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When it comes to the world of coffee pod machines, it’s widely accepted in coffee brewing circles that Nespresso makes some of the best brewers around. Their OriginalLine has become a popular favorite with coffee drinkers, and many have dumped their Keurig coffee brewers in favor of the Nespresso alternative.
Building on the solid foundation of the OriginalLine, Nespresso released their new and improved machine in 2014 – the VertuoLine. But how does the newer VertuoLine stack up against the older OriginalLine? Is it worth shelling out some cash to upgrade your Nespresso?
Let’s dig a little deeper and look at the key differences between the two coffee machines.
Comparison: VertuoLine and the OriginalLine
|Brief Overview||The OriginalLine coffee pod machine utilizes 19-bar of steam pressure just like a regular espresso machine. The brewed coffee is considerably hotter compared to the VertuoLine, and the cost per coffee capsule is cheaper.||The newer VertuoLine coffee machines use different technology to brew each capsule which has its flaws. This machine can serve larger amounts of coffee, and the Crema is considerably thicker and more creamy.|
|Pod Extraction Pressure||Up to 19-bars of pressure via a pump||Centrifusion technology that spins the coffee pod|
|Can Brew Long Coffee||No||Yes|
|Brews Espresso and Lungo||Yes||Yes|
|Extraction Temperature||Higher Temperature||Struggles To Keep Adequate Temperature|
|Estimated Cost Per Nespresso Brand Capsule||Between $0.75 to $0.85||Between $0.90 to $1.25|
|3rd Party Capsules Available||Yes (example)||No|
|Used Capsule Capacity||10 capsules||17 capsules|
Cost Per Coffee Pod
The issue I have with coffee pod machines is the cost of the capsules. If you drink a lot of coffee, the price of keeping yourself fully caffeinated can quickly spiral out of control. So keeping the cost down will be any coffee lovers’ priority.
So when it comes to the Nespresso VertuoLine versus the OriginalLine, which machine gives you the best “bang for your buck” when you’re buying your coffee capsules?
Unsurprisingly, the newer VertuoLine capsules cost a smidgen more than the OriginalLine. So if you want to use the newest and latest machine, it’s going to cost you more per cup.
Here’s a quick breakdown of the coffee pod cost associated with each Nespresso machine.
- OriginalLine coffee pods cost around $0.75-$0.85 per capsule.
- VertuoLine coffee pods cost around $0.90-$1.25 per capsule.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The OriginalLine Nespresso machines can fit 3rd party, unbranded coffee pods, which bring the price per cup down considerably. These capsules can cost as little as $0.35 per serving; that’s roughly half the cost of the original Nespresso pods.
Serving Size Difference Between the VertuoLine and the OriginalLine
This is where the VertuoLine excels, in my opinion.
The VertuoLine unit can brew a much larger cup size when compared to the OriginalLine. So if you prefer larger, tall drinks, the VertuoLine has got you covered, allowing you to brew a full cup of coffee up to 17 ounces in size. Obviously, smaller cups can also be served too.
On the other hand, the OriginalLine machines only accommodate three brew sizes 1.35 oz espresso and 3.70 oz lungo, and a 0.70 oz ristretto shot. Sure, it’s still possible to brew larger cups, but it will require that you use multiple coffee capsules and juggle your cups around a bit – but it’s doable.
The technology used to brew each cup is completely different between the VertuoLine and the OriginalLine. This is probably one of the biggest differences I can see between the two coffee machines.
As you can imagine, the technology used in the newer VertuoLine coffee machine is more cutting edge than the original machines.
The VertuoLine uses a process that’s called Centrifusion, while the Original machines use good “ole” pressure to force water through the coffee capsules.
With the old system found in the Original units, you could generate up to 19-bar of pressure, putting the machine in the same ballpark as a full-sized espresso machine.
The Centrifusion system used in the newer VertuoLine machines seems to work much faster than the older pressure system. This is mainly due to not having to wait for the steam pressure to build up. Instead of using steam pressure, the VertuoLine machines use the pressure resulting from Centrifusion for its extraction.
