The 2020 Guide to Pod / Capsule Coffee Machines
What is a pod coffee machine?
Pod coffee machines are pretty new, only having been around in the last few years. Those years though have proved that they’re not a fad item and the companies that make them just keep improving and expanding their ranges.
Pod coffee machines kind of do what they say on the tin; they make you coffee via a pod. In this way, they are the ultimate no mess, no faff coffee machines because everything they need, bar water, is provided in each pod. You just choose the coffee you want from a box of pods, stick it in and press go. Whether it’s black or with milk, the pod has it all!
Aside from the no mess aspect and ease of use aspect, pod coffee machines are also very flexible when it comes to the drink you want. When the machines first arrived on the scene, there were very few flavours to choose from but over time the ranges have expanded to suit the tastes of everybody and they’ll introduce you to new drinks too.
Typically small and compact, these machines are designed to fit on any worktop without being bulky or heavy. They look modern and cool, have fast water heaters and a very simple user interface. They truly take the time and effort out of coffee making.
Why should I buy a pod coffee machine?
Pod coffee machines are ideal for several reasons. Firstly, they are an very affordable way to enjoy excellent tasting coffee and are far cheaper than espresso machines or bean to cup coffee machines. (See my guide to other coffee machines here)
If you like the idea of an espresso machine or a bean to cup coffee machine but aren’t sure if you’ll actually get into the habit of using it, pod coffee machines are a brilliant way to ease yourself in without spending much money.
There will naturally be compromises on the quality but the pods still have a delicious and full flavour to them. If you don’t want to commit to a more expensive machine, definitely check out the range of pod machines.
Great for couples and families
Pod coffee machines are also ideal for families or couples who have a wide range of tastes because these little machines can cope with any request. The ranges of pods are now so huge that you probably haven’t even heard of all the types of drink you can make. What’s even better is that it’s not limited to coffee, you can also get a wide range of teas and hot chocolates in pod form too!
Pods range from simple espresso, latte and cappuccino to all sorts of things like Yunnan espresso, chocolate caramel, caramel latte macchiato, vanilla latte, mocha, chai tea latte and more! You’re bound to find a coffee or hot chocolate that you love.
The tea ranges are just as impressive with lemon, Marrakesh style, Twinings ranges, tea latte, peach, herbal and more. This means that pod coffee machines aren’t just great for families, they’re great for visitors too.
Aren’t Coffee Pods expensive?
While the pod coffee machines maybe very affordable, lots of people then get put off by the thought of having to constantly buy pods. Maybe at the very beginning this was expensive and time consuming but thankfully not any more.
Pods are so popular now that you can buy them at huge discounts from tons of websites like Amazon and eBay. There are always deals and multipacks on offer for great prices and you can easily buy in bulk. The sheer range of flavours means that you never need to buy other coffee, tea bags or hot chocolate ever again! You’ll also get to try out new flavours in multipacks instead of having to buy an entire bag of the stuff and risk not liking it.
The pod coffee industry has got so competitive that the pods are brilliantly priced and that, combined with the no mess, no faff system means that you’re onto a winner.
Okay, so who makes the Best Pod Coffee machines?
The main contenders (and the best) in the pod coffee industry is Bosch Tassimo and Nescafe Dolce Gusto, both having outstanding pod coffee machines and seemingly endless selections of pod flavours. The only problem you have now is deciding between them because both companies produce fantastic machines.
Nescafé Dolce Gusto Range:
The excellent Nescafe pod coffee machine range has been leading the way ever since the ground breaking Nespresso machine was revealed several years ago. The design and build quality of the Nescafe range is unsurpassed. As with many things in life, you get what you pay for, and the Dolce Gusto coffee machine are slightly more expensive than the Bosch Tassimo range, however, they are still far cheaper than a more traditional espresso machine or a bean to cup coffee machine and most people find that pod coffee machines produce a satisfying cup of coffee.
Another advantage of the Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee machines compared to the Bosch Tassimo ones is that the Nescafé machines give you an element of control over the drink being made. The water quantity is controlled by you, allowing you to create fierce early morning espressos well as smoother mid-morning Americanos, all from the same coffee capsule.
Nescafe’s machines also look seriously modern and space age and come with easy to use interfaces and decently sized water tanks, so you can make lots of drinks before refilling.
What NESCAFE Dolce Gusto coffee pods are available?
Below are just a few of the huge range of different coffee drinks available from Nescafe, if you are like me and can’t really decide then fortunately there are also many variety packs available!
Why are there other Nespresso machines around? Aren’t they Nescafe too?
