Launched with the Nespresso Vertuo Plus coffee machine, Nespresso’s new Vertuo pods are quite different from those in the original machine. Larger and brewed with centrifugal force, the Vertuo system is mostly designed to produce longer cups of coffee. Each blend is different in terms of flavour and the way it’s brewed: the barcode around the edge of the capsule is used by the machine to brew each pod differently. Here, we look at the best Nespresso Vertuo pods
Vertuo pods are available from Nespresso only. Don’t let that put you off, as there’s a huge variety on offer, including seasonal variations that are on-sale for a limited time only. We’re making our way through everything available, rating each type of coffee for its quality and taste. We’ll be adding to this list as we try new varieties. In the meantime, we’ve split the coffee we have tasted into sections.
For each capsule, we’ve listed our rating out of 10, the volume of drink that’s produced, and Nespresso’s intensity rating. The intensity rating is based on how long the coffee was roasted for and to what degree: light intensity coffee was lightly roasted; high-intensity coffee has a dark roast and more bitterness to it. Please note that the intensity level does not refer to the level of caffeine, and a higher-number coffee may have less caffeine than a low-intensity one.
Related: Best Nespresso machine
Jump to the coffee you’re interested in:
- Special reserve – Some of the best coffees in the world
- Boost – 20% more caffeine
- Gran Lungo – Shorter, 150ml coffee, for smaller mugs
- Master Origin – Single-origin coffees, designed to be best-in-class
- Mug – 230ml of drink, designed to fill a typical coffee mug
- Barista Creations – Flavoured coffee to add a bit of interest
- Flavoured – DISCONTINUED Subtle flavours add to the coffee without the addition of sugar
- Variations: A Taste of Paris (2018) – DISCONTINUED – A special edition set of coffee designed to evoke memories of Parisian coffee shops
- Limited Edition (2019) – DISCONTINUED – Two varieties celebrating more exotic flavours
For its Boost range, Nespresso takes caffeine extracted from raw beans during the decaffeination process, and then steam infuses them into green beans. The result is extra caffeine (20% more), without affecting the flavour profile of the beans.
Smooth and delicate with 20% more caffeine
Nespresso says: As if the blend’s classic cereal note and honeyed sweetness wasn’t enough to win hearts, we gave the Brazilian Bourbon variety beans and the aromatic Central American Arabica beans an added boost.
We say: The standard Melozio is a decent all-rounder, smooth and well balanced. With the Melozio Boost, you get that same taste only with an additional 20% caffeine.
Once again, the base of this coffee is a split roast: Brazilian Bourbon for smoothness and Central American Arabicas to round out the flavours. The first sip delivers a smooth, relatively sweet hit, with an earthy, toasty taste. There’s a very smooth aftertaste to this coffee, making it a pleasant coffee to wake up to. The Melozio Boost does miss out on the more intense and interesting flavours of some other coffees on this list.
Here, the extra caffeine serves as a nice boost. For those days when you need an extra caffeine hit, this coffee does it in a smooth and delicate way. Overall, that makes the Melozio Boost a slightly better coffee, in my opinion, than the original.
Rich and intense with 20% more caffeine
Nespresso says: Stormio Boost carries all the intensity of those spicy, woody, cereal aromas.
We say: If you want an extra-strength coffee that tastes like it has more caffeine in it, the Stormio Boost is the one for you. As with the original version of this coffee, Stormio Boost uses a dark roast combination of Nicaraguan and Guatemalan coffee.
There’s a strong hint of spice and wood with this coffee, which leaves a surprisingly smooth aftertaste; there’s some bitterness, as you’d expect from dark-roasted coffee, but Stormio is more subtle than many and delivers more than just dark roasted notes.
With that extra caffeine, this is a proper pick-you-up for the morning, although the more delicate Melozio Boost is a more gentle way to get the same hit.
A super smooth cup of coffee for special occasions
Nespresso says: Exotic woody notes mark this espresso.
We say: Jamaican Blue Mountain is one of the world’s best known (and expensive) coffees for good reason: it has a super smooth taste and finish, without that bitterness that other coffees have. Here, the coffee is expensive, at £11 per sleave of 10, but it’s well worth the price.
Using a split roast, with two darker roasts (the second split roasted for longer), this coffee has a deep intensity to it, with a woody, spicy taste. Once you’ve drunk a sip, there’s a smoothness afterwards that takes away some of that intensity. Those that don’t like strong, intense coffee will be surprised by the finish here.
