The Nespresso range as we know it today has been in Australia for years, the pods that we buy are iconic, easy to recognise and many of us have a stockpile awaiting a large caffeinated party. As far as coffee machines go, Nespresso is the standard despite many attempts by other vendors to take over. Just as we were getting comfortable with it all, Nespresso is adding a new element which is a game changer.

When Nespresso first released the machines and capsules that you see today you may not know that they were really meant for coffee from espresso at 40ml to the lungo at 150ml. It was the same pod which was either stretched to make the long black or used perfectly as an espresso. What Nespresso found was that 47% of coffee drinkers prefer their coffee in a 230ml size or larger. If you used the existing system you end up with a rather watered down coffee that has no real depth or silkiness to it. Here is where Nespresso has shifted gears to please the big black cup drinkers.

The new pod range means a new machine, the new machine and new pods don’t accept older pods and wont work in old machines. It’s a completely seperate coffee kit entirely. This isn’t a problem if you’re starting out for the first time but could impact those with sleeves of pods and perhaps a high end Nespresso machine that now seems useless.

The New Pods

The new range, known as Vertuo, comes in four different sizes; Espresso (40ml), Gran Lungo (150ml), Mug (230ml) and Alto (414ml). Each pod has a barcode. The coffee machine reads the barcode when the pod is inserted and produces the coffee size as scanned, eg inserting an Espresso pod will automatically produce a 40ml coffee, you can’t produce a Mug from an Espresso pod.

Now, with four sizes comes 20 different varieties with different intensities, flavours yet are not all spread across the range. An Odacio (blue, intensity 7) pod is only for Mug, so you won’t find that flavour in other sizes. Espresso has four choices, Gran Lungo has four, Mug has ten and Alto has two. Each pod size has a different amount of coffee inside and also looks physically different. This has been done to ensure that you are getting the perfect example of an Espresso or a Mug. It may seem complicated or frustrating but it really is being done in an effort to deliver the best example of the coffee you desire.

Pod prices are different in this range and vary by size also. Espresso comes in at 80 cents while the Alto tops the range at $1.05.

Vertuo Coffee Machine

This machine is different in multiple ways, firstly it has one button to produce coffee. As mentioned above, the machine “reads” the pod and when you push the button it produces the coffee as prescribed. The process to insert the pod is different too, a small nudge of the silver area raises the top electronically and you add the pod into a bay, tap the silver area again and the lid closes.

The Vertuo produces your beverage with minimal fuss, a fast warm up time and it extracts the coffee very quietly compared to the original machines. A 1.2L tank means you can produce quite a lot of coffee with ease and with no integrated milk component you could reuse your prior milk frother or buy one separately. As you are able to produce tiny coffees and gigantic coffees you are able to lift and lower the cup stand/drip tray to multiple heights so you wont have any splashing from the pour.

The Vertuo machine is priced at a rather impressive price of $299. If it were your first machine this would be a bargain, if you’re replacing a machine and upgrading to the new pod range then it would be worth it provided you love a larger coffee.

Is it all worth the fuss?

We’ve been testing the new pods and the new machine for a number of weeks now. Even as an espresso drinker we have found the machine to actually produce a smoother, silkier coffee, a wonderful crema and since it is produced quietly and quickly the experience itself is also improved.

In a long black we noticed the density of the coffee was improved and it did feel thicker, like a large espresso in some ways. Long black drinkers will notice the difference far more than anyone else and will appreciate the effort Nespresso has gone through to produce this new range.

All of the above is available from Nespresso today, perfect timing for Christmas we think!