The pleasure of a good espresso at any hour – morning, afternoon, or night – we’re not judging! – all in the comfort of your home. This sums up the craze behind home espresso machines and if you’re reading this you’re probably considering buying one, too. Good thinking!
A quick look at the market will tell you there’s a battle raging between the two most popular espresso machines: Verismo and Nespresso, with loyal fans on both sides clamoring their machine is absolutely the best, no questions asked.
If you’re to make the right choice, what you need is an honest comparison between the two products, looking at the pros and cons of each of them and we’re here to help you with that
Verismo was designed for the Starbucks crowd. Those who are addicted to this type of coffee can create their own home mini-Starbucks corner with an espresso system offered by their favorite coffee shop chain.
Verismo machines are sold directly at Starbucks so they don’t need much by way of advertisement. You go in, have your favorite drink, and see the Verismo beckoning to you from a shelf. I want one, I need one, you tell yourself. Bam, sold! This is just to understand how Verismo became so popular so fast.
Verismo has created several models over the years: Verismo 580, 583, 600, and its latest V. version.
Nespresso, on the other hand, is considered by many the undisputed espresso king. The Swiss company behind it claims this is the only machine that can offer you the most authentic espresso experience.
It might interest you to know that outside the US, Nespresso is the most popular single-cup coffee machine. Nespresso’s iconic models include Pixie, Inissia, Citiz, Essenza Mini, and Vertuo.
Starbucks offers its loyal fans its own blend of grounded Arabica coffee, neatly packed in the capsules that feed the Verismo system.
Nespresso pods come in many flavors, giving customers a wider choice between Fortissio Lungo, Roma, Rosabaya, or Arpeggio.
Starbucks clearly states customers should use filtered water for the Verismo system.
Oddly, enough Nespresso mentions only fresh drinking water and, if they mean tap water by this, we suggest you ignore their advice and stick with filtered water, especially as some of their models are not equipped with a filter.
Well, you should not judge a coffee machine by its looks, but the fact is we do… Since it’s going to sit on your counter for a long while, you want something that looks good.
Verismo has a minimalist design, it’s compact and only takes up a small space.
Nespresso, still minimalist, sleek lines, definitely more stylish.
Using the Verismo machine you can get 1 oz of espresso or 6 oz of Americano or Latte.
The preset quantities on the Nespresso are a bit more generous – 1.35 oz of espresso and a 3.7 oz of lungo, for those who want their coffee less intense than straight espresso. However, you can easily adjust the settings to prepare smaller or larger beverages.
Having a nice sleek espresso maker solves only half of the problem, as you still need capsules for it. There are several issues to consider when discussing pods – availability, price, or compatibility with other capsule brands.
There is still one problem, the pods for older Verismo models, such as 580, 583, or 600 were created for a smaller quantity of water, generally 7 oz. You can pop one into your brand new Verismo V if you want, but this machine dispenses 10 oz of water, which will make your espresso more watery. Again, this might not be a problem for those who favor espresso lungo.
Now, let’s see what Nespresso has to offer when it comes to pods. The first problem that comes to mind is that they’re not as easily available. You can order online or from a dedicated distribution network, but they’re nowhere to be found in retail stores.
The idea behind this is that Nespresso wants to make sure their capsules are always high-quality and as fresh as possible, which is indeed a good strategy.
The taste of a great coffee relies on the freshness of the grounds, so if you buy something that’s been sitting on the shelves in a store for several weeks some of the flavors will have evaporated.
On the other hand, Nespresso came up with the reusable pods idea, which allows customers to refill their used capsules with whatever brand they want (and hopefully discover it’s not as good as the original!)
Now that’s a very interesting business venture – making a typical Starbucks coffee on a rival Nespresso machine. Starbucks has a growing army of loyal customers who are so accustomed to their favorite flavors they won’t betray them for anything, not even for the love of a top of the line Nespresso machine.
Which is why Nespresso joined forces with the enemy and has a line of Starbucks pods. The range is called Starbucks by Nespresso and offers a selection of the coffee shop’s most popular products, and is affordable per cup. Quite a smart move and great news for Starbucks lovers.
Starbucks customers are used to a wide variety of drinks and Verismo allows them to prepare their favorite one at home, by using a milk frother, which is sold separately, however.
The frother is easy to use so you can make yourself a cappuccino or a latte in no time. It’s pricey, but on the other hand how much is enjoying a tasty cappuccino every day worth to you?
Nespresso has several models of frothers on the market: Aeroccino 3 or Aeroccino 4 or Aeroccino Plus. They’re not cheap, of course, but that is the case with all Nespresso products.
Aeroccino Plus, for instance, has a maximum capacity of 4.3 oz for hot or cold milk froth for your preferred drink. Or you can use it to heat up to 8.5 oz of milk for a latte.
Now let’s have a look at the technical specifications for both machines, as these are what matters most.
Both machines are capable of delivering great barista-grade espressos, there’s no doubt about that. Both espresso makers work the same: you drop in a pod, press a button and the machine does the rest.
So, the latest Verismo V comes with a large 78 fl oz water reservoir, while for some of the earlier Nespresso machines the volume of the reservoir ranges between 23 oz and 33 oz. However, the Vertuo Plus model comes with a 60 oz tank that can swivel out or stay behind the machine based on the configuration of your counter space. Again, if you’re buying for home use, this won’t make much of a difference.
Anyway, Verismo V heats up in 8 seconds and take an additional 13 seconds to make one shot of espresso. Milk-based drinks will require a milk pod, so simply add 32 seconds to your total brewing time. You’re still under one minute, so you cannot complain…
Nespresso machines generally need a bit more time to heat up, between 15 seconds for the Vertuo line and 25 seconds for the Citiz model.
If you want your espresso machine to run smoothly and deliver a strong flavorful coffee each time you will have to clean it regularly.
Both machines have a so-called cleanout feature, circulating how water through the machine to clean it. You can do this after each brew if you want. The cleaning feature of Verismo machines is much simpler (one button) than the one on the Nespresso VertuoLine model.
Another thing you need to keep in mind is that all espresso machines require regular descaling, which means you might want to buy special cleaning products.
Both Verismo and Starbucks are definitely good espresso machines, no doubt about that. As far as technology is concerned, they’re pretty similar – they can pump water through the pod using the same pressure, which is the first thing you should look at when selecting a single-cup coffee machine.
Verismo is essentially the machine Starbucks lovers would buy as they’re familiar with the flavors, and this is what people want from a home espresso system, to be able to prepare the drink they’re used to at the coffee shop.
On the other hand, Nespresso has a long tradition and is recognized among coffee enthusiasts as the best home espresso maker. Looking at customer reviews, Nespresso is more durable and it never fails to deliver.
As for flavors, Nespresso offers a variety of coffee blends for all palates – from very strong coffee to lighter and fruity tastes. And, as we were saying you can now make Starbucks coffee, with their own blends, on your Nespresso.
They also have milk frothers, adjustable heat settings, and quick brewing time. The two have limited flavor options, as well. It all boils down to which has a more preferable flavor for you, and which will best match your needs and budget.
The only drawback for Nespresso is the price tag, but, well, if you’re budget allows it you’re better off buying a Nespresso machine!
Starbucks lovers will definitely go for Verismo, but they’d be well advised to try both first before coming up with a final decision.