Nespresso Vertuo Pop Review

A compact coffee pod machine that's easy, fast and makes a great Gran Lungo.

Nespresso Vertuo Pop Review

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

As someone who loves good quality coffee, Nespresso's Vertuo Pop coffee machine delivers an indulgent beverage that costs a lot less than my branded coffee shop equivalent. Winter is a wonderful time of year when a cup of coffee comes with gingerbread, cinnamon and cream. It's also the time of year when I try to ignore the column on my personal budget spreadsheet that sums up how much I spend on coffee. I find it hard to resist the welcoming candy cane signage of my nearest high-street coffee shop. Enter: a beautifully presented selection box of coffee capsules that looks like a luxury box of chocolates. I want Nespresso to persuade me I can have my daily treat served at home for less money.

Vertuo differs from Nespresso Original models because the Vertuo system uses Centrifusion™ to brew the coffee. The coffee pod (or capsule) spins at high speed with water pushed through under high pressure. Additionally, Vertuo coffee capsules are a different size and shape from the Original pods, there are fewer flavour options – albeit more exclusive coffee blends – and the pods are more expensive. Original pods cannot be used in Vertuo machines and vice versa. The unique circular barcode on the rim of each Vertuo capsule is nearly impossible for third parties to replicate, so Nespresso retain exclusivity over selling capsules for its Vertuo machines. This makes it a more expensive option for a coffee pod machine as there are no cheaper supermarket equivalent pods that are compatible.


  • Incredible crema
  • Delicious coffee flavours
  • Fast
  • No mess
  • Compact


  • Compared to other coffee machines it's expensive to purchase capsules
©Natalie Knowles

Why Choose Nespresso Vertuo?

There are four good reasons to opt for a Nespresso Vertuo machine.

Firstly, whether you choose the Vertuo Next or the Vertuo Pop, these are compact coffee machines that can easily fit between a toaster and a microwave in a small kitchen. Secondly, the Vertuo range produces bigger cup sizes. You can expect decadent mug-sized coffee (230ml) – ideal if two sips of an Espresso (40ml) just isn't enough. The way I drink coffee makes this a cheaper option than my go-to high-quality Americanos from coffee shops. A delicious, silky and intense mug-sized coffee from the Vertuo Pop costs between 50-75p. I'd be paying around £3.50 for a high street equivalent. Finally, I admire Nespresso's sustainability programme: their machines are made from recycled plastics and the capsules are made from 80 per cent fully recyclable materials.

Nespresso Vertuo Pop: Summary

The Nespresso Vertuo Pop machines are a vibrant range of compact coffee pod machines that come in a rainbow of colours with evocative names: Spicy Red, Coconut White, Mango Yellow, Aqua Mint and Liquorice Black. Indeed, my Pacific Blue machine popped against the neutral décor of my kitchen and office.

You can make four different size drinks at the touch of a button: Espresso (40ml), Double Espresso (80ml), Gran Lungo (150ml) and Mug (230ml). The size of the capsules varies depending on the drink size and one capsule makes one drink only. The unique barcode on the capsule tells the machine how much water to add.

In terms of Nespresso's sustainability and recycling agenda, the machine is 35 per cent recyclable and the packaging it came in is 99 per cent recyclable. As you'd expect from Nespresso, the machine feels robust, slick and well-made.

The entire user experience is easy and luxurious – Nespresso is the maestro of designing an entire lifestyle around a morning coffee ritual. More on that later...

©Natalie Knowles

Price Analysis

At the time of writing, the Vertuo Pop retails at £69. A similar compact coffee pod machine, the L'OR Barista Sublime, currently retails at around the £100 price point. The L'OR is a similar size machine and can produce drinks up to 220ml in size. The crucial difference is that you can purchase 100 single-shot capsules for £28 which works out to 28p per drink and capsules are widely available. In comparison, the Limited Edition Pumpkin Spice Cake Barista Creations is only sold on the Nespresso website. One sleeve costs £7.10 for 10 capsules. Therefore one coffee costs 71p.

