Nespresso VertuoLine: Bar codes, lasers, and Centrifusion provide an amazing cup of coffee

Nespresso VertuoLine: Bar codes, lasers, and Centrifusion provide an amazing cup of coffee

Summary: When you think of a good cup of coffee, you don't usually think about technology. Nespresso is using the latest tech to provide an optimal coffee making experience.

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Nespresso VirtuoLine: Bar codes, lasers, and Centrifusion provide an amazing cup of coffee
(Image: Nespresso)

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Topics: Mobility, Emerging Tech

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6 comments
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  • But it's not coffee they make anymore

    Centrifusion? Bar codes? Seriously -- these are all gimmicks to put up patent laws as format barriers for other coffee makers. If your own coffee is good enough to stand on its own, you don't package it in proprietary systems that no one else has legal access to.

    And the centrifusion business? It's more of a frappe than it is coffee that these things make anymore. I think this is what happens when you let your legal team drive product design.
    SwagV
    • Really?

      I assume that lots of people are falling for a salesman like George Clooney. And if you enjoy a far too expensive cup of coffee harvested three years ago and delivered in a lot of non recyclable packing material why not. I hope Nestlé paid you well for this article.
      rhon@...
  • Has an App

    I just went to the mobile site and then 'pinned' it to my Start Screen, now there is an App for my Windows Phone too!

    Wait a minute, you can do that with all websites? That means that there are millions of Apps for Windows Phone? Windows Phone Wins!
    Mujibahr
  • Environmental impact

    These pods cost a lot to recycle and if you don't recycle them, it is akin to wanton environmental vandalism. Furthermore, to get anything akin to a normal cup of coffee you need a few pods.
    If I want an awesome cup of coffee, I visit a café and ask for my usual long black, my wife will have a latte (we live in Australia). However, at home, we use a mokka espresso stovetop. The ritual, the aroma, and the taste, is fantastic. Knowing the only concerning waste is the bag the coffee came in and the easily recycle milk bottles, while the grounds can go into the garden, totally awesome. Plus it is cheaper!
    Letterboxfrog
  • Tried Keurig for a while

    I am on the other extreme - primitative. I ground my own coffee. Boil the water and pour it through a melitta style cone. Having beans that have just been ground makes all the difference in the world. Coffee gets stale very quickly once it has been ground.
    larsonjs
  • This is as bad as that other guy

    who went to an auto show, took pictures of the cars and tried to explain his article as "technology". I'm certain this author will be joining him on the unemployment line if this is what is produced.
    happyharry_z