You’ve decided to get a Nespresso machine. Now the dilemma is which type of machine to choose: Vertuo vs. OriginalLine?
VertuoLine is my choice as the coffee tastes richer with larger drink options. However, Original pods are cheaper with more coffee options than Vertuo pods. The Original is a good choice if you only like espressos, while Vertuo is better if you want a variety of drink sizes.
Here’s a brief history of how these Nespresso machines came about, how they differ, and the most popular models by type.
History Behind the Two Types of Nespresso Machines
Nespresso belongs to the Switzerland-based Nestle group (you probably know them for KitKat bars). Nespresso’s story started when Nestle’s engineer, Erik Favre, noticed a coffee shop in Rome was producing espresso with a thick layer of crema.
Favre wanted to create a machine that combines the convenience of home brewing with Italian espresso bar quality. The first Nespresso machine was created in 1986, and the rest is history, sort of.
Nestle actually had a slow start until new management came in. The company licensed its designs to companies like Breville and DeLonghi, who manufacture the machine (Nespresso only makes pods). George Clooney also bumped the brand with clever ads that positioned Nespresso as a luxury. Then, the rest was history.
However, Nespresso struggled to break through in the US market, mostly because US coffee lovers like larger drinks. Its patents also expired on the original design. So the company launched VertuoLine in 2014 — a range of machines that brew big coffee drinks. That led to two distinct machines and pods that we see today.
Nespresso Original Overview
Nespresso Original highlights:
- Traditional espresso sizes and pressure brewing
- Lighter body and taste
- More pod options and lower cost
Overall, original Nespresso machines have more coffee pod options but smaller and fewer drink options than Vertuo.
Nespresso OriginalLine is Nespresso’s classic line of espresso machines. These Nespresso machines use OriginalLine espresso pods — hermetically sealed capsules of ground coffee.
OriginalLine machines were made for brewing espresso, and each espresso machine has two buttons: espresso and lungo. You insert the pod, press a corresponding button, and the machine makes your drink. These brew coffee like traditional espresso – pump hot water through the coffee pods to make the drink. They heat up in about 15 to 20 seconds, and you’ll have a drink ready in less than a minute.
There’s a wide range of pods available at a cheap cost, thanks to patent expirations.
All OriginalLine capsules come in one size, which makes ristretto, espresso, or a lungo. If you want a stronger coffee coffee, you’d have to use two capsules. Otherwise, your drink will be too diluted with a larger size.
Third-party coffee pods
Cheaper Nespresso capsules
More affordable machines
Only brews small espresso coffees
Weaker espresso flavor than Vertuo
Nespresso Vertuo Overview
Nespresso Vertuo highlights:
- Makes a wider range of coffee sizes, including 8 – 16 oz sizes
- Bolder and richer taste
- Only Nespresso manufactures pods; more expensive
These espresso machines were made to appeal to the North American market, where coffee lovers prefer Starbucks Venti-style coffees over small espresso.
VertuoLine machines use a unique Nespresso extraction system. You insert the pod, the machine reads the barcode printed on the edge of the pod, and automatically brews your drink by spinning it (more on that later). There’s even less work required on your part than when using an OriginalLine espresso machine, because there’s only one button!
VertuoLine Nespresso machines make five coffee drinks: espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, Americano, and Alto XL (Note: Alto Xl has been discontinued and reintroduced a few times). The sizes go from a single espresso shot at 1.8 oz to 12 oz coffee (there’s even an 18 oz carafe for the VertuoNext).
VertuoLine Nespresso capsules are made for a specific size each. Nespresso only manufactures Vertuo pods, so there’s less selection than Original coffee capsules.
None of the Nespresso VertuoLine devices have a milk frother, but you can buy a separate one or choose an espresso machine and a milk frother bundle.
Makes large coffee drinks
Centrifusion technology for richer taste
Barcode system adjusts the brewing parameters
Thicker espresso crema
Smaller choice of capsules
Coffee capsules are more expensive than OriginalLine
Main Differences Between Nespresso VertuoLine vs. Original
I’ll go through the main differences between each type of machine below. You can also watch the walkthrough from our review:
Extraction and Brewing Process
The biggest difference between a Nespresso VertuoLine vs Original is how the machine works, as the brewing process is very different.
OriginalLine machines use a pressure-based system. You insert the pod, a needle punctures the top, and the machine pumps water through the pod at 19 bars of pressure until espresso pours into your cup. This process resembles how a traditional espresso is made.
VertuoLine machines use a patented Nespresso system called centrifusion. You insert the pod, which has a barcode under the edge. The machine reads the printed barcode and automatically adjusts all the settings. The machine recognizes the volume, temperature, and correct water ratio for each pod to ensure a good brew. You’ll even notice some pods produce very hot coffee versus others.
The Vertuo machine pumps hot water into the capsule. Then, the capsule is spun 7,000 times per minute to infuse the coffee grounds in the capsule, and the brewed coffee flies out the capsule edges. This results in a thicker crema and body compared to the pressure-based system.
