Nestle's Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffee makers are single-cup machines with proprietary pods that can make a bunch of different coffee, espresso, and tea drinks. They are designed to deliver your favorite coffee shop treats quickly and efficiently while still offering a "professional" 15 bars of pressure. Nescafe already sells a wide selection of machines, but it's adding a new model to the US line-up in late September 2014 -- the $100 Nescafe Dolce Gusto Mini Me. Currently, the Mini Me sells in the UK for £59, and Australia for AU$119.
As its name suggests, the Mini Me is the smallest-ever coffee maker for the brand. You'll still be able to make the same Nescafe-pod drinks as before, just with a noticeably smaller footprint. This latest addition is definitely geared toward anyone who's short on counter space, but prefers the simplicity and savings of Dolce Gusto at-home brews to daily trips to the cafe.
The Dolce Gusto Mini Me is available in black and comes with a 27-ounce detachable reservoir. You have control over the strength of your beverage and can also tweak the temperature and amount of water used. Its Thermoblock tech can supposedly heat your water in under a minute, and an auto-off feature automatically powers down the Mini Me after five minutes.
Nestle's other single-serve coffee brand, Nespresso, is a more premium option. Its US-only $300 VertuoLine coffee and espresso makers look more high-end than Nescafe's Dolce Gusto line and have their own bar-coded pods full of 'Grand Cru' blends. Ultimately, though, the VertuoLine coffee and espresso wasn't noticeably better than other single-serve machines we've reviewed.
Like the Nescafe Mini Me, Starbucks' $200 Verismo 580 (available for £85 in the UK, but not in Australia) uses proprietary pods to create various cafe-style coffee drinks. We were underwhelmed by Starbucks' milk pods, though, and found its lattes nothing like what you'd get from a barista. We've requested a Mini Me review unit and will soon see if all lattes made with powdered milk are created equal.