Coffee makers come in all shapes and sizes, but if you're an espresso fan, your choices get a lot more limited -- and usually a lot more expensive. Not today: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Cheapskate readers can get the new with promo code CHEAPSK8. That's about half of what you'd pay for many a single-capsule machine.
Indeed, unlike many pod-powered coffee makers, this doesn't shoehorn you into just one option. For starters, it accepts Nespresso espresso pods, which are available not only from Nespresso proper but also various third-party companies (like Peet's and Starbucks). Costco sells them in bulk, too.
It can also brew Nescafe Dolce Gusto capsules, which come in a variety of flavors and options (flat white, macchiato, cappuccino and so on).
Finally, it works with your own ground espresso powder, a great option for folks who like to grind their own beans or don't like the waste associated with pods.
I wasn't able to test this last method, but I did try the machine with various pods. It offers two different brew sizes (small and large), and I'll admit I was a bit confused about which one to choose for any given coffee. (The instruction manual is great overall, but doesn't address that particular point.) The Dolce Gusto cappuccino was a particular head-scratcher, but eventually I figured out the best combo: Brew the milk pod first, using the large size, then brew the coffee pod using small. Yum.
I'll also note that the Frigidaire gets loud while brewing, though that's not uncommon with pod machines. I like how compact it is, and I like the detachable water tank, which makes for much easier refilling.
It may be awhile before we can get back to enjoying espresso drinks in public cafes -- which, let's face it, is where they're meant to be enjoyed. For now, you can brew tasty ones at home without spending a lot.
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