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Nespresso Vertuo Pop review: Smaller, smarter and snazzier
Nespresso pop off.
The Nespresso Vertuo Pop hits all the high notes of its predecessor but does it with a more compact form factor, a cheaper price tag and a more striking look. If you're at all intrigued by the promise of Vertuo pods, this is the machine to get.
As pod-based coffee makers have become more commonplace, Nespresso's task has shifted from getting people to take a chance on these techier takes on homebrewed beans to making a version worth paying extra to get.
Standardisation is part of the sell for this style of coffee machine writ large for many, but the Vertuos line is a bet that a bespoke barista bot is key to winning over the rest.
Nespresso's first stab at this concept was the Vertuo Next, which promised to work smarter rather than harder with pod-based coffee. The new Vertuo Pop takes that formula and refines it. It's no less clever, but a lot more colourful.
How much does Nespresso Vertuo Pop cost in Australia?
In Australia, the Nespresso Vertuo Pop is available at an RRP of $229.
The colourful cappuccino maker is available in six different colours: Mint, White, Black, Yellow, Red and Blue.
Despite its relatively-recent arrival on Aussie shores, there are already more than a few retailers running discounts on Nespresso's latest pod-coffee machine. Check out the table below for a round-up of pricing in Australia to see which retailer has the cheapest Vertuo Pop price.
|See it at Amazon|
|The Good Guys|| |
|See it at The Good Guys|
|Bing Lee|| |
|See it at Bing Lee|
Nespresso Vertuo Pop - Design and features
It's not quite compact enough to cut it as a travel coffee maker, but the Vertuo Pop is still noticeably smaller than the more mainstream Vertuo Next. Despite that downsizing and the fresh coat of paint, the two machines look almost identical. There's a mug mount on the front, a 0.56L water reservoir on the back and a single button on the top.
The Vertuo Pop is about half a kilogram lighter than its predecessor, but most of that weight has been shed from the water tank side of things. Inevitably, that means you'll be spending more time refilling that reservoir. However, if you're someone who has to be pretty sparing with the amount of space you have in your kitchen, it's a small price to pay.
That said, I found that the groove that the mug mount sits in here was pretty loose. I'd often knock it aside and it never ever felt truly secure. It's not a big deal, but it was the one small aspect of the Vertuo Pop where it feels like Nespresso has made compromises.
Other specs here include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity (needed for integration with the Nespresso app), 30 seconds of warm-up time and a power-saving setting that'll automatically turn off the device after two minutes of inactivity. These aren't new, but they are nice to have regardless.
Both the Vertuo Pop and Vertuo Next rely on the same larger and smarter brew capsules. Arguably, this is the best and worst thing about them. While it is capable of producing more sophisticated pod coffee, you're locked into a proprietary system when it comes to doing so.
Unlike other pod-based or even other Nespresso coffee machines, there are no third-party pod options for the Vertuo Pop. The pods for this machine tend to be slightly more expensive than standard Nespresso pods. Where regular Nespresso pods start at around $7.90 (for a 10-pack) on the official website, Vertuo pods start at around $8.50.
That might not sound like a huge difference, but it adds up quickly over the life of the machine. Essentially, you're going to be paying more in addition to the privilege of fewer choices.
Nespresso Vertuo Pop - Setup and performance
Like its predecessor, the setup process for the Vertuo Pop is almost excessively straightforward. You plug it in, fill up the water tank and you're good to go. From there, all you need to do is slot in your Nespresso pod of choice, lock it in with the crank handle and hit the go button. About thirty seconds later, you'll have a creamy and full-bodied beverage waiting for you.
While the experience described above isn't a radical reinvention of what most pod machines offer, there are a few differences worth noting when it comes to the Vertuo Pop.
Rather than run the same routine with every pod, the Vertuo Pop reads and ingests the barcode on each capsule before it brews. These liner notes contain specific brewing instructions that cover factors like temperature, infusion time and water flow. This, along with the fact that Vertuo pods are larger and can contain more grounds, allows the machine to produce larger beverages with more crema.
The fantasy here goes beyond having instant barista-style coffee at home. It's about emulating the expertise that comes with having a particularly good barista. The convenience of pod coffee meets the expertise of knowing what you're doing.
Although that broader idea is something that Nespresso's latest Vertuo machine shares with its last one, the Vertuo Pop does break from tradition through its introduction of the new Expert Mode. This setting gives you even more control over the brewing process, allowing you to use Vertuo capsules in more dynamic or inventive ways rather than just sticking to the script.
Any Vertuo pod used with the Pop can now be dispensed as either a single-shot, double-shot or ristretto rather than strictly as the barcode says it should be brewed. Those who like and set and forget won't notice the difference, but those who find the one-size-fits-all constraint of coffee machines that defines pod machines like this one to be a turn-off will likely appreciate the added flexibility.
In either case, the Vertuo Pop will still use those barcode-based instructions to prepare your choice of coffee-based drink. It'll just adjust the numbers to better suit the type of beverage you ask for.
Nespresso Vertuo Pop vs Vertuo Next
If you're looking to tease out the differences between the Nespresso Vertuo Pop and the Vertuo Next, you don't have to look very hard. The Vertuo Pop takes up less, looks a bit more colourful and gives you more options via the new Expert Mode.
The Vertuo Next is more expensive and takes up more space, but it's arguably better for it in some ways. That larger form factor means a larger water reservoir, which means that you don't have to fill it up as often.
If you're a newcomer to the Vertuo line, the Vertuo Pop is the best place to start. However, heavy drinkers might be better served by investing in Vertuo Next instead.
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*Pricing and deals only accurate as of last page update.
Is Nespresso Vertuo Pop worth buying?
The standard retail pricing for the Vertuo Pop is so close to that of the original that you have to wonder what you're missing out on. However, after a month or so of using Nespresso's newest pod machine as my daily brewer, I can't really say I felt like I was losing out on all that much.
It doesn't take much scrutiny to spot the minor details where the Vertuo Pop doesn't come off as quite so sleek and premium as its predecessor. Nevertheless, a cheaper price tag and a dash of colour make for a follow-up that's much easier to recommend even if it does have many of the same drawbacks.
The Nespresso Vertuo Pop is every bit as smart as the original Vertuo machine, but it looks snazzier and costs less. If you're looking for an introduction to Nespresso's best coffee pods, it's hard to imagine a better one than this.
How does the Nespresso Vertuo Pop compare?
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|15 bars||Pod coffee||See it at Amazon|
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|15 bars||Manual espresso||See it at Breville|
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|15 bars||Manual espresso w/ grinder||See it at Amazon|
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|19||Manual espresso w/ grinder||See at Bing Lee|
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|15 bars||Pod coffee||See it at Amazon|
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|15 bars||Automatic espresso w/ grinder||See it at Delonghi|
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|15 bars||Automatic espresso w/ grinder||See at Amazon|
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|15 bars||Manual espresso||See at Amazon|
How we review coffee machines
The short answer: by making (and drinking) a lot of coffee. The longer one: We spend some serious time not just using the coffee machines we review, but also thinking about the type of users they're for. We don't just read and regurgitate a spec-sheet. We take stock of what the landscape looks like, and how machines like the Sunbeam Barista Max fit into it.
Even if there are clear differences between home espresso machines like this one and cheaper pod-based options, those differences can be bridged by a thorough assessment of how successful both approaches when it comes to solving the problem of delivering the quality homemade coffee possible with as little effort as possible.
For a full breakdown of our approach to reviewing coffee machines, visit this page.