But the big problem I find is that the VertuoLine machines cannot brew coffee as hot as the older OriginalLine brewers. Although, to be honest, the espresso shots also seem to be slightly under-extracted – which could be down to less pressure used?
Personally, I prefer the 19-bar of pressure found in the OriginalLine system.
What is Centrifusion?
You might wonder how the Centrifusion system found in the new VertuoLine machine works – what’s the difference between that and steam pressure?
The technology behind making coffee with the VertuoLine is pretty dang cool.
Centrifusion is the name given to the rapid pod rotation process used in the new machines and is a word combination of centrifugal action and water infusion. Regarding speed between the VertuoLine and the OriginalLine, I find that the newer machine has a slight advantage.
The OriginalLine takes time to heat the water, which produces the 19-bar of pressure used to brew each coffee pod. However, the VertuoLine rotates the pods extremely fast, up to 7,000 RPMs.
Here’s the process in a little bit more detail for the geeks reading this.
Once the capsule is placed in the machine, the Centrifusion process begins. First, the machine penetrates the coffee pod directly in the center and also around the edge. It then forces water into the capsule via the newly created center hole, and the coffee shots out of the holes on the outer edge of the pod and down into your cup.
The VertuoLine then spins the coffee pod at high speed the ensure that all the brewed coffee is removed, leaving you with a clean pod that can be thrown in the trash.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Centrifusion technology used in the Nespresso VertuoLine seems to produce a much thicker and creamer Crema; this could be caused by the rotating of the coffee pod.
Barcode Scanning System
Nespresso has got a little clever with the new VertuoLine capsules, and there’s probably a good reason behind it – to make more money.
The newer coffee pods have a distinct pattern embossed on the edge – this is actually a barcode that the Nespresso VertuoLine machine can read. You’ll notice that the barcode is printed on the rim five times, and there’s a reason for it.
Surprisingly, the five codes are all the same but are printed so that the scanner in the VertuoLine can read the barcode no matter how you place the capsule in the machine.
This barcode tells the machine the cup size, temperature, rotational speed, flow rate, and time the water is in contact with the coffee, similar to the barcode scanning system found on Keurig machines.
This also means you can’t use unbranded, 3rd party coffee pods with the VertuoLine. As I pointed out earlier, the OriginalLine takes and can cost almost half the price of the original Nespresso coffee capsules.
The OriginalLine coffee machines don’t have any barcodes printed on the capsules. Instead, you place in a compatible coffee pod, and you’re all set.
Health and the Environment
Last, but certainly not least. In my research between the two Nespresso coffee makers, I stumbled across some interesting facts, which may or may not be the reason that you don’t buy a Nespresso VertuoLine.
The VertuoLine Nespresso capsule is NOT Fair Trade, Organic, or NON-GMO verified.
So if you were to buy a VertuoLine coffee machine and want to brew organic coffee, you’re going to be out of luck.
However, on the flip side, at the time of writing, there are over ten 3rd party companies producing organic capsules for the Nespresso OriginalLine machine.
Nespresso Vertuoline or OriginalLine: Which Machine is Better?
I’m all for Nespresso trying to use better technology in their new coffee machines, but this is where to old saying rings true “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
The older pressure system that’s used in full-sized espresso machines is reliable and has been around for donkey’s years, and for good reason – it works, and it works well.
The Centrifusion is clever, but I would opt for the 19-bar of pure steam pressure rather than rotation any day if I had to choose.
Then we move on to the barcode technology added to the coffee capsules, sure it allows for a more tailored and personal cup of coffee but at the expense of not being able to purchase cheaper 3rd party, unbranded coffee pods.
For many people, that in itself can be a deal-breaker. At almost double the cost per pod for the original capsules vs. the unbranded, your cost per cup of coffee over a month can quickly spiral out of control.
Sure, you can brew a slighter larger cup of coffee with the Nespresso VertuoLine compared to the older OriginalLine, but that isn’t much of a selling point.
And finally, the VertuoLine has an issue with the brewing temperature. This might be the biggest issue of them all. With a lower brew temperature, your coffee will not reach its full potential – all the goodness locked inside each ground isn’t going to be fully extracted.
What’s your opinion of the new Nespresso VertuoLine compared to the OriginalLine?
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