If you’re in the market for a single cup coffee maker, you should consider the groovy new Dolce Gusto, made by Krups. Here at Cooking With Friends, we’ve been making and tasting different coffee and cocoa drinks all month long. This whimsical bubble-shaped single cup coffee maker comes in lots of fun colors (I got cream). It’s a real attention getter on the countertop and has been a simple and fun way to make a nice coffee beverage.The other day, my friend Jackie said (and I quote her): “This cappuccino is better than Starbucks.” Apparently, my new coffee maker is being talked about on the playground as my tired mom friends think of their next cup of coffee.
Having just come back from a trip to Europe, where double espresso shots were afternoon necessities, my husband and I were thrilled to have the ability to make some at home ourselves. And it’s really easy to use. Simply place an espresso capsule in the drawer, turn the lever to the right and your espresso will start to flow. By watching the color of the stream, you control the strength of your coffee. If you like a strong shot, turn it off before the stream begins to get lighter. If you like a weaker flavor, let the stream run a bit longer. It’s up to you! It takes just seconds to brew a steamy shot of good espresso.
Now, the fun comes in with the variety of drinks you can make. This is the perfect machine to have for playgroups or other gatherings where friends sip coffee together. We’ve been offering our friends customized drinks all month long and the girls love it. Just like at Starbuck’s, you name your favorite drink — Latte, Cappuccino, Mochachino, Café Lungo — decaf or regular. You’ll pay a lot less than you would at Starbucks though, with drinks averaging 50 cents to a dollar. Most drinks come with a milk capsule for a foamy and creamy finish. Some have a touch of sweetness.
My Kids love it too and were extremely excited to learn that Nestle makes a hot chocolate blend — no coffee — with both a chocolate capsule and steamed milk one. My kids have a blast making it themselves and find the machine very easy to use! With a few marshmallows on top, they can’t get enough hot chocolate. I can only imagine what fun they will have after playing in the snow. I recently tasted a cup myself on a cool and rainy August evening and was pleasantly surprised to discover it had a rich flavor. With a separate milk capsule, it has a creamy depth. This cup of hot chocolate made in seconds hits the spot on a damp evening. I have to say, I was impressed.
I’ve had a bit of experience with other single cup coffee makers like the Kuerig, and this one blows it away for a few reasons. First, the Dolce Gusto, with a superior heating mechanism, will actually brew a HOT cup of coffee. Secondly, unlike other machines, you get to control the strength of your coffee. Other makers like the Kuerig don’t allow you to customize your drink — you have to have it the way they like it! And finally, I like the variety of fun and delicious drinks better than rival machines.
You can buy one for $149 online and then set up a regularly scheduled mailing of your favorite drinks. For the price, I think it is a good deal, especially if it will help you kick an expensive Starbuck’s habit. I’ve just placed my monthly order for some Café Lungo, Cappuccino and Hot Cocoa for the kids. Plus, you will earn points the more you buy, which gives you a discount on future orders. The website, which mirrors the whimsical design of the coffee maker, is graphically appealing and easy-to-use.
A few things to note: If you’re a strong coffee drinker, you may have to use two capsules of coffee or a shot of espresso to get a good sized mug. Also, since you control the strength of your coffee, you might have to deal with a few extra seconds of dripping from the capsule before removing your cup. Overall, I really love this coffee maker and think it will be a great addition to my life. To learn more, visit: http://www.dolce-gusto.us/Public/Default.aspx
They are running a special with a $30 rebate if you order by 12/31/09.