At this price, it’s not a coffee that you’ll drink every day, but after a good meal or just to cheer yourself up in the morning, this espresso is fantastic: buy a rack while this limited edition coffee is in stock.
A fine, very smooth coffee with an intense burst of flavour
Nespresso says: Coffee connoisseurs will be astonished by the complex fruity bouquet arising from the volcanic soil and unique terroir of Hawaii.
We say: While the Jamaican Blue Mountain is probably the best-known speciality coffee, the lesser known Hawaii Kona coffee is arguably as good. As with other island coffees, this one is smoother than traditional arabica coffee grown at higher altitudes.
Nespresso uses a split roast for this capsule: a lighter longer one, and a shorter darker one. It’s a good combination, delivering a strong, earthy tone at first, mellowing into a fruity after-hit, with the coffee’s smooth finish preserved. Again, this capsule is more expensive than most Vertuo pods, but for something a bit special you should get a rack of these along with the Blue Mountain while stocks last.
A great blend of coffee: strong enough to grab attention, subtle enough to make you think
Nespresso says: A medium roasted blend with distinct cereal notes.
We say: The mid-intensity capsules are usually a good mix for Nespresso: bold enough to have a lot of flavour; mellow enough not to be overpowering or strong. And so it is with the Arondio, which has an interesting combination of flavours.
Using Colombian Arabica, which brings the cereal and mild notes, and a touch of Gautamalan Robusta, which accentuates the intensity, Arondio is an interesting blend.
On the nose, the coffee has a lighter, almost sweet note to it, mixing with the bolder cereal tones. Drinking it, there’s a refreshing, fruity vibe, backed up by the bolder cereal notes. A touch of acidity and just a hint of bitterness rounds this mixture off.
This is our favourite grand lungo by a mile.
A light coffee that packs in the flavour
Nespresso says: A delicate coffee with an unexpected touch of musk.
We say: A very aromatic coffee, the brewing process of the Alforazio will fill your home with this refined and delicate blend. Nespresso has used a mix of unwashed Ethiopian Arabicas, light and medium roasted for the wilder notes, and East African Arabicas, long roasted to bring out the blueberry notes.
It’s an interesting mix. On the first sip, you get the musky, earthy tones coming in, leaving behind a fresher, lighter, blueberry notes. A crisp finish with just a hint of bitterness is refreshing and full.
Aflorazio is a great coffee for when you want something lighter but with a lot of flavours.
Very strong-tasting but lacks subtlety
Nespresso says: Bitter cocoa powder notes and the oak wood hints reinforce the richness of this coffee
We say: Fortado uses a blend of dark roasted India Robusta and medium-roasted South and Central American Arabicas. The overall darkness of the Robusta is the more overpowering and gives the Fortado its intensity rating and full-bodied fragrance. There’s a hint of sweetness from the cocoa powder notes, too.
It’s not the most subtle coffee, with the darker Robusta adding strength and the deeper tones to the drink. The cocoa notes come through slightly, although they’re quite subtle. With a slight bitterness to the Fortado, it’s not our favourite blend.
Swapping subtlety for more impact, the Fortado is a good choice for those that want a strong-tasting coffee, but the subtle Arondio is a better blend by far.
Master Origin Columbia
A smooth and subtle single-origin coffee
Volume: 230ml (mug)
Nespresso says: A particularly fruity, sweet cup with a juicy acidity and red berry aromas
We say: A smooth and gentle coffee, the light roast of the Master Origin Columbia may be a little subtle for some taste buds. For those that like subtlety, there’s a lot to like here. As the tasting notes say, there’s a sweetness to this cup, with red berry coming through like a good wine.
A gentle cup of coffee for a morning or slow afternoon, the delicate taste of this coffee means that it’s not overpowering.
Master Origin Mexico
A darker roast that’s a bit easier to drink thank some
Volume: 230ml (mug)
Nespresso says: It yields a wild, textured cup full of roasted and spiced notes.
We say: The Master Origin Mexico uses a blend of hand-picked arabica and double-washed robusta. The selection of coffees gives the final brew an interesting and stronger taste. A woody and earthy taste comes through at first, with a slight hint of bitterness. A more subtle and delicate aftertaste lingers.
If you’re not usually a fan of darker roasts, the more subtle flavours of this quite intense coffee could appeal to you.
