You may know Nespresso as the brand that popularized single-serve coffee, and the Nespresso Vertuo Plus takes the convenience one step further with a single-serve design that lets the pods do the work. Nespresso's Vertuo pods are uniquely designed to work in the Vertuo line, with in-built barcodes that adjust the settings in the coffee maker to deliver optimum results for each blend. The brand would have you believe that this is one of the best Nespresso machines on the market, alongside the even flashier Nespresso Vertuo Next.
I tested the Nespresso Vertuo Plus for a number of weeks in this Nespresso Vertuo Plus review, to see if it's worth the investment. For a single-serve coffee maker, this is one of the more expensive machines on the crowded market, and unlike Nespresso's former line of coffee makers, you are tied to only using Nespresso Vertuo pods with this machine thanks to the patented barcode technology. That means no grocery-store pod knock-offs, and a pretty sizeable ongoing cost if you drink a lot of coffee at home. So, is the Nespresso Vertuo Plus worth it?
I have reviewed many of the best coffee makers on the market, from Nespresso to Breville, so I know what to look out for in a user-friendly coffee maker. I'd like to think I'm not a coffee snob though, and if you are, I'd suggest taking a look at an espresso maker or something that will allow you to customize your drinks. If you're reading this review because you want to find the best single-serve coffee maker, you're in the right place.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus: specs
- Water tank capacity: 1.1L/ 37 oz.
- Dimensions: 5.5"W x 16.9"D x 12.4"H
- Weight: 9 lb./ 4 kg
- Cord length: 29” inches
- Water filter: No
- Warming plate: No
- Programmable: No
I was struck by how thoughtful Nespresso's packaging was with the Nespresso Vertuo Plus. It comes in a box with a curved top, which splits open into two parts ot reveal the machine assembled and almost ready to go. There is a lot of plastic and single-use packaging, which is something I am never keen on.
After lifting the machine out of the box I next had to assemble it. To do this I inserted the drip tray into the bottom of the machine. The drip tray is weighty and feels high-quality, but it has quite a small capacity and could overflow quite easily without regular emptying.
I also filled the water tank and placed it onto its rest at the back of the machine. This can pivot around to sit on either side of the machine or to go right behind it, sticking out from the back. To refill you simply need to lift the water container away, take it to the tap, and then drop it back into place. Note that this coffee maker does not come with a water filter, which could become an issue if, like me, you live somewhere that has hard water.
Making coffee in the Nespresso Vertuo Plus
When assembled I flushed the machine through by pressing the central button a few times. I then made my first drink, a lungo. The Nespresso Vertuo Plus can make coffee drinks in four sizes: espresso, lungo, as well as 5oz and 8oz cups. Nespresso sent me a few different blends to taste from their site, including one of each size.
I do tend to prefer espresso-style drinks, and I will typically top them up with some kind of steamed milk. Nespresso does have a milk frother, the Aeroccino, but I did not have one to use with the machine and instead used my own handheld one.
Making your coffee is very easy. Simply select your pod of choice, gently press on the underside of the hinge at the front of the machine, and it will lift automatically. When you've used the machine prior to this it will lift up and slide the formerly used pod into the bin, which sits at the side of the machine and is easy to remove and empty.
Then, it's a case of dropping your pod into the holder, pressing down on the hinge and allowing it to lower itself down, puncturing the seal on the pod with an audible 'pop'.
After that, the button on the top of the machine will light up as the machine pre-heats. Press it when the light turns solid, and your coffee will begin to brew.
How the Nespresso Vertuo Plus works
As you'll see, this coffee maker creates thick and luscious-looking coffees with a very large layer of crema at the top of the cup. This crema isn't anything like the kind of crema you get from a fresh-brewed espresso. It's made artificially by the machine, which spins the pods to extract the coffee and create a foam as it brews.
Just because this crema isn't the most authentic, doesn't mean it's not enjoyable. After all, if you've read this far you're not clearly not phased by making coffee out of a metallic pod, so I doubt the lack of a fresh-ground bean will bother you.
You get all the fun, aesthetic parts of making a coffee with this machine. The drink visibly turns from a foamy brown to dark, clear coffee underneath a layer of foam. Add in your milk, and you've got a realistic-looking latte that tastes pretty similar to what you'll get at your local chain coffee store.
Leave it for too long though, and the illusion does start to fade slightly. The coffee thins out, much like a tiny bubble bath, leaving you with much less pleasant drink. I'd suggest stirring your coffee before you drink it to avoid this.
How does it taste?
How about the taste, then? Well, I was pretty happy with the taste of my Nespresso. It didn't stand out to me as especially delicious, but it's definitely better than a lot of the single-serve coffees I've tried over the years.
Because there are no rival brands making Vertuo pods (unlike Nespresso's original pods, which can be substituted out by most coffee brands and even artisanal coffee roasters) you are definitely committed to Nespresso quality coffee. Whether that's a good thing, I'm not sure, but it's totally drinkable and not too sour or bitter. I would note that I wasn't able to tell much of a difference in taste between the different pods, but I could tell the difference in strength, which is denoted on the side of the containers.
I'm more of an espresso drinker, but my partner likes classic long coffees, and got on very well with this machine. Unlike forcing water through already-extracted grounds, as you'll often do if you try and make a homemade americano using an espresso maker, these pods are portioned perfectly to make a variety of different coffee sizes. He did get through that water tank a lot quicker than me and ended up refilling it at least once a day, which says a lot about the amount of coffee the pair of us get through when we work from home.
Disposing of these pods made me feel a little frustrated, because there really is so much waste involved in single-serve coffee. Market alternatives such as recyclable pods and even devices you can buy to eject the coffee from your pod and add the grounds to your compost are coming through, but the rate is slower than it ought to be, and there's no denying that opting for pour-over or French press is the more sustainable move.
Fortunately, Nespresso does run a recycling scheme for these pods that is very convenient to use if buying pods regularly. With your pod order, they send a bag to collect the used pods which they will then pick up on delivery of the next batch.
Should you buy the Nespresso Vertuo Plus?
If you want a slimline and sleek coffee maker to sit on your kitchen counter, I think the Nespresso Vertuo Plus could definitely be a contender. It has the perks of low-fuss brewing, but it still gives you Nespresso's own take on a quality coffee, complete with crema-like foam that's a signature element of the Vertuo line. The technology is undeniably smart too, and it's nice to only have one button but be able to make a range of different drink sizes.
I did enjoy my coffee for the two weeks I spent testing this machine, and I wasn't in a rush to return to my trusty De'Longhi bean-to-cup. There are so many pods to try (and Nespresso is always bringing out more), so I'm certain that if I had more time with this machine I'd have been able to find a favorite blend. It's not one for coffee aficionados, but if you enjoy a morning coffee but can't be bothered with hand-grinding, tamping, or gauging the pressure, this trusty machine will go the extra mile to make sure that you never have a bad brew. Busy parents will appreciate the quality versus effort pay off to get a fresh cup every morning.
About this review, and our reviewer
Millie is the small appliances editor at Real Homes, meaning her kitchen is always full of new and interesting appliances that are constantly being put to the test. This Nespresso Vertuo Plus was written from Millie's own home, where she tested the machine every day for weeks before reaching her conclusions.
She's now passed it onto a colleague on the Real Homes team, meaning it will continue to be used on a daily basis. This review will be updated to reflect the ongoing experiences we have with the Nespresso Vertuo Plus here at Real Homes.