Nespresso VertuoLine Vanizio Capsules Review
When we reviewed our first VertuoLine capsules a while back (the hazelnut flavored Hazelino), we noted how the flavoring tasted different and a bit off from what we’re used to seeing in a conventional flavored coffee produced from the likes of a Keurig or Tassimo system. Since we ALWAYS take our coffee black during reviews in order to notice any subtle flavor notes which might be hiding in the cup, we pretty much ignored Nespresso’s recommendations to also try their VertuoLine capsules with added creamer.
That was apparently a big mistake. Once we followed their suggestions, we noticed that the strange almost chemical hazelnut taste was replaced by a more subdued hazelnut flavor and that the harsher oily notes in the coffee became greatly reduced to more normal levels. It completely transformed the entire tasting experience to a degree we weren’t expecting. In hindsight, we’d like to offer an apology of sorts to Nespresso and would like to point out that while our original score of 91 - Exceptional still stands for the Hazelino capsules when taken black, we’d have to give a slightly higher score of 94 - Exceptional once you add creamer into the mix (sorry, we still can’t get used to the odd foreign hazelnut flavor).
We won’t make the same mistake twice and have now decided that the VertuoLine line-up is so uniquely different from conventional coffee that it merits being tested both without and now with the addition of creamer. As a result, we’ll modify our future VertuoLine capsule reviews to factor in this addition when giving our final score… starting with this review of the 2nd flavor in the line-up, their Nespresso VertuoLine Vanizio Capsules. Let’s see if the vanilla flavors will be more natural or still taste foreign this time around.
Brewing these capsules resulted in light aromas of sweet vanilla mixed with some mild smoky notes in the background. It was a very mild aroma and wasn’t as pronounced as what we were expecting. Adding creamer helped bring out some more vanilla notes but not much. Billed as a 6 out of 11 on Nespresso’s intensity scale, flavor was also on the lighter side with some mild vanilla notes up front followed by some creamy notes in the background (this was even BEFORE we had added any creamer) with some more faint smoky notes near the back end.
We also detected signature Arabica notes in the background and overall, things seemed more like a conventional Americano style coffee vs. a stronger Lungo style when compared to the Hazelino capsules. As we let the flavors develop, we also noticed mild hints of bourbon and chocolate buried underneath. Once we added creamer, we got more of the signature vanilla notes coming to the foreground but lost the subtle buried flavors in the process.
Acidity is on the mild side with a very slight sour note making itself present in the middle of each sip. We liked that it was light & didn’t cover-up the primary flavors in the coffee. The addition of creamer killed most of the acidity and rendered things a bit flat. Body was overly dark like a traditional dark roast and yielded a wine-like deep crimson red color when held to a light-source, but again, the main thing that grabs your attention is the thick foamy crema layer which forms on top. The addition of creamer yielded traditional beige and light brown colors you’d normally associate with a latte.
Mouth feel seemed smooth and wasn’t anywhere as oily as the Hazelino capsules which allowed us to better detect the more subtle flavors in the coffee while adding creamer obviously added a silkier creamy texture to the mix. Finish was a bit sweet with a very mild astringency which gave way to mild vanilla & lingering smoky notes in the aftertaste.
- Aroma – 9 – Light aromas of sweet vanilla mixed with mild smoky notes in the background. Overall, we found this coffee had a more natural vanilla aroma vs. the odd hazelnut aroma of the Hazelino capsules. Our only minor gripe is that we were hoping things would be a bit more pronounced.
- Acidity – 7 – While we appreciated that the very mild acidity helped the main flavors shine through, the coffee ended up falling flat and lost most of its vibrancy once creamer was added. Left black, it had a bit of a mild sour note which kept things somewhat lively.
- Body – 10 – As dark as a traditional dark roast coffee while yielding vibrant crimson red colors when held in front of a light source. The main focal point was the thick foamy crema layer on top. We’re starting to think that this score category is going to remain pretty much unchanged for every VertuoLine capsule we review if consistency remains the same from flavor to flavor. Adding creamer revealed traditional beiges and light browns you’d usually find in a latte.