A smooth and very gentle coffee
Nespresso says: A well-balanced and lightly roasted morning blend
We say: Getting flavour into a very mellow coffee can be hard, but the Solelio nails it. Solelio uses a blend of Kenyan and Colombian Arabica beans. The Colombian part is light roasted, to maintain its fruity character; the Kenyan part is long roasted to reduce the acidity.
It’s a winning combination and one of our favourite blends. The initial sip gives you a sweet taste with a hint of red fruit, with the aftertaste adding a touch of bitterness while maintaining a smooth palette. A quality drink for the morning if you want a coffee that’s more refreshing and easier to drink.
Bold with strong flavours, but not overpowering
Nespresso says: A full-bodied coffee with cereal notes accented by a slight East African fruitiness.
We say: An intense, but not overpowering cup of coffee, the Odacio is brimming with intense flavour. This blend uses a long-roasted Nicaraguan coffee and light-roasted Ethiopian.
An initial earthy hit of cereal tones from the Nicaraguan coffee is balanced by a sweeter, fruitiness from the Ethiopian Arabica. It’s an interesting contrast that works well together.
Bolder flavours without being overpowering or too bitter make this a great all-round coffee, even for those that don’t usually like the more intense capsules.
A fine dark roast brimming with flavour
Nespresso says: Evokes spicy, woody and cereal notes.
We say: Dark and long roasted, the Stormio is the intense coffee that its name conjures up. The blend consists of Guatemalan washed Arabica, for the cereal notes, with Nicaraguan beans for the strong and distinct flavour.
The woody, earthy taste comes through on the first sip, with an intense but not overpowering hit. Given the intensity of the coffee, this blend doesn’t have an overly bitter aftertaste either, making this a far smoother coffee than you may first expect; there’s just a hint of bitterness that lingers, as you’d expect from a darker roast.
A decent choice for those that like darker roasts but like some individual flavour in there.
A strong coffee but it lacks subtlety
Nespresso says: Brown sugar and strongly toasted notes bring a singular signature to this dark roasted coffee.
We say: There’s no messing around with the naming convention on this coffee, Intenso is exactly what you expect from a coffee rated 9 on Nespresso’ intensity scale: bold, dark and strong.
The blend uses Guatemalan washed Robusta, long roasted to gain intensity, and Mexican and Latin American Arabicas dark roasted shorter to decrease acidity and enhance notes of brown sugar.
The strong bitterness of the coffee coming through on the first sip. A burnished sugar taste dominates, with a pleasant and lingering aftertaste. If you’re after bold and strong-tasting coffee, the Intenso delivers, but it lacks subtlety and the more interesting flavours of some of the other blends, such as the Stormio.
Light and refreshing, but could be a bit sweet for many
Nespresso says: A fragrant blend of fine Arabica coffee beans from South America, lightly roasted to release abundant flavours.
We say: A very light coffee, the Elvazio uses a combination of Colombian and Brazilian Bourbon beans. Each is roasted separately to preserve the origin flavours.
A very smooth blend, there’s a light fruitiness to this drink, with a sweeter aftertaste than you get with most coffees. The Elvazio is more refreshing than many coffees, although it lacks a bit of punch.
A decent all-rounder
Nespresso says: A rounded coffee that is smooth and perfectly balanced.
We say: Smack in the middle of the intensity range is the Melozio. It uses a blend of Brazilian and Central Arabicas, using a split roast. The Brazilian Bourbon is said to have rich, cereal notes; the separate roast of the Central American Arabica adds character and balance.
A mellow, earthy, toasty taste dominates on the first sip, leaving a pleasant and smooth aftertaste. The slightly more intense flavours pack more of a punch than with the less intense varieties of pods, but this coffee avoids the bitterness and burnt flavours of the darker roast varieties. A good all-round coffee for any occasion.
A subtle and slightly week coffee
Nespresso says: Expresses toasted cereal tones, followed by subtle white floral notes characteristic of Ethiopian Arabica.
A blend of Ethiopian and Kenyan Arabica, Nespresso has used a split roast for the Giornio. The Ethiopian coffee has a lighter roast, protecting its origin flavours; the Kenyan beans have a darker roast for a more intense and bitter flavour.
Even so, as the Intensity rating of 4 hints, this is a very mellow and gentle coffee. The floral and cereal tones are present throughout, with the Kenyan coffee adding a bit of a kick. It is a very subtle and quite weak coffee and those looking for a bit more flavour should look elsewhere.