The Vertuo Pop is the crema of the cup for incredible tasting coffee. The Centrifusion™ brewing process makes a deliciously creamy inch-thick crema that I've never seen on any high street coffee shop equivalent. From capsule to cup in about a minute, the coffee is instantly in your hand at a drinkable temperature. You get all the indulgence of sipping up the crema before those rich bubbles of coffee decadence dissipate. Amore!

Rating: 4/5

Key Features:

Capacity: 560ml

Dimensions: D42 x H25 x W13.6cm

Milk frother: No

Guarantee: Nespresso two-year warranty

Special features: One-touch brewing, superior coffee taste, compact, smart connectivity, low energy consumption

The Vertuo Pop can make Espresso-size drinks (40ml-80ml), Coffee in mugs or Lungo (150ml-230ml) and Barista Creations (80ml-230ml).

My machine came with 12 tasting capsules and some festive coffee capsules in 10x sleeves.

©Natalie Knowles

Testing The Nespresso Vertuo Pop

What was the product tested for?

I used the Vertuo Pop daily, over the course of a month, in both a home and office environment. I get to feel greedy and gleeful, because I'm the only coffee lover in my family, so I claimed this machine as my own. As well as getting the standard sample pack of coffee capsules, I received three festive flavours. All in the interests of a full and varied review, I just had to try out some indulgent recipes for a PSL Pumpkin Spice Latte and a velvety Peppermint Pinwheel mocha (using some Christmas chocolate – ho ho ho).

©Natalie Knowles

In addition to coffee preparation, we'll go through the ease of rinsing the machine. Also, we'll look at how straightforward it is to pair with the Nespresso app. Finally, with Nespresso's impressive sustainability initiative, we'll see how convenient it is to recycle the Vertuo capsules.

What Were The Results?

This machine has come to the ideal household because I absolutely love coffee. While I'm no expert, I do appreciate the taste and aroma of different blends. And I rather like that Nespresso curate the coffee capsules with a design that makes me feel like an expert in Italian café culture and tasting notes. Generally, my go-to beverage is a black Americano. Typically, I don't drink coffee with milk, nor do I go for lattes, cappuccinos or other milk-based coffees.


Boxed dimensions: D27 x W40 x H32cm
Machine dimensions: D42 x H25 x W13.6cm

The machine came well packaged. When I took all the parts out of the box, I had to look carefully in the box for the clear, plastic lid that goes on the water tank – it's easy to miss. The water tank and used podcatcher, Espresso stand and drip tray are detachable. Everything fits together slickly and feels robust.

©Natalie Knowles

The instruction and safety booklets look alarmingly thick, but it's because they're printed in multiple languages. And you can always look online for comprehensive video instructions if you misplace the booklets. Plus, there is a downloadable version of the instruction booklet from the Nespresso website. Additionally, you can download the Nespresso app for updates. In short, Nespresso has got you covered when it comes to customer support.



The instruction booklet says the first step is to rinse the machine. You need a jug to fill the water tank. I'd advise against filling the water tank at the tap because there's a risk water will spill everywhere when you fit it into the machine. I turned the machine on and pressed the power button three times in two seconds, as instructed – nothing happened.

The power light indicates what action the machine is going through. For example, white light pulsing indicates it's heating up. The Troubleshooting section in the instruction booklet saved me. I simply hadn't turned the lock to the fully locked position. Once I did and pressed the power button quickly three times, the machine whirred into its rinsing program. It is quite noisy. I had to swap mugs over during the rinsing process as you can't fit a container that's big enough under the spout where the water and coffee pour from. It was definitely whirring – I guess that's the Centrifusion™. It finished rinsing in less than seven minutes. Simple, once I'd overcome the teething issues.


The Vertuo Pop can make espresso to mug-sized beverages. The black plastic stand and drip tray fit onto the front of the machine to accommodate an espresso cup.

©Natalie Knowles

If I wake up late on a weekday morning then I'm under pressure to get to work on time. I can sacrifice filling the slow cooker and possibly forego making a packed lunch, but the one thing I can't leave the house without is a coffee. Quick and easy to use, I'm pleasantly impressed by the Vertuo Pop. It gives me five minutes of indulgence in an otherwise frantic part of the day.

