Nespresso lovers everywhere had a reason to celebrate with the launch of Vertuo coffee makers.
The new line of single cup machines seemed to promise something completely new.
Even the pods to go inside them looked different to what had gone before.
But times keep changing, and there are now more options than ever to choose between.
If you’re thinking of investing in a Vertuo machine, it can be difficult to know which one to pick. So if you’ve been trying to decide without success – this is the article for you.
We’re going to take you through the features of the Evoluo vs Vertuoline. And we’ll compare them in terms of their specifications and performance.
By the time you’ve finished, you’ll be ready to choose the machine that’s right for you.
Nespresso Evoluo vs VertuoLine - What's the difference?
Both the VertuoLine and the Evoluo are products in Nespresso’s Vertuo line.
This new range of machines is distinct from the Original Nespresso line in two important ways (1).
Centrifusion: a new approach to brewing
First of all, they use what makers Nestlé claim is an entirely new approach to brewing. Nestlé calls this “centrifusion”. To understand how it works, we’ll start by reminding ourselves how single cup coffee makers brew their drinks.
To start with, the ground coffee is held inside a small capsule that contains a filter. When you place the capsule inside your machine and lower a handle, needles pierce the top and bottom.
These small holes allow hot water to enter the capsule, run through the coffee grounds, and pour into your cup. It’s a simple process, and your cup of Joe will be ready in record time.
All of this happens in the same way in Vertuo machines. But there’s one added extra: the capsules spin as the water passes through them. And they spin really fast – up to seven thousand revolutions per minute.
The thinking behind this new technique is that the centrifugal forces create a deeper crema. (The crema is the layer of orangey-brown froth on top of your espresso. It plays a key part in creating its flavor and texture.)
In barista espresso machines, the crema is created by forcing a mixture of steam and water through coffee grounds. In Vertuo machines, the pressure of the hot water is combined with the spinning action. The goal is to create a coffee that’s closer to one you’d find in an artisan café.
So does it work?
Well, some people swear by it, claiming Vertuo machines produce the best coffee they’ve ever tasted. Others deride clever marketing for fooling people into accepting sub-standard coffee. And some even dislike the deeper crema (we’ve heard it compared to the appearance of Guinness!)
Personally, we prefer traditional brewing techniques; but the only way to decide is to try it for yourself!
Both the VertuoLine and Evoluo use different pods to those that work with the Original Nespresso machines.
These pods carry their own, distinctive barcodes on the lids. The codes convey information about the coffee to the machine: the right serving size, temperature and infusion time. According to the Nespresso website, they even regulate the speed at which the pod spins.
The idea is to make it impossible to create anything but the “perfect” coffee. Just push a button, and the machine takes all of the guesswork out of extraction times and brewing ratios.
It sounds great. But there are a few things it’s worth bearing in mind.
The first is that there is no room here for personal preference. As a customer, your choice is simply to pick the pod you like best. You won’t be able to change the volume of water, or infuse the coffee for longer.
That might not be a bad thing. Nespressos are all about convenience. And the manufacturers would argue there’s no need to change brewing parameters when they’ve already researched the perfect combination.
The second issue, though, is for our money more significant. The barcode reading technology used in the Vertuo machines means that only Nespresso Vertuo pods can be used with them.
If you know your coffee history, you might smell a rat here. For many years, Nestlé jealously guarded the designs of their machines. Other manufacturers attempting to make pods to fit them were vigorously opposed. If you had a Nespresso, you had to buy Nestlé’s pods.
That all came to an end with a series of legal challenges around the world. Nestlé was forced to open their design books. They were also told to let their competitors know in advance if they were changing their specifications.
The result was that customers were able to enjoy a range of compatible pods from other coffee makers and supermarkets. And most of them were a good deal cheaper than the Nespresso versions.
Another one-cup beverage maker, Tassimo, already used barcode technology. Those barcodes told the Tassimo whether it was making tea, coffee, hot chocolate or another beverage.
Nespresso machines focus on coffee – so what was the point of introducing the same technology here?
Well, all the Vertuo machines offer different beverage sizes. With Original line machines, your options were confined to espresso or, if you were lucky, two different lungos.
The VertuoLine and Evoluo extend this to a range of different servings. The classic espresso, 5 ounce and 8 ounce lungos are joined by a double espresso and the “alto” – 14 ounces.
You might argue that these new serving sizes allow Nestlé to introduce barcodes and once again prevent competition. After all, why should you have to spin one capsule of coffee at a different speed to another?
But what the codes can do is add different amounts of water to the coffee. And all of a sudden, we’re back to the situation where you need to buy Nestlé’s own brand pods.
That’s the downside. But if you don’t mind being restricted in this way, either the VertuoLine or the Evoluo offer consistent coffee. And for those of us who enjoy a large mug, there’s no need to brew more than one serving.
So what’s the difference between them?
