K-Café vs Nespresso Vertuo (Plus, Next, & Deluxe)

K-Cafe vs Nespresso

The two most dominant options for making pod-based coffee and espresso at the touch of a button from the same machine is the K-Café made by Keurig and the Vertuo Plus, Next, & Deluxe made by Nespresso. Both systems use pre-ground coffee packaged up inside a K-Cup or a Nespresso Capsule that can be used to either brew larger cups of standard coffee or smaller cups of espresso…but these two types of machines work very differently.

To best understand how the K-Café and Vertuo machines differ you must first understand fully that the K-Café is meant to make coffee first and that their shot button is simply an altered version of standard brewed coffee.

The opposite goes for Nespresso. Their machines make something very similar to pump espresso from capsules first and foremost but when you opt to brew a full cup of coffee from the same capsule you are getting an altered version of espresso which they call an Americano, or a lungo long.

The K-Café can make a well bodied 6-oz cup of coffee, but when brewed via slow drip in 2-oz portions the coffee can resemble a shot of espresso especially when foamed milk is added to the drink from it’s attached frother. Similarly the Vertuo is more than capable of making a shot of basic espresso, but when brewed long extra water flows through the capsule creating an overly extracted cup of espresso-style coffee.

The coffee that comes from the Vertuo Plus, Next, or Deluxe is different than an Americano however because an Americano or a Lungo shot is not overly brewed or overly extracted coffee.

They are brewed for normal or recommended lengths of time under pressure and then plain hot water is added to them to bring the final cup up to a normal 6-ounce cup size.

For this reason a true Americano is a better option than a Vertuo coffee however the vast majority of coffee drinkers won’t really be able to tell the difference; only the most refined pallets will be able to tell especially because none of the capsules are made from fresh grind.

See the following post for my thoughts on which Nespresso machines are the best.

With the Keurig K-Café or K-Latté system I think the final product is a little better but not by much.

The shot function on their machines works by slowly brewing a shot or under-brewing the coffee so that it comes out very strong. I find the taste of over-brewed coffee to taste a bit better than over-brewed espresso so Keurig is the option I prefer but then again when mixed into cappuccinos or lattés the majority of people won’t be able to tell the difference.

What truly sets the machines apart in potential quality is Keurig’s ability to brew with fresh coffee grind and Nespresso’s inability to do the same thing.

Because Nespresso units have to brew under pressure to create espresso it is enormously harder to brew Nespresso with your own fresh grind…but with Keurig using a simple drip coffee brewing system all you need to do is buy a reusable My K-Cup to use your own fresh grind in the machine.

When you use freshly ground beans the flavor profile of your coffee or the “shots” made by your K-Café will beat out the Nespresso Vertuo every time.

Let’s let that serve as the introduction to this article. To move forward I’d like to point you to a couple related articles here on the site to help you learn a bit more about coffee. If you would rather learn more about the specs and features of the K-Café and the Vertuo espresso machines then you can keep reading further down this page.

Can You Use Your Own Coffee In Nespresso?
Is Nespresso Worth It?
The Keurig K-Café vs The K-Latté
What Is The Best Keurig Coffee Maker Of Them All?

How Does The K-Café & Nespresso Vertuo Make Frothed and/or Steamed Milk?

If you buy the K-Café or the K-Café Special Edition it comes with an attached frother on the right side of the unit that can simultaneously heat your milk and foam it through a vibrating frother head at the bottom of the pitcher.

A heating element will warm your milk while it foams and when done the entire pitcher and frother head/wand can be removed to be rinsed off in the sink or washed in the dishwasher.

The K-Latté using a detached frother that is very similar to Nespresso’s Aeroccino3. It is a cylindrical milk warmer and frother that uses essentially the same frother head and vibration to foam the milk but the machine itself cannot be simply cleaned in the dishwasher, it must be carefully hand washed at the sink.

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Keurig K-Cafe vs Nespresso Vertuoline: Which is Best & What is Different?

If you’ve spent any time looking into fast, single-serve coffee makers, you’ve probably begun to understand the difference between Keurig and Nespresso coffee makers. They both brew single servings of coffee in a quick manner by brewing hot water through a capsule filled with coffee grounds

Of course, within each brand lies a wide range of products with different features which change the overall functions of the machine. It can be difficult to figure out what would be best within brand, let alone when comparing two different brands altogether.

