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Best Nespresso machine 2022: Vertuo and Original

Buy beans, store them properly, grind them, tamp them, tip the grounds out, then tidy up – who can be bothered? Save on the hassle with one of our best Nespresso machines, which use pods of coffee to deliver perfect espresso without the hassle.

Not only are they hassle-free, but Nespresso machines are very good. Talk to coffee experts and, while they may say that real beans is the best, they’ll admit that Nespresso delivers a good cup of coffee that’s far superior to its rivals.

There are now two types of Nespresso machines to choose from: Vertuo and Original. Vertuo is new newer and uses a larger pod, most of which are designed to deliver mug-fulls of coffee; the Original uses smaller pods for espresso and slightly larger lungo shots. Never fear, we’ve reviewed them all to help you find your perfect machine for your tastes and price.

How we test

Find out more about how we test Nespresso machines

As Nespresso machines take pods, we test each machine with a variety of different ones to get an idea of the range and quality of the coffee. We measure the temperature of each shot of coffee to make sure that the final coffee is exactly right, depending on whether it’s an espresso or a lungo.

Where a Nespresso machine has milk frothing as an option, we make a cappuccino to see how good the final result it.

Nespresso Vertuo Next

Incredible mug-fulls of coffee
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Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Delivers excellent mug fulls of coffee
  • Excellent choice of pods

Cons

  • Slightly fiddly to close the lid

With the Vertuo, Nespresso introduced a new type of capsule, designed to give you a longer, mug-full of coffee. Now, we’re onto the second generation machine: the Nespresso Vertuo Next. This model is slightly smaller than the original, and it has a more premium design, looking nicer. There are three versions available: Vertuo Next (£149), which has a plastic finish and comes in lots of colours; Vertuo Next Premium (£179), which has a patterned design; and Vertuo Next Deluxe (£199), which has a metal finish.

All three operate in the same way, so it’s a matter of personal taste and budget as to which one is best for you. While the first Vertuo machine had a motorised lid, the Vertuo Next has a manual one. There’s less to go wrong, but just make sure that you lock it in place correctly, or you won’t get coffee.

Then, it’s business as normal: insert a capsule, press the button and the centrifugal brewing system jumps into action, spinning the pods at high speed to give you maximum extraction, a full-bodied mug of coffee and a thick crema on top. This machine produces a brilliant cup of coffee.

The range of capsules is excellent, with plenty of flavours and sizes on offer, pretty much matching the original range. The only downside is that Vertuo capsules are more expensive than original Nespresso pods.

This machine has no milk option, although you could buy a Barista (see further down), or a Nespresso Aeroccino4 if you wanted to add this option. For those that like that coffee long and strong, the Vertuo Next is the ultimate choice.

Full review: Nespresso Vertuo Next review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Nespresso Atelier

Fully automated drinks system
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Pros

  • Automatic milk frothing
  • Can make hot and cold drinks
  • Great range of coffee

Cons

  • Fiddly to use with your own mugs

Nespresso machines are easy to use, but the Nespresso Atelier is even easier. Taking original pods, this machine not only dispenses the full range of original coffees, but it can froth milk and make a wide range of milky drinks, too.

To froth milk, there’s a heater and a whisk that attaches to the front of the machine. Put milk into a mug, tap one of the recipe buttons and your milk is perfectly mixed before coffee is added at the end. This process works better with the Nespresso recipe glasses, but you can use your own if you prefer. Be prepared to experiment with milk and coffee volumes to get the best results, though.

If you want regular black coffee, then there are buttons for that, with the Atelier able to make ristretto (small espresso), espresso and lungo coffees.

The advantage of using a whisk for milk is that everything is easy to clean up at the end; the same can’t be said for bean-to-cup machines that uses a carafe of milk and needs to be flushed through.

This is one of the more expensive Nespresso machines but if you want automated brilliance, it’s the one to buy.

Review: Nespresso Atelier review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno

Take control of your coffee with a barista-style Nespresso machine
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Pros

  • Great looks
  • Easy to use
  • High-quality automatic milk frothing

Cons

  • Small used capsule container

Nespresso can be accused of taking the art out of coffee making, but the Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno reinjects this ability. With its automatic milk frother and jug, you can free-pour your own steamed milk, giving you control over the final beverage.

