it works:

1. Centrifusion technology

While most espresso machines use pressure to extract the flavor from coffee grounds, Vertuoline machines do it using a centrifuge, which means they spin the grounds very fast, up to 7000 times per minute.

This is a neat idea, since the idea behind using pressure is applying force, and in a centrifuge, you’re also generating force.

When the machine spins the pod, the grounds/water mixture is thrown to the sides of the pod, and the continuous spinning motion keeps pushing the mixture to the side, sort of how gravity pulls you towards an object.

This is known as centrifugal force, if you’re a physics or science aficionado.

If you’ve ever gone to an amusement park and ridden in those giant centrifuge rides where you can stick to the walls, that’s how your coffee grounds probably feel!

Through this process, they manage to create a richer crema or foam on top of the espresso.

2. Automatic blend recognition

Each Nespresso Vertuoline pod has a barcode on the underside of the rim.

When you place the pod into the machine, the barcode sits on top of a reader. The reader then scans the barcode, which contain instructions for how to brew the coffee.

Instructions are probably limited to how much water to use, what temperature to use, how long to brew it, and how fast to spin. That’s pretty much it.

The beauty of coffee machines is that brewing coffee is a really simple task, but machines can be so wonderfully complex.

For some people, that’s a huge bonus, as they like gadgetry and bells and whistles.

For others, that’s a bit of a drawback, as they may be more traditionalists.

Is this really that much of an improvement?

Nespresso cites on their page:

Centrifusion technology to gently and fully extract all the aromas

Gently? Sure. Centrifugal force, at least the amount being used in this machine is probably less than the several bars of pressure used in normal espresso machines.

Fully? Maybe.

Many consumers note that Vertuoline coffees are sometimes underextracted.

I feel that the main benefit of Vertuoline is the extra crema. If you like a really creamy, frothy espresso, then sure, the Vertuoline pods are a good choice. But if you prefer more intense flavor, then you may want to try both and then see which one you like best.

Are VertuoLine pods economical?

Nespresso Vertuoline pods come in two sizes: espresso and coffee. Naturally, coffee is a slightly larger pod, since it’s a bigger serving than just a shot of espresso.

You put the pods into the machine with the dome facing downwards, so that the machine can read the barcode and brew accordingly.


Vertuoline pods are not cheap, that’s for sure!

But neither are Keurig pods, when you come to think of it.

Let’s have some fun.

Let’s do some math!

Assuming you have a cup of coffee every morning…

The cheapest latte at Starbucks is around $3, and the most expensive one runs up to $5.

If you average it out at $4, you’re spending 365 * 4 or $1460 per year on coffee

Nespresso OriginalLine pods average $0.75 to $0.85 per serving(a pack of 40 pods sells in the $30-40 range, normally).

Averaging out at $0.80, if you drank one Nespresso OriginalLine per day, you’d spend $292 per year on coffee.

The Nespresso VertuoLine pods are a little bit more expensive, averaging $0.90 to $1.25 per serving, so if you drank one Nespresso VertuoLine per day, you’d spend $402 per year on coffee.

Just for comparison sake, let’s throw in a Keurig as well.

Keurig pods average $0.35 to $0.65 per cup(not carafe or mug, this is the smallest size), so if you drank one Keurig cup every day for a year, you’d spend $219.

So from the raw numbers themselves, it’s pretty clear that it’s far more economical to use a home espresso machine.

Of course we’ve not factored in the cost of milk and electricity, but still, the point stands valid.

Even if you spent $1000 on a machine(and there are some machines that cost that much, and more), you’d still spend the same for one machine plus a years’ supply of pods as you would have by going to a Starbucks.

Reducing the cost even more

The economics of Nespresso Vertuoline are certainly favorable when compared to Starbucks.

But coffee pods do have a hidden cost which many people are concerned about: trash.

Every day, you would end up throwing out a used pod. Over the course of a year, that adds up to a lot of trash!

One way to reduce the environmental impact is by opting to use Vertuoline reusable pods.

Reusable pods are also going to end up being more cost-effective per cup, too, since you can buy coffee powder in bulk for far cheaper than individual or even sets of pods. Some people have been drinking the same brand of coffee for years, so they may wish to stick with that roast!

The only time pods would be more sensible are if there is a very specific pod flavor you like, or you like to mix it up and don’t want to have too many small bags of coffee lying around.

The downsides, however, are:

  • There’s some additional moving parts
  • You’ll have to spend some time getting everything ready vs the literal one-touch espresso with a pod
  • You’ll have to clean everything up

At this time, there is only one kind of reusable kit available for Vertuoline pods: the [easyazon_link identifier=”B01IILFCRS” locale=”US” tag=”coffeebrewster-20″]MyCap V-Pack[/easyazon_link]

To let you make your own Vertuoline pod, the V-Pack comes with four parts that go inside one another to form a makeshift pod.

At the bottom of the pod, you’d insert the filter, inside of which you’d put the grounds, then the foil seal, and finally the reusable cap.

Compared to the reusable pod for Keurig machines, which is simply a net filter basket, this is quite complex. But if you’re a Nespresso person, you’re a Nespresso person!

As you can imagine, you’ll require a supply of foils and filters to stay in business, so there certainly is a running cost here, but it’s still more effective than actual pods.

The kit linked to above has 20 seals and 20 filters, and then you’ll have to keep a supply of filters in stock. The filters are roughly $0.75 per foil when you buy in bulk, and the filters are $0.15.

You’ll be buying multiple packs, of course.

How viable is this option?

Using the reusable system certainly generates less trash, but it’s more inconvenient than the regular pods. Also, you must make sure you have all supplies in stock, since you can’t make a Nespresso Vertuoline coffee using the reusable pods unless you have a filter, foil seal, and coffee grounds. If you’re missing any one, then you’re stuck.

I personally would like to use the reusable system for everyday coffee, and have a bunch of pods I keep as backups for special treats and emergency situations where I’ve run out of filters or seals 🙂

Bottom line: Are Vertuoline pods really that big of a deal?

I think so – personally, the way Nespresso brews coffee certainly produces a really exquisite cup(especially if you’re using a demitasse cup where you can see the shot, crema, and foam in all of their layers and glory).

The different flavors you can sample are really good ways to experience a wide variety of coffees, and the ability to use reusable pods(makeshift as they may be) certainly lets you customize to whatever degree you wish.

At the end of the day, Nespresso machines are capable of making really exquisite drinks with the push of a button.

They’re costlier than regular drip coffee makers(those are boring) but far more economical than heading down to a coffee shop every day.

The one question you have to ask yourself at the very end is if you prefer the frothier centrifugal VertuoLine brews or the stronger OriginalLine brews.

Last update on 2024-05-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About Shabbir

Shab is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee Brewster. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.