One of the great things about coffee makers is that they take pods, each of which contain the perfect amount of coffee for a single cup. You can mix and match what pods you get, and they often come in packs of around 10 capsules.
This means that they can make different kinds of coffee and you’re not limited to always having the same one. You can get bulk packs that contain up to 100 capsules, if you get through a lot of coffee and want to stick to what you like.
Depending on the brand, your machine will also work with various other drinks, such as hot chocolate, so it’s extremely versatile and can provide beverages for everyone.
The brand we’re focusing on today is Dolce Gusto, one of the most recognizable names in the business. The Dolce Gusto coffee machine is extremely popular, and there are plenty of pods that are compatible with it.
You can enjoy all sorts of coffee from far-flung places, so you’re bound to find at least one that’s perfect for you. Here, we will discuss some of the different pods for your Dolce Gusto machine, to give you an idea of what’s available.
Dolce Gusto pods usually come in square boxes of 16, with one flavour to each box. The packaging is a different colour based on the flavour, so you can easily tell at a glance which one you’re picking up.
The boxes have the Dolce Gusto logo on them in a large size, which makes them stand out on the shelves when you go into the store. They also have the name of the coffee blend printed in large text next to a picture showing how the finished coffee should look.
In the UK, you can purchase Magnum packs from their website, which have 30 pods in each pack. There are even Special Coffee Pod Bundles for if you need to buy 96 of the same flavour capsules at the same time.
These options are available alongside the regular boxes, and they will save you a lot of money in the long run – as long as you’re sure you’ll get through them all!
The Starbucks branded flavours are in a black box – there are 11 of these in total and they replicate the coffee sold at the popular chain. This is because Starbucks has a partnership with Dolce Gusto to make their popular coffee available to consumers in their own homes.
These boxes have a luxurious feel to them, and the picture on the front shows a bird’s eye view of each coffee rather than as it’s seen from the side. There are 12 in each box of Starbucks coffee capsules.
Cardboard is an excellent option for coffee pod packaging, since it’s more environmentally friendly than plastic. Having cubic boxes means that they can also fit more capsules in each box, as opposed to the long, cuboid tubes that other brands offer.
Additionally, these particular boxes are an ideal size and shape for stacking on shelves, both helping to catch the customer’s eye when they walk past in the shop, and making for easy storage in homes once bought.
The pods themselves are larger than some other coffee capsules from big name brands, particularly Nespresso pods. Dolce Gusto pods produce 3 different sizes of drink, as stated on the box: the small size (e.g. espresso) yields 60 ml, the medium (e.g. latte) makes 120 ml and the large (e.g. dark roast) will give a full 240 ml cup of coffee.
Familiarise yourself with each type so you don’t get a surprise when you get more or less coffee than you were expecting.
It is important that you don’t attempt to use any other kind of coffee pods in a Dolce Gusto machine, because they simply won’t work – each machine is designed to take one type of pod only, so make sure you check on the box what machine your selected coffee is compatible with.
Occasionally, you may find a hybrid machine that has various attachments so it can take different capsule types, but these are much less common than single-type machines.
Both the capsule body and the lid are made from plastic, rather than aluminium or a modern compostable material. However, you are able to recycle your Dolce Gusto coffee pods easily through their Podback scheme – the company offers free recycling pouches that you can fill with up to 45 used capsules.
Simply order one online, drain your pods and put them in, then send them off to be made into something new. This way, you don’t need to worry about getting through too many capsules and creating more waste.
Dolce Gusto coffee is made by Nescafé, which in turn is a subsidiary of Nestlé. The coffee brand was first introduced in 1938, to become the official coffee arm of Nestlé foods and expand their business even further. As you can see, the name combines both elements of Nestlé and café, making it immediately recognizable to the buying market.
Nestlé manufactures a wide range of food and drink products, and their coffee venture took off in a similar way to everything else. They introduced their first Dolce Gusto machine in 2006, and it has undergone a number of upgrades since.
The Nescafé range incorporates various different types of coffee – they are not all available in every country, but there is at least some Nescafé representation all over the world.
It was initially founded as part of a Brazilian government initiative to make use of their abundant coffee harvest, and it has gone from strength to strength from then on. The name is mostly associated with freeze-dried, instant coffee, but their relatively recent coffee machines have also proven popular.
Varieties – Dolce Gusto Range
Altogether, there’s a huge number of coffee and hot beverage varieties that Dolce Gusto have brought out for use in their machines, but they’re not all available everywhere.
The UK specifically offers a substantial range, and you can choose between more than 45 types of coffee listed on their website. These include regular coffees, for if you just want a simple drink, as well as more specialist choices that you can’t get elsewhere.
They are each ranked on a scale depending on how strong the coffee is, so you can pick out an intensity that suits your taste, and they use beans from far and wide to achieve the best flavours and blends.
Although we have neither the space nor the inclination to look at every single variety in depth, we have included a brief summary of the big players to show you what is on offer – if you don’t already have a coffee machine and are looking to buy one, it might help your decision-making process to read our recommendations.
