Nespresso’s pint-sized Vertuo Pop delivers tasty short and long coffees without the bulk
- Compact, fun design
- Good coffee
- Plenty of drink options
- Limited cup height
- Some quirks in operation
The Nespresso Vertuo Pop is a tiny pod machine that’s more flexible than most. Typically, compact pod machines only cater for espresso (40ml) and double espresso (80ml) or, if you’re lucky, a lungo (120ml). Nespresso’s most compact Vertuo machine yet is more generous, however: the Pop offers the ability to brew four coffee sizes from espresso all the way up to mug size (230ml).
The Pop is the third model to join Nespresso’s Vertuo range and, aside from the smaller size, the design is familiar. A single button controls all the brewing, cleaning and descaling options, and the barcoded Vertuo pods produce a wide variety of coffee sizes and blends. In essence, the Pop gives you most of the benefits of a larger Vertuo machine, but for less money and with less bulk.
Nespresso Vertuo Pop review: What do you get for the money?
At £99, the Pop is Nespresso’s most affordable machine to date and a significant £50 cheaper than the larger Vertuo Next (£149). It’s able to produce four predetermined drink sizes: espresso (40ml), double espresso (80ml), gran lungo (120ml) and mug (230ml), though you can also programme the machine to pour a shorter drink if you prefer.
When it comes to design, the Pop is essentially a squashed version of the Next, with the same distinctive rounded head and long body. It’s noticeably more compact, measuring 13.6 x 42.6 x 25cm (WDH) and weighing just 3.5kg, but build quality remains solid. It also comes in fresh new colours including spicy red, aqua mint, mango yellow and Pacific blue, as well as some more familiar ones such as liquorice black and coconut white.
The Pop’s smaller dimensions mean that the water tank has shrunk a little to 600ml, and the capsule bin capacity is limited to a maximum of 8 pods (depending on the pod size) so will need emptying more frequently than the larger models.
As far as value for money goes, the Pop is respectable. At £99, it’s Nespresso’s cheapest machine and has basically all the same functionality as the Vertuo Next (£149) and Vertuo Plus (£179). What’s more, if you’re a regular coffee drinker you can pick up the Pop for £50 as part of Nespresso’s coffee subscription. This costs £25 per month and comes in the form of a credit added to your account, as well as other freebies such as accessories and coffee samples. It should be noted, however, that the perks associated with the subscription do change from time to time, so it’s worth undertaking a bit of research to decide what offers the best value for you.
Nespresso Vertuo Pop review: What’s good about it?
The new line-up of gorgeous colours is a welcome move away from the classy but often overdone colours you typically get with these mid- to high-priced coffee pod machines. And while style isn’t a good marker for a competent coffee machine, it’s still a nice touch. Another benefit of the Pop’s design is that its compact nature has somewhat improved the overall design and feel of the machine – regardless of whether or not you need the extra space it affords.
The Vertuo Pop’s biggest selling point, though, is the wide variety of coffee sizes it offers. There are over 40 different capsules to choose from, with limited editions making an appearance from time to time as well. If you consider yourself to be an adventurous coffee drinker, there’s plenty to get stuck into.
Another reason to choose this machine is its simplicity. Like the Vertuo Next and Plus, the Pop is supremely easy to set up and use. There’s just one button to switch the machine on, start the coffee making process and descale. The machine reads the barcode on each capsule and automatically pours the perfect-sized black coffee based on the blend you’ve chosen.
Nespresso Vertuo Pop review: What could be better?
The main niggle I have with the Vertuo Pop’s design is that you can’t use larger mugs. In order to make the machine as compact as possible, Nespresso has reduced the space underneath the brew head but kept its signature chunky drip tray. If you want to use the tray, you’ll be working with a maximum cup height of just 8cm, which is only just big enough for an espresso cup. The drip tray is easily removed to extend the height to 12cm, but you’ll still struggle to fit anything larger than a standard mug underneath. What’s more, if you don’t immediately return the drip tray once your cup is removed, you’ll end up with coffee on your counter. A slimline tray would be better suited to the Pop, particularly as the Vertuo’s selling point is its ability to produce larger cups of coffee.
Another issue I came across with the Pop and indeed all Vertuo machines is that they can, on occasion, be a little temperamental. Every now and then, the button will flash orange to indicate there’s an issue with the machine, even when there isn’t. The cleaning cycle, which requires you to press the button a number of times within a certain amount of seconds, can also play up from time to time and not do what it’s supposed to. These instances aren’t painfully regular but it’s a recurring problem that needs to be addressed.
My final grumble about the Pop is its Wi-Fi connectivity. You can connect your machine to your phone using Wi-Fi and the Nespresso app. While this all sounds very modern and slick, the app doesn’t actually do a whole lot. You can check whether your machine is in standby mode or if there are any errors, as well start the process for descaling, rinsing or emptying your machine. However, you’ll need to be at the machine to oversee these things anyway, so being able to do this remotely doesn’t really help you. There’s no option to start the coffee-making process in the app either, so it’s only really useful for buying more capsules and accessories – things you can already do on Nespresso’s website.
Nespresso Vertuo Pop review: Should you buy it?
Despite my grumbles about the app, which isn’t an issue exclusive to Nespresso – apps for coffee machines are mostly pointless – I still like the Vertuo Pop a lot. The cup height limitations may mean that some buyers will be better off buying a discounted Vertuo Next, but that’s a relatively minor moan. Overall, the Pop is a tiny, stylish capsule machine that serves up great-tasting coffee.