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I treated myself one Christmas to a Dolce Gusto Machine. Being an avid coffee drinker I thought I would give them a try. I was worried it might end up one of those items under the sink, ie smoothie maker and digital scales but fortunately it hasn't. Now the Dolce Gusto machine has been around since 2006 although they have made constant changes to the machine. A new machine has just been released this year, but I am sticking to my old one. We as a family all use different coffee pods so when we stock up can be a bit expensive. Myself I like the cappuchino/latte and husband likes the espresso/americano range. My sons like the chocochino so we always have a nice variety in when visitors arrive. There is plenty of choice for everyone. In supermarkets i find there is a choice of around 4/5 of the different coffees. If you go online to the Dolce Gusto site there is alot more variety including the new Chai Tea Latte.Each box has 16 capsules in which for the espressos means 16 cups of coffee . Unfortunately for myself as I like a cappinchio its only 8 drinks as there is 2 capsules per drink for those. What I have found is ordering the pods which are approx £3.79 per box online can work out cheaper. They do have offers on previous ones have been, order 6 boxed and get 2 coffee cups. I did this promotion and wasn't disappointed with the espresso cups and saucers. One that is running at the moment is when you buy a box of the pods, there is a promotion code inside the box. When you enter your details online there is a prize draw to win a years supply of the coffee. Seems silly not to enter as you have bought the pods, bear in minds this is only on promotional boxes so check them out at the supermarket. Alot of the other machines on the market are mainly used for espresso, I cant stand the taste but love the smell . The cost of my machine is around £50 as a new one is on the market which is priced at around £100. If you are thinking about a machine i would go and check others out, as you need to think what is best for yourself. I would rate 5/5 and buy another one straight away if mine broke, gets me through the morning.
Nestle are pumping out pods with Dolce Gusto Bang goes my 'café culture' vision which I suggested on 18-05-12 - Ciao debate: Do you think that a minimum pricing of alcohol should be brought in? However, on a positive note, the Dolce Gusto brand via Nestle has ploughed in over 100 million of investment this last year into the UK coffee market, collectively should provide in excess of 300 extra employees at the UK site. Promoting a surge towards the UK coffee bean pod market - albeit compared to our EU counterparts, is still in its infancy UK consumer wise. Nestle, delivered their coffee innovate pod project in 2011, endorsed by Cameron as a colourful peacock feather for British manufacturing. Indeed when it came to the numbers, who wouldn't endorse such adventure during a time of recession and cuts? In real terms Nestle are attempting to monopolize the UK coffee pod market, by imitating the coffee shop methods expertly devised by the professional Barista. For me, this is a niche market that remains to be left solvent; for the good of multi-internationalism emerging from UK's coffee culture. Thankfully at present, the pods are an expense, set at 3.65 GBP for 16 capsules/pods and upwards. And so Fair Trade coffee manufacturers are not currently being driven out of the coffee market by the pod craze, hopefully it will remain the case for a long while. It is far too easy to forget the reason behind 'Fair Trade' coffee, bought by the consumer market not trading partners. 'Nestle, pluhease take note'. Gusto? It barely squeaked on the taste buds The Americano pod as instructed via the process set by 'Nestle's Barista Professionals' the taste is insipid. Not viable for the stimulant factor for getting over the shock of leaving your boudoir. Even at the recommended water, pod, ratio, set by Nestle manufacturing pod operatives 'the blend strength, talked a good punch, via the packaging, yet hit me like a ten day old piece of brown lettuce. Blend wise it was lacklustre - it had the aromatic scent of an Arabic bean, exhumed twelve years ago - mild being the operative word. I'll re-brand the Americano blend as having the 'essence of being a coffee bean, without it actually being one' - if you're six weeks old it may perk you up until your next nap in three hours time. I guess, having 'bean' (pun included) brought up on heavy worldly blends - it was inevitable this blend hardly would make me run around the park, shouting how 'podilicious' this blend is. The truth is, I was disparaged by the Americano - yes, the process emulates the Barista daily shift, too an extent. Nestle have adopted a pro-active process which does improve coffee bean quality, and freshness; but surely it depends on the bean's age, storage and origins. Prior to it being re-homed in the capsulated pod for 'freshness sake' - I ponder if it was the quality of the beans housing quarters i.e. storage - 'pre pod'; rather than the dreary brown substance that dripped from the Krups. I hasten to add I must blame my laboured taste buds which have been frequently abused and now only accepts anything of notable hardened flavour, based on heat, spice, and alcoholic