When I received an invite to a local Seattle Nespresso launch event, I ignored it at first thinking there wasn't much tech related to the new VertuoLine machine. After a bit more research and a few more invite requests, I discovered I was wrong and after spending an hour with several Nespresso folks and drinking coffee I came away impressed by the use of lasers, bar codes, Centrifusion (more about this below), and the mobile app to offer up an excellent cup of coffee while focused on making the experience nearly perfect for the user.
I drink coffee about four times a week, usually two days a week from Starbucks and at home on weekend mornings. I have a sweet tooth and like my skinny vanilla lattes. We have a typical drip machine at home and I generally add some tasty creamer from Safeway to the mix. I am not a die hard multiple cup-a-day coffee drinker, but I do enjoy it.
A Keurig one cup machine appeared in our house a couple years ago and after a couple of replacements and a seemingly large amount of wasteful K-cups we gave up on it and went back to a ground coffee drip machine. I may have to get my wife a Nespresso machine after spending time at the tour event in Seattle. The coffee was not just tasty, but actually beautiful. I know that is a weird word to use with coffee, but the crema topping (even on the coffee choices) was dang appealing.
Nespresso barcode scanning: You can choose from eight different eight ounce coffee variants and four 1.4 ounce espresso flavors for the new Nespresso VertuoLine. Each capsule sells for about 95 cents and comes with bar codes embedded around the lip of the aluminum rim. The bar code is embedded on the rim five times so the laser scanning the rim can read the bar code no matter how you place the capsule in the machine. The barcode laser scanning system reads five different parameters: cup size, temperature, rotational speed, flow rate and time the water is in contact with the coffee.
This barcode scanning technology makes it drop dead easy to use the machine as you simply fill the 40 ounce removable reservoir, place the capsule in the top of the machine, close and lock the lid, and press a single button. When the Nespresso is done making your cup of coffee or espresso you lift the lid and the capsule is automatically ejected directly into the holding container on the right side of the machine.
Centrifusion brewing method: The technology behind making the coffee is pretty dang cool too. Nespresso uses their Centrifusion technology, a word combination of centrifugal action and water infusion, to spin the capsule around in the machine at up to 7,000 rpms. The machine penetrates each capsule in the center and around the edges so that water is injected in the center opening with the coffee being expressed out of the 20 openings around the edge and down into your cup.
After the capsule is done with the Centrifusion process, the capsule is spun at high speed to remove all the water with the end result being a clean capsule with dry coffee inside. It is pretty amazing how little cleanup is required to use the machine on a regular basis.
You can then take those empty capsules and recycle them with your local recycle facility. Nespresso is focused on sustainability and you no longer have to worry about filling up landfills with wasteful packaging to make each cup of coffee.
Aeroccino+: If you want to make a latte or use milk in your coffee drink then you can purchase the frother accessory too. It is half price ($50) if you purchase it with the Nespresso VertuoLine. You can tell lots of thought went into this design too as there are two fittings that are easily interchangeable with the one being used magnetically attaching to the top of the accessory.
Mobile application: Nespresso has applications for iOS and Android devices, as well as a Kindle Fire app. You can also visit their mobile site from a phone without an application. The application lets you find retail stores that sell the Nespresso in addition to the locations where you can recycle your capsules in case your local waste carrier does not allow you to recycle them directly with your other recyclables.
You can order Nespresso capsules form your phone and track those orders. Lastly, you can view news about Nespresso from your phone.
Coffee taste and viewing experience: I was very impressed with the ease of use of the machine with a one button press and easily adjustable coffee cup platform. You can remove the bottom platform if you have a taller car cup or something too. The entire experience is very clean and it makes the entire experience much more convenient.
As I said earlier, the coffee the Nespresso VertuoLine produces is beautiful. You get a layer of crema even with all the eight coffee variants. The crema is formed from the coffee and air and Nespresso scientists have research that shows it helps carry and spread the aroma to the nose so that the coffee experience is enhanced.
They have eight coffee variations that range from four to eleven on their intensity scale. I took their survey and found that the Vanizio flavor matches my preferences best. This makes sense as I love vanilla and have a bit of a sweet tooth.
I was also very pleased to hear that Nespresso is focused on sustainability and works with the Rainforest Alliance to help ensure farmers are fairly compensated and that their farms satisfy high standards for environmental criteria.
Pricing and availability:You can purchase the Nespresso VertuoLine for $299 in black, red, and chrome. The current bundle offer with the Aeroccino+ frother is $349. Capsules are priced about 95 cents each, but you can also buy them in large packs to save money on shipping. When you consider how much you spend on coffee, then the VertuoLine could end up paying for itself in less than a year, or even faster if you are a daily coffee drinker.