April 12, 2010

Review: Cappuccino Coffee Capsules for Nescafé Dolce Gusto Single Serve Coffee Maker

Review Single Serve Coffee

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We continue our Dolce Gusto review series (read our review of the Dolce Gusto here) with their Cappuccino capsules. Out of the entire flavor line-up, this is one of our favorites. Billed by Nescafé as "A top layer of frothy steamed milk which leads to a full-bodied espresso", this flavor is exactly that. Each box comes with 16 capsules (8 espresso + 8 milk) to yield a total of 8 cappuccinos per box. You start with the milk capsule to build-up the froth layer, then finish with the espresso capsule to add the bold coffee flavor to your drink.

Aroma of the final drink is somewhat muted by the crema, but you can still make out typical earthy undertones of the Arabica underneath with even a slight hint of oily characteristics. As for the milk itself, it has a sweet aroma of hot steamed milk with a slight touch of butter which becomes more present as you work your way to the bottom of the cup. The aroma itself keeps evolving as you go through the layers of the drink. Speaking of milk, the Dolce Gusto's 15-bar pressure created one of the BEST milk froth cremas we have ever witnessed from a single-serve coffee machine.

You can definitely believe Nescafé's hype when they say this machine produces coffee shop quality drinks as this was something which would look at home at your nearest Starbucks. After using a Nespresso spoon to scoop through it, we discovered the crema was even thick enough to support very basic "crema art" if one so desired to play around with it. You won't get anything professional that will win awards, but the fact you can even do simplistic designs is still amazing considering this is a mid-level machine instead of a multi-$1000 pro-series espresso machine.


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As with all drinks produced on the Dolce Gusto, you ultimately control the strength and quantity of your own drink. We followed instructions on the box and simply "eyeballed" the amounts and were still able to achieve something top-notch. The first thing you taste is the rich steamed milk in the crema which has a lightly sweet taste thanks to the inclusion of real sugar in the milk powder instead of the typical saccharin or aspartame sweeteners we've come to expect. Beneath that, you hit the strong notes of the espresso which pack a satisfying punch to the drink.


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Faint tastes of sweet butter from the milk mingle with the strong oils of the dark roasted Arabica beans to produce a somewhat oily espresso flavor to the point of almost being burnt (hmm... nope, no Starbucks logo on the box). A surprise awaits first-timers of this drink at the bottom of the cup as the rich sweetness of the remaining milk lays hidden underneath and gives way to a satisfyingly sweet kick to complete the tasting experience. Aftertaste varies based on which "layer" you're drinking, but overall starts sweet and finishes with the faintest bit of sour notes.


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Acidity is present but kept in check by the addition of the milk capsule while the body is rather hard to distinguish since we used the supplied porcelain cappuccino cup/saucer set which came with the Dolce Gusto machine. Looking "overhead" into the cup, the velvety white crema yields way to a rich beige color common with most cappuccino or latte drinks. Mouth feel starts with the thick, silky touch of the creamy crema layer and the silkiness follows-through right into the heart of the drink when you hit the espresso layer down to the last milk layer at the bottom of the cup.

  • Aroma – 10 – A constantly evolving mix of sweet steamed milk, then bold oily espresso and a finish of rich butter. Exactly what you'd expect at a coffee shop. Spot-on.
  • Acidity – 7 – Mostly cut down by the presence of milk, but can be witnessed during the espresso layer. Well balanced overall. Slightly sweet aftertaste.
  • Body – 10 – Once again, on par with what you'd find in a coffee shop. Thick velvety white crema gives way to rich beige notes of a typical cappuccino drink. Excellent.
  • Flavor – 10 – As with the aroma, the flavor evolves from sweet milk to the bitter punch of the espresso back to intensely sweet & buttery notes of the final milk layer at the bottom. The inclusion of sugar earns this addictive drink a 10.
  • Mouth Feel – 9 – Silky smooth throughout with only the espresso revealing some oily notes.
  • Coffee Drinker – Best suited for those who hang out at coffee shops on a regular basis and like rich frothy drinks. If you love cappuccinos, you'll definitely adore this. The fact that this drink is sweetened with sugar makes it all the more addictive. Did we mention you're likely saving a few $ per cup by making these at home yourself?

Overall Rating: 96 - Excellent

As we noted before, the manual aspect of the Dolce Gusto means that everyone gets a different experience, so no 2 cups will taste the same. What we experienced during our tasting was nothing short of pure excellence. Never before have we been able to recreate the coffee house experience in our own kitchens with so little effort and such ease. The fact that the cup is the only thing you need to clean-up afterwards just further adds to the overall enjoyment (visions of Tassimo piercing units & pipe cleaners suddenly come to mind).

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We had our doubts when the Dolce Gusto was first introduced that it could really create top-quality drinks you'd find at a Starbucks or local coffee house, but these capsules have completely shattered those doubts away. Yes, the overall flavor selection is somewhat limited for this machine and capsule availability in retail stores can be spotty depending on your location, but with the introduction of new machine designs, the winning of multiple industry & consumer choice awards plus the steady climb in sales growth, we can't help but think that Nescafé has some new flavors in the works and can only hope they release them sooner rather than later (we're still holding out hope for a Mint Chococcino or Caramel Macchiato).

The fact that each Dolce Gusto comes with a cappuccino cup/saucer set is just a further bonus to these superb capsules. If the "skinny" version of this drink is just as good as this regular version, then we are in for yet another treat when we finally get around to reviewing them. Overall, the machine & these capsules are very highly recommended.

We would also like to point out that we purchased these capsules on our own for the purpose of this review.

Nescafé's Cappuccino capsules will work in all Dolce Gusto models and are available in 16-pack boxes for $8.49 USD at Nescafé's www.dolcegustostore.com or Amazon.com. They're also available for $8.99 CAD at Nescafé's www.dolce-gusto.ca or various grocery stores across Canada. Check out our full review of the Dolce Gusto single serve coffee machine here.

Read how we review and rate single serve coffee and other single serve coffee beverages here.

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Posted by Jay Brewer at April 12, 2010 7:43 AM

Recent Comments

That's a drag. Thanks.


Posted by: GeoffreyM at April 12, 2010 12:26 PM

The cup and saucer come with the Dolce Gusto machine when you buy it.


Posted by: Jay Brewer at April 12, 2010 11:28 AM

I just have to ask: Where did you get that cup and saucer? Who is the manufacturer?


Posted by: GeoffreyM at April 12, 2010 11:16 AM
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