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A coffee maker from espresso expert Nespresso

Nespresso is coming after Keurig, Bunn, and other single-serve coffee maker brands with its new VertuoLine system.

Megan Wollerton

Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton covers renewable energy, climate change and other environmental topics for CNET. Before starting at CNET in 2013, she wrote for NBC Universal's DVICE (now SYFY). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

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Nestle-owned Nespresso's premium home espresso makers have gained quite a following in Europe. Now, a lot of Americans like espresso, but the majority prefer coffee. Nespresso knows that and decided to create the $299 VertuoLine system just for caffeine fiends in the US and Canada.

The VertuoLine can still make Nespresso's trademark espresso, but it can also brew a regular cup of joe. Still, the brand is clearly trying to maintain its reputation as a high-end option. Nespresso's espresso is brewed with a layer of foam called crema that supposedly signals that you've brewed an above-average beverage. Nespresso's coffee is said to offer that crema layer, too.

Eight different coffee blends and four different types of espresso are compatible with the VertuoLine. Yes, you have to buy Nespresso-brand coffee pods for this thing to work. Each pod is equipped with a bar code that gives the machine the correct brewing instructions -- supposedly so you don't have to press a lot of buttons to get the cup you desire. But we think there's another reason, too.

Keurig just created quite a stir by announcing that other coffee pods would no longer work in its future machines. Surely, both Keurig and Nespresso decided to customize their coffee pods to get repeat customers. But, I do wonder if Nespresso's "gourmet" coffee won't be more delicious and therefore more worth the price -- $0.95 per coffee pod and $0.75 per espresso pod -- and inconvenience?

We'll have a review for you soon, so stay tuned for the verdict. In the meantime, you can get more information at VertuoLine retailers Nespresso.com, Bloomingdales, Macy's, Sur La Table, and Williams-Sonoma. The base price for the coffee maker, available in red, black, or chrome, is $299, but you can throw a milk frother into the mix for the bundled price of $349.

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