A strong and flavoursome cup, with hazelnut adding a bit of strength and character
Intensity: Sweet and velvety
Volume: 230ml (mug)
Nespresso says: Notes of biscuit and almond accompany the distinct hazelnut flavour in this Vertuo coffee.
We say: The old hazelnut coffee was one of my favourites, and I’m pleased to say that the Hazilino Muffin is just as good if not a touch better. Rich and nutty, this capsule will fill your kitchen with a pleasant smell while brewing, yet the taste is that bit more subtle and complex, avoiding the trap of overpowering.
As with the other Barista Creations, Nespresso has used a split roast of medium dark Brazilian beans, with Ethiopian coffee in the second split. Your nose leads you, with the delicious hazelnut smell emanating first. On first sip, you’re hit by that hazelnut flavour, which is warmer and slightly more bitter than the sweeter flavours of the Vanilla and Caramel options.
As you savour the coffee, the profile expands and leaves you with a gentle almond flavour, perfectly complementing the smooth coffee that serves as the base. It’s a wonderful cup of coffee, with the Hazlenut adding that bit more interest and something a bit special, while retaining the earthy body and underlying smoothness of the coffee.
Vanilla Custard Pie
A delicate hint of vanilla and flavour adds sweetness to this coffee
Intensity: Sweet and velvety
Volume: 230ml (mug)
Nespresso says: Classic vanilla note in harmony with subtle hints of almond and butter biscuit laced through this smooth and velvety flavoured coffee.
We say: Although the name conjures up the impression of a rich and indulgent coffee, the result is, thankfully, far more subtle. With just the right amount of vanilla added, the Vanilla Custard Pie has a delicate aroma to it.
For this creation, Nespresso has used split-roasted beans, with a mixture of medium-dark Brazillian beans and Ethiopian beans added in the second split. The Brazillian beans add a touch of sweetness, with the Ethiopian beans added texture and body.
More than the original Vanizio capsule (discontinued), Nespresso has got the balance right on this one. There’s definitely sweetness to it, but it’s complemented and balanced by the warmth and fuller-bodied hit of coffee. Flavours pleasantly mix, with the initial vanilla giving way to a delicate almond taste.
This is a great choice if you want a slightly different coffee with more subtle additions than the hazelnut or caramel pods.
A rich and interesting coffee that brings a touch of dessert to your mug
Intensity: Sweet and velvety
Volume: 230ml (mug)
Nespresso says: You’re sure to taste the classic caramel aroma dancing through the cup, but can you also pick up the delicate notes of coconut, almond and biscuit in this delicious Vertuo flavoured coffee?
We say: An update to the old Caramelizio, the new Caramel Cookie is a slightly more interesting cup of coffee with a more subtle balance of flavours. There’s a richness to this coffee, but the flavour profile isn’t overwhelming.
Nespresso uses a split-roast of coffees, with medium-dark Brazilian coffee and Ethiopian. It’s a fairly complex-tasting cup of coffee. There’s the obvious hit of caramel, adding that distinctive richness, which gives way to a more delicate almond taste at the end.
The combination of flavours with the split-roast coffee gives a pleasant cup of coffee that’s great for afternoons or with something sweet on the side. A touch more intense than vanilla, it’s a great cup of coffee if you something a bit more interesting in your mug.
A brilliant combination of hazelnut and coffee
Volume: 230ml (mug)
Nespresso says: A smooth, balanced coffee that is sweet to the taste with a distinct, nutty aroma.
We say: There’s something quite amazing about the way that hazelnut blends with coffee and Nespresso has got it bang-on with the Hazelino. Delivering a mug full of hazelnut-smelling goodness, the Hazelino is a great choice when you want something a little bit different.
A smooth drink, the hazelnut flavouring adds a touch of sweetness that complements the base blend of Brazilian and Central American Arabica coffee. Very little bitterness gives this cup a smooth finish, making it a great, drinkable cup of coffee that’s perfect for the afternoon.
The sweetness of caramel complements this coffee perfectly
Volume: 230ml (mug)
Nespresso says: Notes of caramelised aroma and subtle scents of vanilla.
We say: Nespresso has gone for subtlety with the Caramelizio. Rather than an over-powering sickly sweet shot of caramel, as you might get with a syrup, this coffee is far more gentle. Just a hint of caramel in the cup is enough to give the drink a lift.
A blend of lightly roasted Brazilian and Central American Arabicas continues the gentle taste, with a smooth and bitter-free finish. A hint of vanilla helps develop the flavour and makes this a fine cup for all times of day.
