Review: Nespresso Vertuo Creatista takes at-home coffee to the next level - for a steep cost

Nespresso Vertuo Creatista reviewed by Daniel Rutledge of Newshub.
Photo credit: Supplied / Nespresso

I've always avoided getting a pod-based coffee machine from the likes of De'Longhi, Lavazza and Nespresso.

I went through a stovetop espresso phase after graduating from instant many years ago, and in recent times I've generally opted for a plunger or Japanese single-serve drip coffee - when not popping down the road to pay for a barista-made cup of deliciousness.

Pod machines have always screamed convenience, but didn't seem like they'd be any better than the options I already had in my coffee-making arsenal.

However, the Nespresso Vertuo Creatista caught my eye: potentially striking a balance between pod convenience, lovely steamed milk, and decent café-style creations. So when I was offered the chance to review one, I was keen.

It's safe to say, a few weeks with the Creatista has converted me to the pod life. I'm not completely giving up on paying $6 for a professionally made brew a few times a week, but I'm definitely keen to start making capsules the at-home standard for a quick coffee fix.

This is a frightfully expensive machine and I'm still surprised at how pricey the pods themselves are too, but the consistency of the coffee it delivers, along with the variety, press-button convenience and that velvety steamed milk, all adds up to an awesome package I look forward to using every day.

Just how expensive is it? The Creatista launched in New Zealand for a whopping $1249. For that you could get an actual espresso machine at home and for many folks, that will be the right move. For lazier types, or those resigned to never making espresso coffee as good as the professionals, the Creatista is a fabulous option.

Offering six different coffee sizes of many different varieties with adjustable heat and froth levels for the milk steamer, it is the most premium and feature-rich Nespresso Vertuo model yet. Each pod has a barcode on it that tells the machine how much water to put through and exactly how to create the best coffee for that type, consistently, every time.

The consistency of the steamed milk is also really fantastic and a major plus. I'm quite surprised at how good it is, every time, without holding it at an angle and doing the tapping and swirling and everything baristas do when they steam milk.

A handy feature is you're able to double-tap the coffee button when you're making a milky one and it knows to pour a more concentrated shot, avoiding compromising on that coffee taste.

While I'm not yet able to create latte art like you get at cafes, I have enjoyed experimenting with the three heat settings and three froth levels on the milk steamer. Generally, the hottest temperature and the lowest level of froth is how I like all of my coffees (with milk) from this machine, although there are specific levels you're supposed to follow for different beverages, if you like following the guidelines.

Using whole milk and cranking the froth level up to maximum has been enjoyable for sharing the fluffy yumminess with my preschool-aged son, too.

Nespresso Vertuo Creatista.
Photo credit: Supplied / Nespresso

For when I'm having black coffees, I do really like the crema the Creatista provides. It's delicious, has a beautiful texture and is a massive advantage over other at-home coffee types. 

It was fun exploring many of the different flavoured pods you can get to see which I liked the most. Popping into a shop to chat with an expert about what I might like and sampling a few was really good, and I do hope to go through the whole range.

So far, the pods I like the most are:

  • Intenso: For long blacks 
  • Bianco Dopio: For flat whites and lattes
  • Pumpkin Spice: The best of the flavoured special treat coffees
  • Fortado Decaffeinato: For when I need a delicious coffee at night and don't want to stay awake - sometimes with milk, sometimes without.

There is also a cold brew option I'd like to try. To make it you just pop ice in the machine's water tank and in your cup, pop in the right sort of pod and hit the button. Could be great in summer.

The little aluminium pods do seem like they would be a terrible thing to send in great quantity to the landfill, so it's good you can pop them into handy bags and recycle them either at Nespresso shops or via the post office. It's less good that you have to pay for these special bags, even if it's a tiny cost, on top of the expensive machine and the cost of the pods, which range between $1 and $3 each.

So apart from the steep price, what's not to like?

While the Vertuo machines are cleverer than the standard Nespresso machines, there is a smaller variety of capsules out there for them. There's still plenty and it'll take a while to go through them all, but the barcode-reading technology means - at least for now - cheaper third-party pods aren't compatible.

Occasionally, if the machine has been unplugged, I'll try and use it after plugging it in when it's not ready. I think. I'm not sure why but it won't work and will just flash red, meaning if I've inserted a pod in it will be punctured and unusable, which is wasteful and annoying.

That I'm not sure what the issue there is speaks to my next problem - a lack of clarity with the instructions. In the box, the paper instructions were incredibly scant, with directions to online videos for more information.

That's fine in theory and I often default to YouTube over paper instructions anyway, but it'd be great if there was one, comprehensive set-up and basic operations video to go through, rather than a few different clips.

So, it wasn't the greatest onboarding experience. But once I was all up and running and after an educational session at a Nespresso shop, I thoroughly enjoyed the coffees this thing pumps out.

It definitely took my at-home coffee game to a whole new level and I'm confident coffee lovers comfortable with the heavy initial cost will love it too.

Newshub was supplied a Nespresso Vertuo Creatista for this review.