Not long ago, we mentioned that NESCAFE’ was producing a very stylish line of ‘capsule’ based coffee makers (NESCAFE’ has coffee makers and they need to be on my counter!). These where labeled as Krups on the devices but are referred to as the Dolce Gusto line.
The word must have gotten out because a relative put one under the Christmas tree for us, the Circolo model. Winner of the International Forum Design award & Red Dot Design honorable mention. Like pictured below, with the satin red finish!
What is interesting about this particular coffee maker from the Dolce Gusto line is the lack of modern automation. Keurig and Tassimo go more and more automate where other than choosing which coffee capsule and keeping the machines full with water, the rest of the brewing is figured out for you. In the case of the Tassimo, it even changes it’s brewing and steeping time based on the unique barcode on the coffee puck.
The Circolo also has capsules and a water container to fill… but with the exception of the on/off button changing color to say when the water is ready, there isn’t much automation going on.
The chrome flip top front lever raisses to release the pull out drawer for the coffee capsule. When you insert your flavor choice, return the drawer, the lowering of the leverl pokes a hole in the top of the capsule much like the other makers. Then, it is up to you to choose cold or hot water from the knobbed lever at the back upper edge. Sliding the arm in either direction starts the water flowing and will continue till you either return it to it’s centered position or the machine runs out of water.
How… How… uh, increadably great!! Since we make so much coffee with the other machines, we know of their tendancies to put out less water than we were expecting from time to time. Resulting in a cup half full. Or, the times where there is an issue and you can see grounds flowing in the water, normally you wait for the process to end. With the Circolo, you just move the lever back to the center postion.
This does mean that you have to be aware of what coffee capsule you put in the machine and not try to make a 16 oz cup of coffee out of a espresso capsule.
The machine sits solid on the counter and feels very well made. It is actually smaller than you would think it would be, but all variety of cups we have fit in the center opening. The nicest size surprise was how thin it is. Sitting on the kitchen counter, it leave much more room on the counter available than when we have the Keurig or Tassimo in the same location.
Coffee capsules come in a large variety of coffee drink types. All from the single source of coffee manufacture currently though. The drinks requiring milk come with ‘milk’ (contains sweetened, hormone-free whole milk) capsules and instructions on how much of the cup to fill with it versus the coffee capsule. We have never been fans of the ‘milk’ pucks in our Tassimo machine, the NESCAFE’ options are not any better. One ‘feature’ we have seen mentioned with these capsules is that the coffee never touches anything other than the container it’s self – other machines push coffee through channels after it leaves the capsules.
To wrap up, we really like the look and feel of the Dolce Gusto Circolo. And, we love the fact that with all of our need for automation, we have a bit (outside of our true Espresso Machine) of coffee creation we can control.