Sometimes making a decision of what brew method and product you will choose can actually be easier when compared between two different brands instead of within a brand. Instead of trying to choose between the many varieties of coffee maker Keurig provides, you can lay down a list of the functions you need and see what other machine fits those needs the best.

In this case, we’ve taken a look at two common competitor products with a long list of features that can make narrowing down a choice difficult. The machines are the Keurig K-Cafe and the Nespresso Vertuoline.

Both brew espresso and coffee from a pod, so figuring out which one to choose can be a bit of a challenge if you aren’t clear on what else they offer.

While the two have a lot in common as single-serve coffee makers, there are some key differences to consider before deciding which machine to buy. You’ll need to take all of the features and differences and see how they align with your personal needs for coffee brewing.

Some people need a machine that will suit their home and make their mornings more convenient. Others may want to put an instant coffee maker in a lobby or lounge where it will get lots of use. These two reasons may call for different machines altogether.

Main Features of the Keurig K-Cafe

Compared to some of the smaller versions of Keurig with less functionality, the K-Cafe has a long list of capabilities. The first notable feature of K-Cafe is that it’s compatible with all types of Keurig pods, which is convenient if you are planning on upgrading your machine but don’t want to have to toss your old pods and buy a new variety.

A lot of other Keurig coffee makers are only capable of brewing K-Cups, and will not accept K-Carafe, K-Mug, or other types of Keurig pods. Since this machine can handle any type of Keurig pod, you won’t have to worry about making sure you have the right pod each time you’re at the store.

You can brew coffee with this machine, as expected, but you can also get way more creative with this machine than other Keurig models. With K-Cafe, you can brew regular drip, or make lattes and cappuccinos with the milk frother.

To make a latte or cappuccino, you can easily change the settings to brew concentrated shot of coffee, like you would for espresso. You can easily take off the milk frother and clean, as it is dishwasher safe.

The machine can accommodate travel mugs with the drip tray removed. You can brew a 6, 8, 10 or 12-ounce cup of coffee.

The button controls are super easy to use, with simple switches between coffee and espresso. You can also choose between an iced setting and strong brew.

The water reservoir can hold large amount of water, about 60 ounces at a time. You can program the machine to turn off two hours after the last brew.

Main Features of the Nespresso Vertuoline

Much like the K-Cafe, you can choose between espresso and drip coffee with this machine. This option is easily overlooked, but the convenience can help slim down the amount of items you have on your countertop at a given time.

You need to use different capsules if you’re brewing espresso versus coffee with the Nespresso Vertuoline. A large capsule is used for coffee, and a small capsule for espresso.

The machine is not compatible with original Nespresso pods. You will need to purchase compatible pods before you can brew espresso or coffee with this machine.

The Nespresso Vertuoline only takes 15 seconds to heat up, which is fast and convenient for rushed mornings. The water tank can hold about 40 ounces.

The drip tray is removable to accommodate a travel mug. You can also use tall glasses with this machine. After 9 minutes of inactivity, the Nespresso Vertuoline will turn off. This is a great feature for anyone who forgets to shut off their appliances when they leave the house.

The machine makes alto (14 ounces), coffee (8 ounces) and espresso (1.35 ounces).

What Are The Main Differences Between Keurig K-Cafe and Nespresso Vertuoline?

Both machines are built to make single-serve coffee in a quick manner, making either choice a convenient one.

They brew in the same way, forcing hot water through a pod filled with a perfect dose of coffee grounds. The K-Cafe machine is compatible with any Keurig pod, and the Nespresso Vertuoline requires specific pods for either espresso or coffee, and they are not interchangeable. The Vertuoline is not compatible with other Nespresso pods, so you will have to buy specific pods and if you want to make both espresso and coffee, you will need to buy both pods.

The Keurig K-Cafe can hold 60 ounces of water in its reservoir, and the Nespresso Vertuoline can hold  40 ounces. If you’re looking for more efficiency, the K-Cafe can brew more coffee without having to be refilled.

The Keurig K-Cafe offers more functionality overall. You can choose between espresso or coffee with either machine, but the K-Cafe comes equipped with a milk frother. The frother is also dishwasher safe, which makes the machine even more convenient.

The Nespresso does not have a milk frother, so you’d have to go without making lattes and cappuccinos, or get your hands on a milk frother on the side.

The K-Cafe also offers extra settings, such as a strong brew and iced coffee setting. The Nespresso does not offer this, though it does have a built-in technology that recognizes which pod has been inserted and will create the perfect blend.

