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Behind the one-touch controls of the Nespresso Vertuo Next coffee pod machine lies some sophisticated coffee technology. Here's what we think.
If a thick crema is a must-have characteristic of your favourite coffee, the Nespresso Vertuo Next is the perfect pod machine choice. Design-wise, it’s a a tad bizarre, with a slim, deep footprint and bulbous frontage for accommodating the domed coffee pods.
The machine head lifts and lowers to lock in the pods before it brews your chosen coffee with a one-touch control, spinning them at a high RPM rate to produce a finely whipped foam on top of the cup. The machine itself is made from 54 per cent recycled plastic and arrives in plastic-free packaging, two good eco-credentials that help balance its recyclable but non-compostable pods.
The one-touch control give this machine a deceptive air of simplicity. Two hands are required to get started: one presses down the lid while the other slides the lock across.
Each pod has a barcode on its underside that the machine reads to adjust its brew quantity and water temperature. Five coffee sizes are within the machine’s realm, which is impressive versatility for a product type usually limited to single espresso and lungo drinks. The Vertuo will make double espresso, gran lungo, mug and alto drinks, in addition to the usual single espresso.
There’s a huge range of pods available. Nespresso wants you to buy into the brand with its machines, so unlike the older style of coffee pod that many third-party roasteries have started making, you'll need to buy the compatible dome pods directly for this machine.
The packet of pods offers you guidance in millilitres on how much coffee will be brewed, so you can pre-select the right-sized cup to catch it. The drip tray is manually removable and slots satisfyingly into notches of varying heights.
Each pod contains the corresponding quantity of loose espresso grinds. Once locked in, the machine punctures the pod in the centre and around the edges to force hot water through the grinds while spinning it at high speed. This helps produce the reliably thick crema that tops every coffee, no matter the quantity. It's perhaps a bit misleading to call this a crema, because the mouthfeel resembles a fine froth or centimetre of foam rather than the velvet of the silky, smooth hazelnut-coloured swirl that adorns espresso from traditional pump machines. However, it's satisfying nonetheless.
As with any coffee pod machine, the cost of buying these pods will mount up. Unfortunately, there are no fully eco-capsule options for the brand’s domed Vertuo pod design. If environmental impact is a deciding factor for you when it comes to your coffee choices, you have the brand’s pod back recycling service, and the first bag is provided in the machine’s box.
Cord length: 75cm
Water tank: 1 litre
Drip tray: manually adjustable
Coffee functions: alto (414ml), mug (230ml), gran lungo (150ml), double espresso (80ml), espresso (40ml)
Power-save mode: off-mode after nine minutes
Dimensions:14.2cm x 42.9cm x 31.4cm