About 38% of US households use a single-serve machine, with Nespresso among the most popular pod machine choices. Now, Nespresso is facing another big-name competitor – L’OR Barista, made by Philips.
The big difference between the two coffee capsule machines is the drink sizes. Nespresso is divided into the Original Line, which makes espresso drinks, and the Vertuo Line, which makes larger drinks. Meanwhile, L’OR Barista can do both – it’s compatible with Nespresso Original pods and its proprietary full-cup option pods.
But, before you run to the nearest store to get your L’OR coffee pod machine, you should know a few things about it (such as the coffee taste and build quality). Here’s a detailed comparison of the two coffee pod machines to help you make your choice.
Main Differences Between L’OR Barista vs Nespresso
In terms of design, L’OR Barista has a curvy body. There’s a bulbous front branded with the L’OR logo, the curved lip of the pod lever, and the rounded edges of the machine. This coffee machine is bigger and boxier than Nespresso models, especially mini machines, such as the Nespresso Inissia and Citiz or Pixie and Essenza Mini.
L’OR Barista feels more plastic-y to me compared to Nespresso. It’s certainly lighter. Overall, it doesn’t quite have the same sleek and modern aesthetic Nespresso machines are known for. Still, it’s not an ugly machine, and you can display it on your kitchen counter.
L’OR is available in black, red, and white, while Nespresso machines come in a range of colors and finishes. The used capsule container fits up to 10 pods, which is similar to Nespresso machines.
Both L’OR and Nespresso machines have a water tank located in the back, with L’OR’s tank being 40 oz, which is larger than most mini Nespresso machines.
Both Nespresso and L’OR Barista have a simple lever function that opens and closes the pod container. You lift up the lever, insert your pod, and press it close to brew. Both machines automatically dispense the pod in the bin when you open the lever next. It’s really similar so far, right?
They diverge a little bit on the drink buttons. L’OR has an on/off and three buttons that correspond to different drink sizes (more on drink flavor and sizes below). Nespresso has two drink options with no power button.
Pro tip: Some L’OR models start pouring the drink as soon as it finishes heating up, so make sure to place your cup under the spout.
These machines are extremely similar, as Philips clearly wanted to mimic the existing Nespresso style. That’s a good thing because they both focus on ease of use. You get a pod machine to make coffee really simple, and both of these meet this. Maintenance, including regular cleaning and descaling, is made easy with indicators or alerts for when needed.
The drink options start to differ.
- Nespresso OriginalLine machines only make small espresso drinks.
- Nespresso Vertuo machine can make everything from single espresso shots to 18 oz coffee (for Vertuo Next). These types use different pods and read out the Nespresso Vertuo vs. Original comparison for more info.
- L’OR Barista can make two sets of sizes using two different pods. It uses the same Original Nespresso pods for small drink sizes: 1.4 oz, 2.7 oz, and 3.7 oz. Then, it uses its own larger pods for three drink options: espresso, Lungo, and coffee (5 oz, 8 oz, and 12 oz sizes).
Here are the sizes of all three options, from smallest to largest:
|Small drink sizes: 1.4 oz, 2.7 oz, and 3.7 ozLarger drink sizes: espresso, Lungo, and coffee (5 oz, 8 oz, and 12 oz sizes)
|Only small drink sizes: 1.4 oz, 2.7 oz, and 3.7 oz
|Both small and large drink sizes: espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, Americano, 18 oz carafe (available only with Vertuo Next)
Also, the amount of coffee per pod varies depending on the size. The larger L’OR pod holds 11 g of coffee, while the smaller ones hold 5 g, which is comparable to Nespresso pods. So, you can get more ground coffee for those larger drink options as well.
L’OR Barista has the same brewing technology as the Nespresso Original machines, which use 19 bars of pressure to make coffee. The machine pierces tiny holes in the pod and forces hot water from the reservoir into the machine and through the pod to mix with the ground coffee inside.
