Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio Review
It’s been awhile since I reviewed a really good “gourmet” style single serve brewer…I probably should disregard the quotes, because a lot of people who own the Nescafe Gusto Genio would say gourmet all the way. Have I got something new and unexpected this time…the power of a more expensive piece of equipment in a small household size brewer for every specialty drink you can imagine.
I know you are probably thinking…and I’m way ahead of you. Did the team at Nescafe use a penguin as the model for the Genio? Tell me I’m not the only one thinking this?? Even if not, I think you’ll agree…this thing is SO COOL looking. Coolness aside, how well does it function? Let’s dive into that right now.
What's on this page?
This professional grade, yet compact single serve coffee and espresso machine operated with a 15-bar pressure system.
Compare that to my Keurig, which probably uses about 1-2 bars, very different experience. The Genio includes a unique toggle switch mode of operation with which to adjust to get the right flavor and extraction combination. It also has a Hot and Cold setting so you can switch to iced drinks if you’re looking to try something chilled on various occasions.
It operates fully with the proprietary Nescafe pods, which are uniquely designed for this and related machines by the same name. It does NOT take K-Cups.
In addition to the Genio machine itself, you will also receive 2 extra coffee pod sampler packs, a start guide, user manual, and a standalone bin for used capsules (or you could use it to store brand new ones), and finally, a 2 Year warranty.
Some consumers have claimed they didn’t recieve the sampler pods but instead received a product rebate. Upon further checking, the people who did not get the sampler pods they were expecting, got them when they purchased through the manufacturer listing and not a third party seller’s
Ok, straight to Amazon’s sales page to get the measurements for this little guy: As stated, I got 10.8″ by 6.5″ by 11.7″ and 5.4 pounds.
Going to the manufacturer site, I discovered the measurements listed are: 10.83″ in height, 6.48″ in width, and 11.74″ depth and 5.4 pounds. So Amazon was not too far off – but you gotta have those indicators of length, width and depth sometimes to gauge where you might want to keep this brewing machine. And although it is compact in size you may notice that the depth overtakes the height a little which I elaborate on further (see Reservoir)
There is a 34″ power cord, and as for the base to dispensing area clearance, there is a 7″ maximum height if you don’t have the drip tray in place.
Controls and Use
Operation with the Gusto Genio is distinctive…it has a “toggle switch” joystick approach with which to adjust the flavor and strength, When looking at the front panel there is a series of lines (bars) that illuminate in green LED lights as the toggle is adjusted.
The lines represent bars that calibrate according to the right amount indicated by the number of bars on the chosen coffee pod, so you can be assured of getting the “right” amount of flavor, extraction, and strength in your drinks. I think it’s a fun approach…all you pretty much do is check your pod for the number of bars and “toggle” the same amount on the control panel.
Right alongside the joystick is a Hot and Cold setting in which there is a bar you can slide to your preference. The power button sits behind this bar. You can be assured of a worry-free session end by the auto-shutoff mode that the Genio goes into in about 5 minutes of inactivity.
The series of bars ranges from 2 oz (for little espresso shots) all the way to 12 oz, and each bar represents 30 ml.
It’s not just this machine itself that is avant garde in appearance, but the water tank is pretty funky looking too (in a good way) and it adds to the depth of this unit overall. Due to its bulbous appearance it’s definitely not going to sit flush against a wall (but don’t make this a deal-breaker – I wouldn’t. I like it, personally! )
All esthetics aside, it has a 45 oz capacity and is removable for easy refilling. There is a gripper pocket area and a slight bulge in the middle which marks the max-fill line. It does not come with a filter so if this is important to you you may want to consider the use of bottled water or a filtration pitcher.
The chamber sits below the bar light display and when the chrome handle is raised, the chamber is accessible. It slides straight out and pushes back in – unlike a lot of single serve brewers that the coffee pod is situated at a 45 degree angle. When you drop a pod in and push it back, lower the handle back down again-you should hear a “click” to know it is secure.
