This guide will explain the differences and similarities between the Nespresso Vertuo vs Original line coffee machines, and it will help you decide which Nespresso machine line to choose!
Nespresso offers one of the most convenient ways of making coffee from home - all you need to do is pop a capsule, press a few buttons, and voilà - your lovely morning coffee is ready to be consumed.
It’s no surprise that many people are looking to purchase a Nespresso machine for their kitchen or office!
However, prospective buyers will need to decide whether to get a machine from the VertuoLine or OriginalLine.
Luckily this post exists to help you decide which lineup is best for you.
We do so by comparing the Nespresso Vertuo vs the Original lineups, including their brewing and frothing systems, types of capsules, coffee drink quality, cost, available models, environmental impact, and more.
And by the way, we have a strong preference for one.
Read and find out which!
As its name implies, Nespresso started with the OriginalLine. This was way back in 1986 when I was still learning the intricacies of crawling.
Nespresso machines from the OriginalLine prepare espresso-based drinks. These single-serve coffee makers typically can brew ristrettos (0.85 oz or 25 mL) and espressos (1.35 oz or 40 mL) while some models can brew lungos (3.7 or 110 mL).
As such, OriginalLine Nespresso machines cannot prepare large volume coffees such as a mug of coffee.
To brew, hot water at up to 19 bars of pressure is forced through the capsule, which mixes with the ground coffee. The bottom of the capsule is punctured with several holes, from where the coffee is dispensed.
Note that OriginalLine machines do not dispense true espresso (which requires 9 bars, no more, no less). However, the resulting beverage is close enough to espresso for most people.
Higher-end OriginalLine models come with built-in frothers or steam wands. This means that with this Nespresso lineup, you could prepare delicious specialty coffee drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites.
Another key highlight is that patents for the Original Nespresso lineup expired.
This translates to compatibility with third-party capsules including reusable ones! In other words, you have a greater variety of coffee types at a lower cost than the Nespresso VertuoLine.
Plus, there is the potential for waste reduction if you use reusable Nespresso pods!
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Believe it or not, Nespresso really struggled to penetrate the US market.
Their Nespresso machines only prepared small coffee servings such as espresso and ristrettos. While these drinks are popular in Europe, they are not so much in North America.
People in the US prefer larger-sized coffees; usually at least 8-oz (237 mL) mugs of drip coffee. (Have you seen the gargantuan Starbucks cup sizes of up to 30 oz?)
Anyways, Nespresso ended up with a whole entire lineup for the US, which is now known as the VertuoLine!
The VertuoLine prepares a larger and wider range of drink sizes, compared to the OriginalLine machines. Dictated by the capsule size, with the VertuoLine pods you can make espresso (1.35 oz or 40 mL), double espresso (2.7 oz or 80 mL), gran lungo (5.07 oz or 150 mL), coffee (7.77 oz or 237 mL) and coffee carafe (18 oz or 535 mL) drinks.
The VertuoLine Nespresso machines use a completely different brewing system than the OringalLine ones. They use centrifusion - hot water is injected into the capsule, which rotates at up to 7,000 RPM. The very high rotational speed mixes the water and coffee grounds, which are dispensed through the sides of the capsule.
The resulting coffee drink is somewhere between an espresso and a drip coffee. In fact, VertuoLine coffee should have its own category as we are not aware of any other brewing processes that use centrifusion.
Another highlight of the Nespresso Vertuo models is the barcode scanning system. This barcode is read by the machine, which identifies the type of coffee being prepared, and then automatically selects the appropriate brewing parameters for that specific capsule.
This takes any guesswork out of the equations.
However, there is a catch…
There are no third-party VertuoLine capsules. You can only buy Vertuo capsules from Nespresso itself. This limits your choice of coffee while costing you more per capsule.
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We have given you an overview of the two types of Nespresso lines available.
Next, let’s dive deeper and compare the OriginalLine and VertuoLine in closer detail.
OriginalLine Nespresso machines use pressure to brew coffee. The top of the capsule is pierced by a needle, from which hot water at 19 bars is injected into the capsule. This high pressure quickly mixes with the coffee grounds inside the capsule and then ruptures the bottom. Coffee then flows through the punctures into your cup.
The OriginalLine brews coffee similarly to an espresso machine. The main difference is that it uses 19 bars instead of 9 bars - the latter being the correct pressure espresso should be brewed at. So what you get is something close to espresso.
The VertuoLine Nespresso machines use centrifusion to brew coffee. The capsule is pierced and then hot water is forced into the capsule. The capsule rotates very rapidly - at up to 7,000 RPM (revolutions per minute). This creates very high centrifugal forces which are proportional to the square of the angular velocity (sorry - I cannot quiet down the engineer in me).
The result is high pressures against the walls of the capsule which mixes the coffee grounds and hot water and eventually expels coffee from the sides of the capsule.