#1 Key features: the VertuoLine
The VertuoLine was the first of the new Vertuo machines. It uses the centrifusion brewing technology and reads the barcodes on the Vertuo pods.
It’s a good looking machine too. Standing at just under a foot tall, it’s available in chrome, matt or glossy black or red finishes. There’s also a shade called “Titan” – a sort of gunmetal grey.
It has a removable 40 ounce water tank. And like all Nespresso machines, none of the plastic parts contain BPA – good news if you’re worried about health risks.
Unlike capsules from some other single cup coffee machines we could mention, Vertuo pods are made of aluminum. That means they’re fully recyclable. And environmental credentials improve further with a power saving mode that switches off the machine after 9 minutes without use.
The VertuoLine has garnered rave reviews from users who find the flavor superior to coffee from other one-cup machines.
There is, though, one area where experiences haven’t been uniformly positive. Despite the barcode technology allowing the machine to vary water temperature, a number of customers have found the coffee insufficiently hot. This YouTube review shows the problem.
Some have also reported issues with faults. Having said that, the machine comes with a one year warranty. And feedback on Nespresso’s customer service is largely positive.
In short, as the first of the Vertuo machines, the VertuoLine has gathered plenty of fans. But for those who like their coffee really hot, it seems to have just missed the mark.
#2 Key features: the Evoluo
As its name suggests, the Evoluo is the next stage in the evolution of the VertuoLine. So what are the differences?
Let’s start with the most obvious ones: the appearance. The Evoluo comes in a subtly different range of color ways. If you want to make sure your coffee maker fits with your kitchen décor, read on…
The Evoluo’s red is shinier than the VertuoLine’s version. There’s a brushed metal version called “graphite” and a paler colored “silver” instead of chrome. And while both models come in Titan grey and gloss black, there’s no matt black version of the Evoluo.
The design is a little different too. Where the VertuoLine has a retro appearance with its domed pod compartment, the Evoluo’s sharp lines are more cutting edge.
The differences don’t stop at the aesthetics.
The VertuoLine has a fixed cup stand. That means the distance from the spout to the cup will create a bit of splashing if you’re brewing espresso. The Evoluo has dealt with this by incorporating a stand that moves up and down to accommodate different cup sizes.
It’s a simple change and one that should improve the brewing experience. But in some cases, it seems, it’s caused problems. Some users have reported the cup holder not fitting snuggly and rattling when the capsule is spinning.
The Evoluo is a bigger machine than its predecessor. Its water tank holds 54 ounces, against 40 ounces for the VertuoLine. That means you’ll get a couple more standard cups before you need to refill it.
The storage container for empty capsules is larger too. The VertuoLine will hold 13 empty mug pods while the Evoluo holds 17.
In other respects, the two machines are very similar. Both use centrifusion technology and incorporate the same barcode reading system. Both have an auto cut off after nine minutes, and use exactly the same pods.
Neither machine has an integrated milk frother – something that is available with some of the higher end Original models. For those who enjoy cappuccinos and lattes, however, Nespresso offers the Aeroccino.
This clever gadget is designed to work alongside Nespresso machines. The latest model, the Aeroccino 4, offers two kinds of hot foam, cold foam and hot milk too. It’s not quite as convenient as integrated frothers, but it’s easy to use and seems to give good results.
The problem of coffee temperature
There’s just one key distinction between the VertuoLine and the Evoluo we haven’t mentioned yet: brewing temperature.
You’ll remember that cool coffee was one of the main gripes for people who didn’t love their VertuoLine machines. It seems that Nestlé have taken this on board and tried to resolve the problem. And they’ve had some success.
The Evoluo reaches optimal brewing temperature in an impressive 15 seconds. And some customers who’ve used both VertuoLine and Evoluo machines say the latter makes hotter coffee.
Having said that, it’s still not hot enough for some. It might just be that some customers need greater control over the temperature of their drinks than either machine allows.
So it seems that, even with the latest generation of Nespressos, there are some compromises to be made in return for convenience.
Both the VirtuoLine and Evoluo will benefit from a regular maintenance regime.
Most important is descaling – particularly if you live in an area with hard water. It’s easy to do – both models have descaling programmes – and takes about twenty minutes.
You can expect to need to descale around once every three months. (Needless to say, Nespresso recommend using their own descaling agent for the purpose.) You can extend the amount of time between descaling by using bottled or filtered water.
The VertuoLine and Evoluo have more in common than divides them. If you like the idea of a deep crema and larger servings than you get with the Original Nespressos, either model is worth considering.
For us, the larger tank size and empty pod container give the Evoluo the edge. And we like the variable position cup stand (though beware complaints that it rattles). And for both models, some people find the coffee temperature too low.
We hope you’ve found our comparison of the VertuoLine and Evoluo useful. If you’ve got one of these machines, please comment and let us know what you think of it!
My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Daily Cupo, a Coffee buff. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.