The Nespresso Vertuo Plus is the go-to coffee maker for anyone after a luxurious, but still convenient, pod-based brewing experience. While priced at $199/£199, Nespresso's flagship capsule technology sits inside a range of machines produced by different brands, which can skew the final price a little.
Cup capacity: single serve
Size: 8.7 x 12.7 x 12.8 inches
Brew sizes: espresso, double espresso, gran lungo, alto
Water reservoir: 40oz
Magimix, De'Longhi, and Breville have all got their stamp on these machines, but you'll find the same experience whichever brand you're eyeing up. We put a Magimix model through its places to see where it falls among the best Nespresso machines and whether it's got what it takes to sit in the best coffee maker hall of fame.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus review: Price and availability
As mentioned above, the Nespresso Vertuo Plus carries a $199 / £199 MSRP, which comes in a little higher than the typical at-home pod machine. We generally see prices hovering between $159 and $179, however, and this system has dropped to $99 in the past. This is a machine that has been hit particularly hard by the growing demand on the pandemic, though, which means we haven't spotted sub-$100 price points in a long time.
If you're considering a purchase, it's worth also noting that the Nespresso Vertuo Plus also has a slightly higher running cost than your standard pod brewer. The machine will only run with official Nespresso Vertuo pods, which are a little more expensive than the brand's Original Line, and considerably pricier than Keurig K-Cups. For comparison, a single Vertuo Plus pod averages at around $1, whereas a K-Cup averages at 40 cents.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus review: Features
There are plenty of features that separate the Nespresso Vertuo Plus from its competition, but one of the biggest has to be the centrifusion brewing. At the start of the brewing process, the machine punctures a series of holes around the edge of the circular pod, before rapidly spinning it. In doing this, the Vertuo Plus not only achieves balance in its water dispersal, but also produces a rich crema that adds to the smoothness of the texture.
Beyond its brewing technique, the Vertuo Plus is also putting its smarts to making sure the temperature and speed are just right for your specific drink of choice as well. Each Vertuo pod has its own barcode, read by the machine at the start of brewing. While that does mean you can only use Nespresso's own capsules, you can also guarantee that the best machine settings will also be applied.
There's no built-in milk frother here, which may be a little disappointing considering the higher up front price tag. It's worth mentioning the Vertuo Plus does feel a little restrictive in this regard.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus review: Design
If you're struggling for counter space, the small footprint and flexible water reservoir placement of the Nespresso Vertuo Plus are particularly convincing. The system combines a minimalist aesthetic (you'll only find a single button across the whole device) with a simple design to make sure there's no unnecessary bulk.
One of the most satisfying aspects of this design in my testing, though, was the lid. A quick push on the lip of the machine's top panel causes the lid to automatically raise, revealing the capsule slot. It's a small design feature, but one that speaks volumes to just how slick this experience feels day-to-day.
I found this slick operation to be apparent throughout the machine — from the no-splash pour to smaller details like the rotating green light on the main button matching the centrifugal force of the brew system.
The design here also feels a little more thoughtful than other brewers. The 40oz water reservoir is attached at the rear, right-hand corner of the machine, but can be manoeuvred around that anchor point as required by your space. Considering the water reservoir is usually the biggest space-hogger in larger machines, the flexibility here was appreciated.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus review: Performance
I have always held a distrust of pod coffee makers, having only really interacted with cheaper models. The Nespresso Vertuo Plus changed all that, with an undeniably tasty cup brewed with elegance — time after time. This is some of the smoothest coffee I've been able to produce in my own kitchen, with a rich flavor and silky texture that I haven't come across in an at-home brewer before.
That smoothness stems from the unique centrifusion brewing technique employed here. While it does take a little longer than standard pump machines, it's spending that time producing a far better cup of coffee. Plus, the whole process still only takes around two minutes from start to finish.
This machine does favor those who prefer black coffee, as larger Alto sizes certainly don't leave too much room for milk and the aforementioned lack of a built-in steamer means you'll be relying on separate purchases for specialty drinks. However, if you do prefer your coffee pure, the Vertuo Plus does a good job of maintaining individual flavor notes, even if they're not quite as pronounced as a more premium espresso machine.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus review: Ease of Use
The slick design of the Nespresso Vertuo Plus is also mirrored in its everyday functioning. Put simply, I found the Vertuo Plus a joy to use, with smooth running across weeks of testing and very little setup to begin with.
With an incredibly simple one-button setup, you could operate this machine in a dark kitchen at 4am while running on very little sleep — a fun experience I had the chance to test out last month. Simply add the pod, close the lid, add your cup, and push the button; the machine takes care of the temperature and brewing settings for you, which not only means easy operation, but consistency between brews as well.
Initial setup simply requires cleaning through the system and takes around 15 minutes to complete.
It's worth noting that you'll need to take a little care not to allow anything to interfere with the lid closing. On test, a pesky plant placed nearby cost us some pods when the leaves caught under the lid. The machine still punctured the capsule, but couldn't brew — and when the lid was opened again, the automatic disposal system kicked it back into the used pod container.
Nespresso Vertuo Plus review: Verdict
The Nespresso Vertuo Plus is the brand's best machine to date, and even though there are concerns around being locked into the brand's expensive pods, that's the price you pay for a convenient brewing system packed with luxurious features. If you want the ease of a pod machine, but don't want to sacrifice the quality of your coffee, there aren't really any options outside of Nespresso's lineup.
The only thing holding the Nespresso Vertuo Plus back is its pods. While the machine often comes with a starter pack to get you up and running, those premium capsules will start to add up. Not only does the Vertuo Plus have a higher MSRP than Keurig competitors, but the coffee itself is more expensive, which becomes even more frustrating considering you're fully locked into the brand's own pods. Keurig's K-Cup brand is open to more coffee roasters, which means you're getting far more variety and, crucially, a wider price range here.
As mentioned above, we did also lose a few of those precious capsules to the automatic lid system, where anything getting in the way leads it to refuse to brew.
While Nespresso pods are recyclable, they can't be recycled from home. You'll need to take your pods to a Nespresso boutique or select retail locations, which can undercut some of the brand's focus on convenience.
Keurig coffee makers do come in a lot cheaper, but the results can be hit and miss and single-button brew machines like the Ninja Specialty still require more effort on your part than pod machines. Plus, you'll find the Nespresso Vertuo Plus on sale regularly, so if you catch it at a good price ($100-$150), we'd recommend checking it out.
If you're still torn between the two pod coffee giants, check out our comparison of Nespresso vs Keurig. Or, for a more traditional drip-based machine, check out all the best Cuisinart coffee makers available now.