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If you like capsule coffee, the Vertuo Next is one of the best machines you can buy. It’s attractive, enjoyable to use and makes coffee in around 40 seconds. Get it if you want one-button brewing, especially if you prefer a big mug of coffee. But if you like to tinker with settings, this machine is not for you.
There’s no bigger name in the capsule coffee market than Nespresso. The brand has two types of machine: the classic Nespresso machines, and its newer Vertuo line.
The beverages from the original machines are espresso-based: ristrettos, espressos and lungos. But the Vertuo line was launched in 2014 to offer something more range, especially to the North American market, where coffee is traditionally enjoyed in big mugs.
Depending on which pods you buy, the Vertuo line can offer either European-style espresso drinks or longer black coffees – even up to carafe size – making it a more versatile option for many households.
No Vertuo machines have an inbuilt a milk frother and there are no milk-based pods, as in the Nescafe Dolce Gusto line. This is a black coffee-only machine, although Nespresso also makes the Aeroccino, a pint-sized milk heater and frother, which you can find out more about in our review of the Vertuo Plus machine.
One of the best things about brewing espresso at home is the pleasure to be had making it. Espresso machines are enjoyably tactile, and the ritual of measuring and tamping is part of the fun.
Nespresso has cleverly recreated these pleasures in the design of the Vertuo Next, which is a joy to use. Release the big, chrome-effect lever on top and the capsule compartment springs open. If there’s a capsule inside, it’s catapulted back and away into the spent capsule reservoir.
It’s a good looking machine as well – from the front, at least – with a curved, glossy brewing head that comes in a choice of colours including grey, white, red, brown, blue and black. The colour options available depend on your region and whether your machine is a Vertuo Next, a Vertuo Next Premium or a Vertuo Next Deluxe, which has a chrome brewing head.
They haven’t wasted any time on adorning the sides of the machine though: it’s just featureless, black, matt plastic. It’s narrow at 14.2cm wide, and at only 31.4cm high, you should have plenty of clearance from overhead cabinets. But at 42.9cm, it’s a long appliance that will need a fairly deep counter space to occupy.
It has a clear, cylindrical water tank, with a one litre capacity. Like many machines of this kind, it’s situated at the back. And although you can remove it to fill it from a tap if that’s easier than reaching over the machine with a jug, it’s still not an ideal design, being difficult to get to.
If this is a particular bugbear for you, it’s worth nothing that the Vertuo Plus machine has a water tank that swivels out from the back for easier access.
There are three height options for the drip tray, so you can accommodate anything from an espresso cup to a mug without splashing, and it’s easy to swap drip tray positions.
The used capsules fall into a reservoir which you can access from the side. It can hold ten capsules, which is pretty generous given the machine’s size.
The controls are very simple: there’s one button, which also acts as an indicator light.
Insert the capsule and press the button on top to begin brewing. It takes around 30 seconds to heat up and the coffee symbol on the button will blink.
Once the coffee has started dispensing, you can press it a second time to stop the flow early. Or you can press a second time once it’s finished dispensing, to add more water.
And that’s it. There are no dials to twist or keys to press to alter the strength of the coffee.
You see, the Vertuo Next reads the barcode on the capsule and pre-wets, infuses and dispenses the correct volume of water for each blend, so the entire process is automatic.
However, you can change the way the machine responds to specific capsule types. To do so, put a capsule in the machine and press and hold the button down while it’s dispensing, until you’ve reached your preferred volume. From then on, the machine will use that as the default setting for that type of capsule, unless you return it to its factory settings.
For some people, that’s ideal: press button, get coffee. Couldn’t be simpler. Other people will feel short-changed at not being able to tinker more with settings.
Because the machine is set up to identify capsules, it’s important that you get the right ones for what you want. Don’t, for example, buy long coffees and imagine you can treat them like espresso. You can add water but you can’t choose to infuse for longer. Each capsule type will not only have a strength and flavour profile but it’ll be associated with a liquid volume. Here are the options:
Depending on the machine you buy, you may get an introductory box – like a selection box of coffees – so you can decide which types of capsules you want to buy in the future.
Don’t forget: you can’t use classic capsules in a Vertuo machine. But there are over 40 varieties of Vertuo capsules available at the moment, from full-bodied espressos to decafs to a limited edition pumpkin spice cake. Capsules cost from around $1.10 to $1.25 in the US or 44p to 82p each in the UK. You may be able to get deals if you buy in bulk or during sales.
Along with your capsules, you’ll get a recycling bag. When you’ve filled it – it can hold up to 100 capsules – you can drop the bag off at a Nespresso store in the US or the UK. In the UK, you can also opt to have it collected.
The Vertuo Next is a connected machine, although you can use all of its functions without downloading the Nespresso app and pairing your machine.
But if you do, you’ll find that the smart functionality has a focus on re-ordering capsules, finding nearby Nespresso shops (or “boutiques” as they prefer) and your nearest recycling points. In other words, it’s all about keeping you connected to Nespresso. But that’s pretty useful as you’re already tied to the brand for the life of the machine via its capsules.
You can also access maintenance and settings information for your machine – although machine information is somewhat tucked away – but you can’t make a coffee remotely, via the app.
Prices for the Vertuo Next can vary a lot, depending on where you buy. There are also three models available: the Vertuo Next, the Vertuo Next Premium and the Vertuo Next Deluxe. The differences between the Next and the Next Premium are subtle, but the Deluxe is recognisably different, thanks to its chrome brewing head.
Some machines may also be bundled with pods – or even an Aeroccino milk frother. So, when you’re buying, make sure you check what you’re getting. Depending on what you want, it may be more cost-effective to opt for a bundle.
In the US, the Vertuo Next is available from Nespresso for $169, the Vertuo Next Premium for $179 and the Vertuo Next Deluxe for $199. You may get a better deal elsewhere but you can browse all available colour options on the Nespresso site, so it’s worth a visit.
If you’re in the UK, you can currently get a bundle deal on a machine, Aeroccino and £75 off coffee pods: the Vertuo Next bundle is £149, the Vertuo Next Premium is £179 and the Vertuo Next Deluxe is £199. All are available in the full range of colours.
If you like the ease and convenience of a pod coffee machine, the Vertuo Next is one of the best around. It’s attractive, pleasurable and simple to use and there’s a huge variety of capsule blends and flavours to choose from. If you like adjusting your coffee settings, however, this machine isn’t for you.
Emma is Home Tech Editor at Tech Advisor. She covers everything from kitchen appliances to smart home devices, from floor care to personal care to air care technology. She’s particularly interested in environmentally conscious brands and products that save people time and money.