Nescafe are basically geniuses. They invented the pod coffee system and called it Nespresso, where each pod was filled with Nescafe coffee. While Nescafe make the coffee, the Nespresso pods, other coffee machine designers make the coffee machines that will work with the Nespresso pods. This is one of the major reasons why Nescafe pods are awesome – you can use them in any machine marked ‘Nespresso’.
De’Longhi and Krups both make great Nespresso machines with the seriously cool Dolce Gusto design. But it’s not just Dolce Gusto style they make, both manufacturers make other Nespresso machines in more traditional styles. If you’re more of a fan of the Krups style of design or the De’Longhi, you can still use Nescafe’s amazing range of coffee pods but have a machine that’s suited to you.
We rate the Dolce Gusto machines very highly however, which is why we feature them so much here. They look eye catching and unique while also being totally affordable and available in a range of colours. The styles are all very different too and not only will you find pods to suit your taste but you’ll find a coffee machine to suit your aesthetic taste.
Bosch Tassimo pod coffee range
The Tassimo range tends to look more like traditional coffee machines and less like space-age creatures, which has pros and cons, although they are slightly more clunky looking than the Nescafe machines – it’s really a matter of opinion.
What Bosch Tassimo coffee pods are available?
The Bosch range all use the Tassimo T Disc system of pods. These aren’t compatible with the Nescafe Dolce Gusto pod system so by buying a Bosch Capsule Coffee machine you are restricted to only being able to use the T Disc coffee pods. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as T disc system has a huge range of coffees to choose from, as well as hot chocolate and teas.
Which Pod Coffee Machine is Best?
If you are concerned about whether a capsule coffee machine is something you will really use to maximum then the compact and relatively cheap Bosch Tassimo TAS1252GB Vivy Hot Drink Coffee Machine, 1300 W is a great choice. It works well, it works with the wide range of T Disc pods and while it doesn’t look very eye-catching, it’s certainly very capable. Mainly though, it’s a great price.
If you are already a committed coffee fan then you should check out the excellent NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Oblo Coffee Machine by Krups – Black.
This awesome looking pod machine will suit any kitchen counter, brighten up your office and make delicious coffee without you having to do much at all. It has a 15 bar pressure pump to make the best espressos and other coffees – making it a domestic machine with a professional level pump! This is one of Nescafe’s best pod coffee machines so far and it comes at a really good price. If you’re looking for the best of capsule machines, you won’t be disappointed here.
Okay I’m sold on pod coffee machines but just quickly…the Dolce Gusto range is so varied and unique but with very similar operation…how on earth do I choose between them if the Oblo style isn’t up my street?!
Argghh, me hearties, so many rums and so little time. Oh wait, we’re talking about coffee not rum right? I’m glad you asked about Dolce Gusto because yes, the range is rather daunting because the second you see one that’s awesome, you’ll then see the next and be torn, and then the next and the next. The design team probably had a rum tasting party before getting down to work the day Dolce Gusto was floated as a project.
Here’s a Product Range Breakdown:
All of the Dolce Gusto machines come with a starter pack of coffee pods with a variety of flavours plus a two-year warranty. The machines are designed by either De’Longhi or Krups and are designed for domestic rather than commercial use, even though they have kick-ass 15 bar pumps.
The main differences are water tank capacity, whether it’s manual or automatic and the look of the machine. So here goes.
The Oblo, made by Krups and available in three colours, is actually a manual machine but don’t let that put you off. Manual doesn’t mean hard work or faff in the Dolce Gusto range, it just means more control. The Oblo has a lever that you can toggle between hot and cold water and allows you to determine the amount of water you want. So it’ll brew the coffee and then just keep pouring until you push the lever to stop.
The Oblo has a 0.8 litre water tank which is a generous size and weighs 2.5kg making it super easy to move around if needed. The Oblo is a funky design without being too out-there. It’ll look good in any kitchen and allows you to make intense espressos or long blacks with its manual system.
The Stelia is automatic and made by De’Longhi. It has a 1 litre water tank, enough to make several coffees before refilling and comes in a range of colours. The automatic function means that you select the amount of drink you want and press a button. Hardly different from the manual lever operation but still.
The De’Longhi Stelia looks very unique and visitors to your kitchen might not even know what it’s supposed to do. Which could be fun, you could hold a quiz with a prize. Caramel macchiato anyone? It’s a bit heavier than the Oblo at 2.7kg but nevertheless is neat and compact.
