After owning both two of Nespresso’s popular espresso machines for several years now, I am writing this post to share my experience with the Essenza Mini and VertuoPlus, and why after years of usage, I finally picked one over the other.
We can consider this to be a comparison between Nespresso’s OriginalLine (Essenza Mini) and Vertuo Line (VertuoPlus). The comparison points of these two machines will apply to any other models from either of Nespresso’s line.
My Personal Experience with Nespresso VertuoPlus and Essenza Mini
I got the Essenza Mini back in 2019, then two years later, around the end of 2021, I decided to get the VertuoPlus.
The VertuoPlus is quite an upgrade to the Essenza Mini. Nespresso’s Vertuo system can brew 4 coffee sizes:
- Espresso – Double Espresso – Gran Lungo and Coffee.
While the Essenza Mini only brewed espresso and Lungo.
As days went by, and as I tried almost every Vertuo capsule, or at least I went through all cup sizes. I realized that my favorite serving size is the Gran Lungo, which is a 5 oz serving of coffee. Followed by Double Espresso, which is quite comparable to OriginalLine’s Lungo serving size, especially if you reprogram it to dispense a bit more coffee.
I put my Essenza Mini to sleep for a while. And I used my VertuoPlus as an everyday coffee maker to make mostly espresso, double espresso and gran lungo. Fortado was my to-go Vertuo pod. It is STRONG! For double espresso, Chiaro was my favorite. Altissio and Diavolitto were my favorite Espresso capsules.
If you’re familiar with any of these capsules, then you might have guessed: I like my coffee quite strong.
Until the start of 2023 – I decided to quit my VertuoPlus and bring back the Essenza Mini from its slumber. Why? I’ll list every detail below.
But here are a few things I need to say before:
- Nespresso VertuoPlus is still my favorite Vertuo machine. And if you want a Vertuo, this is the one to buy.
- For all the years I’ve used these two Nespresso machines, they never broke or needed maintenance of any kind, other than the periodic descaling and cleaning which I do myself.
Why I Don’t Use Nespresso Vertuo Anymore
After a while of using Vertuo, I realized that I don’t even like larger cups of coffee. I still like my drip coffee, which I make manually using a Clever dripper. But for Nespresso coffee, the 7.7 oz serving size was not my favorite. My favorite serving size, the Gran Lungo, is perfect for my taste. As Nespresso said, it is an Americano inspired serving size. My second favorite pod was the Double espresso, which the Essenza Mini can make as a ‘Lungo’.
What I’m saying is, I realized that I’m more of an Espresso drinker than a Coffee drinker, which is what the Nespresso OriginalLine is for.
Lack of Vertuo Pod Alternatives and Nespresso’s Increasing Prices
Nespresso owns the patent for Vertuo’s pods, just like they did with OriginalLine pods for decades until they finally lost it.
What does that mean to you and me?
It means that you can only buy Vertuo Pods from Nespresso. There are no third party capsules, and most likely won’t be for a long time. You can get Starbucks Vertuo pods, which is a limited but decent alternative, but those are made by Nespresso, too.
Nespresso’s hog on the Vertuo pods also allows them to increase their prices whenever they want it. Which is exactly what’s been happening recently. And as a Vertuo owner, you have no other choice but to buy your pods from them.
Nespresso’s Exclusive Pods to the Vertuo Next and Pop
Vertuo Next and Vertuo Pop are two of the newest Vertuo models by Nespresso. They came way after the VertuoPlus, which is what I owned. One of the prominent features in these two is their Wifi/Bluetooth connectivity, which allows them to receive software updates among other things.
And it looks like Nespresso is investing heavily in these models. So much so that Vertuo’s largest pods: the Alto (12 oz) and Carafe (18oz) are exclusive to Vertuo Next and Vertuo Pop, and maybe to future models based on the Vertuo Next.
The real issue here is that the Vertuo Next is one of the worst releases by Nespresso. With so many users reporting leaks and machine abruptly not working. It’s also made of recycled materials, which unfortunately, makes it a bit flimsy in comparison to older Vertuo models like the VertuoPlus or Evoluo.
Why I Like Essenza Mini (OriginalLine)
It makes my favorite serving sizes – Espresso and Lungo
As soon as I realized that I preferred smaller espresso drinks, I realized that an OriginalLine is the right machine for me. It does 1.35 oz of espresso, and 2.7 oz for lungo coffee. I reprogrammed the lungo button to make around 3.5 oz of coffee, which was perfect without having the coffee tastes watered down.
