Coffee snobs are particular folk. They can appreciate a good espresso extraction, spot a golden crema layer from a mile away and notice when their drink is off temperature by more than four degrees. Although their loyalty to their local baristas and cafes is fierce, there comes a point in time when a coffee snob needs to have an espresso-based drink from the comfort of their own home – dare I say in pajamas and a plush bathrobe?
For the discerning coffee snobs, any old single serve machine won’t do. Since the category blew up a few years ago, it’s difficult to navigate to see which brands and models really perform. And since each machine goes from $100-$500+ it isn’t something that you really want to trial and error with.
Enter Nespresso – the Lamborghini of the single serve coffee machine that is making a regular appearance in my coffee mug.
Nespresso has always been a leading brand that all coffee snobs know and love. And their new VertuoLine machine is shaking up the game, as it is the first to serve both espresso and large-size coffee drinks topped with that crema we love.
The machine ranks well from a design perspective. It is sleek and has clean lines, which should be important as it is a small appliance that will be living on your countertop. And while it isn’t the slimmest model on the market (8.32 x 11.91 x 11.93), it’s worth giving up a few extra inches of counter space. The model uses quality plastic and metal accents, definitely better than others I’ve seen – and while they look and feel good now but I do wonder how they will fare over the years.
Like most brands in this category, the functionality is dead simple – which we expect and appreciate. It’s really just a one-button push process with an automatic disposal feature that fills a bin on the side. Setup and clean up only involve filling up a canister of water and tossing the used capsules which means the hardest part of using the Nespresso is selecting your brew.
Nespresso uses an intelligent extraction process where barcode technology reads and adjusts the extraction parameters for each brew measuring cup size, temperature, rotational speed, flow rate and time water is in contact with the coffee. There are 12 different Grand Crus (capsules) – eight large-cup coffees and four espresso blends – so lots of caffeinated and decaffeinated options to choose from. The biggest differentiator would be the crema. Although it is a bit thick and foamy, definitely a step up as most single serve machines doesn’t have this capability.
I’d suggest buying a variety box that has one of all 12 options to start off so you can figure out what you really enjoy. After that discovery phase, the most cost effective way of filling up would be buying capsules in groups of ten ($0.95 for coffee and $0.75 for espresso).
VertuoLine comes in three colors (red, black and chrome) for $299. It can be bundled with the Aeroccino Plus milk frother can be purchased for C$349.