On r/nespresso, there are a lot of posts asking this specific question: Which Nespresso machine should I buy? So I thought it would be good for me to write this article that might help users that are wondering about this question. Nespresso does have web pages, like this us site, that try to help users determine which machine to get, but I find that the Nespresso sites don’t provide enough detail and/or a good analysis (just my opinion). This is evident from the fact that r/nespresso has numberous posts asking the specific question this article is about.

What Coffee Style do You Prefer?

The first question you should ask yourself before choosing a machine is: What coffee style do I prefer? What is meant by this is: Do you prefer small espresso/cappucino style coffee? Or alternately do you prefer large standard coffee mug sizes of coffee (similar size to what a Keurig might produce)?

If you like the smaller espresso sized style of coffee, the Original Line (OL) will be your best choice. With an OL machine, you basically can make two sizes of coffee, namely the Lungo (3.7oz / 110ml) size, or Espresso (1.35oz / 40ml) size; as most machines have only those two pre-programmed size buttons. Some Nespresso capsules can be brewed as a Ristretto (0.85oz / 25ml) pour, and there are just some machines (like the Creatista) that have the Ristretto pre-programed size button. Alternately, if you need to brew a Ristretto shot, you can press the Espresso button and press it midway through brewing to get the correct Ristretto size.

If you really like the choice of larger cups of coffee, go with the Vertuo Line (VL). The VL machines can brew 5 different sizes, which includes the Pour-over Style only with the Vertuo Next or Vertuo Pop machines. The VL machines also can brew an Espresso sized shot, although the number of Espresso sized coffees for Vertuo is limited. If you really like the Espresso sized shots, then don’t get a Vertuo – it’s as simple as that.

Extraction Methods

The Vertuo Line (VL) uses centrifuge extraction technology. Basically, the coffee capsules are rotated at a very high rpm and hot water is sent into the capsule (which is spinning), and the water is then extracted out of the capsule into the cup. The hot water is continuously sent into the capsule and spun and extracted to produce the overall cup size. This type of extraction method produces a large amount of crema. Although the crema is not like a standard pressure extraction method crema, and it is more like bubbly coffee foam. The crema is really coffee, and some people don’t like the looks of it; but what you can do it either spoon it into the coffee (stir it in), or just spoon it out.

The Original Line (OL) machines use pressure (19 bars) extraction, which is similar to what a standard espresso machine uses. Although the crema is not exactly like a standard espresso machine shot, but it is close. If you are hoping that a Nespresso OL machine will closely compare to a standard espresso machine, you will be very disappointed, and you should NOT buy a Nespresso machine if you have those expectations at all.

Coffee Choices

Many people often think that the VL machines are “newer”, and the OL machines are “old” technology. This is not a good comparison. The capsules available for VL and OL are actually quite different, and both lines do have some unique choices of coffees. It has been typical that Nespresso introduces new single origin coffees (like the new Honduras) first in the OL, and then in later years they may (or may not) introduce into the VL.

Some good examples are: Gingerbread & Peppermint Pinwheel Festive Limited Editions which oddly enough are only available for the VL. The Cafecito de Puerto Rico Reviving Origins is only available for the VL. The Tribute to Trieste and Tribute to Milan are only available in the OL. Also last year’s extremely popular Ispirazione Novecento and Ispirazione Millennio were only available for the OL.

Milk and Coffee

If you like steamed milk with your coffee, Nespresso also offers a choice of machines that provide that capability. For the OL, there is either the Creatista or the Lattissima line of machines. The nice feature of the Lattissima line of machines is that they automatically brew the coffee and steam the milk in your cup. On the larger Lattissima machines, you can take off the milk container and place it in your refridgerator (to keep the milk). The only downside of the Lattissima is they require much more effort in cleaning than compared to the Creatista line.

The Creatista line has a separate milk steamer wand, and comes with a stainless steel jug to steam the milk in. The Creatista is incredibly easy to use, and extremely easy to clean up. The only disadvantage is that when using the minimum line on the jug, there is probably enough steamed milk for 3 separate coffee uses. This number can vary depending on how much milk you decide to use.

Alternatively, you can get an Aeroccino with your machine instead of getting a machine that has a built in milk steamer. You will need to clean the Aerocchino after each use, and you need to clean it with a soft cloth since the surface is easily damaged.

NOTE: As of this writing the Creatista and Lattissima are only available for the OL machines; but they will soon be available for the VL being integrated with the Vertuo Next machine.


I wanted to add this section about the mechanics of the technologies, since some people (like myself) want to know how reliable a machine is and how it works, and may make their choices based on understanding the technology.

Since the VL uses centrifuge extraction, it does require a motor and gears to spin the capsule. The VL also has a infrared barcode reader, that reads the barcode under each capsule; it uses this to perform the proper extraction. Also some VL machines (Vertuo Plus) have automatic head openers, which uses a motor and gear to open the head to allow you to place the capsule in the machine. This is a nice feature and works well.

The OL machines use a hand operated gear to insert, place and pierce the OL capsules into the machines; which has NO motors or electronic components whatsoever.

Otherwise both VL and OL have a thermoblock which heats up the water under continuous flow. Also they both have buttons and electronics associated with operating the machines. Notably, the Creatista Plus & Pro have an LCD display. The Creatista Pro uses a touch screen, and the Creatista Plus has a separate control dial and start button.

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