The Keurig K-Cafe can be programmed to turn off two hours after the last brew, and the Nespresso Vertuoline will automatically shut off within nine minutes.


Both the Keurig K-Cafe and the Nespresso Vertuoline offer a lot of features that make them great machines. They both heat up quickly, and can brew between espresso and regular drip coffee.

The Keurig K-Cafe has more functionality than the Nespresso Vertuoline. With K-Cafe, you can use any other Keurig brand pod in the machine to brew espresso or coffee. If you already have a Keurig, this would be a convenient upgrade because you don’t have to buy any new pods like you would for Nespresso.

The K-Cafe also holds 60 ounces as opposed to the 40 of Nespresso. If you’re looking to be able to make a lot of coffee at once, the K-Cafe machine would be more efficient and require you to refill less.

If you’re concerned about energy efficiency, the Nespresso heats up a bit faster than the Keurig and may be a better choice. It also will shut off after nine minutes, whereas the Keurig will wait two hours after the last brew to shut off.

If you are in a shared office space, or somewhere people come in and out and make coffee sporadically throughout the day, having the machine turn off after nine minutes would get really old. But if you’re at home, the nine-minute shut off would be useful if you don’t plan to come back and brew more.

If you want to be able to make specialty drinks, the K-Cafe will offer more freedom for you as well. You can make lattes and cappuccinos with the milk frother.

Take all of this information into consideration as you choose which machine is best for you. It comes down to personal needs, so don’t feel like you need to buy something you don’t actually want.

For me, the K-Cafe is a no-brainer for my next machine. This is because I love to make espresso drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos, and this machine will give me the capability to do this.

I love to make iced drinks, so the strong brew and iced option on the K-Cafe will be useful to me as I make my daily drinks. I won’t have to worry about getting the correct pod, either.

For someone who isn’t big on milky drinks or making larger amounts, the K-Cafe may not be the best option. You don’t want to buy something with a bunch of features you don’t end up using.

Whatever you choose, be sure to think through what features you want most from your single-serve coffee maker.

The Keurig K-Cafe and Nespresso Vertuoline are both very close in price, though it fluctuates so be sure to check up on the product listings.

Keurig K-Cafe Vs Nespresso Vertuoline: Which Coffee System Is Best + How They Are Different

There are so many different single serve coffee machines out there and in recent years there are now a bunch of different combination units that make single serve coffee and espresso. Nespresso Vertuoline machines and the Keurig K-Cafe machines come to mind first for me.

If you want to own a single serve coffee maker than can also make pod-style espresso at the touch of a button then both of these product lines are worth looking at.

I actually own multiple units from Nespresso’s Vertuoline as well as both the Keurig K-Cafe Special Edition & K-Latte so I know what the differences between these two systems actually is. Give me a few minutes in this article and I’m sure I’ll help you figure it all out so that you can be comfortable deciding which unit you may want to buy.

Before we get into this article further though make sure to see the following posts to see my thoughts on the best Nespresso units sold these days and this post to see my thoughts and reviews of the best Keurig machines sold these days.

Now with that out of the way let’s compare these dual brew coffee/espresso makers.

First Let’s Summarize Keurig’s K-Cafe (Special Edition) & Entry Level K-Latte


If you’re looking for variety then the Keurig K-Cafe could be the ideal solution.

This machine allows you to make lattes, coffee and cappuccinos.

As a result, you won’t have to worry about running out of different drinks to try!

It also offers a water reservoir that is able to hold 60 ounces, so you won’t need to worry about frequent refills.

Many users really enjoy the way this machine makes a wide variety of coffee beverages easier than they’ve ever been.

Keep in mind that you will need to use K-Cups, so that can sometimes limit the coffee options available.

It’s also designed to be easy to use so that customers can get what they need from the machine without too much of a hassle.

Even those who haven’t used one of these machines before are likely to find it’s quite intuitive.

Furthermore, you’ll have a variety of drink options for when you want to mix it up!


  • Allows you to make a wide variety of drinks.
  • Includes a frother.
  • You’ll be able to opt for a strong brew.
  • Makes 4 different beverage sizes.
  • Buttons are intuitive and easy to use.
  • Includes a 60-ounce water reservoir.


  • There can be instances when the machine turns off without brewing anything.
  • In some cases, it can arrive in damaged condition.
  • Some customers find that the features are too bare for their preferences.


There are plenty of benefits you can get from this machine.

It makes coffee and espresso easier, giving you the best of both worlds without a hassle!

