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 five, 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:
- Carafe Pour-Over Style – A longer coffee – check price
- Boost – 20% more caffeine – check price
- Special reserve – Some of the best coffees in the world – check price
- Gran Lungo – Shorter, 150ml coffee, for smaller mugs – check price
- Master Origin – Single-origin coffees, designed to be best-in-class – check price
- Mug – 230ml of drink, designed to fill a typical coffee mug – check price
- Barista Creations – Flavoured coffee to add a bit of interest – check price
- 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
Carafe Pour-Over Style
A longer, different style of coffee for the Vertuo Next Machines only
Nespresso says: Full-bodied coffee rich in flavour
We say: Designed for the Vertuo Next machines only (these capsules will not work with the older Vertuo Plus), the Carafe Pour-Over Style capsules are huge, dispensing 535ml of coffee. It’s designed for dispensing into a carafe (Nespresso sells one, although you can use any), and sharing from there.
Nespresso has used Colombian and Peruvian beans, with an intense roast developing roasted and smoky notes. It’s a testament to the Vertuo system that it can deliver coffee like this. While there’s a crema, to begin with, the long pour means that this soon goes, leaving behind something more like a traditional cup of coffee.
It’s a smooth taste, with a full body and the dark roast profile coming through. It’s great for breakfast or after-dinner. Taste-wise it’s close to pour-over coffee made in a carafe. So, why bother? Dispensing into a carafe means that the coffee is easier to share, and you only have to make the one coffee. I quite like making a 1-litre carafe using two capsules, and having a pot of coffee throughout the day; for that, you’ll want an insulated carafe.
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 delicious and flavoursome coffee
Nespresso says: The flavoured blend delights with its classic grilled hazelnut flavour, complemented by notes of biscuits and caramel.
We say: Hazelnut has always been one of my favourite coffee flavours, so it’s good to see Nespresso continue the tradition with the Roasted Hazelnut, which replaces the older Hazelino Muffin. The difference here is that the hazelnut flavour is a little more intense, in a good way.
Brewing up a cup fills the room with that delicious hazelnut flavour, which permeates through the coffee. Here, Nespresso has used a blend of Latin American and African Arabicas, which offer a sweet, more mellow base that the flavour is layered on top of.
A smooth, very drinkable cup of coffee, there’s a lingering taste of hazelnut after each sip, with just a hit of bitterness and boldness that lasts on the tongue. A warming cup, this is perhaps best enjoyed in the evening or on a colder day. It’s a capsule we’d have in our stash any day.
Adds a touch of sweetness and smoothness
Nespresso says: This flavoured blend delights with the classic caramel flavour combined with sweet biscuit notes.
We say: There’s always a danger with caramel that it can overwhelming or a bit sickly, but for Golden Caramel, Nespresso has managed to get the balance spot on. The replacement for the older Caramel Cookie capsule, Golden Caramel, is smoother, warmer and has a more distinct caramel flavour.
Delicious when brewing, there’s a strong hit of caramel as the coffee pours. Nespresso has used a blend of Latin American and African Arabicas (the same as for the other blends), which provide a sweeter base for the flavour to be added onto.
The result is a very smooth cup of coffee, with the caramel adding depth and, perhaps surprisingly, not much sweetness. It’s a more gentle and subtle effect, but a more gentle coffee than just a simple blend. Great at any time of the day, this is an exceptional coffee and one that’s more subtle than the Roasted Hazelnut.
Adds a rich and nutty taste to coffee
Nespresso says: This flavoured blend delights with the classic caramel flavour combined with sweet biscuit notes.
We say: Although chocolate is often thought of as an indulgent sweet treat, in its raw format, chocolate is dark and bitter, able to add complexity to dishes, such as Mexican mole. Here, Nespresso has used rich, dark chocolate to enhance the flavour of its blend of Latin American and African Arabicas.
The result is a cup of coffee far more complex and interesting than the base blend would be without the addition of flavour. Dark chocolate can be overpowering, but here the choice blends well with the base coffee, adding complexity.
There’s a smoothness to the coffee, followed by the rich, nutty taste of the chocolate. The aftertaste is improved, too. Coffee can leave a bitter taste, but here, the final hit is one of chocolate, as though I’d just eaten a decent bar of dark chocolate.
If you want something a bit different that stays truer to the taste of coffee, not adding sweetness, then this is the capsule to buy.
Adds a hint of vanilla
Nespresso says: This flavoured blend delights with the classic vanilla flavour combined with sweet biscuit, candied and cereal notes coming from its delicate arabica base.
We say: Vanilla is a hard flavour to get right. On the one hand, it can be a little bland; use too much and it overpowers everything. Here, Nespresso hasn’t quite got it right, and Sweet Vanilla isn’t as nice as the older Vanilla Custard Pie in my opinion.
Here, the base coffee is a mixture of light-roasted Aribcas from Latin America and Africa, to which the flavour is added. The base combination is a delicate one, giving a smoothness that flavours generally work with.
I don’t think that there’s quite enough hit of vanilla. With the Roasted Halzenut and Golden Caramel capsules, the flavours come through; here, the vanilla is just a little bit too subtle, with just a very light aftertaste. It’s a nice cup of coffee, but there are standard blends on this mix that do more.