The Circolo is also made by De’Longhi and has a big 1.5 litre water tank for those with families or just folks who don’t want to be refilling all the time. It’s automatic too with button operation and looks seriously awesome while being really easy to use.
Drop is made by Krups and looks as weird as the Stelia with some added weirdness. If you like ultra-modern gadgets, this is definitely up your street. It has a 0.8 litre water tank, touchscreen selection and an eco shut off mode like most others in the range. It comes in a range of colours too but is definitely the realm of those with a taste for the edgy.
The Melody III is another manual machine with lever water operation like the Oblo. It’s made by Krups and is one of the most iconic Dolce Gusto machines…it looks like a small, cute animal that produces delicious drinks. It’s curvy and awesome, not as weird as the Drop or Stelia but not as conservative as the Oblo.
With a big 1.3 litre tank, the Melody III Dolce Gusto machine is really easy to use and you can control the amount of water exactly. This means that you’re in charge of stopping the flow when you have enough but the element of control is great and there’s no interface or touchscreen required.
The Jovia is a manual machine by De’Longhi and looks like a big delicious egg. It’s a laid back and easy on the eye style, not weird or edgy but not boring or traditional either. For those who want something just a little different, it’s a good choice. It has a 0.8 litre water tank and a lever to decide the amount of drink you want. As with the others in the range, it has a 15 bar pump, an eco shut off and an adjustable drip tray.
The Mini Me is an automatic machine from De’Longhi and, like the Jovia, is a great little unique looking machine without being too wacky. You have a selector for the length of drink you want – volume – and a joy stick for hot or cold. This seems more like a mix between manual and auto but Dolce Gusto don’t seem to have a big difference between the two anyway.
The Mini Me has a 0.8 litre water tank and all the usual features like adjustable drip tray. It’s not as cute as the Melody III or as pretty as some of the others but it does a good job.
The Piccolo is a machine by Krups and is manual, with a lever to select hot or cold and control the flow of liquid. It’s small, with a 0.6 litre water tank and looks a lot like the Mini Me. This is neat and compact and one of the more subdued machines in the range.
So that’s the Dolce Gusto range…for now at least! With water tank sizes ranging from 0.6 litres to 1.5 litres, that plays a big part in the decision making process.
But you also have to see this machine every day in your kitchen, so I’d recommend choosing one you like the look of most of all. The difference between manual and automatic is really small; you either move a lever to choose hot or cold and control the flow of liquid, or you press a button for the size drink you want and press the go button. That’s it.
Bosch Tassimo Coffee Machine Range
The Bosch Tassimo range is increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why. These well made coffee machines are some of the best value on the market. The ever popular Bosch Tassimo TAS1252GB Vivy Hot Drinks & Coffee Machine, 1300 W has had a significant price reduction in 2016 and is now only £32.99 – available from Amazon here.
The Bosch range all use the Tassimo T Disc system of pods. These aren’t compatible with the NESCAFE Dolce Gusto pod system so by buying a Bosche Capsule Coffee machine you are restricted to only being able to use the T Disc coffee pods. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as the T disc system has a huge range of coffees to choose from, as well as hot chocolate and teas, so there should be something available to please everyone.
Nescafé Dolce Gusto Range
The excellent NESCAFE pod coffee machine range has been leading the way ever since the ground breaking NESPRESSO machine was revealed several years ago. The design and build quality of the NESCAFE range is unsurpassed.
As with many things in life, you get what you pay for, and the Dolce Gusto coffee machine are slightly more expensive than the Bosch Tassimo range, however, at around £50, they are still far less than a more traditional espresso machine or a bean to cup coffee machine while for most people the pod coffee machines produce a satisfying cup of coffee.
Another advantage of the NESCAFE Dolce Gusto coffee machines compared to the Bosch Tassimo ones is that the Nesacafe machines give the user an element of control over the drink being made. the water amount is controlled by the user allowing you to create fierce early morning espressos as well as smoother mid morning americanos all from the same coffee c
What NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Coffee Pods are Available?
Below are just a few of the huge range of different coffee drinks available from NESCAFE, if you are like me and can’t really decide then fortunately there are also many variety packs available!
Which Pod Coffee Machine is Best?
If you are concerned about whether a capsule coffee machine is something you will really use to its maximum then the compact and relatively cheap Bosch Tassimo TAS1252GB Vivy Hot Drinks & Coffee Machine, 1300 W is a great choice.
If you are already a committed coffee fan then you will be rewarded by option for the excellent NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Oblo Coffee Machine by Krups – Black which will produce some of the highest quality capsule coffee. Enjoy!