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If you’re thinking about switching to a capsule coffee machine, you likely have your eye on Nespresso. Nespresso remains a favored brand with their easy-to-use machines, delicious coffee blends, and robust capsule recycling program.
If it’s just espresso drinks you’re after, you’ll want to stick with one of their Original line machines, but if you’re looking for a coffee maker that can brew anything from a single espresso to a full 18-ounce carafe of coffee, you might want to check out the Nespresso Vertuo Next.
In all honesty, I’m not the biggest fan of the Vertuoline (to which the Vertuo Next belongs). I view it as Nespresso’s attempt to regain some of the market they lost to third-party capsule manufacturers when their patent for the Original line capsules expired. They seem to have created a solution to a problem that didn’t exist, trying to hem people back into machines that are compatible only with their own coffee pods.
The Original line machines brew far better-tasting coffee, but they are limited to espresso. So if you’re looking for a more versatile machine that still offers decent Nespresso quality, continue with our Nespresso Vertuo Next review and see if it’s the right machine for you.
Before you begin
Let’s be clear about Nespresso’s two lines: the Original line and the newer Vertuoline.
About Nespresso Vertuo
Nespresso Vertuoline machines use their patented “centrifusion” technology (rather than a classic pump system), which punches tiny holes in the coffee capsule and spins it at 7,000 rpm to create a frothy, crema-topped coffee. This allows the Vertuoline machines to offer a range of coffee sizes, but they all still drink like some form of a long espresso. It also means that you’re committed to using Nespresso’s Vertuoline capsules, as the machines are not compatible with third-party or Original line capsules.
If you’re looking to create solely espresso-based drinks, then Nespresso’s Original line machines are more affordable in the long run, and they offer a better quality coffee.
Other coffee options
If it’s a larger, more traditional brewed cup of coffee you’re after, you’ll want to forego a Nespresso machine altogether and consider a French press or perhaps an AeroPress.
If you’re a real espresso aficionado, with dreams of creating cafe-style beverages at home, you’ll want to invest in a manual or semi-automatic espresso machine.
If you want to enjoy many styles of coffee, all offered by one compact machine, the Vertuo Next might be a good bet.
The Vertuo Next is the most recent model in Nespresso’s Vertuoline. While it does have some added features, as well as a more compact design, it essentially operates the same as other Nespresso Vertuoline models. They utilize Nespresso’s centrifusion technology, rather than a pump, to spin out a frothy, espresso-style coffee at the press of a button. They all heat up in around 25 seconds, have a descaling alert to keep maintenance on track, an adjustable drip tray that can be completely removed for larger brews and cleaning, and automatically turn off when not in use. Most Nespresso models shut off after nine minutes of inactivity. This has been reduced to two minutes on the Vertuo Next, a nice energy-saving improvement.
The Vertuo Next brews six cup sizes:
- espresso (1.35 oz)
- double espresso (2.7 oz)
- lungo (3.7 oz)
- coffee (7.8 oz)
- alto (14 oz)
- carafe (18 oz)
That’s one more size than any other Vertuoline machine offers.
The addition of the carafe option really comes in handy when you’re entertaining or need to get multiple cups of coffee brewed in a flash, and the machine has a 1.1-litre water tank so you can brew several mugs of coffee before you need to refill the tank.
Nespresso has also added Wi-Fi and bluetooth technology. You can control the machine from your phone, adjust brew sizes, find recipes, and reorder your Nespresso capsules at the touch of a button.
Size and design
The Nespresso Vertuo Next is the most compact and lightweight of the Vertuoline models. Its slick design should fit easily into any corner of your kitchen or office, without sacrificing much counter space. Although the water tank is smaller than on other Vertuoline machines, it still has the capacity to brew about four large cups of coffee before needing to be refilled. The machine also has storage for 10 spent capsules, so there is plenty of room for a few days worth of brews.
The body is made of 54-per-cent recycled plastic, and the Nespresso Vertuo Next is packaged in 100-per-cent recycled cardboard, which is in line with Nespresso’s ongoing sustainability commitments. If you shell out for the premium or deluxe version, you’ll get some chrome features, but overall the machine is mainly plastic. This makes it lightweight and more affordable, but will be less durable over time.
