Our favorite pod coffee maker is better than a Keurig—here's why
Cut your coffee budget with this amazing machine.
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For people who appreciate a high-quality cup of coffee but don’t have the patience for time-consuming brewing methods like pour-over and cold-brew, a pod coffee machine can be a wonderful solution. Gone are the days when your only instant option was a gurgling Keurig spitting out mediocre coffee—there's an abundance of much better options now on the market.
Ultimately, we've found the Nespresso VertuoPlus by Breville (available at Amazon) to be the best choice if you’re looking for a high-quality coffee machine that’s easy to use, cost-saving, and space-conscious. The sleek look, intuitive design, and user-friendly brewing process won our hearts at Reviewed, easily earning our badge for best single-serve coffee maker. Not convinced it's worth the investment? Here's everything we learned about the VertuoPlus though testing.
What are the features?
The VertuoPlus line uses an intelligent extraction system that recognizes each pod, thanks to a barcode on the rim of the capsule. That means you don’t need to manually adjust the setting on the machine––the type of capsule dictates the type of brew and size, which saves you time.
Unlike most of the other pod brewers we tested, the Nespresso VertuoPlus by Breville’s compact design makes it easy to keep on your countertop or store where space is limited. It boasts a 40-ounce water tank that can swivel out easily. The motorized head opens with a light lift, different from traditional Keurig machines that often require a forced push and thus increase the chance of wear and tear.
The machine can also automatically eject the used capsules into a hidden container, saving you from burning your fingertips by manually taking out the pods. For the eco-conscious coffee lovers, the capsules can be dropped off at various collection sites and their boutique retail stores for the manufacturer to recycle. Oh, and if you’re interested in latte or steamed milk in your coffee, there’s an additional milk frother—which took first place in our best milk frother roundup—included in bundles.
As one Amazon reviewer notes, “The Nespresso VertuoPlus by Breville machine is like a Keurig on steroids.” It’s true.
Does Nespresso VertuoPlus brew better coffee?
With the VertuoLine centrifusion brewing method, our coffee came out with foamy crema on top, a truly luxurious experience, unlike the rudimentary pressure brewing method used in most traditional pod machines.
The technology behind this dense, rich, and aromatic coffee is simple—a machine head penetrates the capsules in the center and around the edges, allowing water to enter in the center opening and push through the 20 edge holes, maximizing coffee interaction and pressure. The centrifusion technology spins up to 7,000 rotations per minute, blending ground coffee with water and producing the perfect in-cup result for each blend. It also brews espresso capsules so you can make espresso, double espresso, and regular coffee.
When it comes to brewing method, time and temperature are the main factors that can determine the quality of the coffee. Nespresso uses barcode scanning technology so the machine can read what temperature and time combination should be used upon brewing. The result? The Nespresso machines simply brew much better coffee than most Keurigs.
Recycling is important—here’s how
The Nespresso capsules are advertised as easily recyclable, but you can't always toss them in your bin and call it a day. The company encourages customers to use its own recycling channels, because not all towns recycle the type of aluminum that the pods are made from—and because dumping out the coffee grounds can be kind of a pain.
If you’re a capsule service subscriber, you can exchange your used pods for fresh ones right on your doorstep. The company also offers free pod-recycling bags with prepaid UPS shipping labels. Those bags can be mailed back to Nespresso from any UPS store or dropbox. If you prefer, you can also bring used pods to a boutique retailer or a collection site and the company will do the rest. To find the closest recycling partner, use this Nespresso map tool.
Is the VertuoPlus worth the money?
The Nespresso machines used to come with a much higher price tag, but the newer VertuoLine has become more affordable. You can buy a Nespresso Vertuo coffee maker for as cheap as $126. This is undoubtedly part of Nestle’s strategy to acquire more of the market share from its pod coffee competitors. But it’s not a discount line by any means—the higher-end models and bundle deals that come with a milk frother (an addition that one of our editors adores) can cost over $200.
After purchasing the machine, you have to factor in the cost of the coffee pods. Due to its larger pod sizes, the Nespresso VertuoLine now costs $0.90 to $1.35 per serving. A one-coffee-per-day user would spend around $4 on coffee at the shop, and that's at least $120 per month. Using a Nespresso machine and capsules, in comparison, will cost you $230 up front for the most expensive machine, and $30 per month for capsules in the months following. Those are savings we can get behind.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.