Product Type: Krups coffee machines
Newest Review: ... can we give this to next year!! But sorry folks - we have decided to keep this one after all!! Positive points: Compact; minimum prepara... more
For the coffee lover in all of us
Krups KP100040 Nescafe Dolce Gusto Melody
Member Name: sandemp
Krups KP100040 Nescafe Dolce Gusto Melody
Advantages: Coffee shop coffee at instant prices, great results
Disadvantages: Reservoir not big enough, can get expensive
The Krupp Dolce Gusto Piccolo is the most basic of the Dolce Gusto range, is available in three colours (black, red and white) and takes pods that are manufactured by Nestle. Those of you who are actively boycotting Nestle should stay clear as all pods are made by the company. (The Nestle Boycott is a boycott in response to the way the company aggressively market Baby formula in third world countries). With the only colour being available at the reduced price being black, it was that colour that I purchased, which was fine as all the different small appliances in my kitchen are a mismatch of colours anyway. The Piccolo is supplied in a rather snazzy rounded box which I found held it slightly too tightly but did provide plenty of protection from bumps. As well as the coffee maker itself a small starter pack of coffee pods was held within the box (with a couple of different flavours) along with an instruction manual. I have to say that I did not find the instruction manual that helpful, rather than written instructions, it was pictorial and I personally find it harder to process information in this way. Looks-wise the black model is fairly understated, the rounded profile is almost art nouveau in design and looks sleek while having a small enough footprint to fit in a spare corner.
Using the Piccolo is simplicity itself (thank goodness), the power lead is of a reasonable length (1.5M), long enough to allow me to position the coffee maker where I want on my kitchen side and can be wound around the base so as not to create a pulling hazard. Before first use the Piccolo needs to be flushed through, which is simply a case of filling the water tank, sliding it on the back, switching on, placing a mug on the drip tray, waiting a few moments and then pressing a lever. OK, that doesn't sound simple, but really it is. The water tank is cleverly designed to make it easy to fill from a tap, it slides easily into place and as it only holds a maximum of 0.7 litres it's not too heavy to move around (0.7kg). The drip tray can be held in any of three positions, so that almost any size mug can be accommodated.
To actually make a cup of coffee you will need some coffee/drink pods and there is a reasonable selection of these available, from espresso to latte to nestea (a cold drink) to hot chocolate, although it does have to be said that there is not so large a selection as there is with other makes. Inserting a pod into the Piccolo is simply a case of lifting a chunky lever to release the pod holder and then putting the pod in before sliding the pod holder back into place and pushing the lever down to pierce the pod. Then after making sure there is enough water in the tank, the Piccolo is switched on and a red light will flash while the machine gets ready. Once the light turns to a steady green you are ready to go, simply moving a lever to either hot or cold depending on whether you want a hot or cold beverage. Rather than the Piccolo being able to recognise the pod and then adjust the pressure appropriately each pod is designed in such a way as the water pressure is increased as it passes through up to a maximum 15 bar (means nothing to me either), meaning that those drinks that require higher pressure (espressos) will get it and that a nice froth is easily obtained. With the water being heated instantly as it passes over an aluminium thermo-block, the amount of energy used is only what is needed to make that one cup of coffee (unlike a kettle) and there is no risk that the water will be too hot and burn the coffee.
To say that the Piccolo is silent in operation would be a lie, it is noisy, far noisier than my kettle, and if I'm honest it does vibrate quite a lot while in operation. There have been a few times where I've had to readjust my cup so that it doesn't fall off the drip tray. How long it takes to make a cup of coffee depends greatly on what size cup you are using and the intensity of flavour. From first switch on to be ready to go takes an initial thirty seconds, and then it takes up to a minute to fill a mug. While some of the different coffee types only use one capsule, many do require two and as the machine is not automatic you do need to work out exactly when to change capsules (although each capsule does have a guide as to how far to fill a cup/mug). While I appreciate that the small amount of water the reservoir holds makes it easy to carry, I also find that it means that I need to refill after a maximum of two mugs of coffee, which can become highly annoying when making drinks for a house full of guests. I also appreciate that if the Piccolo is not used for twenty minutes it will turn itself off, saving electricity on the rare occasion that I forget to switch off myself.
Now lets get to down to the bare bones of cost and quality of the coffee, which does also depend on which capsules you are buying. Capsules are generally supplied in boxes of sixteen, but many drinks require two different capsules, meaning that you only get eight cups from a box. Although some of the capsules are widely available in supermarkets others are much harder to find and with a standard price of around £3.77 per box (of eight or sixteen cups) it can get quite expensive. Personally I find the cheapest way of buying my capsules is by setting up a subscription on Amazon so that a pack of three boxes costs me around the £10 mark. The full range of capsules can also be purchased from the Dolce Gusto website (www.dolce-gusto.co.uk), although there is also a delivery charge. It's also worth registering your machine on that website as you will then receive a voucher worth £10 to spend in their online store.
Taste-wise, I absolutely adore the lattes that this machine produces, they are easily on par with coffee shop chains, full of multi-dimensional flavour with a smooth frothy topping. And at only 47p a cup, it's a far cheaper way of indulging myself than a visit to a coffee shop. For those mornings when only a stronger brew will do (we've all been there), the Americano gives a larger mug of very robust black coffee, perfect for floating cream on and works out at just 23.5p per cup, which is actually really good value on a par with instant coffee. Although I personally do not enjoy hot chocolate, my partner does and he finds those made with this machine absolutely delicious. I'm really looking forward to trying some of the more unusual flavours such as caramel or vanilla lattes and the nestea in the summer.
With everything being encapsulated, cleaning the Piccolo is simplicity itself. There are no coffee grounds to remove, it simply is a case of throwing the pod away (not exactly brilliant for the environment though), emptying and washing the drip tray and wiping the machine down. Depending on how hard your water is, you will also need to de-scale on a semi-regular basis and special kits can be bought for this purpose.
I'd been lusting over one of these machines for some time now and it was definitely worth the wait. Yes, it did take me a while to find the perfect amount of water to make my perfect coffee, but now I can enjoy lattes to my heart's content. In fact I think that my Piccolo has rather fuelled an addiction to coffee as it is far more convenient than setting up the filter machine, waiting for it to finish and cleaning up afterwards. Plus as it only makes the one cup/mug at a time I don't feel I need to finish off the rest of the eight cups the filter machine makes. Yes it does become annoying to keep refilling the reservoir if I'm making more than a couple of cups, but this is definitely offset by the fact that I can make a number of different drinks depending on my guest's taste. So if I were asked if I were to recommend the Dolce Gusto Piccolo, I would definitely say yes as although it's not perfect, I would definitely not be without mine.
Summary: A great way to fuel my coffee addiction
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