Although the VertuoLine has espresso capsules, the resulting brew is not really espresso - more like a concentrated coffee. Again, VertuoLine coffee should be its own category given its unique brewing system.
Some high-end OriginalLine Nespresso machines come with built-in milk steaming systems.
These are the Creatista models by Breville, which use steam wands, and the Lattissima models by De’Longhi with their One-touch milk recipes.
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In other words, the OriginalLine espresso machines are the closest thing to super-automatic espresso machines you can get from Nespresso.
Other Original Nespresso machines such as the Pixie or Citiz are more compact and do not incorporate milk steaming systems. Instead, if you want milky drinks, you can purchase a separate frother such as the Nespresso’s Aeroccino.
VertuoLine models do not come with built-in milk frothers. Instead, they rely on Nespresso’s Aeroccino frothers which are extra, but sometimes come as bundles when you purchase a Nespresso Vertuo pod machine.
OriginalLine Nespresso machines use pressure which results in espresso-like drinks. These tend to be more concentrated with a more authentic espresso taste than the VertuoLine drinks.
You could grind your own bean and then insert the grounds into a reusable OriginalLine capsule for a fresher and more delicious coffee. With the VertuoLine, this is not an option.
The advantage of the Vertuo machines is their versatility when it comes to drink sizes. You can make espressos, coffee mugs, and even coffee carafes.
However, we note that the VertuoLine espresso pods are in our eyes far from what a traditional espresso is, even though they dispense more crema (more on this below).
So if you are one who likes to drink espressos and espresso-based drinks, go for the OriginalLine models.
If you prefer to drink larger drinks, such as drip coffee, we recommend the VertuoLine because of its larger drink sizes.
We mentioned above that the VertuoLine machines dispense more crema than the OriginalLine ones.
And yes, before you roll your eyes, coffee snobs, the crema from the VertuoLine is not really authentic. It’s too airy and foamy, almost like a cappuccino but instead of milk the foam is made of coffee.
The OriginalLine espressos have less crema but it’s much more authentic.
If you care about the crema in your espresso, get a Nespresso machine from the OriginalLine.
Arguably, the capsule differences will be the deciding factor on whether you get a Vertuo or Original Nespresso.
OriginalLine capsules come in three sizes:
VertuoLine capsules come in five sizes and span a much wider drink volume:
Third-party OriginalLine capsules are readily available whereas third-party VertuoLine capsules are not.
The reason is that the OriginalLine lineup patents expired whereas the VertuoLine patents have not. In other words, the Vertuo capsules market is a monopoly.
For you, the consumer, this means:
When it comes to actual coffee makers, the OriginalLine has a much greater variety of models.
From the fancy (and expensive) Creatista and Lattissima models that can make cappuccinos and lattes, to the cheaper and compact Nespresso Pixie and Citiz, the OriginalLine has something for everyone.
The VertuoLine coffee makers, frankly speaking, are quite similar to each other. There are slight differences in their design such as adjustable water tank placement, the use of recycled materials, or compatibility with the 18-oz coffee carafe capsule.
However, make sure you check our Nespresso Machines Guide as there are other great options!
Although the latest research shows pod machines may not be as bad for the environment as initially thought, which of the two Nespresso lineups is best for the environment?
Well, based on the above study, coffee production and processing are the most energy intensive activities within the coffee’s lifecycle. In other words, the more coffee you use per cup, the higher the environmental impacts.
VertuoLine pods tend to contain more coffee than OriginalLine ones; therefore, their environmental impact is higher.
Further, VertuoLine pods are always single-use and will either end up in the landfill or in a recycling facility. Recycling in general is an energy intensive process and thus there are greenhouse gasses associated with it.
OriginalLine Nespresso are compatible with reusable pods, which admittedly not as convenient, could significantly reduce Nespresso machine waste.
If you are environmentally conscious, go for the OrginalLine models.
We have compared the Nespresso Vertuo and Original lineups.
But which one is better?
We believe the OriginalLine is better for the following reasons:
The only advantage of the VertuoLine is the larger coffee drink sizes. But again, you could make a delicious Americano with the OriginalLine by adding hot water to your espresso.
In our opinion, the OriginalLine is better than VertuoLine. The OriginalLine offers a larger variety of coffee makers, more coffee choices at a lower cost due to third-party compatibility, and is more environmentally friendly.
No, it’s not. We understand the OriginalLine will be here to stay for many years to come.
No, you can’t. They will not fit in the VertuoLine coffee machine. Also, Vertuo pods use barcode scanning technology to brew coffee. The OriginalLine pods do not have such barcodes.
No, you can’t. Nespresso VertuoLine machines are only compatible with single-use Vertuo Pods.
Nespresso offers better coffee makers that yield higher quality coffee. However, when it comes to cost, Keurig is better.
There you have it - the most comprehensive Nespresso Vertuo vs Original guide!
If you like espresso based drinks and want to have a greater variety of coffees, go for the OriginalLine. However, if you prefer large sized coffee drinks, the VertuoLine is your friend.