The Best Nespresso Coffee Machine: Original vs Vertuo

Choose a Nespresso coffee machine, for the perfect cup of Joe at the touch of a button.

A woman using a Nespresso coffee machine in her kitchen.

by Natalie Knowles |
Updated on

When it comes to Nespresso coffee machines, there are two systems to choose from: Vertuo and Original. You cannot use Vertuo pods in machines that take Original pods and vice versa. We'll take a look at the features of both systems and showcase the particularities to decide which Nespresso coffee machine is best.

A Nespresso coffee pod machine gives you premium coffee in under a minute with minimal cleaning up, delivering a consistently exquisite range of drinks such as espressos, lattes and americanos. The unique extraction technology means you can expect coffees with a delightful crema and enhanced aroma and flavours. In addition, Nespresso has a strong sustainability policy and offers easy ways to recycle its pods.

What features to consider in a Nespresso coffee machine

Nespresso has been making coffee machines since 1986 and has always combined innovative technology and superb customer experience. Expect your Nespresso to be Smart, pairing via an app for upgrades, ordering pods and even making coffee. There's also a range of accessories, milk frothers and treats to make your Nespresso coffee experience even better.

There are a lot of models to choose from. To narrow down what coffee machine best suits your requirements, consider how much space you have available, your budget, and whether you want milk-based coffees. Opt for a Vertuo machine if you love large mugs of coffee. If espresso is your favourite, the Pixie, Essenza Mini and Citiz are good options. For easy milk-based coffees, choose from the Lattissima range. The Atelier is the boss for making hot and cold-crafted coffees. Finally, if you're aiming for a masterpiece of coffee art, choose from the Creatista range. Some machines have in-built milk frothers, but for those that don't, you can buy an Aeroccino3 or 4 for elaborate milk foam at the touch of a button.

©Natalie Knowles

What are the key differences between the Original and Vertuo systems?

The Nespresso Vertuo and Nespresso Original systems have different brewing methods, pods and drink size.

The Nespresso Original system creates smaller coffees from 40ml up to 110ml using extraction by pressure. Original pods are colourful, small and narrow. When brewing, the pod is punctured, extracting fresh coffee flavours and aromas 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 have been widely reproduced and dupes can be purchased cheaply in supermarkets and from other brands.

In contrast, Nespresso Vertuo machines are newer and have 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. Originally launched in the US in 2014, the aim of the Vertuo range was to fulfil the demand for larger cup sizes. Indeed, with some Vertuo machines you can brew coffee up to 535ml (Carafe size). The Vertuo pods are colourful, larger and dome-shaped. They will not fit in Original Nespresso machines.

Another innovative feature of the Vertuo capsules is the unique barcode. This tells the machine what size of coffee to prepare so that the right amount of water gets added. So far, this has limited third-party companies from replicating Vertuo pods. Therefore, consumers have to buy through Nespresso's subscription service and pay a premium price.

Both systems use top-notch brewing technology and allow you to make quality coffee at the touch of a button.

Best Nespresso coffee machines

Nespresso Vertuo Machines

Best compact Nespreso Vertuo coffee machine

On Sale

The Vertuo Pop (read our review) retails at a very reasonable price for a high-end coffee experience. In terms of taste, it produces more flavoursome coffee because of the high-pressure technology (Centrifusion) used in the brewing process. This compact coffee machine is available in a range of vibrant colours and it's small enough to fit between appliances on a kitchen counter, or on a pedestal in the office. It's incredibly energy efficient and produces excellent coffee at the press of a button with no mess.

Tried and tested review by Commercial Content Writer, Natalie Knowles: "I call the Vertuo Pop the 'Crema of the Cup'. The thick frothy top you get on these decadent coffees is incredible. If you are a coffee lover, I highly recommend trying coffee from the Nespresso Vertuo range. Other benefits that the machine offers include: speed, ease of use, no mess and compact size. Nespresso offers a premium customer journey in every way. I greatly enjoy having my coffee experience curated and getting to feel like a connoisseur. There are nods to Italian café culture in the names of the blends and language used to describe the preparation and cup size. The provenance of the beans and the tasting notes is akin to characterising fine wine. From the brilliant simplicity of colour-coded capsules, beautiful graphics and evocative language, Nespresso's attention to detail makes every step of the coffee experience feel like a luxurious treat."


