Let me tell you, when I was offered a chance to review the Nespresso Vertuo Next coffee machine I had no idea just how much I would be using this device in the weeks to come.
Not long after receiving the machine, me and the rest of Greater Sydney were tossed into a months’ long lockdown which meant my regular trips to the local cafe for a takeaway cappuccino were immediately put on hold. (Said cafe has temporarily shut down.)
Now, I should probably start this piece by letting you know I’ve never been a huge cheerleader for pod or capsule coffee. My first experiences of it were hugely underwhelming and being the coffee obsessive that I am, I stuck to traditional coffee makers (even the old school stovetop option – a caffettiera in my world) for a very, very long time.
Anyway. In recent years, I’ve warmed to the idea of pod coffee a little. Nespresso’s recycling program is a huge plus for me, and I have to admit, the coffee itself is quite good. But still, when I received the Vertuo Next for review I was sitting firmly in the could-take-or-leave-pod-coffee camp.
Now, on to the Vertuo Next’s specs.
The Vertuo range of coffee machines is made up of a family of three: The Vertuo Next, Vertuo Next Premium and Vertuo Next Deluxe.
Many of the key features are consistent between the three models, but for the sake of this review, we’re going to be looking specifically at the Vertuo Next.
The machine has been equipped with smart versatility, allowing it to pour coffees to five different lengths depending on the capsule used. This is automatic. There is only one button to press after which the machine will read the barcode on the capsule used and pour accordingly.
In addition to that, the machine boasts something called “centrifusion technology”. Without getting too complicated, Nespresso’s coffee ambassador Mitch explained to me that this just means the capsule is spun in the machine to extract the coffee, rather than using pressure.
In turn, this technique claims to produce a better, smoother crema for your coffee (and the quality of your brew lies in the crema).
On the sustainability front, the machine has been crafted with 54 per cent recycled plastic. And it boasts 25 blends of sustainably sourced coffee, too. The packaging is also 99.5 per cent recycled materials, along with being 100 per cent recyclable itself.
Nespresso’s Vertuo Next has a water tank capacity of 1.1L, the capsule container can hold 10 espresso or 6 mug capsules and the machine claims to take 30 seconds to heat up.
If you’re interested in dimensions, it’s 142 x 429 x 314 mm and weighs about four kilos. The machine also comes with a two-year warranty.
So, how did I find the machine? Let’s take a look.
I’ll answer the most important question first. The Nespresso Vertuo Next makes a really nice coffee. I’ve tried a variety of coffee styles and sizes (from macchiato to cappuccino) and found that the end result was creamy, smooth and pretty damn delicious each time.
The automatic function in reading coffee size according to the capsule used is also incredibly handy. While I admittedly do stick to a piccolo on most occasions, the option of variety – especially while in lockdown, with nary a barista to be seen in my day-to-day – has been a nice plus.
I was treated to a training session with Nespresso, where they showed me how to make the perfect oat cappuccino (my cafe order) with the machine, and the routine has become something of a lockdown self-care ritual when I’m in need of a pick me up.
Using the Altissio capsules, I’ll let the Vertuo Next work its magic on the coffee and while that’s happening I’ll pop a little oat milk into my Aeroccino frother (this is not included when purchasing the machine, I should add) and let it froth up. The secret here, I’ve learnt, is once your coffee and milk are ready, you need to give both a swirl before combining.
Mitch explained to me that this reduces the bubbles in the milk, and allows the coffee and crema to mix together a little – giving you a more even final result, which I really enjoy. The at-home cappuccino I get is certainly not as velvety as some barista-made cups, but it absolutely satisfies.
The entire process, from capsule insertion to sip, is really easy. It’s also quite fast – especially if you’re comparing this to a manual espresso machine.
Rewinding back a little, however, I should also point out that setting up the machine was fairly simple (there’s a full video online if you need it). The packaging is tidy and easy to navigate. There aren’t many parts to assemble, and the Bluetooth connection (using the Nespresso app) was no real issue to establish.
The only lengthy part of the set-up was the initial rinsing process (running water through the machine before use).
In terms of maintenance and cleaning, the capsule storage sits neatly tucked into the side of the machine. It houses an okay number of used pods (could be more), but I don’t need to clean it out all that often, considering how much coffee I burn through.
There is also very little to no mess made when pouring a coffee. The only splashing I’ve encountered comes from cleaning out used pods.
And lastly, the machine is really reasonable in terms of noise. The sound made when the Nespresso Vertuo Next is producing coffee is not whisper quiet, but I’ve never found it particularly disruptive.
What’s not so good?
This may be a sign of my weak arms, more than anything, but I did find the action of closing the lid of the Vertuo Next took some getting used to. The first time I used the machine it took me a minute to realised I hadn’t fully sealed the lid, preventing it from working.
After some time, I’ve gotten used to closing the machine’s lid but it’s not exactly a mindless action. I need to use two hands to properly push the lever across – it requires some force, which is a little annoying, to be frank.
While the used capsule storage is neatly stored away, it can be a little fiddly to remove and replace in a small kitchen. It’s not really much of a hindrance to me, but with limited space, there have been times that I’ve knocked the storage container and made a bit of a mess. In saying that however, the container and drip tray are both very easy to clean.
If you’re comparing the sizing of this machine with other models, it’s a little larger than other Nespresso models I’ve used. For example, it’s almost double the weight of the Nespresso Essenza Mini (I’m quite a fan of this model). It’s hardly a big machine, but it’s worth noting it’s not the smallest option, either.
The other element I’m not crazy about is the new capsule sizing, meaning you cannot use competitor-brand pods. I often choose Nespresso because of the easy recycling program and the fact that I enjoy the coffee anyway, but the option of using other coffee brands would be nice. The larger capsules also mean the used pod container holds less.
Of all the features, this would be the one that causes me to lean to traditional Nespresso machines more than the Vertuo range.
Ultimately, the use of this machine has – particularly over the lockdown period – has transformed me into a bit of a coffee pod gal. I have the option of making coffee other ways at home and never use them. The Vertuo Next and its coffee capsules are just too easy and too tasty for me to consider anything else right now.
Could I have had a similar experience with another Nespresso machine? Probably, yes. And if you’re weighing up whether to go Vertuo or Original, that is a question you’ll have to ask – in addition to whether or not you want the option of using different pods.
All in all, though, the machine has been helpful to me in a time where other coffee options are limited.