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Customer Review

40 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent machine for good "lazy" coffee, 2 Dec. 2012
This review is from: Nescafé Dolce Gusto Coffee Machine and Beverage Maker Melody 3 Play and Select by De'Longhi EDG625.B - Black (Kitchen & Home)
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I have always been a fan of coffee machines but have preferred the manual type where you have to ground the cofffee yourself and figure out how to add frothy milk for a cappuccino etc. (ie. the way coffee shops do it). Having used Nespresso in the past I was interested to see how this compared as an alternative in the pod world. Just to explain the difference here:
- in "real" coffee machines you either have a section for beans / ground coffee, or you have to load the coffee holder with the right amount of coffee for the drink you are about to make (in the beans mode the machine does it for you to the tune of coffee grinding). Although it means you can choose the exact flavour or mix of coffee you like it can be messy and is time consuming / fiddly. You then add water for an americano, frothy milk for a cappuccino etc, but it does mean you can really make the coffee how you like it. Most weekend mornings this is what I end up doing and I'm yet to find a better coffee.
- nespresso machines are pod coffee machines targeted at the so-called coffee connoisseur with masses of different pods providing different flavours, strength - you can choose how big the coffee will be, but anything after that is something you have to sort out... cappuccino/americano/latte variations all need doing separately. The pods are proprietary and expensive.
- the Dulce Gusto system is like nespresso in that it's all about proprietary pods again, but rather than just coffee pods, there's pods for latte and cappuccino. This means by putting the appropriate pods in combination into your cup you get a huge range of coffees.

For me, I don't really like nespresso as I feel I can make a nice enough coffee myself (I only drink espresso or americano) without the need for overpriced pods which produces a drink that's too small (for an americano). However, the Dulce Gusto system which includes the milk substitute does provide something a little bit different, especially good when there are visitors who would like a coffee.

In terms of design, this machine is quite glossy and rounded, and looks nice in the kitchen - it consists of a ball-like section on the top where the pod goes and the controls reside, and a second ball-like section which is the reservoir for the water needed for the coffee. It's easy to over-fill and I think aesthetics has taken priority over function but it doesn't really matter. The controls consist of power, a lever for locking the pod in, a drawer to put the pod in, buttons to start the machine (hot or cold) and a control which works like a volume control to tell the machine how much water you want added.

It works pretty simply - put the pod into the tray, close the tray, pull the lever down to lock it in, choose the amount of water (the pod tells you how much water is needed) and press hot or cold water. The cup base is movable so that you put it higher for a smaller espresso cup if you want. A green light on the side tells you when the water's hot. There's an overly designed pod bin where you put the used pods, but since they can't be recycled anyway you might as well just put it in the bin.

In terms of results I was actually pleasantly surprised. The espresso came out quite nice, although not as good as I've had from the manual one. The crema (foam on top of the espresso) was nice and thick and the taste was good. I didn't think it came out that hot but that may be due to me getting used to them being too hot. Where I was more surprised was the cappuccino. In this case, you put in a pod for "cappuccino" which is basically powdered milk and sugar and set the water volume high. Once that's passed through, you put an espresso pod in and do that with a small water volume. The result although very sweet was actually quite nice.

Overall, it depends what you want - for me, I prefer the manual machine where I can make a nice big cup of strong coffee how I like it. However, for those who really don't want to fiddle about with a coffee machine to get a nice cuppa (my wife being a good example) this is a very good compromise. There's lots of different coffee options, it's easy to use, fairly clean (although you need to clean the base which comes away), and tastes good. If you don't like powdered milk and object to the price of the pods (some of the coffees offered need 3 pods each so it can get expensive) then this may not be for you, but otherwise it's a more versatile coffee system than a nespresso.

One other thing... the instructions are all in diagram form and pretty useless - if you can't figure it out, the website provides some more useful info.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Dec 2012 17:06:10 GMT
Andrew B says:
Hi Darren,

Great review of the Dolce Gusto Melody 3 Play and Select.

I had a Phillips Senseo machine about 7 years ago and to be honest it wasn't that great at the time, the coffee was always warm rather than hot but I don't expect it to be boiling but hot would be nice. I have been looking for a decent pod machine for ages as I love a decent expresso at times but I also enjoy a nice mug of hot coffee in the morning.

What do you think of the actual coffee pod or rather the quality of the coffee produced compared to a decent instant coffee ? My wife loves hot chocolate and I see there is a huge range of coffee and hot drink pods available ?

Darren, my wife has literally this afternoon bought me the Dolce Gusto Melody Manual machine KP210640 (15 bar pressure) for £50 but I have just seen your review of the Melody 3 Play and Select that I am thinking might be a better machine but in truth I don't know the difference between the two machines - I would really appreciate your advice ?

I have decided not to open the machine we have bought just in case we decide to swap for the more expensive model so your comments would be greatly appreciated please ?

Many thanks

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Dec 2012 17:15:24 GMT
Personally I think it's much better than instant (I've never been too convinced that the instant can taste like ground, even those Via things from Starbucks)

In terms of the difference between the various products, it's about the features - I think the adjustable water level is on the better one which is nice and makes it more automated.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Dec 2012 20:42:53 GMT
Andrew B says:
Thanks Darren,

I hope you don't mind the questions but could you please tell me does the machine give you a full mug of coffee as I know it's adjustable but some seem to only half fill a large mug or if not how do you top it up ?

Finally is the coffe hot ?

Thanks agai.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Dec 2012 22:21:05 GMT
No, even with the volume to max you get half a mug. Only alternative is a kettle I think. It's silly actually... they should have had a hot water override button to let you just pass hot water out of it

Coffee is reasonably hot but not boiling hot.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Mar 2013 14:43:18 GMT
Mr. C. Pugh says:
Just remove the pod then you get only hot water.
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