Woolworths’ $99 coffee pod machine reviewed

The first attempt by Woolworths to push into the growing coffee pod market, the Caffitaly takes a European machine and brings it into supermarkets for an inexpensive price, hitting below the $100 price tag that so few manufacturers have tried to reach.

Features

Imported from Europe, the Woolworths coffee capsule machine is actually made by Caffita as the S14, designed in Italy for the Caffitaly system of coffee pods, which is available in Australia from both Woolworths, Gloria Jean’s, and under the MAP brand of pods from Officeworks, Target, and Harvey Norman, among others.

The boxes include 16 pods and retail for between five and eight dollars, and are mostly based on coffee blends, but can also include types of tea and hot chocolate.

The black Caffitaly S14 is a reasonably bulky machine, almost as big as a real coffee machine and the pricey Nespresso Maestria.

Caffitaly’s S14 machine is built with a 15 bar pump, the same rated amount of pressure on offer from the Nescafe Dolce Gusto machines, but under the 19 bar pump the Nespresso machines are rated for.

The S14 weighs roughly four kilograms and features a water tank capable of holding 1.2 litres of water, as well as a spend capsule compartment which should hold roughly 10 capsules. You will have to empty it from time to time, as spent capsules still have coffee grounds in them and will grow mould.

At the back of the unit, there is also a small hatch to allow you to refill the water tank in case you don’t want to pull it out.

There are three buttons on this coffee machine for three sizes of coffee, and there is a lone plug coming out of the appliance for powering it.

A milk frother is also available, though it does not come with the Caffitaly S14 and can be purchased as an accessory.

Performance

In the past year or two since we started taking a good hard look at coffee machines, we have become familiar with a variety of the appliances, trying various systems, all of which cost over $150.

So when a $99 machine comes along, you have to wonder if it can really take on the competition.

Aesthetics are a matter of taste for everyone, but if there’s one thing we can say about the S14, it’s that it is no small machine, nor is it one that had the backing of a big design firm behind it: it’s big, black, and reasonably bulky.

Larger than both the Nespresso U and Nescafe Gusto, it comes close to matching the $799 Maestria in size, although it omits much of the style, going instead for a very generic appliance look in black, accented with a chrome handle and cup tray.

Despite this rather generic look, it is reasonably sturdy, even thought it has been built out of plastic, and won’t fall over if you lean on it or push slightly, so that’s a positive thing.

Like all other pod machines, the use of the machine is simple: fill up the removable water tank at the back, switch the machine on, pull back the pod door lever, drop a pod in, place your glass or mug under the spout at the front of the machine, close the level and lock the pod in place, and then hit what size coffee you’d like to make.

Three sizes are available: A or “single shot espresso” (30ml), B or “double shot espresso” (60ml), and C’s “long black (roughly 200ml).

Alternatively, you can program the buttons to release the amount you want most, by holding the button down while the coffee is dispensing, so you can make the button for double shots release a little more, if you don’t really care much about doubles.

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23 Comments

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  1. ross
    December 02, 09:31 ross

    got one works very well….. taste is good too

    Reply this comment
  2. Derek Woodlands
    December 02, 16:39 Derek Woodlands

    This is an attempt by Woolies to claw back some of the coffee market that had been lost to Aldi with their $89 pod coffee machine that has been on sale for a while.

    These machines are being sold at a loss, they make their money back in over priced coffee. This is the same thing that happens with printers.

    Reply this comment
  3. Johnny
    December 03, 13:24 Johnny

    So how does the coffee taste?

    Reply this comment
  4. Robert Dunlop
    December 04, 20:56 Robert Dunlop

    Your review tried the double expresso and long black options without a specific lungo pod. I watched the Utube instruction on the Caffitaly S14 and if you select button 3 (long black) it dispenses a lot of water, its the selection for tea and cocoa pods as well. With a regular pod it will develop the bitter overbrewed taste, the lungo pods are coarser grind and are more suited to this option. I use the short black and add milk for a flat white and to my taste no bitterness at all. Cheers.

    Reply this comment
  5. Jumbo
    December 06, 13:26 Jumbo

    This machine is unbelievable. Coffee tastes great, can make a cappuccino with the frother that is just as good, if not better than the Cafe’s around Liverpool. I save so much money on a daily basis the wife and I who regularly have 2 to 3 coffees a day. Can’t recommend it enough.

