If coffee came in IV form, you could likely sign me up for a transfusion, but I’d still have to savor a cup or two each day. There is simply no substitute for the delightful aromas and tastes. You could call me a coffee addict. I prefer aficionado. I believe we can simply agree I’m a java junkie who can talk a good game and recognize what factors comprise a good roast.
The coffee world is a lot like the wine world… many blends, many palettes, many experts, and far too many opinions. When it comes right down to it, you like what you like. My neighbor swears by the thick tarry stuff with swirls of unknown elements that I graciously choke down when visiting. My son-in-law thinks Starbucks is the bomb-diggity. I’m personally all over the map, literally, sampling coffee from every coffee house throughout my travels and every producer who dares to package a bean.
This is one of the reasons I’ve shied away from capsule dependent machines. Being limited in selection of flavors, roasts and options is not my ideal. I’m also skeptical of the “one-size-fits-all” brewing approach that many of these machines take.
So you can color me flat out surprised to confess that I’m enchanted with the DeLonghi Nescafe Dolce Gusto Piccolo .
Simple design that my ten-year-old child could operate it. Not saying he should operate it, just saying he’s as smart as the average bear that could easily operate the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Piccolo. This is a good thing, I completely love gadgets I don’t have to read the directions for to figure out how to use it.
Perfect desk-top or “I have no room on my counter-top” size. With a 8.6 x 6.2 x 11.2 inches profile, this machine easily sits comfortably in your work space or tucks into any available space on the counter. When not in use, it’s small enough to store in a lower cabinet, on a bookshelf or on a pantry shelf..
Produces a decent cup of cappuccino. Cappuccino was my beverage of choice at brunch during our travels in Paris and the Piccolo makes a commendable, comparable cup. The Piccolo also prepares a variety of hot and cold drinks including gourmet coffees, lattes, and iced tea. Each cup I sampled was good, the cappuccino is a stand-out on flavor.
Allows customized beverage strength. This was the primary selling point for me. Whether you like your coffee strong with with a double shot of espresso or weak with a high water-to-coffee ratio, the manual settings provide you the ability to customize both beverage strength and preparation style.
Heats up faster than I wake up. Thanks to a special thermoblock heating system, press the button and 30 seconds later you are ready to brew.
Low price point. For a machine in this category that performs well, the Piccolo is reasonably and competitively priced. 2013 holiday ARV is under $45.
Margin of error during customization phase. As this is a manually operated machine, it’s subject to human error and inconsistencies. Once you’ve figured out your custom brew style and preferences, though, you can pretty much ensure a great cup each time… but during the interim while you are sorting out how strong you like your espresso, you might wind up with a few flops.
Small water well. Again, this is a unit that is designed for small spaces like an office space or dorm. Ideally, it’s for use by a single individual. In my experience, the well holds enough for two cups of coffee or one latte before the water needs to be refilled.
It requires the use of proprietary capsules (pods.) While Nescafe offers a decent variety, it’s still limiting, making this a great machine for those who wish to supplement their coffee choices and have a handy machine available for quick brews and specialty coffees.
As a sustainable living gal, capsules concern me, so for me, it’s also a con that they are currently not recyclable. I will give props to Nescafe, though, for designing the capsules in a manner than minimizes excess packaging and for creating the box they are packed in using recyclable paper board.
Other eco-friendly efforts appear in the machine packaging where polystyrene has been replaced with paper pulp tray which is made from renewable resources and can be recycled. The Piccolo unit also has a built-in energy-saving automatic stand-by mode which makes my green heart happy.
If you are looking for a solid performing machine with a low price point that offers small space convenience, custom preparation options and a straight-forward design, the DeLonghi Nescafe Dolce Gusto Piccolo is a terrific match. This machine will not disappoint and will deliver an exceptional custom cappuccino!