Ease of brewing
Nespresso machines are known for their simplicity, and the Vertuoline excels in this department, with the Next operating the same as all other models. Vertuoline capsules are fitted with barcodes that your machine reads to discover which style of coffee to brew. You’ll need to ensure you select the correct capsule (handily color-coded and ranging in size), but the machine does the rest. Simply insert your chosen capsule, press the single button, and voila. You’ll get your morning coffee in a matter of seconds.
The predecessor Nespresso Vertuo Plus had a motorized lid that further added to the ease of Vertuoline machines, but they’ve gone back to a locked lever system for the Next. The lever system tends to be more finicky and at times tricky to close, but the lack of mechanized parts might make it more durable in the long run.
With the addition of an Aeroccino milk frother, you can make hot or cold frothed milk, with or without creamy foam. The Aeroccino is ridiculously simple to use, and many people prefer the taste and texture to the milk you get from Nespresso machines with integrated milk frothers—particularly if you’re new to making milk-based coffee drinks.
If you have some barista experience and really want to take your latte skills to the next level, you might want to invest in one of the higher end Original line machines like the Creatista Plus, but when you bundle the Vertuo Next with an Aeroccino it really opens up your beverage options.
The descaling alert (the button will flash red instead of green while the machine is heating up) is a great reminder to keep up with regular deep cleaning and descaling of your machine. The machine will continue to operate, but regular descaling ensures you’re getting the best tasting cup of coffee, and will prolong the life of your machine.
There’s no denying that Nespresso’s Vertuoline machines are extremely versatile. The Next is the most versatile yet, with a wide variety of brewing options including the addition of the 18-ounce carafe option. When bundled with the Aeroccino, you can make all your favorite espresso drinks.
It’s unfortunate that the machine doesn’t have a dedicated hot water line, which you can find on some Original line machines, as that would allow you to brew tea and an americano-style coffee which is arguably superior to the “alto” setting on the Vertuo machines.
You are also locked into buying the pricey Nespresso range of capsules, which means not only will you be paying more on an ongoing basis that you would with some other capsule machines, but you’ll also have a limited number of coffee types from which to select.
I’d say this is where the Vertuoline machines falter. It is widely agreed that the tried-and-true pump method of the Original line provides a richer and more true espresso flavor, and that Vertuoline coffee tastes under-extracted (sour and sharp) in comparison. You get more grams of ground coffee per capsule in the Vertuoline, providing a stronger flavor in some cases, but the centrifusion technology seems to be less successful in delivering a hot and well-balanced espresso.
As you move up to larger brew sizes, the excessive crema results in a bitter finish. Someone who typically prefers a smooth brewed style of coffee might not enjoy the larger options offered by the Vertuo Next.
Personally, I’d go for one of the simple Original line machines, and pair it with an AeroPress or French press for those mornings when you want a larger, more traditional brew. The Essenza Plus from the Original line has a dedicated hot water line that allows you to brew americanos, which I personally prefer to the frothy, bitter, far-too-long shot of “espresso” that a Vertuoline machine produces. If you’re looking for one compact capsule coffee machine that can do it all, however, the Vertuo Next is still a decent option.
Waste is a prominent concern with capsule machines, and Nespresso recognizes this. They’ve invested in a robust capsule recycling program that is (for the most part) easy to access, and simple to use. There are some areas that still struggle with access and outreach, but check out Nespresso’s website for the specifics in your area.
As I mentioned, the Vertuo Next is made with 54-per-cent recycled plastic, which is a step in the right direction. Hopefully Nespresso endeavours to incorporate recycled materials into all machines in the future.
Overall, I’ve been impressed with Nespresso’s commitment to a sustainable future for the coffee industry, and you can check out their progress and future commitments in their Creating Shared Value Report. We also take an objective look at their overall sustainability in a separate article.
If you’re looking for one compact machine that can provide every style of coffee and a variety of coffee cup sizes, the Vertuo Next with Aeroccino is a great option. Just keep in mind that in this case, versatility and convenience come at the expense of some flavor.
Some people might enjoy the frothy “espresso” style of the larger Vertuoline brews, but personally I’m more of a purist.
It’s also important to consider that you are locked into purchasing Nespresso-brand capsules, which do come in array of options but are among the priciest on the market. For my money, I’d stick to the Original line of machines.
Nespresso Vertuo Next specifications
|Dimensions||12.4" H x 5.5" W x 16.8" D|
|Warmup time||25 seconds|
|Water tank||37 ounces|
|Used capsule capacity||10|
|Cable length||29 inches|