It’s been four years since I bought my Senseo coffee machine for the office, which is quite a long time for me to keep using anything. Over the years, I’ve found a variety of pods for the beast, which have varied in quality from not at all good to not bad. And there’s the problem, really. At its best, the coffee coming out of the Senseo is “not bad”, and I suppose I haven’t really been happy with it for a while. So, a replacement seemed like a good idea. For practical reasons, it would have to use some kind of pod or capsule – the tea bag style pods the Senseo uses are about the limit of messiness I’m prepared to have at work. Now there are a number of systems on the market, and these days the pods for them are widely available in supermarkets and online, but most of the machines are quite expensive. Now as this is purely for convenience at work, I wasn’t prepared to spend too much.
All of which led me to investigate the Dolce Gusto system. Hardware by Krups, coffee by Nestle, with a wide range of drinks available from espresso to hot chocolate. But as the machines used to cost the best part of £100, I hadn’t looked that closely. But what’s this?? Down to £65 from Amazon? That stuck me as a lot more reasonable, so I did some research, reading reviews, checking availability of pods and so on. Reviews from people who actually like coffee were generally positive, so I went to have a closer look at the machines in some Newcastle department stores. Well, they looked OK, and I was pretty much ready to pop back to the office and order one from Amazon, until I noticed the special offer in Fenwick’s. They had a red one on display with a sign indicating it was reduced to £60, which at around £5 less than Amazon was irresistable. So I found the small pile of boxes and picked one up to buy it. And woo hoo, it was reduced even further – down to £49.95, which was about what I paid for the Senseo, and therefore seemed about right.
Back at the office, I moved the Senseo out of the way and unpacked the Dolce Gusto. Now this was originally a premium product, so the box contained some freebies – a mixed selection of pods, a quite nice cup and saucer and a glass for cold drinks (which it also does). After setting it up (which involved running some water through it a few times to clean the tubes), I tried my first espresso. And while it’s not as good as I get at home with Illy dark roast in my Gaggia, it’s a lot more satisfying than the Senseo can manage. I’m told that the hot chocolate is well up to standard, too, so it keeps my staff happy as well as me.
So, overall, I’m happy with my new coffee making device. If you’re after something that makes quite acceptable coffee with little to no mess, and which looks really cool, you can’t go far wrong with one of these. Supplies are available in major supermarkets or direct from Nestle. If you get one, make sure you register online – if you do, they’ll send you a voucher for a free pack of pods and give you 200 points for their loyalty scheme. Each box of pods has a unique code inside, which will give you 11 points. And points add up to buy things from the online store – anything from pods to cups to actual Dolce Gusto machines. One thing to note is that the site refers to a registration card in the box and tells you to use the code from that to register your machine. There was no card in my box, so I called the helpline, who immediately gave me a code to use, so I suspect missing codes are quite common.