I felt a bit concerned about pouring water into the water tank so close to electricity. The power cable is short, but an extension cable could be used. Take note, pet owners or families to position your machine in a safe place.

The Vertuo Pop doesn't produce any steam. Unlike a kettle, it's energy efficient and heats the water to a perfectly drinkable temperature. To me, the coffee definitely has an aroma that might not be pleasant to other members of the household who detest coffee (just saying!).

Taste and Experience

In less than two minutes I was enjoying the best coffee I've ever had. The crema is an exceptional part of the Vertuo Pop's coffee-making process. Brewing the coffee by Centrifusion™ forces the water through the grounds under high pressure. This separates the coffee oils and produces a thick, creamy crema on top. It is unlike any other coffee I've had. That crema is supreme. It does diminish quickly though, so serve immediately.

There is no mess. You don't need to empty the coffee grounds. Out of curiosity, my partner had a poke inside a capsule with a spoon – it's tightly packed with grounds. But Nespresso say the entire capsule – including grounds – can be recycled. This makes it astonishingly simple and no fuss to brew a coffee. Then, when you have time, take the used capsules out of the pod collector and put them in the supplied recycling bag. Again for curiosity, I removed a capsule from the machine when it had just made a drink – it felt hot and heavier because the coffee grounds were saturated with water.

The Sample Box

Sampling the Nespresso capsules brought me joy. Like opening a door on a coffee advent calendar each morning in December, my morning routine had the wonderful addition of choosing a shiny jewel-like capsule to pop in my coffee machine. The experience is indulgent, like opening a box of fine Parisian chocolates. The menu, printed on the inside lid, guided me through intense espressos and creamy Barista Creations. I placed a large glass vase next to the machine and filled it with the capsules because I adore their bauble-ness. And the colour-coded capsules made it easier to identify favourite flavours.

©Natalie Knowles

The complementary selection box gives you 12 gorgeously jewel-like coffee pods in what looks like a recyclable box, but nonetheless, luxury and decadence is provided by the beautifully designed menu (which is in Italian). The top row are Espresso, followed by Double Espresso, Gran Lungo (150ml) and Coffee/Café (Mug 230ml). There is a diagram at the bottom of the menu that shows the various sizes of drinking vessels and their capacities.

The capsules themselves are opulent metallic shades of purple, gold, blue, rich brown and dark green. The barcode is perfectly functional and stylish. These Vertuo capsules are definitely a step up in terms of quality and design. The product feels exclusive because it's only purchasable through the Nespresso website. After tasting these capsules I don't think I'd want an imitation because I don't think it would taste as good.

Coffee flavours

On a chilly Sunday morning in the run-up to Halloween, I was excited to try Nespresso's festive limited-edition flavour: Pumpkin Spice Cake. It had a subtle cinnamon flavour that's woody and works well with the smoky tasting notes in the coffee. Yes, it does taste like cloves, nutmeg, cardommom and cinnamon that you'd find in a spiced cake. I'd like mine with a piece of carrot cake, please. As you'd expect the capsules are a gorgeous, speckled orange, made from 85 per cent recycled aluminium. I'm consistently wowed by how pretty the capsules are and the sleekness of the sleeve they're enclosed in. It feels opulent, like a box of luxury macaroons.

Perfectly timed with Bonfire Night, I was excited and curious to try Peppermint Pinwheel as I've not encountered peppermint and coffee as a combination before. Opening the sleeve and seeing the capsules for the first time, I was wowed by how pretty they are. The aluminium capsules are a shiny emerald green, with a leaf and pinwheel pattern in silver and pale green. When it's being brewed it smells like the type of mint you get in mint choc chip ice cream. I tasted the crema and it was like inhaling a burst of sweet fresh mint. It's lovely to drink it black or add a little milk to soften the peppermint flavour.