Compatible Pods and Accessories for the Genio
The Nescafe Genio takes the special Nescafe pods pretty much exclusively. Although excellent, there is this one bugaboo…and that is not being easy to locate. Pretty much online is where you are going to find the best selection for your enjoyment. They have a different look to them, with a hermetically sealed lid and a beveled bottom. There is a cap on freshness and encouraged to be used by one year from the date on the package for best taste.
Also, there are a good number of flavor types that include a milk pod in addition to the coffee pod, and when performed correctly, the milk pod is inserted first before the coffee pod. The process is very similar to that of the special “t-discs” of an earlier machine,if you will recall, the Tassimo T20.
A number of people were unsure if you could acquire a refillable version of this pod with which to fill with your own grounds and combined with the fact that they were hard to locate where they shopped locally. Well, I do have some good news if that is you. Yes, I did manage to come across a refillable pod that is compatible so you will be in a good position to use whatever coffee brand you prefer.
And finally, as per manufactuer directions vinegar is strongly discouraged when descaling your Genio and a special (also proprietary) liquid solution is available.
Nescafe Genio Consumer Ratings and Reviews
I did find a significant amount of positive or satisfactory reviews for the Genio. Comments have similar themes, including “expedient” and “great tasting, better than my usual brand” and a lot of them marvel at the crema on top and the versatility of drinks that can be produced. There was some concern expressed that the pods are harder to find, but worth the effort 🙂
Obviously, I did find a few less happy comments, a few otherwise thrilled users said it was a little loud. When I got a chance to listen up close, it pretty much sounds like a men’s electric razor….nothing horrendous, to give you an idea. A few comsumers were unhappy about not getting the sampler pod goodie, but this appeared to be an oversight more or less. (see my remarks in What’s Included for clarification.)
OK, third, a few people had complaints about machines leaking. Upon closer inspection, I found that you have to take extra caution to seat the water tank correctly, as it is a little trickier.
But customer service was excellent and attentive, said a few people, and that’s enough to go on to tell me that the Genio is a winning coffeemaker.
- Small and compact yet eye-catching design
- Quick operation
- Many varieties of coffee types
- Auto-shutoff after 5 minutes of inactivity
- Compatible with only proprietary brand coffee pods
- Coffee pods themselves a little more pricey than Kcups and harder to locate except online
I think the price on the machine itself is fair and reasonable, and at the time of writing it was under $150 so if you see it in that range, don’t hesitate to grab it!
However that being said with the unique brand of coffee pods involved here’s where we might begin to think of dollars adding up. A lot of people rave about them, no joke, their quality is obviously superb, and there are many great flavors and varieties to choose from and something for everyone (even a hot cocoa for the kids.)
So I have to compare their price to that of K-cups and the average price of a box of 12 K-cups is roughly $7 to $8 where I come from. If I take a box of these Nescafe pods in a box of 48…but also factor in that half of them are milk powder pods that means you are getting 24 drinks and the box of 48 pods I found is a little under $25 at the time of writing, that’s a little more than what the same amount of K-cups might be if at the rate I mentioned earlier, multiplied, that would be about 4 of the boxes of 12…that might be about $28 give or take but remember that the Kcups are straight coffee no milk add-in’s. I’m not a math whiz but yeah these cute pods are a tad more…how much more it will be for you will depend on how often you see yourself wanting to drink gourmet style drinks.
Of course I was able to uncover the fact that you can buy specialty refilable pods for the Genio and that if you want to also use your own grounds, you might be able to save some dough that way.
Surprisingly, there was less info that I was expecting on Amazon’s sale page, so off I went to visit the flagship website to learn as much as I can. Apparently DeLonghi’s website calls the Genio out as “discontinued” which is odd.
So, are you ready for a small but powerful coffee maker, and a palette of amazing flavors and drink types?
If for you, coffee is just coffee, this product may be of no interest…but if you’re looking for more, and want to dial in real coffeehouse beverage variety with less effort, then you may very well enjoy the thought of making this little “penguin” your appliance.