- Flavor – 9 – We got some mild vanilla notes up front followed by some creamy notes afterwards (which seems surprising given the fact that we hadn’t added any creamer yet). We also got some mild smoky Arabica notes in the background followed by slight bourbon and chocolate notes hiding underneath. The main vanilla flavors seemed more natural this time around and weren’t as odd as the Hazelino capsule’s primary flavors. Once we added creamer, the primary vanilla notes became more prevalent (though not by much) but we lost the more subtle buried flavors in the process. Had those added flavors remained present, this would have likely scored a 10.
- Mouth Feel – 9 – Smooth overall and nowhere near as oily as the Hazelino capsules. This allowed us to better detect the more subtle flavors in the coffee which we appreciated. Things obviously take on a creamier texture with the addition of creamer. Taken black, finish was a bit sweet with a very mild astringency which gave way to mild vanilla and lingering smoky notes in the aftertaste.
- Coffee Drinker – If you’re looking for an Americano style coffee with a light hint of smoky vanilla, then this one’s for you. The vanilla flavoring seems more natural and not as chemically intense as the Hazelino’s hazelnut flavor. This is more in line with what we’re accustomed to when we think of vanilla flavored coffees. The lighter roast level should appeal to both light and medium roast fans alike.
94 – Exceptional (Taken black)
97 - Excellent (With creamer)
So now we’re starting to understand why Nespresso recommends trying their VertuoLine coffees both black and with creamer… the experiences are completely different and moreso than the differences you get when adding creamer to traditional coffee. Based on what we’ve seen so far, we’re starting to suspect that these capsules are producing coffees which are more in line with European Lungos and Americanos instead of traditional drip-style coffees you’d get at a Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or Tim Hortons.
Nespresso claim their goal is the revolutionize coffee in North America and that’s what we’re getting here with these VertuoLine coffees. They’re not your average, run of the mill, corner coffee shop coffees. They’re their own distinct European-inspired coffees which seem more at home in an Illy or Lavazza cafe. The design, the materials, the insanely thick crema layer on an 8oz coffee… come on… you won’t get that at a typical diner or coffee shop when you order black coffee. Everything looks and feels more high-end than what we’ve become accustomed to.
We’re getting a bit off-topic here, so lets get back to the main point of this review… the Vanizio capsules which Nespresso have produced here are, in our opinion, the better of the 2 flavored coffees in the VertuoLine line-up so far. We find they have a more natural taste and are more akin to vanilla flavored coffees this side of the pond. You don’t get any odd or off-putting chemical aromas or tastes this time around and we find this coffee can be enjoyed on its own taken black without having to add creamer if you don’t want to (something we couldn’t exactly say about the Hazelino as adding creamer greatly improves things there).
As we’ve stated before, we hope that these 2 flavors aren’t the end of the line for flavored coffees on the VertuoLine system (we can literally hear the dust gathering on our poor Dolce Gusto). We hope that Nespresso plan to release yearly Variations capsules much like they do for their OriginalLine systems and can admit it’s definitely something we’d be interested in trying out. Again, we implore them to create a Cioccorosso VertuoLine coffee capsule… hell, if we had a manufacturing facility nearby, we’d be there begging on our knees asking them to create it. There’s still time… Christmas 2014 isn’t here yet… they could always do a combo release and introduce VertuoLine Variations flavors at the same time as they launch the next batch of OriginalLine Variations flavors (hint, hint, nudge, nudge).
Regardless of what Nespresso decides to roll-out in the coming months ahead, we’d have to say that so far we’re becoming thoroughly impressed the more we work our way through the current VertuoLine line-up. We’ll be checking out the VertuoLine espresso capsules next time around and if they can produce results as stellar as their OriginalLine capsules, then we’re looking forward to trying things out. As for these Vanizio capsules? Give them a try if you get the chance… if you like vanilla flavored coffee, you’ll likely enjoy this.
Nespresso VertuoLine Vanizio Capsules are available in sleeves of 10 in USA & Canada exclusively viaNespresso.com & Nespresso.ca (minimum of 5 sleeves, any flavor, required per online order). You can also buy individual sleeves of these capsules in-person at any Nespresso Boutique location across North America.
A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that we purchased these capsules on our own for the purpose of this review.
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Posted by Jay Brewer at July 21, 2014 7:40 AM