For approximately five days each month, I forgo my precious morning cup of coffee, braving my morning commute with compromised brain functionality and spatial awareness. I could lie and say it’s a function of an intentional and commendable effort to squash my caffeine reliance. It’s not. It’s because neither my roommate nor I have had the foresight to reorder Nespresso pods for our shared machine before our supply has run dry.
I’ve long been an espresso drinker, but I never ventured to make it on my own until I found myself hemorrhaging far too much money at coffee shops. So when a De’Longhi Nespresso VertuoPlus machine was generously bestowed upon my roommate—and by the transitive property, myself—it enabled me to prepare my own morning lattes (and save a little money) without having to master the mechanics of a fancy manual espresso machine. And I have come to love it dearly.
Nespresso VertuoPlus Coffee and Espresso Machine
I’m not alone: Of the many, many Nespresso models on the market, the Vertuo line has emerged as a clear favorite among BA staff. Introduced in 2014 as an alternative to the brand’s Original line, Vertuo differentiates itself from its OG predecessor with some pretty nimble and versatile technology, allowing it to produce a wide swath of excellent espresso drinks.
First off, how does a typical espresso machine work and how is that different from the VertuoPlus?
Making espresso in a traditional machine is a multistep endeavor, requiring that you fill a filter basket nested in a portafilter with grounds; tamp those grounds (or compress them with a flat-faced tool); hook up the portafilter to the machine; and choose how many espresso shots you’d like it to pull.
For espresso aficionados, the process can be ritualistic and satisfying. Plus, the manual workflow means you control every step of the process, from how finely you grind your beans to how you measure them out.
By contrast, a Nespresso machine and its pod-chomping peers are markedly more automatic. With the VertuoPlus, merely fill the water tank, pop in a capsule, press the only button there is to press, and you’re golden—no decision-making required other than choosing which pods to purchase. A capsule made for a Nespresso machine contains premeasured grounds, and the machine will automatically recognize how much water to discharge to complement your drink of choice.
Who is a Nespresso machine for?
A Nespresso machine is ideal for the coffee drinker who cares about taste and quality but also lacks the time and patience needed to nurture a fancy and involved setup at home (a.k.a. me). And if you’re regularly breaking the bank over espresso drinks at coffee shops, a sleeve of 10 Nespresso pods will cost you around $12, averaging out to less than $2 per serving of coffee.
Among BA’s Nespresso champions is, somewhat surprisingly, food director and coffee nerd Chris Morocco. He points to the machine’s low barrier to entry in comparison to pricey and complex at-home espresso setups, deeming it “the best possible solution for most people.” He adds: “You can have a $3,000 espresso machine and still make absolutely god-awful espresso” if you don’t know what you’re doing.