For standard coffee, the Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno is excellent. It takes all regular Nespresso capsules and can dispense ristretto, espresso and lungo shots, with dedicated buttons for each. Coffee was excellent, with the machine delivering the full flavour of the capsules that we tested with.

For milk, you can choose the level of froth and temperature, but after that, you’re left to pour the milk yourself. The quality of the steamed milk is excellent, so the only thing to hold you back is the quality of your pouring.

For those that want a premium Nespresso experience with the ability to create their own drinks, this is the best machine to buy.

Review: Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Nespresso Barista

The ultimate accessory for milk, hot chocolate and fancy coffee recipes
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Pros

Cons

The Nespresso Barista is something of an oddity on this list, as it doesn’t actually make coffee. Rather, this clever machine is designed to work with espresso made elsewhere (from a regular Nespresso machine, Vertuo coffee maker, or even traditional espresso machine), and can then create several different drinks out of it automatically.

The Barista has a built-in whisk and heater, and a selection of recipes that are easy to follow. The Iced Nitro is a favourite, with the Barista blending a shot of espresso, some water and ice into an amazing, frothy ice drink. Fancy a cappuccino instead? No problem, as the Barista can froth your milk automatically for you.

Up to 13 recipes can be added to the machine directly, giving you one-touch access to your favourites; the app connects your phone by Bluetooth letting you swap other recipes into the memory slots, with 21 options available. The main downsides are that the Barista doesn’t give you a lot of control over the total volume made, and that pouring the final drink can be fiddly as the whisk has a tendency to drop out.

If you like a wide range of coffee drinks beyond the standards, but don’t have the time or patience to make them, the Barista is all you need.

Review: Nespresso Barista review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Nespresso CitiZ

Small and functional, this is a great little coffee machine
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Pros

  • Stylish
  • Good size
  • Excellent temperature and flow control

Cons

  • No descale warning light

Small in size, the Nespresso CitiZ is a basic Nespresso machine that uses original capsules. Just flip open the lid, drop a pod in and then hit one of the buttons (espresso or lungo) to get a cup of coffee delivered at just the right temperature (around 60.1C). For those that mostly like their coffee black and want a compact machine, this is a perfect choice.

Although it doesn’t have any other coffee making features, the CitiZ is well designed. It has a standard drip dray, but there’s also a fold-down stand for taking espresso cups, getting them closer to the coffee machine’s spout.

In terms of maintenance, all you need to do is top up with water, empty the used pods (and clean out the container) and descale from time-to-time.

There are fancier Nespresso machines, but if you want the basics and don’t want to pay through the nose for the privilege, then this is a brilliant choice.

Review: Nespresso Citiz review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

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FAQs

Which capsule type should I buy?

Nespresso has original and Vertuo pod machines available. The main difference is that the original system produces short shots of espresso-style coffee, aping a real barista. The Vertuo system can deliver espresso, but it’s designed for longer mugfuls of coffee. The style of drink you prefer (long or short) should inform your choice.

In terms of the range of flavours, both systems are roughly the same, with a choice of strengths and even flavoured capsules on offer. The main difference is that there are third-party options available for the original system, whereas only Nespresso manufactures Vertuo capsules.

What options should I look out for?

Vertuo machines dispense the amount of coffee with a single button, reading the volume from the capsule’s barcode. This makes the machines functionally identical.

Original Nespresso machines are different and have physical controls. For the best choice look for a machine that can deliver ristretto (25ml) shots, as well as espresso (40ml) and lungo (150ml). However, if you don’t need the option for the strongest shot, a machine that just dispenses espresso and lungo coffees should be fine.

Does size matter?

Size is only really important in terms of the space a machine takes up, so pick the one that suits your kitchen. That said, larger machines have more space for used capsules, and larger water tanks, which means you don’t have to interact with them so often.

What about recycling pods?

All official Nespresso pods can be recycled. When you order capsules (online or in-store), you’ll get a free recycling bag. This can be dropped off to a store, posted for free or collected with your next delivery.

What about milk options?

If you like lattés and cappucinos you’ll want a machine that can steam milk. Some machines come with Aeroccino milk frothers, which are powered whisks that heat and stir your milk for you; these can be bought separately, which isn’t as neat but lets you add milk features later. Aeroccinos do a good job of frothing, but it’s hard to pour the milk in an arty way.

Look for a machine that can automatically froth milk in a jug for more control: you can set the heat and milk froth for one thing, and pouring from a jug will let you make latté art with some practice.

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