I'm making these capsules a part of my Christmas offering as much as tins of sweets and biscuits. In addition to orange and green, I've added a sumptuous burgundy capsule to my home coffee bar display in the form of Barista Creations Gingerbread flavour. They are an incredibly pretty burgundy capsule with a kaleidoscope pattern in red and silver. On the sleeve, the pattern is repeated in dark burgundy, red and gold. On taste, ginger is there as a background note rather than as a heady hit of spice. It's warming and authentic. The spice does indeed complement the blend of Latin American and African Arabica coffee beans. There are malty, cereal notes too.

For sugar and spice and all things nice Nespresso coffee sleeves feel luxurious and it's a wonderful seasonal gift for recipients who have a Nespresso Vertuo machine. None of these seasonal flavours are intense coffee, so you can savour a variety of delicate and lingering flavours. In short, they are beautifully smooth and balanced seasonal flavours.

©Natalie Knowles

The Il Caffe Espresso came from the complementary sample pack. This was an intense (11 on the scale) bitter Espresso. The stand and drip tray means the Espresso cup fits under the spout perfectly. The 40ml serving equates to a couple of mouthfuls. I enjoyed burnt, rich and chocolatey coffee, prepared in less than one minute with no mess. Again the coffee had a perfect foamy crema on top that I wanted to scoop up with a spoon.

Another stand-out flavour was the azure blue Costa Rica capsule. On the aromatic notes scale, Costa Rica promised malted and cereal notes. It's a Master Origin coffee in Gran Lungo size that gave me a 150ml beverage. I tried folding the crema into the rest of the coffee with a spoon for a creamier drink. You definitely have to drink it immediately to get any benefit from this. The coffee was so smooth and malty. It would pair very well with milk. A lovely silky and mild coffee that smelt vaguely fruity.

I also tried a caffeine-free capsule: Altissio Decaffeinato. This was an Espresso capsule, that was nine on the intensity scale. I was intrigued to see if this coffee would deliver on its promised tasting notes. My goodness yes, this intensely flavoured coffee did pack a punch. I can't believe decaffeinated could be so flavourful. This may well become my new go-to capsule to limit my caffeine intake. It really was a revelation.

In summary, all the coffee I tried came out hot but not overly hot. I could drink it straight away – and generally, I used a double-walled mug so it kept its temperature. There's always a pleasant aroma as the coffee brews. The machine is noisy, but making a coffee only takes a minute. I was concerned that my office might think I was extracting teeth first thing in the morning! If I wanted a shorter drink or I was afraid my office mug was going to overflow, I simply stopped the brewing process by pressing the power button. I was so impressed by the variety of flavours. I felt that one coffee was enough – really satisfying – and with some of the coffees I'd advise topping it up with hot water for an Americano, or milk if you prefer.

Pairing with the Nespresso App

The benefits of pairing the Vertuo Pop with the app will please people who love geeky gadgetry. However, the machine works perfectly fine without pairing too. If paired with the Nespresso app, you'll receive alerts for when you need to descale your machine, when the capsule container is full and if your water tank is empty. Also, you can order coffee capsules via the app.

I needed to switch on Bluetooth, Location and provide my Wi-Fi password and I was prompted to register my account. It took about five minutes to go through these stages. I immediately got an email to welcome me to the Nespresso Club – a "passionate, global community of coffee lovers". On this occasion, I had trouble connecting to Wi-Fi and I think this was because the machine had automatically shut down. All Nespresso machines have power-saving functionality and switch off if they're not used for a few minutes. A little flawed, but amusing...

©Natalie Knowles

Recycling the capsules

It was all extremely convenient to recycle the capsules, I simply collected the used capsules in the recycling bag that was provided and relaxed until I had a full bag. Now here's the rub: I tried really hard to find a Podback collection point in my city. In fact, I made two trips to the other side of town specifically to find the Podback sites that are listed online. On the first occasion, my local shopping mall did have Nespresso and coffee grounds recycling on the mall signage, but there was no corresponding collection point. It could have been temporarily removed. On my second doubtful trip to Riverside, I discovered a tree where a collection point was suggested online.

In conclusion, I'm disappointed that Podback let me down. The promise of an easy and virtuous way to recycle is not the case in reality. However, I can't fault Nespresso for the many other options they have available for recycling. I'll stick with the doorstep pick-up.