3rd Party Capsule Options
With the Essenza Mini, or OriginalLine, I have the option of buy my capsules from many brands other than Nespresso, including world famous brands like Lavazza, Illy, L’or and many more. The price per pod is less expensive from third party brands, and if I ever wanted to splurge on Nespresso, or get one of their limited editions – which they excel at, by the way – I can still do so. Having options is great.
Essenza Mini vs VertuoPlus – Difference in Features
- Nespresso Essenza Mini
- OriginalLine Nespresso Machine
- Two serving sizes: Espresso and Lungo
- Uses OriginalLine Capsules Only
- 20 oz Water Reservoir
- Used capsule drawer holds 5 capsules
- Dimensions: 4.3"D x 8"W x 12.8"H
- Compact in size
- Capsules available from Nespresso and 3rd party brands
- Brew sizes are reprogrammable
- Does not make coffee size
- Needs refilling often
- Nespresso VertuoPlus
- Nespresso Vertuo machine
- Brews 4 cup sizes: espresso, double espresso, gran lungo and coffee
- 40 oz water reservoir
- Used capsule capacity holds 10 capsules
- Motorized head open/closure
- Dimensions: 9.8W x 13.3D x 12.7H
- More cup serving sizes
- Makes coffee
- Reprogrammable cup sizes
- Pods are exclusive to Nespresso
- No 3rd party capsules
- Essenza Mini is a classic espresso machine that uses pump pressure to extract espresso from the capsule. This is true to all OriginalLine Machines.
- Vertuo, on the other hand, uses a patented technology called Centrifusion. It uses rapid spinning action to force water through the pod and extract the coffee. A barcode reader is located inside the machine’s head allows it to automatically recognize which pod you are brewing, and brew the correct size accordingly.
Design and Dimensions
It’s clear that the Essenza Mini and VertuoPlus are totally different when it comes to shape and design.
- Essenza Mini is quite compact, it’s perfect for personal use in home, office or dorms.
- VertuoPlus is larger in size, but it is still a good size for an espresso and coffee machine, especially when compared to traditional espresso machines.
I would use either of them anywhere really. Essenza Mini, however, is more portable if you ever needed to relocate it.
Both of these machines, all of Nespresso’s machines actually, don’t require a lot of cleaning. Pods are automatically ejected into the bin, which you’ll have to empty once it’s full, and that would depend on your usage. This is done more frequently on the Essenza Mini due to its small bin.
Running a cleaning cycle can be done once or twice a week, this takes a minute or two. It simply means you’ll run water through the spout so it gets rid of any coffee residues.
Descaling, which is a longer cleaning process using a special cleaning solution, can be done once every three to six months, also depending on how often you use your machine. It’s recommended that you do it every 200 brew cycles, which the machines automatically detect and alert you with a light indicator.
So overall, both Essenza Mini and VertuoPlus are low maintenance machines.
Which Is the Right Nespresso Machine for You?
I know my experience isn’t necessarily applicable to everyone. But I hope it gives you a general idea of what to expect from each kind of Nespresso machine. Below, I’ll give you a few pointers to help you with your personal decision.
Who Should Buy Nespresso Vertuo
Nespresso Vertuo is suited best for people who want single serve coffees, as in the larger 7.7 oz coffee or maybe even the Alto 12 oz pods that the Vertuo Next or Pop can make. THEN, for smaller espresso servings.
If you mostly drink espresso or espresso based drinks like Cappuccinos or Lattes, you’ll be better off with an OriginalLine machine.
Should you still buy a Vertuo if you’re mostly making espresso drinks? Only if you’re okay with buying your espresso pods from Nespresso only, which limits your pod options.
Which Nespresso Vertuo to Pick
There are several models of Vertuo machines available. I still find the VertuoPlus/VertuoPlus Deluxe to be the best and least problematic. It’s also the only Vertou with a motorized lid closure/opening.
If you want a connected Vertuo, which can receive updates from Nespresso, or send you alerts when it needs cleaning, Vertuo Next or Vertuo Pop are one option.
Older models like the Evoluo or Vertuo are still reliable and make a good purchase if they’re available on sale. Read my full guide on Vertuo machines.
What To Consider When Buying a Nespresso Vertuo
The one and first thing you want to consider is pod availability and their exclusivity to Nespresso. Owning a Vertuo means you’re buying your pods from Nespresso only. They can be purchased via their website, their Amazon store, or a local Nespresso Boutique.