Overall, centrifusion allows you to have a larger drink and a thicker crema than OriginalLine, although some coffee drinkers won’t consider this authentic.
Coffee Flavor and Crema
The machine functions leads to different flavor and body between Original and Vertuo machines. My vote for the best espresso flavor goes to Vertuo devices. Nespresso Vertuo extracts more coffee flavor and crema than the OriginalLine machine.
I found Vertuo espresso was closer to a traditional espresso. It has a thicker body and richer taste. This is probably the magic of centrifusion, which brews longer and extracts more coffee. The longer brewing time almost resembles an immersion brew like French press, which also has rich taste.
Also, Vertuo pods have more ground coffee than Original pods, where Vertuo espresso pods have 7 grams of coffee compared to 5 for Original pods (and each brew the same amount of coffee).
On top of that, OriginalLine uses 19 bars or pressure to brew, which is too high for the coffee in Nespresso capsules and well above the typical 9 bars on traditional espresso machines. The coffee can’t extract at that pressure, which results in a weaker espresso. The espresso comes out in 20 seconds, compared to 30 seconds on my traditional espresso machine.
As for the crema, it’s the other way around — I marginally prefer OriginalLine crema to VertuoLine. It’s true that the VertuoLine crema is very thick and has more aroma, but the OriginalLine has a texture more similar to real espresso. It’s thinner and resembles a mousse-like cream on a traditional espresso. VertuoLine crema is so thick I can pick it up with a spoon and return it to the cup, and it’ll hold its shape.
While I prefer Nespresso VertuoLine espresso, there are a lot of coffee capsules to choose from for both machines, so you can find something you like.
Capsule Differences and Cost
Each machine has a distinctly different capsule, and I’ll explain why that matters for each.
VertuoLine capsules are dome-shaped, come in three sizes, and can make five different drinks. More importantly, VertuoLine pods are only manufactured by Nespresso, which means a few things.
- VertuoLine pods are more expensive, which means a higher ongoing cost.
- There are fewer flavor options compared to the Original pods. Nespresso is the only brand to make these capsules because they need a barcode that the Vertuo machine recognizes.
The cost varies if you buy from Nespresso’s website or a re-seller, such as Amazon, but OrignalLine pods are more affordable compared to VertuoLine. Also, third-party compatible pods are usually cheaper than Nespresso brand capsules.
|Cost per pod
|Annual cost (daily use)
|$365 – $468
|40 cents – 80 cents
|$146 – $292
|20 cents – 80 cents
|$73 – $292
There are over 30 VertuoLine capsules, which come in different categories: Barista Creations, Coffee Made for Ice, Origins, Espresso and Double Espresso, and more. These differ in intensity and flavor.
OriginalLine capsules are cup-shaped, smaller, and the same size. Nowadays, third-party manufacturers can also make Original capsules, since Nespresso’s patents expired in 2013. This resulted in a wide variety of Orignal capsules.
Nespresso still makes over 30 OriginalLine pods, plus limited editions. The pods come in different categories: World Explorations, Inspirazione Italiana, Barista Creations, and more. The categories vary in body, flavor, and intensity, similar to Vertuo pods.
Both OriginalLine and VertuoLine capsules are available on the Nespresso website and in their boutique stores. You can also buy Nespresso-compatible pods in almost every major supermarket and online. There are some third-party compostable Original coffee pods, which you don’t have to recycle. However, there are no VertuoLine compatible coffee capsules, so you’re stuck with Nespresso’s capsules.
VertuoLine machines don’t have a built-in milk frother, but you can opt for a bundle and get a Vertuo machine and Nespresso’s Aeroccino at a discounted price. Most machines come with the Aeroccino 3 and you can upgrade to the Aeroccino 4, which has more milk frothing options and we like more.
On the other hand, OriginalLine Creatista and Lattissima machines come with built-in milk frothers but are significantly more expensive than single-serve machines without a frother. Also, you can opt for a Nespresso OriginalLine and an Aeroccino bundle deal, the same as with VertuoLine.
Drink Options Available
Nespresso OriginalLine coffee makers can brew:
- Ristretto 0.85 oz
- Espresso 1.35 oz
- Double espresso 3.7 oz
Nespresso VertuoLine coffee makers can brew:
- Espresso: 1.35 oz
- Double Espresso: 2.7 oz
- Grand Lungo: 5 oz
- Coffee: 8 oz
- Carafe: 18 oz
If you prefer smaller drinks, such as ristretto and espresso, you’ll love traditional-sized espresso drinks. Nespresso OriginalLine offers a variety of intensities, from mild to strong drinks.
If you like a long cup of black coffee, you’ll love Grand Lungo and cafe VertuoLine pods. These pods can brew huge steaming mugs of coffee.
However, both the OriginalLine and Vertuo let you change the drink size — add more water to the OriginalLine pod to make an Americano, or reprogram the Vertuo capsule to make the drink you want.
