Christmas comes but once a year, but a cappuccino needs to be enjoyed all year through... Most of us lead hectic lives, either in physical jobs, or mentally demanding desk based jobs, so getting that all important wake-me-up drink, or something to set you going at the start of the day, or even winding down in the evening is very important. Popping down to the local coffee shop is an option, but hardly friendly on the pocket. Making a nice, proper tasting drink, with the numerous drinks machines out there, is again an option, but often a chore. So we often settle for a plain cup of coffee or tea, which does the trick, but is a bit boring day in, day out. This is where the Nescafé Dolce Gusto steps up to the block, promising a delicious coffee every time, fast, fresh and instant. The question is, does it deliver? and is it worth your hard earned cash?
Personally, I am not a big coffee fan, but I do love Cappuccino and Hot Chocolate, so I was very keen to get this baby set up. Out of the box, it was a simple matter of a few minutes reading the instructions. These are particularly good, in full colour, with nice photos and a step-by-step walk through of how to set up, make a drink and take care of your machine. Setting up was easy, plug in, switch on, top up the container with water and I was almost there. Topping up was really easy, the container lifts easily from the main body of the Dolce Gusto and the fill up cap reveals a really large hole. Once topped up, there is no snapping or awkward alignment needed, you just sit it back onto the base and it slides into place. Now I was ready to make my first drink, which was a cappuccino. The cup holder/drip tray needs to be adjusted in height manually, so I did this for my particular drink.
Most drinks seems to be a two stage affair, so I put the milk capsule into the holder, pushed the piercing pin into it, and slotted it back into the machine. Then the lever on the front is slid over to the red position, and piping hot frothy milk is pumped into the supplied white cappuccino cup. Once you have enough in the cup, you slide that lever back across to the middle position and wait about four seconds for the green LED to stop flashing. Then I popped the used capsule out and trashed it in the supplied tub. The second capsule contains the coffee, so I put this in place, repeated the motions and voila, I had a wonderful cup of frothy cappuccino. The taste was spot on, and I was surprised on two separate counts. Firstly how silky smooth and perfect the drink tasted, and secondly, how stunningly fast I had prepared my FIRST drink. It was just so easy, to say I was totally impressed in an understatement.
Taking care of the machine is really easy to, there is really not much cleaning involved. The drip tray will need rinsing every now and again. Plus, if you switch to a different type of drink, it is recommended that you run some plain water through, with the supplied rinsing tool in place. This was really easy to do. You can also purchase a descaling kit, which is probably wise if you live in a hard water area.
Choice... is a good thing. The Dolce Gusto does not disappoint here either. Apart from the cappuccino and hot chocolate mentioned earlier, you also have Latte Macchiato, Caffé Lungo, Espresso and a cold option with Cappuccino Ice.
For your £80 you get a choice of base colours on the machine (black, red or ivory), plus you get a starter kit to get you going. This includes a white cappuccino cup, a saucer, a taller glass cup, plus a selection of ten drinks. Ongoing costs are really pretty good too, with packs of capsules costing just under £3 for between eight and sixteen drinks (depending on the variety you choose). Shopping around, I found some on special offer at £2 which is even better.
Another option to make things even more appealing is to register on the manufacturers website, where you can then add points to your account for every box of capsules you buy. These can then be redeemed against accessories, like cups, spoons, or even more drink capsules. For example, every box purchase you register gets you 10 points, and to redeem these for a box of capsules would cost you 150 points.
In summary, the Dolce Gusto is the best drink machines I have ever experienced. It is super easy to use, mess free, and most importantly delivers delicious drinks. The quality of the drink can be put down to a combination of the Arabica beans used in the capsules, coupled with the high 14 bar pressure delivered. This really is a serious offering, and it is built to a very high quality. It’ll save you a lot of time and really guarantee you a great tasting drink every time.
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