However, it gets a little complicated because L’OR also has its own capsule recognition technology. You lift the curved lever on top, place your chosen pod, and the machine automatically recognizes if it’s a large or small pod once you close the lever.
So the L’OR can make six drink sizes: three for small ones and three for larger ones. You choose the size by using one of the buttons. This is even a step up from the Nespresso Vertuo! On the Vertuo, you can make different drink sizes, but only if you get the pods for that drink size. I like that I can customize the strength for L’OR using the buttons.
The coffee tastes very similar on L’OR and Nespresso Original machines. This makes obvious sense, given they work the same and use the same pods!
Both pod coffee machines make espresso-like drinks, such as ristretto, espresso, and Lungo. I said “espresso-like” because they aren’t quite espresso. I’ve noticed they taste a little thinner and more bitter than regular espresso. True espresso is more concentrated, with a lot more coffee used to get a really dense shot.
Still, most people are satisfied with their rich flavor and thick crema. Nespresso still tastes at least like a good “strong coffee,” which is more satisfying than a Keurig, which is way too weak.
The L’OR Barista drinks carry much of this flavor. I found the espresso drinks to be comparable to Nespresso ones. That’s no surprise – as Philips used the exact same pods and brewing for L’OR.
However, my main issue was with the bigger drinks on L’OR machines. The bigger L’OR pods weren’t as good as what I get from my Vertuo Pop machine, by a long shot.
I’m sure lots of pod drinkers are looking for the all-in-one option with bigger drink sizes, and I still take Vertuo here. The Vertuo centrifusion technology creates a richer taste through its longer brew time, and the pods have up to 18g of coffee, which is more than the 11g L’OR pods.
I still like the Nespresso Vertuo machines for big drink options
L’OR Barista machines are designed to be compatible with a specific range of coffee capsules:
- L’OR capsules: These machines are primarily designed to work with L’OR coffee capsules. L’OR offers a wide variety of blends and intensities, providing users with numerous options for espresso, lungo, and more.
- Compatibility with other brands: L’OR Barista machines are also compatible with a range of capsules from other brands. These machines are also compatible with various third-party capsules such as Starbucks, Lavazza, and more.
- Limited compatibility with Nespresso: L’OR Barista machines are also compatible with Nespresso Original capsules but not with Nespresso Vertuo capsules.
Nespresso machines have their own range of capsules but also offer a degree of compatibility with third-party options:
- Nespresso capsules: Nespresso has a wide range of proprietary capsules, offering a variety of coffee styles and flavors. These include single-origin coffees, flavored coffees, and limited edition blends.
- Third-party capsules: Many third-party manufacturers produce coffee capsules compatible with Nespresso OriginalLine machines. These capsules are often less expensive and provide additional variety beyond what Nespresso offers.
- Compatibility with VertuoLine: VertuoLine machines are compatible with Vertuo pods. The capsules aren’t interchangeable between the two lines. VertuoLine uses a unique barcode system for brewing, while OriginalLine works with a broader range of third-party capsules.
Note: Neither Nespresso nor L’OR machines are compatible with Keurig pods.
Recycling and Sustainability
Nespresso has a well-established recycling program for its capsules. They provide special recycling bags that customers can fill with used capsules and drop off at Nespresso stores or partner locations. They also offer mail-back programs or curbside collection.
Nespresso capsules are primarily made of aluminum, which is great for coffee quality and it’s recyclable.
Overall, Nespresso focuses on sustainability, with initiatives that include responsible sourcing of coffee through its AAA Sustainable Quality Program, investing in reforestation, and reducing its carbon footprint.
L’OR is following Nespresso’s example. They have a pod recycling service called Podback. In fact, the service is made in partnership with Nespresso, Nescafe, and Dolce Gusto. Essentially, Podback bags are added to every order you make through the official website.
