Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio 2 Review
Reviewed by: Jennifer
Rating: 4.5 Stars
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 2 would say gourmet all the way.
The power of a more expensive piece of equipment in a small household size brewer for every specialty drink you can imagine. No, It does NOT take K-Cups. But you may not miss them.
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.
Table of Contents
This professional grade, yet compact single serve coffee and espresso machine’s most unique features include:
- Unique “toggle switch” mode of operation with which to adjust to get the right flavor and extraction combination.
- A Hot and Cold setting in the case you may want to switch to iced drinks
- 15-bar pressure system
- Auto-shutoff after 5 minutes of inactivity
- Can make drinks from 2 oz to 12 oz
- Operates fully with the proprietary Nescafe pods,
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), a rinsing tool (for the pod capsule chamber) and finally, a 2 Year warranty.
Some consumers have claimed they didn’t receive 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: 11.7″ in height, 6.5″ in width, and 10.8″ depth and 9.7 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 that’s red in color – ( yes, red, don’t ask me why) 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 the Genio “Toggle Joystick”
Operation with the Gusto Genio is distinctively different. 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 9 lines (bars) that illuminate in green LED lights as the toggle is adjusted.
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 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.
The series of bars ranges from 2 oz (for little espresso shots) all the way to 12 oz, and each bar represents 30 ml.
The process is very similar to that of the special “t-discs” of an earlier machine,if you will recall, the Tassimo T20.
Gusto Hot and Cold Setting
Right alongside the joystick is a Hot and Cold setting in which there is a bar you can slide to your preference.Red is hot and blue is cold, respectively. A little tricky to see at first:) they are located kind of closer to the back.
Whenever you may fancy something iced, it’s nice to have this option!
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 (enough for roughly about 10 beverages) Only bugaboo here with the tank’s design is that it MUST be removed for refilling as there is no lid or accessible opening with which to do so. 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.
Gusto Genio Drip Tray
The marquis-shaped drip tray and plate is sturdy, but as per the user manual, don’t put it in the dishwasher (well, it didn’t say “top rack only” – just don’t period😁). The unit (can you see? this is the best image I could get) has got grooved edges that permit you to move the tray up further to accommodate different size cups.
So whether you’re into the little dainty demitasse or a taller Americano, you will be in good hands without straining or splashing of hot liquids.
The Nescafe Gusto Genio 2’s coffee capsule holder sits below the bar light display and when the chrome handle is raised,it becomes 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.
There’s another tool – a rinsing tool that kind of resembles a miniature funnel (apologies as I could not find a picture), which is made to be used to flush out the capsule tray periodically. It can also be stored in the tray for safekeeping when you are not planning to brew up a delicious beverage anytime soon 🙂
Compatible Accessories for the Genio 2
Two main things to make the most of your Gusto Genio 2 experience…
- The line of Nescafe pods pretty much exclusively. Pretty much online is where you are going to find the best selection for your enjoyment. They are hermetically sealed with a beveled bottom.
- The proprietary brand of descaling solution (as per the manual, white vinegar is explicitly discouraged.)
Nescafe Genio 2 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 consumers 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.)
And, one remark…why is the power cable RED?? I love red, but I understand where those comments are coming from. It doesn’t seem to be the color you’d choose for a silver/black coffee machine doncha think.
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 (this kind of goes with the fact that you cannot refill the reservoir while it is seated.
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
- Machine is designed to calibrate the right settings for chosen drinks
- You can adjust the drip tray to fit different sized cups
- 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 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.
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.
With regard to descaling, there are good brands of descaling solutions available – it doesn’t have to be the proprietary brand (just skip the vinegar; it’s frowned upon by the manufacturer.) which would only be a small expense.
Verdict: Very Good 👍
So, are you ready for a small but powerful espresso coffee maker, and a palette of amazing flavors and drink types? As well as a little eclectic design?
And you don’t think you’d mind having to dig a little deeper to find the tasty coffee capsules, as well as stock up on them just in case so you don’t run out.
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.