Nespresso Machines Explained: How It Works, The Difference Between Them and Which One Is Right For You

We’ve already established the fact that Nespresso is one of the best single-serve espresso machines available right now on the market. But, as you go on to find a Nespresso machines, you’ll find so many models that are seemingly the same, but have different names. So what we’ll do here is break it all down for you; the best models, the difference between them, how they work, and everything in between.

Nespresso Vertuo vs. OriginalLine
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There are two types of Nespresso machines

OriginalLine machines, which are basically Espresso machines.

And then there are Vertuo machines, which can prepare espresso as well as full cups of coffee.

Nespresso OriginalLine

Nespresso OriginaLine Machines and Capsules

As their name suggests, these are the ‘original’ Nespresso creations that happened to be around for over 10 years now. These machines specialize in espresso and espresso based drinks (cappuccino, latte, macchiato…).

Popular OriginalLine Machines

Pixie, CitiZ, Essenza Mini/Plus, Lattissima

How OriginalLine Machines Work

Since these are single-serve espresso makers, OriginalLine machines use Pressure pumps of 19 bars to make a shot of espresso or lungo.

Unlike traditional espresso machines, Nespresso has everything ready for you to make your espresso with a press of a button. All you need to do is pick your favorite coffee capsule. Pick your preferred size: Espresso or Lungo and hit the brew button.

OriginalLines are available in two kinds:


Standalone machines: which can only serve espresso/lungo shots. These can be bundled with an Aeroccino milk frother, which will help you create your favorite coffee recipes like lattes, hot or cold.

DeLonghi Lattissima Plus Nespresso Capsule System

Machines with Integrated Milk frothers: These are the perfect pick for someone who prefers milk based drinks. They will have preset recipes for cappuccinos, lattes and other coffee drinks, and the machine will automatically measure, heat and froth the required amount milk for your recipe. All you have to do is press a button and the machine will do the rest.

Models with integrated milk frothers are Lattissima line: Plus, Pro, One and more.

Creatista Pro Breville

Another type of Nespresso with integrated milk frother is the Creatista line produced by Breville. This model doesn’t have an integrated milk frother, but an actual steam wand just like a traditional espresso machine. The steam wand has some automation features like temperature, froth level and so one. It produces micro foam, which is a more professional way to froth milk, and will allow you to create beautiful latte art with it (you’ll have to practice your art though, that one is on you).

Pod (Capsule) Compatibility

Nespresso OriginalLine Capsules

All OriginalLine machines are compatible with pods from Nespresso as well as pods from compatible brands. And there are a lot of them! So with an OriginalLine machine, you are not tied to Nespresso’s capsules, but have the option of shopping from other brands.

The pods are usually available as either Espresso pods or Lungo pods

Nespresso Vertuo Espresso and Coffee Machine

Nespresso Vertuo Machines and cup sizes

Vertuo is an entirely different system than OriginalLine and a newer one, in comparison. As you’ve noticed, Vertuo is not just for espresso, but makes coffee as well.

What makes Vertuo machines special is the wide range of cup sizes:

espresso 40 ml – double espresso 80 ml – Gran lungo 150 ml – mug 230 ml – alto 414 ml and in some models a carafe 535 ml.

Popular Vertuo Models:

VertuoPlus and VertuoPlus Deluxe, Vertuo Next, Evoluo.

How Vertuo Machines Work

How the machine works is different to an OriginalLine machine, too. While an OriginalLine uses pressure to make espresso, Vertuo uses a new and patented Nespresso technology called CentriFusion that works on rapidly spinning the coffee pod while forcing water through it.

Also, Vertuo machines have automatic pod and size recognition. Each type of pod, which are available in different sizes for each type of serving size, has a special barcode on the rim. When you insert it, the machine will automatically recognize it and adjust accordingly.

All Vertuo machines are a one-button operation. Insert your capsule, hit the brew button and you’re all set!

Preparing Milk Recipes Using a Vertuo Machine

Nespresso Aeroccino3

When it comes to milk recipes, you will need to bundle your Vertuo machine with an Aeroccino milk frother. As of the time of writing this machine, there are no Vertuo machines with integrated milk frothers. But you’ll find all Vertuo models either as standalone machines or bundled with an Aeroccino.

Pod Compatibility

Nespresso VertuoLine Coffee Capsules

Vertuo machines are compatible with pods from Nespresso only. So this time around, if you go for a Vertuo, you are committed to Nespresso pods. The pods are available in a wide range of varieties, single origin, blends or flavored.

Between OriginalLine and Vertuo, Which Do You Pick?

It all comes down to what your favorite coffee drink is:

If you’re someone who enjoys a quick espresso or lungo and nothing else. A standalone OriginalLine will be great for your use. You can bundle it with an Aeroccino if you enjoy a latte or cappuccino every now and then.

If you’re a latte drinker and that’s your go-to coffee drink, a Lattissima or a Creatista would be your best pick. Lattissima is a quicker option where you only have to press a single button, where the Creatista is a better choice if you want a more professional cup and don’t mind doing some work.

If you enjoy a variety of cup sizes and coffee drinks, Vertuo would be your best pick. There’s a serving size and pod for every mood. If you’re planning on making milk based drinks, then it’s important that you choose a bundle that included an Aeroccino frother.

Differences Between Nespresso Models, How Do You Pick?

If you’ve settled on a Nespresso system (Vertuo vs OriginalLine), your next step would be to pick which model you want to go for, and this is an easier step…

In most models, the difference between them would be aesthetic and there won’t be that much difference otherwise. In fact, the functionality will be the same.

Things to look for:

Reservoir size, machine size (if you’re tight on countertop space), colors and accents (some machines will have chrome/metal accents, others all plastic).

Your biggest decision will be picking whether you want an OriginalLine or Vertuo machine. After that, pick based on design and your budget. Please refer back to the links in this article to read the full reviews and specs of each model in the Nespresso line.

The Many Brands of Nespresso Machines – DeLonghi or Breville? Is There a Difference?

I get this question a lot, and it’s an understandable one. When shopping for a Nespresso machine, whether it’s an OriginaLine or a Vertuo, you’ll find ones that are sold under the DeLonghi brand, Other under Breville. And if you’re in Europe, you’ll see the names KRUPS or Magimix.

What’s up with that? Are you buying a Nespresso or a machine from another brand? And is there a difference?

These are ALL Nespresso machines and they are ALL the same!

Nespresso have partnered with some major brands to help them manufacture and sell their machines. But at their core, they are all the same.

You will find some design and aesthetic differences, some brands will have certain colors that you won’t find from the other brand and so on.

But, at the end of it, you’re buying a Nespresso machine.

If you ever needed support or help with your machine, you’ll be able to get it either from Nespresso or the partner brand. You’ll find everything you need to know in the booklet in the box.

So when picking a machine, pick your favorite color or design, don’t let the label of the partner brand confuse you.

Other Guides to Nespresso

What’s Inside a Nespresso Capsule

Top Nespresso Questions Answered