Once the bag is filled, you can recycle the pods curbside (in which case you need to register on the Podback website) or use the Podback Drop-off service available at over 7,000 locations.
In case you want to recycle pods that weren’t bought on the L’OR website, you can still get the Podback for free, but you’ll have to pay the shipping charges.
L’OR capsules are also made of aluminum, which is a highly recyclable material.
It’s unclear to me if you can mix the pods together. I’m sure Nespresso would say this isn’t allowed, but I think it would be a great move to increase recycling and reduce the impact of pods.
Here’s the annual spending to expect with each machine:
|Cost Per Pod
|Annual cost (daily use)
|$365 – $468
|40 cents – 80 cents
|$146 – $292
|$0.58 – $1
|$212 – $365
Nespresso Original pods cost from 0.40 cents to 0.80 cents per pod, depending on which pod you choose (the price of the vast majority of pods is 0.60 cents). Special edition and holiday pods are slightly more expensive at 90 cents to $2 per pod. All pods are sold in sleeves of ten.
L’OR pods are sold in packages of 10, 30, 50, and 100. The larger the package you get, the lower the price of individual pods. For example, the price of an individual pod in larger packs (50 or 100) can start from as little as $0.58 and it goes to around $1.
So, the price of L’OR pods is about the same price as Nespresso Original pods. But, you’ll notice the larger pods are more expensive, and plan to spend more for bigger drinks.
On the other hand, Nespresso Vertuo pods easily cost 80 cents to $1.10 per pod. The pricing is much higher for the cost, which can really add up. In my opinion, you pay for quality on Vertuo as they are the best-tasting pods around.
As far as machine cost, the price of L’OR machines goes from $189 to $270. However, you can often find them discounted for as little as around $120 (and they are often on sale).
The price of Nespresso Original coffee and espresso machines goes from around $170 to $300 for models without a milk frother. There are premium Creatista and Lattissima models going around $800 for models with milk frothing systems, which are only available for Nespresso.
In general, check around for different Nespresso models, as the cost can vary a lot for smaller Original machines or Vertuo Pop and go higher for different models.
Recommendation: Is Nespresso or L’Or Better?
Your choice depends on:
- Drink options – L’OR has the best combination of low-price and drink options.
- Price – Nespresso Original is great if you just drink espressos, as the pods are inexpensive.
- Quality of coffee – Nespresso Vertuo is still the best quality, although the pods are expensive.
L’OR coffee machine is great for varied coffee size preferences. Overall, if you want to brew everything from ristretto to 12 oz coffee with one machine, L’OR is a good choice. Also, the pods are reasonably priced with lots of varieties of Nespresso Original pods.
On the other hand, if your preference leans towards larger coffee sizes and you’re looking for superior quality, the Nespresso Vertuo line is an excellent choice. Personally, I still like Nespresso Vertuo the best. It’s for those who prioritize coffee quality and are willing to invest in a more premium machine, as well as households where larger coffee servings are the norm. The problem is the pods are the most expensive…
For individuals who primarily enjoy standard espresso sizes and seek a reliable, high-quality machine, the Nespresso Original line is the best choice. It has a straightforward espresso experience, with a wide range of capsule flavors to choose from. They are also the least expensive pods on the market too!
L’OR Barista vs. Nespresso: Final Thoughts
Overall, both L’OR and Nespresso machines are solid choices. L’OR offers more versatility in the drink choices and affordability, making it a great choice for those who enjoy a range of coffee sizes and flavors without a hefty price tag.
Nespresso, with its two distinct lines, caters to a wider range of needs: the Original line is perfect for traditional espresso lovers, while the Vertuo line appeals to those who prefer larger coffee sizes and a more diverse flavor profile.
If you’re leaning more towards Nespresso, you may be confused with so many machine options available. To make it easier for you, we have the best Nespresso machine comparison, where you’re guaranteed to find a Nespresso machine to suit your coffee-drinking needs.