  • No mess
  • Quality coffee in less than one minute
  • Excellent crema


  • Issues pairing the machine with the Nespresso app
  • Could not find a Podback recycling station
  • Only Nespresso pod compatible

Best Nespresso Vertuo coffee machine for tall cups

This sleek little number is one of Nespresso's smaller coffee machines while packing all the Centrifusion power of the Vertuo range. With a one-touch button, this coffee pod machine can make coffee in five different mug sizes. There's no need to change settings - each pod has a unique barcode that tells the machine to brew the coffee to get the optimum flavours and aromas from the blend. Choose from a range of colours to suit your taste. Additionally, these machines are made from 54 per cent recycled plastic, which is a first for Nespresso. For the best experience, connect your machine to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth so it can update itself. Currently, you can get a complimentary coffee sleeve each month when you subscribe to Nespresso Plus through the Nespresso site.

Tried and tested review by Commercial Content Writer, Natalie Knowles: "Unlike the Vertuo Pop, I can fit my really big mug under the spout. So, if you are looking for supersize coffee, definitely pay a little extra and opt for the Vertuo Next. All credit to Nespresso for delivering a sustainable, energy-efficient and luxurious coffee experience."

Read A Modern Kitchen's full review of the Vertuo Next here.


  • Slimline
  • Strong coffee taste
  • Easy to use


  • Vertuo pods are expensive and not widely available

Nespresso machines that take Original capsules:

Best Nespresso machine for milk-based coffee

This coffee pod machine enables you to create authentic lattes at home. Choose from eight coffee selections, including cappuccino, latte macchiato and ristretto. This model is one of the first portioned coffee pod machines to have combined milk texturing technology that you'd find on a professional barista machine. With eight milk textures and 11 milk temperatures, you’ll be able to fully customise your latte or cappuccino. It's easy to clean too, as the steam wand automatically purges after each use.

Customer review: "The key feature of this coffee maker is the integral milk wand which gives you hot/frothy milk to make the perfect latte or cappuccino - delish. The design is also stylish and more compact than most of the other brands that also have integral milk wands."


  • Quick heat-up
  • Dense milk froth


  • Water tank difficult to access

Best small Nespresso coffee machine

The tiny Pixie takes original Nespresso pods. At just 11cm wide, this streamlined coffee pod machine is ideal for smaller kitchens. The one-touch button gives you espresso or lungo-size coffees and the folding drip tray can accommodate different cup sizes. You get a barista-style result, with the 19-bar high-pressure pump, achieving the aromas and flavours of a professionally brewed coffee with a dense crema.

Customer review: "Overall I'd really recommend this unit, it's small, stylish and fairly quiet in use. From being switched off to being ready to use takes mere moments, probably less than 30 seconds, and if it's already on standby less than 10 seconds from dropping the pod into seeing the coffee pour. The various pods taste quite different and you're sure to gain a group of favourites which ongoing are easy to order individually."


  • Compact
  • Fast
  • Stylish


  • Small water capacity

Best Nespresso for iconic design

For an elegant morning coffee routine, the Citiz is a stylish-looking machine. It packs the power of a 19-bar high-performance pump to extract the very best flavours and aromas. The compact Citiz would look right at home in a small urban kitchen. In addition, there is a model called Citiz & Milk, with an integrated Aeroccino milk frother - ideal if you love cappuccinos but you're short on space and time in the mornings.

Customer review: "The coffee is 100 times nicer. Loads of different types to choose from to find your favourite. I've also tried third-party pods but they aren't as good in my opinion. The machine makes drinks in two sizes a 40ml Espresso and a 110ml Lungo. Simple pod in and press your choice."


