This question itself implies that Nespresso machines aren’t known for making “regular” coffee, and this is mostly true, depending on your definition of “regular” coffee.
When most people refer to this “regular” coffee, they’re usually referring to a standard cup of coffee, brewed in some form of a drip process—whether that’s a typical drip brewer or a pour over brewing system. In that sense, it’s true that Nespresso machines—at least, initially—aren’t designed to make this kind of coffee.
We’ll get into what kind of coffee Nespresso machines are known for making in just a moment, but first, let’s get to some kind of answer to our initial question: can Nespresso machines make regular coffee?
For a long time, the answer was an unequivocal “no.”
Indeed, Nespresso machines were designed originally to make a very specific, non-drip kind of coffee. However, with the launch of the Nespresso VertuoLine coffee makers in 2014, that all changed. In fact, while the Nespresso OriginalLine coffee makers are still unable to brew regular drip-style coffee, the new VertuoLine absolutely can make something very similar to what you get from your old Mr. Coffee coffee pot!
In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of Nespresso machines, how they work, the kind of coffee they make, and other important information about them. Then, however, we’ll move on to discuss the newer VertuoLine machines, their features, and some things you should keep in mind if you’re considering buying one.
If Nespresso OriginalLine Machines Don’t Make Regular Coffee, What Kind of Coffee Do They Make?
The answer is in the brand name itself: Nespresso machines—at least, the OriginalLine—are designed to produce espresso coffee. While the Nespresso OriginalLine machines don’t extract the shots in exactly the same way as traditional espresso machines, they use a similar combination of hot water and pressure that is forced through finely-ground coffee beans.
Which Nespresso Machines Can Brew Regular Coffee?
There is certainly no shortage of Nespresso machine manufacturers or models when it comes to the OriginalLine coffee makers; however, for Nespresso machines that can brew regular coffee, the options are far more limited. As of now, the only Nespresso machines that can brew regular coffee are those within the VertuoLine umbrella of products.
Currently, the only VertuoLine Nespresso machines available are the following:
- VertuoPlus Deluxe
How Are the Nespresso OriginalLine and VertuoLine Machines Different?
Quite a lot, actually. But there are a couple of key differences that have an impact on the resulting brew, and one other difference that will have a slight impact on your pocketbook. Let’s take a look at each of these major differences between the two Nespresso machine lines.
For one thing, the VertuoLine machines use slightly lower temperature water to extract the brew than do the OriginalLine machines. This lower temperature typically leads to fewer oils and associated flavors and aromas being extracted from the coffee grounds. That is, VertuoLine machines tend to produce a less robust, flavorful cup of coffee than the OrignialLine brewers.
Types of Extraction Pressure
Another major difference in the extraction processes between the two styles of Nespresso machines is the method of exerting pressure on the ground coffee. While the OriginalLine machines imitate the traditional method for pulling an espresso shot in an actual espresso machine, the VertuoLine Nespresso machines scrap this design altogether. Instead, these brewers use a mechanism that rapidly spins the Nespresso capsule, creating pressure through centrifugal force—a proprietary technology that Nespresso has dubbed “Centrifusion.”
Nespresso claims that the Centrifusion technology allows for a more accurate extraction process for each VertuoLine capsule. That is, the barcode printed on each VertuoLine capsule provides the machine with the necessary information to dial in the exact parameters for each kind of capsule. In theory, this provides a custom extraction process for each type of coffee (source).
It’s unclear exactly how this difference in exerting pressure affects the resulting espresso shot, but it is unlikely that it has as much impact on the flavor profile of the final product than the lower temperature does.
Amount of Espresso Crema
Other than their ability to brew “regular” coffee, another slight advantage of the VertuoLine Nespresso machines over the OriginalLine ones is their superior crema production. It’s true that the VertuoLine machines produce more (and better quality) crema than their predecessors. This higher-quality crema does serve to slightly make up for the lack of intensity and boldness characteristic of the VertuoLine machines, as it adds a pleasant layer of aroma and lends additional body to the finished brew.
· Ability to Brew “Long” Coffees
But the biggest difference between the two Nespresso lines—and the reason you’re reading this article in the first place—is that the VertuoLine models can brew “regular” (or, more precisely, “long”) coffees. You use the same VertuoLine capsules to achieve this as you would for extracting a standard espresso shot. The difference is in the amount of water used and the length of time required to extract the coffee, with longer coffee drinks taking, well, longer to brew than do espresso drinks.
Nespresso Capsule Prices
The other surprising difference between these two Nespresso machine lines is in the significant price disparity between them. While the average OriginalLine Nespresso capsules run about $0.70 each, most VertuoLine capsules start around $0.80 each, and they can even reach as high as $2.00 per capsule for special edition blends! That might not seem like a huge difference on a single-capsule basis, but that kind of money definitely adds up over time.
Can I Brew My Own Coffee with a Nespresso VertuoLine Machine?
Well, unfortunately, this is where things get a little hairy. The short answer is yes, you can absolutely use your own coffee to brew in a Nespresso VertuoLine machine. But there are really two much better questions: one, why would you want to? and two, should you even bother?
Brewing Your Own Coffee with a VertuoLine Machine: Pros and Cons
There are plenty of good reasons why someone might initially think it’s a good idea to use their own coffee in a reusable VertuoLine capsule, but there are much better reasons that suggest it’s not worth your time.
- It’s eco-friendly to make coffee with reusable capsules.
- You can brew coffee from your favorite roasters, not being limited to Nespresso capsules.
- It’s more cost-effective than buying single-use Nespresso capsules.
- Nespresso doesn’t produce reusable capsules, so you’ll have to buy third-party alternatives that may or may not work well—in fact, they almost never work well.
- You will end up with a very weak, diluted, and bland beverage.
- It’s cumbersome and time-consuming, which defeats the whole purpose of buying a single-serve, on-demand coffee machine in the first place.
- There are countless better ways to brew your favorite coffees.
- Nespresso capsules are designed and optimized specifically for use in Nespresso machines, while reusable capsules are pale imitations that can’t come close to delivering the same quality as Nespresso pods.
So, Should You Buy a Nespresso VertuoLine Machine to Brew Regular Coffee?
This, of course, is entirely up to your own personal preferences, but my advice is to save some money in the short-run and the long-run by buying a quality Nespresso OriginalLine machine. But, you say, what if you want to brew regular coffee in addition to your Nespresso drinks?
Simple: buy any other kind of coffee maker. There are so many different options to choose from these days that will brew your “long” coffee for much cheaper and with far superior results. Check out Chemex pour over systems, an Aeropress, a French press, a Moka pot, or, heck, go out and get a cheap drip coffee maker from your local department store. Literally any of these options will save you money and will truly bring out the best in your favorite coffee. Nespresso machines are for making Nespresso-style espresso beverages. Why try to make them something they’re not? As far as I’m concerned, they’re perfectly excellent doing what they do best.