Nespresso machines make some of the best beverages from coffee pods. While shopping around, you may have seen that they come as Nespresso Original and Nespresso VertuoLine. So what’s the difference between Vertuo vs Original, and is either one objectively better?
In this post, we’ll do a comparison between Nespresso VertuoLine vs Original.
In general, both Nespresso OriginalLine and Nespresso VertuoLine pods contain coffee grounds and are hermetically sealed.
You pop a pod into the machine, and it forces hot water through the pod at high pressure to brew coffee, and fast.
So if both OriginalLine and VertuoLine use capsules, what’s the difference?
Nespresso VertuoLine vs OriginalLine: Quick summary
Nespresso Vertuo Plus (Vertuo Line)
If you’re looking for a compact VertuoLine machine that does not break the bank, this machine may be something worth considering.
At its core, the Nespresso Vertuo Plus is like any other Nespresso machine, but this machine has the ability to brew 5 different cup sizes ranging from a 1.5 ounce espresso shot all the way up to a 14 ounce Alto (which will be much more dilute than the 1.5 ounce espresso), depending on the type of pod you use.
But it really depends on the kind of strength you prefer, right?
Nespresso Essenza Mini (Original Line)
The Nespresso Essenza Mini is one of my favorite Nespresso machines The Nespresso Essenza Mini is one of my favorite Nespresso machines because it is just so compact! It’s great for a kitchen of any size, as the footprint is really less especially when compared to other larger espresso machines.
- OriginalLine coffee machines use 19 bars of pressure to extract the coffee flavor from the pods (at an optimum temperature), much like a regular espresso machine. Vertuoline machines use an extraction method that utilizes centrifugal force and a moderate temperature to brew coffee. The centrifugal force creates an effect of gravity which exerts the force.
- Original Line machines are much more open and compatible . That means that in addition to the official line of Nespresso capsules, there are lots of third-party compatible capsules available and even reusable, refillable pods you can fill with your own coffee. VertuoLine machines are much more tied down to the ecosystem of Nespresso capsules and it’s difficult to find any compatible capsules.
- OriginalLine machines make stronger coffee which tastes more like traditional espresso. The centrifugal extraction of VertuoLine machines results in a weaker coffee but thicker crema.
- VertuoLine pods are more expensive than OriginalLine pods
- VertuoLine machines are capable of brewing full 8 ounce Americanos and 12 ounce Gran Altos, while the largest cup you can get out of an OriginalLine machine is a lungo shot since it is more geared towards espresso drinks.
The last point really sums up why Nespresso came out with VertuoLine in the first place.
Nespresso was very popular in Europe, where smaller shots of coffee are quite common.
To better expand into North American markets, they came up with the Nespresso VertuoLine system which actually uses a wide variety of pod sizes for different brews:
- Espresso: 1.35 oz
- Gran Lungo: 5 oz
- Mug: 7.8 oz
- Alto: 14 oz
With Nespresso OriginalLine, you just get a single type of capsule that brews both espresso (1.35 oz) and lungo (3 oz).
VertuoLine vs Original: Differences in Brewing and Taste
The two ways that the VertuoLine and Original machines brew the grounds makes all the difference in taste.
One major issue with VertuoLine is that the temperature used is a bit lower than the temperature used in Original Line.
OriginalLine uses pressure, whereas VertuoLine uses centrifugal force.
Because the temperature is lower, the amount of oils and essence (read: flavors) extracted from the grounds will be less.
The result is a sometimes milder coffee.
Nespresso OriginalLine machines make a stronger, hotter coffee.
Nespresso Vertuo produces more crema
Another difference is that there is a lot more crema and foam on the Vertuoline brew than there is on OriginalLine.
As I was reading up on this, I was wondering why Nespresso would purposefully make coffee machines that made less intense coffee and market it as something new.
But then it struck me that the Vertuoline coffee machines may be marketed towards folks who like the crema essentially, and Original Line machines are marketed towards those folks who prefer the straight up taste of espresso.
Though you may find, according to some people, that VertuoLine crema is in fact just foam, and Original Line crema is actually better and more authentic.
Crema is generally considered to be a sign of good coffee and/or a skilled barista. Fresh beans tend to produce more crema than older beans, and some people really like the smoothness that it provides to the first few sips of your coffee.
One of the reasons this is so is that excessive crema can be a sign of the brew being made with robusta coffee beans, which are generally less flavorful than arabica coffee beans.
That said, robusta coffee beans tend to have more caffeine, so if it is a stronger hit of caffeine (not necessarily coffee) that you’re looking for, the extra crema from the added robusta beans may be just what you were looking for.
Another more controversial hypothesis is that the extra crema is just a result from the high speed centrifugal brewing. In this case, it’s not true crema, but it’s just an extra bit of foam generated from the all the air mixing into the top of the coffee from the centrifuge.
Nespresso Vertuo Vs Original: Differences in cost
Another huge factor in comparing Vertuoline vs Original is that Nespresso uses a fancy barcode system on each Vertuoline pod that informs the machine how much water to use and how hot the water should be to brew the coffee.
This also makes it nearly impossible for third party manufacturers to make their own pods. You’re kind of stuck using the Original Nespresso pods, which can be quite pricey.
Of all pod-style coffee makers, VertuoLine is the most expensive per pod, averaging at $0.90 – $1.25 per capsule.
You can check how much multi-packs sell for on Amazon and divide by the number of pods to get this average.
Original Line pods are for $0.75 – $0.85, a considerable difference that will certainly add up over time.