  • Easy to clean
  • Great tasting coffee


  • Small coffee serving

Best compact milk-based Nespresso coffee machine

Nespresso Lattissima
Price: £219 (was £239)

Prepare your favourite latte at the touch of a button with the Lattissima. It's small and neat - ideal for one-person households or a small office. There are some special features on this machine: the milk container is detachable and can be stored in the fridge. Also, the milk froth can be tailored to your taste with the milk froth knob.

Customer review: "With this De'Longhi machine, it's so much better. The separate milk container system can be unplugged from the main body of the machine and stored in the fridge. The milk does NOT get heated in the container, so no need to throw away unused milk. Just leave the container in the fridge and make another coffee whenever you want to."


  • Compact,
  • Easy to clean
  • One-touch pre-set coffees


  • Makes some noise when in use

Best barista-style Nespresso machine

Nespresso KitchenAid
Price: £229 (was £299)

A stylish and traditional barista coffee machine with a manual lever, but with all the functionality of one-touch six pre-programmed brewing settings. Unlike other Nespresso machines, this model is made of die-cast metal. It's a retro-style coffee machine that's sturdy and boasts all the quality features that you'd expect from premium brands like Nespresso and KitchenAid. In addition, you get the popular Nespresso Aeroccino milk frother with this machine.


  • Timeless design
  • Quality machine


  • Large

Best Nespresso machine for espresso

Heating up in just 25 seconds, this small yet powerful Inissia offers espresso and lungo-size drinks at the touch of a button. This super compact and light Nespresso machine will fit the smallest of spaces - ideal if you have a motorhome. The Inissia is made from 23.4 per cent recycled plastic.

Customer review: "It does produce very good coffee, nice and hot and with a rich thick crema. Most of the larger bean-to-cup machines, ours included, seem to operate at 15 bar pressure. This machine is 19 bar. Basically, the higher the pressure, the more flavour is extracted from the coffee, and the more crema (brown froth on top) is produced."


  • Lightweight
  • Tiny
  • Produces a thick crema


  • Produces small cup sizes of coffee only

OUR VERDICT: Which Nespresso Coffee Machine Is Best?

If you like a larger-size coffee with subtler flavours and a superior crema, opt for the Vertuo range. We love the Vertuo Pop for its innovative technology, compactness and ease of use. The 600ml water tank is ideal for a one or two-person household. Additionally, it retails for under £100. However, you will pay more for the Vertuo pods as they are only available from Nespresso. This is the perfect machine for you if you love exclusively curated black coffee by the comforting mugful.

Alternatively, the Original system machines offer more choices. There is a range of compatible pods from other brands that are cheaper. You want a machine that can make milk-based coffees, in which case, we recommend the Nespresso De'Longhi Lattissima. It's by no means cheap, but it offers you a choice of milk-based coffees at the touch of a button. Additionally, you can set your preferences, so you get the latte that you love every single time.

©Natalie Knowles

How can I recycle my Nespresso coffee pods?

Nespresso pods are made from recyclable aluminium. A bag is provided for you to collect your used pods and they can either be returned in the post, using Nespresso's doorstep recycling service, or with Podback you can drop them off at one of the 7,000 Collect+ locations (delivered by Yodel). Also, you can pop into a Nespresso Boutique and drop used pods off there.

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.

It is very easy to order pods online, via the app or by phone for next-day delivery. Alternatively, you can pick them up from your nearest Nespresso Boutique just one hour after the order is placed. Nespresso wants to build a relationship with its customers, offering exclusive new coffees and private sales to Connoisseur, Expert and Ambassador members. It rewards long-term subscribers: for example, if you're a customer for over ten years you will be an Ambassador member where you receive VIP rewards and an anniversary gift. Finally, if your machine needs to be repaired, Nespresso offers aftercare and will loan you a replacement while yours is being fixed.

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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