April 20, 2010

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

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In the past few weeks, we've been reviewing some of the different flavors available for the Dolce Gusto and decided to see what kind of hot chocolate drinks it could produce, hence this review of Nescafé's Chococino capsules. So just what the heck is a "chococino" anyway? Well, we couldn't find any "official" description on Wikipedia or Dictionary.com, but Nescafé's site describes it as follows: "Replace coffee beans with a cocoa bean topped off with steamed milk and you have this deliciously velvet hot chocolate. Chococino is hot chocolate heaven". Hot chocolate heaven, eh? We'll be the judge of that.

We're no strangers to hot chocolate and have tried various incarnations and homebrews in the past where we added hot milk, syrups, etc. to enhance the drink's flavor but it never occurred to us that adding a cappuccino creamer to the drink might create an entirely different result. So it was with curious anxiety that we popped these capsules in our machine and set forth on our highway to hot chocolate heaven (somewhere, Robert Plant is cringing). According to the box, you start off with the hot cocoa capsule followed by the milk capsule to finish it off. We decided to use our cappuccino cup which came with the machine since Nescafé don't appear to be selling their color-coded cups online or elsewhere (we're still waiting for them to magically appear on our doorstep though... *cough*)

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Since this is a hot chocolate drink, we obviously won't be using our coffee scoring scale for this review and will simply compare the results with other hot chocolates/cocoas we've tried on the Keurig or Tassimo in the past. Aroma starts off with a strong scent of rich milk chocolate and remains present even when adding the milk capsule. The final drink has a stronger, more present cocoa aroma that any K-Cup or T-Disc we've had before. This was more akin to the old-fashioned powdered variety we used to have during our childhood. Ah yes, the memories of Mom warming a pot of milk on the stovetop, dumping a few packets in and us promptly ruining many white carpets in the house afterwards suddenly come flooding back as if it were yesterday.

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Taste was what shocked us the most. We were expecting something akin to Swiss Miss or maybe even Ghirardelli dark hot chocolate, but it was like the best of both worlds. Not only did we get silky smooth milk chocolate but there was even some light notes of dark chocolate too. This drink was PACKED full of strong cocoa flavor and anyone who claims it's too "watered-down" seriously needs to get their taste buds checked (or stop using 20oz mugs).

Needless to say that Nescafé raided their neighboring Nestlé cocoa bins when they sourced the powder for these capsules as the chocolate was a superb blend overall and yielded the most flavorful cup of hot chocolate we've had in a while. The rich milk froth layer on the top of the drink just added to the overall enjoyment and was even better/thicker than Milka T-Discs we've had in the past. As with the Milka, these Chococino capsules appear to have some sort of mind control power over kids as they'll appear to do just about anything in order to get a cup. As our favorite Vulcan would say: "Fascinating".

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Acidity is... well... non-existent, so no worries there and body was rather unique since the milk froth helped create a neat swirling white/brown pattern as we worked our way through the first few layers (yes, there was even cocoa powder residue at the bottom, just like when you use powdered mixes). Mouth feel was just purely smooth & velvety throughout and definitely above anything you'd get on other machines in this category. Speaking of which, our #1 favorite single-serve hot chocolate used to be the Milka T-Discs for the Tassimo and #2 was the Café Escapes Milk Hot Chocolate K-Cups for the Keurig but the Dolce Gusto surprised us yet again by beating them both. We now have a new, peculiarly-named favorite: Nescafé's Chococino.

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If we had to score this on our usual scale, it would most likely get a "90-96 - Excellent". The only reason it wouldn't get 100 is because we wished we could have tasted a bit more of the milk capsule but the strength of the cocoa capsule rather subdued it a tiny bit. Hmm... maybe we just need to keep playing with the manual settings some more? Anyone up for another cup... or 2... or 3?

Nescafé's Chococino capsules will work in all Dolce Gusto models and are available in 16-pack boxes (8 cocoa capsules + 8 milk capsules) for $8.49 USD at Nescafé's www.dolcegustostore.com, Amazon.com, or various grocery stores across America. 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. We would like to note we purchased these capsules for the purpose of this review.

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 20, 2010 7:23 AM

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