Recycling Nespresso capsules is now easier than ever thanks to a new partnership between Nespresso and Royal Mail. Anyone can book a Royal Mail doorstep collection for their used Nespresso capsules, or there is the option of dropping them off at any of Royal Mail’s 14,000+ drop-of locations across the UK.

How Does The Vertuo Pop Compare To Rival Products?

We'll compare the Vertuo Pop to the L'OR Barista coffee pod machine, which retails at a similar price but has much cheaper single-shot capsules. In addition, the L'OR has a wider range of capsules to choose from. The L'OR Barista machine brews using 19 bar pressure, whilst the Vertuo brews using Centrifusion™. Taste is so subjective, but I highly rate the Centrifusion™ method of brewing. Both machines are a similar size. The L'OR offers larger-sized drinks by using the L'OR Barista XXL capsules and has the USP of being able to make two drinks at once.

Nespresso launched the Vertuo range in the US in 2014, because there was a demand for mug-sized coffee. It feels like L'OR have responded to market competition whilst Nespresso purposefully built the Vertuo range to make larger beverages. For usability, the Vertuo Pop is simpler and more intuitive than the L'OR Barista. Nespresso also get kudos for the elegance of their customer experience. Furthermore, the Vertuo Pop machine is beautifully designed, its compact curves, capsule disposal and ergonomic lever opening are a joy to experience.

©Natalie Knowles

OUR VERDICT: Is The Nespresso Vertuo Pop Worth It?

Yes. I'd rate the flavour of the coffee from the Vertuo Pop as the best I've ever tasted. Nespresso elevates the experience of making and drinking coffee. There's minimal mess, it's easy to use and every beverage is consistently excellent. I would go as far as to say it tastes better than most coffee shops because of the crema. Getting your drink instantly gives you that inch-thick crema to indulge in. The overall experience is generally very good – only diminished by the Wi-Fi connection and Podback issues. Every interaction with the Nespresso brand oozes quality and luxury. And finally, for something sweet to finish, here's a wonderful recipe for Affogato, just one of the many recipes Nespresso have in their comprehensive video content – delizioso!

©Natalie Knowles


What is a coffee crema?

The oils of the coffee separate out when extracted in the brewing process – this is the foamy layer. A good quality crema is a pale-brown colour, depending on the roast, and it has tight bubbles on top. Using a spoon, fold the crema back into the coffee and you'll end up with a creamier drink.

What is the difference between the Nespresso Vertuo capsules and Original pods?


The Original system creates smaller coffees from 40ml up to 110ml using extraction by pressure. Original pods are colourful, small and narrow. The pod is punctured – fresh coffee flavours and aromas are extracted under 19 bars of pressure. Opt for the Original system if you want to sample a wide range of single-origin coffees in the style of an Espresso. Additionally, Original pods are widely reproduced and can be purchased cheaply in supermarkets and from other brands. Original pods cannot be used in Vertuo machines. Capsules can only be used in the machines they are designed for and cannot be switched.


Nespresso Vertuo machines use a Centrifusion™ process which spins the pod at speeds of 7,000rpm. The coffee is extracted by a centrifuge, creating an enhanced flavour profile. In addition, the brewing process creates a large and incredibly rich layer of crema. The Vertuo pods are colourful, larger and dome-shaped. They will not fit in Original Nespresso machines. Originally launched in the US in 2014, the aim of the Vertuo range was to fulfil the demand for larger cup sizes.

The USP of the Vertuo coffee pod machines is the unique barcode system on the capsules. Each capsule is printed with a barcode that tells the machine the optimum brewing parameters for that particular coffee. The Vertuo machine scans the barcode and automatically adjusts its settings – so it's super user-friendly, clean and quick. The barcode also tells the machine what size to brew the coffee at. So far, the barcode technology has limited third party companies from replicating Vertuo pods. Therefore, consumers have to buy through Nespresso's subscription service and pay a premium price.

Natalie Knowles is a Homes & Garden Product Writer for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in kitchen appliances. When she's not testing coffee machines, she flexes her creative flair as an artist.

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