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Vertuo Pop brews 
coffee in a snap

The new Nespresso machine is aimed at those who love brewed coffee but don’t have the budget to spend on high-end machines, writes SEAN BACHER.

In the past brewing a cup of coffee was easy but rather time consuming – especially during the week when one is rushing to get to work. Coffee beans need to be ground and put into the coffee maker, the water tank needs to be filled and heated, and the coffee needs to percolate, which also takes some time.

Fast forward to 1986, when Nestle introduced its first Nespresso machine that used coffee pods or capsules. One would simply insert a pod, wait for the machine to warm up and in less than a minute a cup of steaming hot Java would be ready. Since then, various coffee flavours have been developed and in 2004 the first compact Nespresso machine – the Essenza – appeared on the market. It was fairly cheap but limited: all it did was make coffee.

Nestle then introduced a few variations, with some machines including milk warmers and frothers and  even automatic milk dispensers. But all these add-ons came with one downfall – the expense. Nestle realised they needed to capture a market segment which they had inadvertently been neglecting: the younger generation who also enjoy coffee but don’t have a huge budget.

Enter the Nespresso Vertuo Pop.

One immediately notices the vibrant colours the Pop comes in, designed to suit any kitchen theme. It is also dead easy to work. A 19-language manual is included, but I didn’t need to refer to it once. But it will come in handy when cleaning and descaling the machine.

The Vertuo Pop has one button and a lever that releases the lid, allowing one to insert a pod and lock it in. At the rear is a water container which can be removed or simply filled from the top. To get a fix going fill the tank, open the lid, insert the pod and lock it down. Press the button to heat the water -all in about a minute. The button has an indicator light that flashes while it is heating up. A steady white light indicates when it is hot. Press the button once more to start making the coffee.

Should one want a stronger, smaller cup of coffee, pushing the button again stops it manually. 

One of my favourite features of the Pop is the way it disposes of the spent capsules. When one releases the lid, two claws automatically come down and dump the pod in the rear of the machine, ready to be recycled (a vital element of Nestle’s company policy.) It reminded me of the first Matrix movie. Keanu Reeves, aka Neo, was unplugged from the Matrix, flushed into the swamp and then collected by the Nebuchadnezzar’s crane with two clamps and loaded onto the hovercraft.

As with most new devices, the Vertuo Pop connects to a Wi-Fi network or through Bluetooth and an app can be downloaded for Android and iOS phones. The app lets one buy coffee capsules, machines, and accessories. It also displays a list of stores that stock the flavours one is looking for. More importantly, it displays error messages on a phone or tablet and how to troubleshoot them or if one must take the machine in for a service. It also gives instructions on maintenance.

Overall, it is a stylish appliance that will compliment most kitchens, bars, lounges or dining rooms.

What does it cost?

R2,699 from, Makro or directly from Nespresso stores.

What are the biggest negatives?

  • The Vertuo Pop’s pods are not compatible with other Nespresso machines due to the different sizes. 
  • The water tank could have been a little bigger as it does not hold enough water to make two mugs of coffee.
  • The capsules are a little more expensive than those for other Nespresso machines.

What are the biggest positives?

  • The Vertuo Pop comes in at a reasonable price of R2,699 and can be ordered directly through the app.
  • It is very easy to use.
  • The app is a handy feature – no need to page through the manual or search the internet for instructions.
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