Pods are more expensive than normal Nespresso pods
Larger pods require more storage space
Review Price: £199
1.7-litre water reservoir
Barcode-controlled coffee dispensing
Adjustable drip tray
What is the Nespresso Vertuo Plus?
If there was one minor issue with the original Nespresso pod system, it’s that it was geared towards producing smaller shots of coffee: ristretto, espresso and lungo.
With the new Vertuo system, Nespresso has designed an entirely new coffee pod and centrifugal brewing system, designed to deliver longer, richer drinks. It’s like no other coffee that I’ve had, and makes the Vertuo different to all other coffee machines.
From the outside, the Vertuo Plus looks like a giant traditional Nespresso machine (142 x 325 x 423mm). Its 1.7-litre water tank is far larger than on previous models, but needs to be as the new coffee pods can dispense coffee between 40ml and 414ml. A smaller Vertuo machine with a 1.2-litre tank is also available, if you don’t have room for the bigger machine here. Despite the larger size, filling is the same as with other Nespresso machines: just pick up the container and fill from the tap, then drop it back into place.
Despite the larger dimensions than previous machines, I had no problem sliding the Vertuo Plus underneath my wall-mounted kitchen cabinets. Build quality’s up there with the best that Nespresso has to offer. The Vertuo Plus is robust, looks great and it’s sensibly designed, too. The water container can be mounted at one of three locations, depending on where’s most convenient for you: to the right, behind or to the left of the coffee machine.
At the front, you can move the drip tray to four different heights, to suit all sizes of cup. And, the used pod container just pulls out from the back. A first for Nespresso, the pod container isn’t connected to the drip tray, so emptying it isn’t such a messy job.
The new pods are far larger than the old ones. They’re decked out in Nespresso’s inviting range of bright colours, maintaining the original’s premium fill. Vertuo capsules come in three different sizes, depending on the final cup size: espresso (40ml), gran lungo (150ml), mug (237ml) and alto (414ml). Original pods are not compatible with the new machine.
Pods are made from aluminium and are recyclable using Nespresso’s mature system: drop the capsules into a bag and either take them back to a store or arrange a free collection when you make an online order.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus – Features
Although the original Nespresso system is designed to be easy to use, the Vertuo takes things one step further. Pull the handle on the front and the lid mechanically lifts up, waiting for you to drop the pod into the holder in the middle. You then tap the handle again to bring the lid down and press the single button on top. The Vertuo Plus then reads the barcode on the pod, which tells the machine the exact amount of water to use and the brewing process parameters. The barcode most likely means that you won’t find Vertuo-compatible capsules from other manufacturers.
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To brew the coffee, the Vertuo uses the Centrifusion technology. This pushes a central hole into the middle of the pod, and 18 smaller holes around the outside. While the capsule spins at up to 7,000rpm, water is injected through the central hole and out of the smaller openings. It’s a completely different way of making coffee.
Once the drink is made, the used pod is spun at high speed to extract all remaining water. Pop open the lid and the pod slides on rails into the container that rear. Impressively, the drying out process worked brilliantly and my used pods were exceptionally clean with no mess.
You can top up your coffee with more hot water by tapping the top button after the brewing process has completed. Or, you can change the default volumes to suit your tastes, although the factory-set amounts have been designed for each capsule.
Currently, there are no Vertuo systems that dispense milk, although you can add an excellent Aeroccino machine if you’d like to add frothed milk to your finished drink.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus – Coffee Quality
To me, coffee is all about the variety it gives, both in the choice of flavours and in the choice of brewing method. In terms of choice, there’s nothing to complain about, with Nespresso selling 20 pod options: four espresso, four grand lungo, 10 mug and two alto. Nespresso grades the capsules on intensity, has decaffeinated options, and there are three flavoured mug options: hazelnut, vanilla and caramel.
Expect new ranges to be added and seasonal varieties to be added in the future, as with the traditional Nespresso range. Prices range from 37p to 60p per pod, which is generally a little higher than with the original system, although part of the cost is because the larger capsules have more coffee in them. And, the coffee here is still cheaper than going to your local coffee house.
As for brewing, Centrifusion is just a new way of making coffee, and it’s a little bit special. This tech shows its true colours when making longer mug or alto drinks. A thick and rich crema tops the drink, giving Vertuo drinks a rich and full-bodied taste like no other coffee that I’ve tasted and certainly different from traditional long drinks, such as an americano or cafe crema. For those that like a full mug of coffee, the intense and well-balanced flavours here are exceptional. Of course, it’s up to you to find the pods and flavours that you like.
I’m a fan of Nespresso’s flavoured capsules, and they work even better here. The new extraction systems really bring out the flavour and bouquet of the capsules: hazelnut is my all-time favourite.
If you want espresso or a longer lungo, the Vertuo remains excellent. Shots are dispensed quickly, with a full body and rich, well-defined crema on top. Again, the taste is richer and more defined than with the original pod system. Temperature is spot on at around 67C, too.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus – Maintenance
Aside from emptying out the pod capsule and filling the water reservoir, there’s refreshingly little to do with the Vertuo Plus. I found that the drip tray stayed clean (spinning the capsules at the end gets rid of any dripping from the spout), so rarely needed cleaning or emptying.
If you haven’t used the machine for a while, there’s a cleaning cycle that flushes clean water through the system. I’d be tempted to run that once a month, in any case. Finally, every six months or so you’ll need to run the descaling programme: Nespresso sells descaler sold in packets of the right amount for the machine.
That’s all you need to do and, once again, it has to be said that pod machines are far easier to maintain than traditional coffee machines.
Should I buy the Nespresso Vertuo Plus?
Coffee’s all about taste and choice. If the more-traditional espresso is what you prefer, a regular espresso machine or normal Nespresso make a good choice. If you want something different, that’s capable of pouring a tasty long cup of coffee, the Vertuo’s Centrifusion system is just incredible. With such a range of pods already, there’s a great choice of flavours and options to suit all tastes.
For me, just the completely different style of coffee is enough to wing it for me, and I’d happily swap my older Nespresso machine for the Vertuo.
A smart new way of making coffee, Nespresso’s new machine produces rich and inviting drinks that taste fresh and different.