Kitchen gadgets review: Vertuo coffee machine a haughty home barrista

While the plastic pods seem like harbingers of the death of the earth, the coffee is so good youll never need go out for java again


Nespresso Vertuo (199, Centrifugal extractor with reservoir annexe and pressurised dispenser. Hot water forced through tubbed grounds creates coffee.


Cuppa java, minus the palaver? Were fresh out of that.


I hate my friends. Theyre always trying to get me to shower and leave the house, or re-engage with the human race. If I give in, they inevitably take me to some independent coffee shop they know, and speak to the staff in a foreign language. American Gibraltars, Chemex pour-over, soy-frothed dry cap; words that should by rights see them delivered of a soy-frothed dry slap. There must be a way to obtain decent coffee, the official drink of capitalism, with no social contact at all? Thats where pod coffee comes in.

Im staring at Nespressos Vertuo, which uses a centrifuge to extract flavours from coffee grounds. While theyre technically recyclable, individual coffee portions housed in plastic pods seems like a harbinger of the death of the earth. Plus, I have the unpleasant sensation the machine thinks its smarter than me. Yet Im drawn to it, the way we are to the confident. I gormlessly admire the rise and fall of its electric hood, auto-ejecting the previous capsule when opened. (The spent pellet pod cast? is lifted and dropped into a chamber at the back. What a thrill ride for the little fella.)

The pods are captivating and technically recyclable. Am I feeling highly intense Diavolitto or rich and strong Stormio today? Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian

The capsules are captivatingly pretty and metallic. Am I highly intense and powerful (Diavolitto) or rich and strong (Stormio)? I settle for Solelios fruity and light-bodied, because who am I kidding? It heats in less than 20 seconds, dispensing a tall cup with astonishing crema: an absolute mattress of bubbles, smoother in the mouth than Clooney. This micro-foam drip constitutes a microphone drop the final word in little luxury. Its almost sarcastically good. The machine knows what size drink to make by reading a barcode on each pod so it is smarter than me. This is my nightmare, a haughty barista in my home that wont make me pumpkin-spiced anything, who my friends love coming round to see. Ah well. At least its in this cool little spot called my house, which I never need to leave.

Any Downside?

Old Nespresso capsules wont work in Vertuo. So, a fun way to look at it is as the entry point to a proprietary ecosystem, with upgrade treadmill. Delicious!

Counter, drawer, back of the cupboard?

Covfefe without the faff. 4/5

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