sustenance. An Americano blend, I can tell flicks between one and two shots of Espresso per pod - to give you an idea of strength. The preparation differs on the blend variety, that in-turn is catered to ones' taste. The Americano has the recommended 'milli-litre' quantity at 230ml water - this is four times weaker than a standard 'short Espresso' - Of course depending on the strength of the blend. I do tend to vacate to several coffee houses, due to loyalty and habit, a third of my beverage drinking time. To a coffee connoisseur, this is the worse thing a coffee drinker could do to taste buds. Hence, why I'm use to the Arabic strength variants, usually concocted with caramel and chocolate syrups, to add to the smoother aromatic flavour. It's a coffee bean crime, according to the guru's of bean quality. Quality? I Gusto The Krups works just as well as the ten year old Gaggia in my opinion - albeit a fraction of the price; however, just like fashionable trends the pod design is equipped predominantly for the new Krups. The design compatibility is all set for Dolce Gusto blended products. Evidently once the seal is broken the pod has to be used within 24 hours, otherwise it will compromise the blend freshness and quality and more importantly your coffee experience. Regardless of taste, and if aesthetics warms your cockles the look of the Americano has that coffee house finish. A mild golden crème flourish on the top of the mug at least enables you to be proud of a coffee picture masterpiece, for a smidgeon. Once, the decadent waft of froth disappears onto your brow, what lurks beneath is the meek pale brownness of coffee mediocrity and that's disheartening for a pod of that expense. Certainly, the Americano epitomizes what a legendary coffee should resemble, albeit, it fails to wake my taste buds, and more vitally 'me'. I suppose when it comes to bean storage, I'm unaware what the plastic pod storage facility for the blend may do long term. At least with a high caliber instant coffee, you gauge on it's freshness via an air tight seal, which you administer, while in usage. Price wise you pay for the convenience of it being an 'instant' blend, albeit at a much lower fee to the Dolce Gusto pods. Overall, the quality is evident, they do emulate coffee house appearance and the taste purely is based on whom you take advice from. Nescafe, is a highly respected coffee brand, the name itself carries nostalgia and trust. In the next few years, I do believe the pod will develop further still - become more eco-friendly. I hope Nescafe's price structure won't take out the 'Fair Trade' coffee brands out of a competitive market. I therefore cannot wholly endorse this product for that credible reason.
We have had our Dolce Gusto machine for years now and find it a really useful way of making coffee without the mess. Our favourite pods are usually the Lungo ones which is a luxurious aromatic black coffee that you can drink with milk or without. We used to buy the latte ones but they work out a bit more expensive than the regular Lungo ones. We bought the Americano Dolce Gusto pods a few weeks ago to give them a try. The Lungo has not had a facelift for a long time so it is worthwhile trying a new and improved product such as this. Unfortunately I have gotten so used to the Lungo flavour that I prefer it to the new fangled Americano. I like really strong dark coffee and the Americano just does not give me that caffeine induced sense of well being I get from strong coffee! ==Price and availability== I think we paid around £3.70 for a 16 pack of the Americano coffee it is the same price as the Lungo coffee. Most supermarkets sell the Dolce Gusto products nowadays whereas when the machine first launched you used to have to check the website for who stocked the products. ==Directions== The pods are little plastic capsules filled with coffee that are sealed for freshness. The machine takes a few minutes to heat the water so have this ready, then pop in a coffee pod into the machine so it pierces the lid and then allow the machine to run the hot water through the capsule pouring hot steaming fresh coffee into your cup. The pod makes a 230 ml cup of coffee and once the water has ran out, the pod can be thrown away without any mess. This machine is brilliant and completely fool proof and we are really glas we have one. The coffees are more expensive than instant obviously but much cheaper than the coffee shop coffees. The choice is yours I guess; how much do you love good coffee! ==Taste== The taste of the coffee is full and rich and tastes much better than some take away coffees. They use full 100% Arabica coffee that is lightly roasted and made from select roasted ground beans. There is a delicious depth to the coffee and once poured there is a lovely thick crema on the top of the cup. The coffee smells good and tastes fresh. I much prefer the flavor of the Lungo coffee though, it is darker, heavier and has a much richer taste. The coffee makes a good cup through and I would imagine that people will enjoy this on a morning as you cannot beat a good mug full of coffee to kick start the day. ==Overall== Not my favourite of the Café Gusto pods but it is of the same quality. Expertly made and composed and it is a good alternative to the Lungo. Definitely one for those who like their milder coffees.