After being ridiculous at Christmas and giving my dad a Tassimo coffee machine - not realising the true powers of owning my own coffee machine - I have been lusting after one of my own for a good while. I expected all coffee machines to be the same really, and couldn't work out why one would be more expensive than the other. This confused me endlessly if only for the fact that obviously the same brands would use the same pods so how could one be better than the other? Well. It turns out brand to brand the coffee produced is the same, but its the settings on the machine that differs. Yes, I am a dumb dumb for never actually knowing this haha. But if, like me, you were ignorant to the ins and outs of coffee machine settings then an example of the features on my dad's Tassimo (which cost around £150) is that it automatically stops the hot water coming out after you pressed the button, whereas with with Dolce Gusto machine (which I paid £35 for from Makro) you use the lever on the top and manually control the water. This is a pro and con within itself, as most people like using larger cups than those damn Italians (if that is where coffee comes from?) and we found that with my dad's machine, some varieties of coffee were literally giving a dribble in the bottom of the cup. So you have to be aware that when the box says 'small cup' it probably means something the size of a thimble (or actually an espresso cup). So at least with a manually controlled machine you can add more water yourself and also water down some of the ones which taste like actual rocket fuel.
Another good factor of my machine is that it's a lot smaller than the one I gave away, so fit's nicely in my kitchen with all my other gadgets. I do love a good gadget. But I do think the coffee's themselves lack a little. The flavours don't seem to be as authentic as the ones you have from the Tassimo machine - which also has Costa coffee branded packs within the range. I personally never really like Nescafé coffee's you find on the shelf, apart from Gold blend, and there's something about these Dolce Gusto pods that tastes a little cheap. Especially ones like the Mocha, which has a really weird fake chocolate flavour to me. I don't feel that most of the varieties deliver a good shot of real coffee either, and I often found myself adding an extra pod of Café Au Lait to which ever flavour I chose! I guess these machines and the coffee they produce is like the difference between Starbucks and Costa, but in this case, with Dolce Gusto being the Starbucks of the two taste wise.
Over all though, I am really pleased I invested in a machine. When I was working at my old job I would spend £3 at Marks and Spencers or Cafe Nero for a coffee in the mornings, and with this machine you're paying £3.77 full price for a box of either 8 or 16 coffee's. So after a few weeks it pays for itself. There's always an offer on them too. It's also certainly better than faffing about with a caffetiere in the mornings and tastes better than instant coffee.
Have you got a coffee machine or do you think they're a waste of money?