From brewing to frothing milk, the entire process is intuitive, easy and quick.

Do keep in mind that you’ll have to use K-Cups, which can be limiting for some coffee-lovers.

There can also be some instances where the unit arrives damaged, so it’s a good idea to make sure to check it over as soon as you get it!

Holding onto your warranty information is also helpful!

Now Let’s Summarize the Nespresso Vertuoline of Coffee & Espresso Makers


Nespresso is another well-known name in the word of coffee and espresso.

Not only is the Nespresso Vertuoline great looking, it also includes the ability to brew just about whatever you need with just a single button press.

Like the K-Cafe, it’s also able to froth both cold and hot milk to add to your beverages.

It’s also able to hold anywhere from 13 to 20 capsules, depending on the size of the capsules you choose.

Furthermore, you’ll be able to enjoy your drinks brewed quickly so you won’t need to wait too long for your brew before work!

To keep you and your home safe, this machine is able to shut itself off after 9 minutes.

As a result, you won’t need to worry if you accidentally forget to turn it off before leaving for work!

You’ll also be able to choose from chrome, red and black designs, allowing you to make the selection that fits into your kitchen best.

It’s able to brew in three different beverage sizes and uses Centrifusion to extract the flavor from Nespresso pods to the fullest extent.

Furthermore, it’s able to recognize the blend being used and brew the perfect beverage accordingly.

It’s absolutely worth a look if you love coffee and espresso!


  • Includes a fantastic milk frother.
  • Capable of preparing milk hot or cold quickly.
  • Allows you to brew with the press of a button.
  • You can use a variety of capsule sizes.
  • Lets you eject and insert capsules easily.
  • Provides automatic shutoff for safety.


  • Requires the use of Nespresso pods.
  • Some users find the quality of the drinks to be lacking.
  • In some cases, drinks may not come out as hot as desired.


This is a great machine for those who want something that includes everything you need, even a milk frother!

You’ll also be able to use both coffee and espresso Nespresso pods, allowing for plenty of variety.

On top of that, inserting and ejecting capsules is simple and easy!

It is important to keep in mind that this machine uses Nespresso pods, so make sure you are okay with the flavors and prices offered.

Compared to some other models, some customers may find that the drinks aren’t as delicious as they had hoped.

However, most find that they’re quite enjoyable.

The Head-To-Head Comparison: What Differentiates These Machines


Depending on the selections you make, the prices on these two machines can be somewhat similar.

However, the Keurig K-Cafe is a bit larger and tends to come with some additions that bring the cost up.

In some cases, it can be found for around $200.

Depending on where you look, you may be able to find it for less.

On the other hand, the Nespresso Vertuoline can range quite a bit.

In some places online, it can be found for around $130 and range to upwards of $200.

As a result, it’s important to take your time to search for the best value at the best price.


One of the differences between these two machines lies in the water reservoir.

The K-Cafe is able to hold 60 ounces of water, while the Nespresso Vertuoline holds 40 ounces.

Both offer quite a decent water reservoir size, but if you want the largest option possible then the K-Cafe is the way to go.

Furthermore, both options also include a milk frother so you won’t need to worry about purchasing one at an extra cost.

Another choice you’ll have to make is between Nespresso pods used by the Vertuoline and K-Cups used by the K-Cafe.

Generally speaking, the different pod options don’t work if you try to use them in a machine of a different brand, particularly when the brand offers its own coffee capsules.

As a result, you’ll want to consider which brand offers more of the flavors you enjoy, and comes at a price you’re willing to pay.

That alone could really drive the decision of which machine to purchase!

Both machines also take up a decent amount of space, so you’ll want to make sure you have room for it!

Overall, it’s hard to go wrong with either of these options.

They both have a lot to offer and provide a variety of coffee and espresso capsule options.

In fact, the number of those options is always growing!

The K-Cafe and Vertuoline definitely have a lot in common, so you’ll want to consider the machines carefully when making your choice.

Which is Better? Which Should You Choose?

Overall, the biggest difference between these two machines is the type of coffee pods they use.

Consequently, you’ll need to consider whether you like K-Cups or Nespresso Pods better.

Once you’ve made that choice, it’ll be much easier to make the choice.

If you don’t have one already, you might also consider a travel mug that works with these machines, that way you can take your coffee or espresso on the go!

For a fully rounded shopping experience, taking a look at some other single serve machines is a great idea.

Whether you choose one of these or something else, you’ll surely love your new coffee experience.

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

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