A touch of vanilla makes this a very smooth coffee
Volume: 230ml (mug)
Nespresso says: The flavour of vanilla brings a velvety layer of taste to roundness found in this smooth and balanced blend.
We say: Vanilla is a great flavour to add to almost everything and, when used sparingly, can transform dishes. Vanilla proves its versatility once again when used in the Vanizio pods.
As with the other flavours, Nespresso has used vanilla sparingly, adding a subtle sweetness to the coffee that makes it smoother and easier to drink, and enhances the slight bitterness of the Brazilian and Central American Arabica blend.
Less pronounced than the Caramelizio or Hazelino, Vanizio is a great choice when you want something smooth but not overpowering.
Variations Paris Madeleine
A gorgeous-tasting, almond flavoured coffee
Our Rating: 4.5
Volume: 230ml (mug)
Nespresso says: “The distinctive sweet almond flavour paired with delicate hints of biscuits given by Arabicas from Ethiopia, Central and South America, is pleasantly reminiscent of a Madeleine.”
We say: If you love the taste of almonds, you’ll love the Variations Paris Madeleine. Once brewed, the cup brims with the smell of almonds: it’s as close to a Madeleine in drink form as you can get.
The taste is slightly more subtle than the smell might lead you to believe. Leading with almonds, the undertone of the Brazilian, Central American and Ethiopian Arabica coffee adds body and strength. Well balanced and refreshing, this is a great cup for taking with biscuits or cake, or just as a mid-morning treat.
Variations Paris Black
A dark and rich espresso
Volume: 40ml (espresso)
Nespresso says: A harmonious blend of Arabicas, emboldened by a touch of Robusta.
We say: Eschewing added flavours for a more traditional blend, the Paris Black is a dark-roasted and intense espresso designed to conjure up images of a Parisian coffee shop. A strong espresso with a good degree of bitterness, the Paris Black has a slightly woody and spicy taste to it. For those that like their coffee black and strong, it’s a great blend, but it lacks a little subtlety.
Variations Paris Exotic Macaron
A coconut-flavoured coffee that doesn’t quite hit the mark
Volume: 230ml (mug)
Nespresso says: Delicate coconut flavours open up in this smooth Arabica blend from Ethiopia, Central and South America, yielding exquisite sweet notes, reminiscent of an Exotic Macaron.
We say: The smell of coconut streams out of the cup during the brewing process, filling the room with a pleasant smell. Up close and in the cup, the aroma is far more subtle and there’s just a hint of coconut.
Coconut can be overpowering in high concetrations, but underwhelming when used more sparingly. The Variations Paris Exotic Macaron edges towards the latter, with just a hint of coconut coming through, leaving a sweet aftertaste.
The smooth blend of Brazilian, Central American and Ethiopian Arabica coffee is a pleasant mix, balanced to let the Exotic Macaron flavour through. Overall, the aroma is better than the taste.
Nespresso says: A taste of history as coffee from the ancient Ethiopian region of Harrar mixes with Indian Arabica to create a cup rich with the exotic perfume of the East.
We say: The mid-intensity Nespresso capsules tend to be the best, providing the strength you want with the subtlety of flavours to hold your interest. The Caffe Venezia certainly does this, using a combination of medium-roasted Ethiopian and Indian Arabica coffees.
A smooth cup, the Caffe Venezia hits you with floral notes and a slight sweetness. Yet, there’s depth to this coffee, with a deeper, woody aftertaste. Just a hint of bitterness punctuates the cup, giving you a nice hit.
A supremely drinkable cup, the Caffe Venezia is a top blend and one of my favourite coffees for the Vertuo range.
Nespresso Says: Arabian Mocha coffee from Yemen mixes with East Indies and Indian treasures to create this cup, reminiscent of the mystery of the oriental bazaar.
We say: Think of Istanbul and Turkish coffee and you’ll be hit with the idea of intense and strong coffee, which the Cafe Istanbul delivers in spades. Although the intensity is rated at 10, the coffee used is medium roasted, delivering the finer notes of the Yemen, Indian and Indonesian blend.
A warm, almost nutty aroma comes from the coffee, with a strong hit of bitterness coming through. There’s a peppery after taste that lingers pleasantly after a sip.
I’m not usually a fan of the more intense varieties, but the Cafe Instanbul’s mix of flavour and does it for me. A fine espresso to keep you going.
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