Next thing to consider is, whether or not you’re going to use the larger serving sizes. If you like mug sized coffee drinks, you’ll like Nespresso’s coffees. Some are especially great when mixed with milk. They make great iced coffees, too.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nespresso Vertuo
Is there a Difference between Vertuo from Breville vs DeLonghi?
In features, there is NO differences. The differences are in design and available colors. Same goes for Vertuo or OriginalLine machines by Krups, DeLonghi and Magimix around Europe.
Do All Nespresso Pods Work with VertuoPlus?
No, you have to buy VERTUO capsules for a Vertuo machine, which are only available from Nespresso.
Can You Buy Nespresso Pods from Supermarkets?
No, you can’t. You can buy them locally from a Nespresso Boutique. Or you can order them online from Nespresso or Amazon.
Can I Use Starbucks Capsules in Vertuo?
Yes, just make sure they are VERTUO capsules, which are available from Starbucks and made by Nespresso.
Are All Nespresso Vertuo Pods the Same Size?
Vertuo capsules have the same diameter, which fits the insert inside the machine. But they are different height, because larger serving sizes have more coffee grounds than smaller sizes.
How Many Pods in a Vertuo Sleeve?
You get 10 pods per sleeve. Except for the Carafe and Alto, which come in a box of 7 pods.
Can I Make a Latte or Cappuccino using VertuoPlus?
Yes, you’ll just have to bundle it with an Aeroccino milk frother, or any other frother you might prefer. You’ll make the espresso using the Vertuo machine, and the milk using the frother.
Who Should Buy Nespresso OriginalLine (Essenza Mini or Other)
If you’re an espresso drinker, prefer smaller coffee servings or make espresso based drinks. There’s no need to get a Vertuo and commit to its capsules if all you want is to make espresso. With an OriginalLine, you have so many options for capsules, from many brands, and they’re even available in local grocery stores and not just via Nespresso’s.
Which Nespresso OriginalLine to Pick
There are so many Nespresso OriginalLine machines to pick from. I picked the Essenza Mini because it’s the most compact and most affordable. But if you want something with a better design and build, consider the Pixie or CitiZ. Coffee quality is the same, though.
Actually, if you’re going the OriginalLine route, you don’t even have to buy your machine from Nespresso. You can pick a machine from another brand like L’or’s Barista System for example, which can brew any type of OriginalLine capsule as well as L’or’s exclusive XXL pod that can brew coffee cups.
What To Consider When Buying a Nespresso OriginalLine
If you’re making milk based drinks (latte, cappuccino, macchiatos), bundle your machine with an Aeroccino milk frother. Or, go for an OriginalLine with a built-in milk frother, like the Lattissima line by DeLonghi. Or the fancier option of the Creatista by Breville, which has an automated steam wand. You can also learn the difference between the Lattissima and Creatista here.
If you plan on reprogramming the coffee volumes, you can’t up the volume by much without watering down the coffee. For example, reprogramming the 2.7 oz Lungo button to a 5 oz coffee, you can’t expect good coffee with that. Instead, you can up it mildly by an ounce or so. Or, use two pods for a larger cup.
Frequently Asked Questions About Essenza Mini
Does Essenza Mini Make Lattes and Cappuccinos?
Yes, but not without the help of a milk frother. The Essenza Mini will make the espresso, which is the base of the Latte. Then using an Aeroccino, or any other milk frother, you can make the frothy milk and add it to your espresso.
Does Essenza Mini Make Regular Coffee?
No. If you want larger cups of coffee, go for a Vertuo instead.
Is There a Difference Between the Essenza Mini by DeLonghi vs Breville?
No, not a single difference in how they operate. But there’s a difference in design and available colors.
Is the Essenza Mini a Discontinued Model?
As of 2023, it is NOT discontinued. It’s available from Nespresso and other resellers, and fully supported by Nespresso.
What’s the Difference Between Essenza Mini and Inissia?
Inissia is an older Nespresso model that has been discontinued, but is still being sold by some vendors. The Essenza Mini came as a replacement for it. Both have identical features.
What’s The Difference Between Essenza Mini and Essenza Plus
Essenza Plus is an upgrade version of the mini that comes with a dedicated hot water spout for making Americanos.
Can I Use Vertuo Pods in Essenza Mini?
No, Vertuo and OriginalLine don’t use the same pods.