    Reply this comment
  6. Kirsty Jerkic
    December 25, 19:51 Kirsty Jerkic

    Got one – not working at all for us 🙁 .. Very noisy, waters not heating, lights won’t stop flashing, coffee not dispensing 🙁
    HELP!!

    Reply this comment
    • pete
      July 26, 09:03 pete

      just hold your finger on your usual coffee button until it overides the red one that is flashing, had this problem a few times

      Reply this comment
  7. FRAPPE
    January 22, 22:24 FRAPPE

    Just got coffee machine. Love it . Went to woolworths to buy descaler, but they dont stock it so off to Harvey norman.
    Can some one tell me what other pods you can use in it Map?? Tried the aldi ones but ended up with grains in bottom of cup

    Reply this comment
  8. lisa
    February 02, 23:20 lisa

    please help, the blue light isnt blue anymore is orange, any suggestions

    Reply this comment
  9. bec
    April 11, 18:13 bec

    Taken three machines back in a Day !Water dosent heat,water wont flow through and Lights Flashing.Faulty Batch im thinking Lady at Woolworths Has told us they have had Many of them Back.We ended u getting a Refund. Cheap and poorly made, my advice never Buy one.~!

    Reply this comment
  10. Leigh :) Stark
    May 03, 13:51 Leigh :) Stark

    From what we know, it takes the Map system, which can be found at Officeworks, among other places.

    Reply this comment
  11. karla
    May 06, 23:32 karla

    got one on my birthday love it so far woolies where i live sell the machine and the frother together as a set and i can buy a pod holder from there too and also they had the descaler love the coffee kids love the hot chocolate.
    got it beacause it take woolies select and gloria jean but if it also takes map ones too will go buy some of them to try 🙂

    Reply this comment
  12. terry
    June 13, 15:37 terry

    The instruction book is hard to comprehend

    Reply this comment
  13. Kristine
    June 29, 11:15 Kristine

    Hi I have a Woolies coffee machine & i love the coffee but I seem to be having trouble with the cocoa pods I have both the Gloria Jean pods & the Map pods, both are not working I put the pod in but the machine doesn’t seem to be working
    the red light comes on & no chocolate comes out the pod doesn’t seem to have been pierced & it gets stuck in the capsule holder. Any ideas!!!

    Reply this comment
  14. Ian Hollis
    July 04, 18:13 Ian Hollis

    Got one on a Wool is special for $39.00 if you spent over $200 on groceries. Works fine but some of the pods are pretty bitter. I’m told Gloria Jean are same as Woolies, but my experience is that they’re higher quality. I don’t think they are as good as Espresso but certainly the machine was too good a price to miss. Hasn’t missed a beat and for the price has been a great intro into capsule machines. How can the others charge the prices when this little machine is so inexpensive? From my observations Espresso works much the same so I guess George Cooley & John Malkovich must have cost a packet. Great ads though. 🙂

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  15. D
    August 29, 17:08 D

    Just bought one from woolies for $49,, tried the select Espresso Roast, not too bad. If you cant find a blend you like or you have a favorite ground brand, you can refill the pods as I just found out. Might sound a bit stingy but it means you can try different grounds than the ones on offer. Instructions on how to refill are here http://www.caffita.info/articles/capsule-review/caffitaly-refillable-capsule-refill-cbtl-cafissimo-capsules/

    Cheers D

    Reply this comment
  16. Ashlee Marie
    September 07, 11:52 Ashlee Marie

    I got one of these machines a few weeks ago. My mum has a nespresso one…I like mine much more…it’s quieter and quicker. The only thing I like more about hers is there is a wider selection of coffee flavours

    Reply this comment
  17. Bobby r
    September 24, 00:08 Bobby r

    I bought one. Yes, the first taste was a little bitter but a bit of an experiment with the volume of water and the different pods (climbing expresso is my pod of choice) produced a great taste that compares favourably with nespresso for a cheaper price.

    Reply this comment
  18. P
    January 06, 09:41 P

    Life is to short for bad coffee. This makes bad coffee. Therefore you are wasting your life if you have one of these. It is cheap. It is nasty. It will be in your bin within 2 years and you will never remember it.

    Reply this comment
  19. Karen Casey
    October 10, 14:47 Karen Casey

    My water cannister has a leak. Is this item replaceable ?

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