Averaging out the cost of a VertuoLine coffee pod to $1.07 and an OriginalLine coffee pod to $0.80:
- Drinking one OriginalLine cup every day for one year will cost you $292
- Drinking one VertuoLine cup every dayfor one year will cost you $390
That’s a fairly considerable difference of $100!
There is one thing that the Vertuoline does that the OriginalLine can’t do quite as well: it can brew you a full cup of black Americano style coffee.
OriginalLine and Vertuo Pods: differences in variety of coffee
There are a lot of different flavors available for both Vertuoline and OriginalLine. If you’re really picky about the individual flavor notes and tones, then it’s better to compare flavors first then the machines next!
Below is a list of all OriginalLine flavors. The flavor notes are going to vary slightly from coffee to coffee, so the best way to figure out which one you like best is to try a sampler pack.
- Ristretto Decaffeinato
- Arpeggio Decaffeinato
- Volluto Decaffeinato
- Vivalto Lungo Decaffeinato
- Envivo Lungo
- Fortissio Lungo
- Vivalto Lungo
- Linzio Lungo
- Indriya from India
- Rosabaya de Colombia
- Dulsao do Brasil
- Bukeela ka Ethiopia
Below is a list of all the flavors that VertuoLine capsules come in. The flavor notes are going to vary slightly from coffee to coffee, so the best way to figure out which one you like best is to try a sampler pack.
- Half Caffeinato
Alto XL (14 oz)
- Alto XL Intenso
- Alto XL Dolce
Gran Lungo Americano (5 oz)
- Fortado Gran Lungo
- Arondio Gran Lungo
- Alforazio Gran Lungo
- Decaf Ontuoso Gran Lungo
- Decaffeinato Intenso
Can you use original Nespresso pods in Vertuoline?
Unfortunately, you can’t use original Nespresso pods in Vertuoline machines. The pod shapes are completely different.
Like we mentioned above, the Vertuoline machines have a rounded pod and a barcode that tells the machine how exactly to brew the coffee. Original pods don’t have the same barcode (without which you can’t get the machine to brew) nor do they have the same shape to be able to fit in the Vertuoline pod bay.
What about third party pods?
Nespresso Vertuo machines are designed to use only Vertuoline capsules. The barcode system on Vertuoline capsules is highly proprietary, so you won’t find any third party Vertuo capsules.
Our best Nespresso machine picks
Even though we’ve got a post dedicated to Nespresso machines, since you’re already here, we figured we’d talk a bit about some of our favorite Nespresso coffee makers.
It’s worth mentioning that there are a lot more models available in the Original range than there are in the VertuoLine range. Additionally, other manufacturers also support Original capsules, whereas Vertuoline capsules are locked into fewer models.
A quick note about milk frothing
The Original machines are much more geared towards traditional espresso-based drinks, so if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for cappuccinos, lattes, and the like, then some OriginalLine machines have a frother built in.
The VertuoLine machines don’t have milk frothing out of the box, but Nespresso does ship them with an optional Aeroccino milk frother. You can still use the smaller Vertuo espresso coffee capsules to make espresso-based drinks.
Nespresso by DeLonghi
Here’s another tiny machine to consider. Since Nespresso machines are designed to be straightforward and simple, this machine gives you the choice of brewing either an espresso shot or a lungo. It is also available as a combo with the Aeroccino milk frother.
Nespresso Creatista plus
Finally, if you’re looking for something that’s really top of the line, might we suggest the Creatista plus.
A small LCD screen lets you configure settings to your liking, and the built in frothing wand can help you steam milk to over 10 variations of foam from very wet foam (less air) to very dry foam (more air).
There’s a conventional cappuccino ratio you can follow where you use both wet and dry foam, but you can also adjust this to your personal preference.
The Creatista plus uses Original capsules.
Between OriginalLine and VertuoLine, Which one is better?
I personally feel OriginalLine is the winner here because its ecosystem is a lot more open than that of the VertuoLine. Add to that the bigger variety in OriginalLine models and the ability to froth milk in some machines, and the difference is obvious.
I think, at the end of the day, the difference boils down to:
- If you’re a coffee purist that wants authentic espresso and coffee, stick with OriginalLine. The coffee is stronger, hotter, and more intense all around
- If you’re an adventurer and like lots of foamy crema, then give VertuoLine a shot
The OriginalLine has a lot more flavors right now. Nespresso may or may not add more flavors to the Vertuoline to make it more appealing to a wider audience.
We’ve already talked about the differences in extraction between VertuoLine and Original Nespresso machines. It is also worth mentioning that Vertuoline machines do not have built in milk frothers (yet, anyway).
It is entirely possible a future model will have a built in frother, and if it does, we’ll try to be the first to give you an update about it!
Frequently asked questions
Is Nespresso VertuoLine worth it?
Personally, I prefer the OriginalLine over the VertuoLine. VertuoLine is not compatible with any non-Nespresso capsules, and the pods are more expensive, too. The only situation in which I’d recommend a VertuoLine is if you prefer drinking Americanos, which OriginalLine machines can’t brew.
Why is Nespresso so foamy?
A combination of high quality coffee grounds and a very high-pressure extraction results in a lot of crema. The pressure is the key, which Nespresso machines do a great job of producing.
Which is better Keurig or Nespresso?
It depends on what you’re looking for. For authentic single serve espresso, Nespresso is the boss. For the ability to brew a wide range of coffees and other drinks in lightning speed, Keurig is the way to go.
Last update on 2024-02-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API