Our Favorite Machines for Each Type
Nespresso Vertuo Plus highlights:
- Motorized opening and closing system
- Adjustable water reservoir
- User friendly design
VertuoPlus is one of VertuoLine’s most popular and reliable coffee makers. We think the Plus model is better than the newer Next. Its biggest feature is the 40 oz adjustable water tank — you can rotate it to the machine’s side or the back. This design makes it easy to refill the reservoir and fit the machine on a narrow countertop.
The water tank size is enough to brew all VertuoLine drinks (espresso, double espresso, Grand Lungo, and cafe). The coffee machine has a used capsule container that holds up to 10 used capsules, so you won’t have to empty it daily.
One of my favorite features of the VertuoPlus is how easy it is to open and close the lid. The coffee machine has an automatic mechanism and a motorized lid, so all you have to do is gently push to lever to open and close it. This is much easier compared to VertuoNext, which needs much more effort to operate the lid.
Overall, this coffee machine is a great choice if you want a user-friendly machine, you’re short on counter space, and if you want hot and creamy coffee beverages.
Nespresso Evoluo highlights:
- 54 oz water tank
- Fits 17 used Nespresso capsules
- Fast heat-up time of only 15 seconds
Nespresso Evoluo has a huge water tank — 54 oz. You can brew various espressos, double espressos, and regular coffees without having to refill the tank. It also has a big used capsule container — 17 pods. This makes the use easier for you, and you don’t have to refill and clean the machine daily.
Evoluo has a shut-off feature. If you don’t use the coffee maker for nine minutes, it’ll automatically shut off, which saves energy. Also, you can walk off after getting your drink — the machine will store the used capsule in the container and automatically turn it off.
In terms of design, it looks blocky and square compared to other Nespresso devices. However, this is the price to pay for a large reservoir and capsule container.
Nespresso Evoluo is a great choice if you want a coffee machine that produces hot coffee with minimum input from you. It’s also a good option if your main priorities are a large water tank and capsule container.
Check out our Vertuo Evoluo vs. Vertuoline comparison on the differences.
Nespresso Citiz highlights:
- Durable with stainless steel sides
- Large 34 oz Water Tank
- 19-bar pump system
Citiz is a Nespresso Original coffee machine. It looks polished and high-end because it’s made of a combination of stainless steel and plastic. The dimensions are perfect because it’s shallower for small countertops and also taller for large mugs.
Citiz uses Thermoblock heating technology and Nespresso’s OriginalLine extraction system. The machine has a 19-bar pump that forces hot water through the capsule. I didn’t have any issues with the drink temperature, and it was consistent every time I used it.
The water tank is on the smaller side — only 34 oz, and the used capsule container can fit nine pods, which means more frequent refilling and cleaning of the machine.
The use is simple: open the top, insert the capsule, close the top, which will pierce the capsule top. Then simply press one of the two buttons on the machine, and you’ll have your drink ready in under a minute.
We have a full comparison of the Citiz, which is a good option if you want a durable, stylish machine and don’t mind a small water tank.
Nespresso Pixie highlights:
- Brews espresso and lungo
- 24 oz removable water tank container
- Used capsule container fits 11 pods
Pixie is one of Nespresso’s smallest and most lightweight espresso machines. Due to this, it also has one of the smallest water tanks — only 24 oz. However, considering how compact the espresso machine is, this is a decent size. Plus, there’s an empty water tank alert, so you don’t have to check if it’s time to refill.
I especially liked the round handle around the top of the machine, which functions as a lever mechanism. Pull it up to open the lid, and push down to close it. The handle makes the machine easy to use, and there’s no need to apply pressure or struggle with opening the lid, which is the case with some other machines.
Pixie has a foldable drip tray so you can fit larger mugs when you want a Lungo.
Nespresso Pixie is a good choice if you need a compact machine with a durable build and you drink a lot of espressos.
Recommendation: Nespresso Vertuo Vs Original Machines
Nespresso VertuoLine gets my vote as a better option. We rarely recommend the more expensive options on Craft Coffee Spot, but this time, it’s hard to deny the better taste.
Vertuo brews richer-tasting coffee that more closely resembles real espresso. Plus, there’s a wider selection of drinks, and I like the coffee pods the most. Overall, this is a good choice if you want to make espresso and coffee and if ease of use matters.
Nespresso OriginalLine is a good choice if you mostly drink espresso and espresso-based drinks. There’s a wider range of machines and more Nespresso capsules available, so you’ll have more coffee pod options and a crema that resembles one on traditional espresso. Moreover, the machines and pods are more affordable compared to Vertuo machines and pods.
Choosing The Best Nespresso For You
Both Vertuo and Original devices are single-serve coffee makers that brew consistent coffee. Nespresso OriginalLine is made for espresso and lungo, while VertuoLine brews a wider selection of drinks. The machines also differ in technology and price — Nespresso Vertuo is the more expensive option.
Before you make your final decision, make sure to check out Dolce Gusto machines. These coffee makers also belong to Nestle, but they can brew a much wider variety of drinks than Nespresso. Here’s our Nespresso vs. Dolce Gusto comparison.