1. NESCAFE DOLCE GUSTO BILLY THE ARTIST – GENIO 2
$289, from Harvey Norman. Nescafe Dolce Gusto capsules, $11.90 (box of 16), from major supermarkets and electrical stores.
Dying for a cold coffee? This machine can make one with cold water and dispense it straight into your cup.
USING IT Just fill the water tank with cold water. If you want a really cold brew, it’s best to add ice. The good thing is that the machine can also make hot drinks from the cold water. The capsules come with recommendations about how much water you should use, but you can adjust the actual amount by manipulating a lever on the machine, for a stronger or lighter brew.
THE COFFEE It makes decent coffee – from espresso to latte – for the casual drinker, but if you’re a java aficionado, the coffee may not be as full-bodied, intense or milky as you’d like it. For non-coffee drinkers, there are Milo, hot chocolate, iced tea and green tea latte options, which are all very satisfying.
VERDICT A family-friendly jack of all trades that will keep non-coffee drinkers happy.
2. NESPRESSO GRAN MAESTRIA
$1,088, from Nespresso Boutiques and www.nespresso.com. Nespresso capsules, from $9.10 (sleeve of 10).
This has to be the grandest in the Nespresso line-up, with its palatial looks, and a milk frother and espresso cup warmer that sit alongside the coffee maker.
USING IT Don’t let the size intimidate you – the instructions are easy to figure out. You only need to decide how much coffee you want, then press one of two knobs to start the process. The milk frother is a boon. It can be used while making a coffee to create a dense or velvety foam. It can also warm up milk without foam, or froth cold milk for an iced cappuccino. Just fill the frother, slot it into the base, and press a dial – really easy. There’s very little to wash as well, just the drip tray and a compact bin that holds up to 14 capsules.
THE COFFEE Every cup was hot but not scalding, which everyone liked, and had a smooth froth. But as with every machine, it takes a few tries to find the right coffee-milk ratio. You might need a more intense blend, or two capsules to make a cup.
VERDICT If you have a family of coffee lovers, this is worth investing in.
3. ILLY FRANCIS FRANCIS Y3 IPERESPRESSO MIE
$475, from Robinsons The Heeren and Tangs Orchard. Illy Mie Capsules, from $22.50 (tin of 21).
It’s one of the slimmest automatic espresso machines on the market, so you won’t need much countertop space to make a mean cup of coffee with it.
USING IT I found it best to place the rather short machine on a higher surface so I didn’t have to hunch over it to make my drink. It’s easy to use, though, with only two programmable buttons for different amounts of coffee. However, the interior of the capsule bin and drip tray are black, so it’s hard to see stains to wash them out.
THE COFFEE It brewed nice, warm espressos with a delicious aroma and laced with a golden crema. The only downside is that it doesn’t come with a milk frother.
VERDICT This simple, space-saving machine is all an espresso lover needs for a daily pick-me-up.
This article was originally published in Simply Her December 2014.
All product and pricing information was correct at the time of the magazine’s publication. We advise readers to check with the stores for the latest availability and pricing information.