Coffee machines are big right now, so big that Nestle – which owns Nespresso – is now competing against machines from Woolworths, Kmart, Kogan, and others. The Nespresso machine is primarily geared at espresso-style coffee, but some people want more, with chai, tea, and hot chocolate. With that in mind, Nestle is bringing its European Dolce Gusto system to Australia.
Different from the Nespresso systems we’re used to playing with, the Nescafe Dolce Gusto is less about straight espresso and more about the diversity of coffee types.
We’re not just talking about straight ground beans when it comes to Dolce Gusto, but rather varieties of drink in and of itself.
Geared at the coffee and hot drink addict that enjoys more than just the casual cup, the system uses larger coffee pods than the Nespresso style, a little over twice the size of a Nespresso coffee capsule.
Unlike Nespresso’s pod, however, you don’t need to walk into a special outlet to purchase the pods, with Coles supermarkets selling the boxes in 8 (milk drinks) or 16 (espresso, straight coffee, or iced tea), though some types of pod may only be purchased from the Nescafe store.
The machine we’re looking at is the second model in the range, the Genio, with a recommended retail price of $229, almost a hundred more than the baby Piccolini, and under the more pricey Melody 3 FS and Circulo FS machines. In this part of the world, these machines are manufactured by Delonghi.
The Genio features a 600ml water tank at the back, a capsule loading tray, a capsule locking lever, buttons for hot and cold drinks, power button, and a scroll wheel that links to a small display and allows you to dial in the drink length of each pod you desire.
In the Nescafe Dolce Gusto system, capsules not only denote how intense they are, but also the recommended amount you should be dialling in, with the amount of strokes chosen out of seven, indicating length of the cup and, to an extent, strength of the drink.
Inside the machine, there’s a 15 bar pump, down from the 19 bar pump we see on the Nespresso machines.
Coffee machines don’t generally need much in the way of performance. They have to work and provide a decent cup of coffee, or whatever else they make.
In the case of the Dolce Gusto series of coffee makers, that “whatever else” actually entails more than just hot water for tea, the only extra drink you can really get out of other coffee pod makers.
For Nescafe, the range of pods that are compatible with the Dolce Gusto include espresso style coffee, the long “Americano” coffee, iced coffee, and then onto chai latte, hot chocolate, and even the iced peach and lemon teas served overseas.