Can a Nespresso machine be any easier to use in 2021? Although the Nestle has a seemingly endless collection of models now, it’s hard to imagine how they could make a more straight-forward coffee machine than they have in the past. Pop a pod in and you’ll be typically rewarded with an excellent, velvety smooth coffee that does more than its fair share of saving you a trip to the local barista. Nespresso machines have been the reliable gold-standard as far as pods go, so a new model would have to be extra special to justify any type of upgrade.
Is the Nespresso Vertuo Next to type of machine that warrants an upgrade? Look, maybe not if you’ve bought a Nespresso machine in the past year or two. But if you’re behind the times, or you simply don’t have a Nespresso machine in the house, the newest addition to the Vertuo line is definitely worth the look.
Nespresso aren’t trying anything different here in terms of aesthetic, it’s got that sleek, sexy, jet-black body and is, remarkably, more recycled plastics than not. 54%, in fact, of the entire build is pre-loved plastic, aligning with Nestle’s big push towards its own sustainable way of disposing of coffee pods and capsules.
You’ll want to be using specific Vertuo Nespresso pods with this made. Those are the ones that are a bit rounder and fatter than the standard Nespresso pods, the size of which nicely mirrors how slightly chunkier the machine is when compared to previous models. The Nespresso Vertuo Next is larger than you would expect, weighing in at 4kg and taking up a good amount of counter top real estate.
The coffee that you’d extract from these larger pods is generally stronger, which up to 15g of coffee per pod, and the machine is large and capable enough to produce drinks of differing sizes. That’s five different sizes to be exact, including a 40ml espresso, 80ml double espresso, 150mg gran lungo, a 230ml mug option, and a 414ml alto.
Attached to the machine is a 1.1L water tank which is a nice and reasonable size so you won’t have to constantly top up every day, like you would with some others in this price range. As for the milk frother – well, there is no milk frother if you aren’t going for the bundle deal. You’ll want to invest in a stand-alone if you want your milk coffees in the morning, but fortunately the machine also comes bundled with an Aeroccino milk frother that works reliably well.
Another noticeable difference over some previous Nespresso machines is just how blazingly fast the Vertuo Next is at reaching operating temperature. We’re talking 4-5 seconds here, shaving off a few precious seconds so you can get to that morning hit that much sooner.
The machine is efficient enough to instantly scan the barcode of your chosen pod and adjust parameters automatically, landing on the ideal way of making the coffee with Nestle’s calibration game obviously focused on precision. These are some of the best coffees I’ve had from a Nespresso machine, but do note I would usually be using pods from the limited edition “Master Origin” range, which has single origin coffees from iconic coffee growing destinations like Mexico and Ethiopia.
You can use WiFi and Bluetooth with the machine, but the app is fairly limited and the appeal gets tied pretty quick. The onboard controls, as with all Nespresso machines, are easier enough to use, and since you’ll need to be physically interacting with the machine to pop in a mod and fill up the water tank anyway, you might as well just use the buttons.
Ethiopian coffee is especially valuable for all types of coffee drinks because of just how damn good their beans are. Given the machine seems overall better at producing robust, precise coffee to really dial in those intended flavours, means that those Ethiopian pods in the Master Origins range tend to produce some especially satisfying results in concert with the Vertuo Next. That’s enough for me to stamp the machine with a big tick of approval, given as in the past I’ve been fairly disappointed by pod coffee when it comes to Single Origin.
Verdict & Value
If you don’t have a milk frother already, the bundle is the way to go. At $329, you get the machine, as 12-capsule starter pack, and the all-important milk frother. If you just want the machine, you’re looking at $249. My recommendation, however, would be to save a bit more and get the barista frother bundled with the machine ($499), assuming that price seems do-able for you. It’s more consistent for those who love their milk coffees, with a better hit rate at creating those luscious textures that could serve as a decent alternative to your local barista (but let’s be real; a machine can never replace).
Nespresso machines are expensive, yes, but if you’re not in the market for a substantially pricier bean-to-cup machine and you like the convenience and consistency that Nestle have been offering for years, it’s worth it. And the Vertuo Next is indeed worth it, even if just for the fact that you can now better and more efficiently control the size of your drink, appealing to a wider variety of coffee drinkers.
It then depends on your budget. If you’re the type to regularly browse the best men’s watches and not bat an eyelid at the price, forking out for a machine like this is a no-brainer. But if you want something a little bit more budget-friendly, I’d look towards cheaper options from Nespresso.
FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Highlights: Justifies the size by producing better, more robust coffees; painfully easy to use; great capacity water tank; can produce many different sizes, easily
Lowlights: Bluetooth largely useless inclusion; milk frothers still add quite of chunk to the price; Vertuo pods can be quite expensive.
Price: $249 (machine only); $329 (with milk frother); $499 (with barista frother)
Nestle provided machine for review