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Hands-on Gear Review
Nespresso Vertuoline Review
Price: $200 List | $149.00 at Amazon
Pros: Good taste for a pod machine, incredibly easy to use and clean
Cons: Can be expensive if not on sale
Bottom line: The convenience of a single serving pod machine with less of a sacrifice in taste quality
Automatic Brewing: No
Dimensions: 9" x 12.2" x 12.3"
The Nespresso Vertuoline ups the single serving pod game by using aluminum pods that eliminate the plastic taste associated with most pod machines. Plus, these pods can be recycled, which alleviates some of the waste concerns associated with single serving coffee makers. It bested its main competitor in our testing, the Keurig K55, due to superior taste and the added convenience of its barcode system, which automatically dials in the ideal setting based on which pod you place in the machine. The only downside is that Nespresso pods aren't as widely available as Keurig pods, but our testers felt that having to order pods online instead of snagging them at the grocery store was well worth the Superior taste of the Vertuoline.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Nespresso Vertuoline was our testers' favorite single serving pod machine due to its superior taste and slight edge in convenience when compared to the Keurig K55.
The Nespresso Vertuoline was one of the higher scoring models overall in our testing due to its ease of use and cleaning, and scored far better than the other pod style machine, the Keurig K55.
In the following sections we detail how the Vertuoline performed in all of our individual metrics.
The Vertuoline picked up a score of 5 out of 10 in our taste testing. In the grand scheme of things this is a relatively mediocre score, but is significantly better than the 3 that the Keurig K55 earned.
Our testers agreed that the Vertuoline's coffee tasted a bit weaker than that from an average drip machine, but much stronger than the coffee from the Keurig K55. It also lacks the plastic taste present in the Keurig coffee, which makes it much more pleasant to drink. Most of Nespresso's available coffee flavors have nice flavor notes, but they aren't quite as pronounced as flavor notes you can get from one of our top scoring drip machines. If you're looking for something really rich and bold you'll have to switch to one of these traditional drip machines, or you could always switch to the line of espresso pods that Nespresso offers. The Vertuoline did make decent espresso that was quite bold, basically identical to the Nespresso Evoluo that we tested in our espresso machine review.
The Vertuoline shared the top score of 9 in our user friendliness testing, putting it well above the low score of 4.
The process of insert-pod-press-button is almost foolproof. Plus, the Vertuoline reads a barcode on each pod and automatically adjusts its settings so you don't have to do anything when you switch from a dark roast to an espresso. Really, using the Vertuoline couldn't be much simpler.
The Vertuoline again took top honors in our convenience testing, earning a 9 out of 10. This was well above the low score of 3.
Including warm up time it took the Vertuoline 2.5 minutes to spit out a piping hot cup of coffee. This was noticeably better than the Keurig, which took 4 minutes to do the same. Once warmed up the Vertuoline can make a cup in around 90 seconds. You can also easily switch between different roasts and between coffee and espresso, instead of committing to one pot. This makes it incredibly convenient if you've got a lot of people with different tastes using the same machine.
Ease of Cleaning
The Vertuoline took top honors in our ease of cleaning testing, earning a score of 9 out of 10. In contrast the lowest score in this metric was a 4.
The Vertuoline produces essentially nothing to clean on a daily basis, except for the mug you put your coffee in. Dirty pods are automatically deposited into an attached bin (please remember to recycle them). That bin can sometimes get a little grimy with coffee grounds, so might need a periodic rinse. The descaling process was also fairly painless and only took 30 minutes to complete. It bested the other pod machine we tested, the Keurig K55, only because the Keurig's descaling process takes much longer to complete.
The Nespresso Vertuoline lists for $200, which is on the expensive side for a coffee machine. The Keruig K55 is substantially cheaper with a list price of $120. However, at the time of this writing, the street prices of these two machines at most online retailers are much closer together, with the Vertuloline costing only $35 more in most cases. Most of our testers feel that the Vertuoline's virtues are well worth the extra cash, but if you've already tried and are happy with Keurig coffee you might as well save a bit of money.
The Nespresso Vertuoline is incredibly convenient and easy to clean, and made substantially better coffee than the other single serving pod machine in our test. If you're looking for a pod style machine, the Vertuoline is our top recommendation.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata
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