Nespresso Virtuo Next Review

The Nespresso Virtuo Next is – to give the uncharitable take – Nespresso’s answer to their coffee pod patents expiring. Adding barcodes and changing up the capsule format has restored the exclusive pod sale business, but it’s also brought benefits to the consumer. These improvements snared me, and I’m not afraid to say that – despite my original reservations – I love this new machine.

We started with a Magimix Nespresso Machine, supporting the old pod format. This was great, since after nine years of ownership the third party pod market was booming- we could pop to our local Tesco and get a variety of pods from various brands, including takes by highstreet coffee shops.

But for the avid coffee drinker the classic Nespresso machine always had one fatal flaw: the single shot pod size.

Among family members it was certainly not unheard of to make double shot coffees with two pods, and we’d rely heavily on milk or watering down to create a longer brew. When you’re trying to juggle morning coffee with getting a toddler ready, this is an unacceptable amount of hassle.

We’d held off a long, long time with our existing machine, unwilling to give up the ability to buy capsules easily, or try ones shipped to us by our friends in Australia (thanks guys!) but our machine was getting a little crusty and we both wanted longer coffees. And – let’s face it – after 10 years of Nespresso pods we realised the third party ones were regularly not up to scratch, doing everything from having a poor flow rate to just outright jamming in the machine.

What finally tipped us over the edge was the mint green Virtuo Next being on offer. The trigger was pulled. Pods were ordered. It was time to upgrade.

Since the purchase – about four months ago – we’ve been absolutely smashing our way through coffees of all shapes and sizes with barely a hiccup. As I suspected our mainstay was the 150ml pods which handily fill a cup with plenty of room for foamed milk (this is a stark contrast to the 40ml espresso and 80ml double espresso shots), and 230ml for a loooooooong coffee- such as pint with 50/50 coffee and foamed milk.

The Virtuo Next will go right up to a whopping 535ml caraffe pod. That’s nearly a solid pint of coffee and is extremely dangerous without at least four people to share it. We were given the caraffe pods at the Nespresso shop in Milton Keynes- presumably because nobody was reckless enough to buy them. They cost around 94p a capsule (or £6.58 for a box of 7) so they’re an investment in your social calendar more than a mainstay.

Virtuo pods average about 65p per capsule for a 230ml mug and around 55p each for 150ml. This is a great deal cheaper than coffee out, but certainly not cheap. The ease of cranking out coffee and the readily available pods do mean we tend to breeze through a minimum of two cups a day, and I’ll easily push four if I’m lacking sleep.

Recycling is the elephant in the room- but I think coffee pods get a lot of undue flack in this respect. The capsules are made of aluminium which can be washed and recycled. Nespresso supply bags which you can toss your used coffee pods into. When it’s full, zip seal the bag, stick it’s adhesive seal shut and hand it to the courier when they drop off your next lot of capsules. Easy! I’d venture that these coffee pods are less problematic than plastic or paper coffee cups with plastic lids that get tossed unceremoniously into public bins.

We used the Nespresso supplied recycling bags as a bin liner for a small plastic bin so the pods can dry out. This works really well, albeit we have a backlog of full bags to recycle due to buying our last round of capsules in Milton Keynes.

While you’re locked into Nespresso’s ecosystem with the capsules they make a good effort to keep it interesting. They will do seasonal flavours, specials and limited edition pricy capsules full of fancy exotic beans or something. There’s also coffee intended to be poured over ice, but you’re going to need a big mug!

Me? I stick to the basics. My current mainstay is Inizio, a surprisingly low intensity 150ml capsule that I drink with plenty of foamed oat milk- both to make it last longer and lend it a little sweetness.

The Virtuo Next is fairly huge, but they’ve released a new Virtuo Pop that’s shorter and a little less intimidating. I prefer the larger machine since it requires fewer water refills and capsule bin empties between uses, and honestly the less maintenance the better. All Virtuo machines use a spinny mechanism that whirls the capsules around. This serves to allow the system to read the barcodes printed around their circumference, and may do something to the quality of the coffee too- I… haven’t really noticed a huge improvement over the old machine. What the spinning does do, at least, is dry the capsules out. In fact the interface between pump and capsule and the general management of liquid in the machine seems to be far superior to our old Magimix, which would- especially with non-standard capsules- leak quite badly, often overflowing the drip tray. The spun capsules are drier when they’re ejected, too, with less tendency to grow mould and attract nasties. It definitely pays to leave them in an open-air bin to finish drying, and – despite fruit flies going for darn near everything else in the kitchen – this hasn’t caused any bug problems.

If you’re at all interested in the convenience of capsule coffee and can stomach being locked in to one supplier – who really want you to buy their subscription – then as a now 10+ year user of Nespresso I can’t recommend them more. If you’re an existing, old-style user who has been on the fence about upgrading… DO IT. Especially if you like a longer coffee and less faffing about.

In either case, make sure you get an Aeroccino, too. The Aeroccino is, by far, my favourite kitchen appliance and is essential for producing a proper, barista quality drink. We froth whatever dairy-free milks we can get our hands on. In fact we have a Will It Froth video series on TikTok based around this concept

@dairyfreedaisy This is not a barista milk imo. The froth is too bubbly and quickly disappears. The taste is fine. I won’t buy this one again. #dairyfreeuk #willitfroth #milkalternative #veganmilk #dairyfreemilk #oatmilkcoffee ? original sound – daisy

Aerocinno will even do things like hot chocolate- although this can get messy if you’re not careful- and it’s great to add syrup into the milk as it’s frothing for an even spread through the finished coffee. You can also froth cold milk for iced coffees. Even when we’re using beans or ground coffee I’ll use the Aerocinno for the milk.