1. Americano House Blend
It feels appropriate to start with the classic American favourite, the Americano. This is what you would get if you ordered a regular coffee in a café – just a nice cup of coffee with no frills or surprises. It is neither strong nor too weak, and sits roughly in the middle of the intensity scale.
The description declares that it has ‘a delicate fruity aroma and floral notes’, which means that you can serve this coffee to anyone and expect it to go down well.
Box colour: dark pink
2. Americano Intenso
Another ‘regular’ type coffee, but this one takes it up a notch in terms of strength – in fact, the Intenso is the darkest roast in the range. If you prefer your coffee darker but still simple, this drink is for you.
The intensity doesn’t work for everyone, and many people will find it too dark, but you can add as much or as little milk as you like to accompany it. Those who like to consider themselves hardcore coffee drinkers will probably enjoy this on its own, so they can savor the full flavour.
Box colour: dark brown
3. Espresso Intenso
Speaking of intense, here’s another one that is just as strong as the Americano Intenso. However, it feels more so because there’s a higher ratio of coffee to water – the espresso is designed to be a smaller drink that delivers a powerful shot of coffee.
This is perfect for the mornings, when you need something extra to wake you up and get your energy flowing. Top it off with the velvety crema and you’ll have a delicious drink to start your day, as you enjoy the Robusta and Arabica notes with hints of spiciness.
Box colour: black
4. Medium Roast
It may not have the most exciting name, but the Dolce Gusto Medium Roast is far from a dull drink. Made with 100% Arabica beans, it is the perfect choice for anyone looking for a smooth cup of coffee that packs a whole lot of flavour.
While the Americanos make a medium-sized cup and the espressos are just a small cup, the Medium Roast will provide a long cup of coffee if you need a substantial drink to quench your thirst. This is a perfect all-rounder for any time of the day.
Box colour: orange
5. Dark Roast
Similar to the relationship between the Americanos in the range, the Dark Roast is the more intense version of the Medium Roast. It makes a long cup just the same, but is a significantly darker blend that is excellent for those who crave a full flavour with their morning coffee.
The bold notes will boost your energy nicely, particularly if you finish the whole cup – take in the lively aromas as you drink, allowing them to waft into your nostrils with every sip.
Box colour: purple
The trusty cappuccino is beloved by everyone who loves their coffee frothy and light, with plenty of milk to give it a creamy taste. You will want one of these if you enjoy the taste of coffee, but don’t like it to be too strong – life is all about balance, as we know.
Made with 100% Arabica and a hint of sugar, the Italian cappuccino is perfectly layered for a smooth experience. The name comes from the Capuchins (an order of religious Franciscan men), as a cappuccino resembles the habits they wore in both colour and purpose, as the white top layer keeps whatever lies beneath it warm.
Box colour: green
7. Skinny Cappuccino
As delicious as cappuccinos are, they do involve a significant amount of milk, which raises the fat and calorie content. The skinny version lets you enjoy the taste of a regular cappuccino, but with only 50 calories per cup and 0 grams of fat.
In this case, the frothiness comes from skim milk rather than whole milk, and is just as effective as the original. Take note that each box of Skinny Cappuccinos only yields 8 drinks, so you would have to buy two boxes to get the same amount as the regular Cappuccinos.
Box colour: lime green
8. Café Au Lait
A café au lait is a similar concept to the cappuccino, but it is brewed with half coffee and half whole milk. The difference is that, while a cappuccino is super frothy with lots of foam, the café au lait focuses more on smooth milk with only a little bit of foam to top it off.
The ratios mean that it is an even milder form of coffee – perfect for giving you a light, creamy taste. The Dolce Gusto Café au Lait uses Robusta beans from a single origin, which blend delightfully with the whole milk to create balance.
Box colour: tan
9. Latte Macchiato
If two layers aren’t enough for you, why not try this three-layered coffee treat? The latte macchiato features a flavourful espresso sandwiched in between two generous layers of frothed milk. It’s a simple way to make an impression on your guests, and it tastes even better than it looks!
The abundance of froth makes this drink super light, melting on your tongue with every sip. Your Dolce Gusto machine knows exactly how to deliver the latte macchiato perfectly each time, with just the right balance of milk and coffee.
Box colour: yellow
Origin: Brazil, Colombia
10. Caramel Latte Macchiato
This is just like the last one, only with an extra twist – a deliciously sweet caramel flavour that permeates through the entire drink. Caramel is an incredibly popular flavour when it comes to hot drinks, because it has an indulgent taste that carries a sense of nostalgia for many people.
Pairing it with lashings of creamy milk here is a master stroke that results in an exquisite drinking experience. We recommend topping the whole thing off with a swirl of caramel sauce to satisfy your palate to the max.
Box colour: light brown
Origin: Kenya, Colombia, Vietnam
11. Lungo Decaffeinato
No coffee selection would be complete without a decaf option, even though many coffee purists would be quick to deny it.
The fact is, decaf is great for people who love the taste of coffee but can’t ingest too much caffeine – whether it’s for general health reasons or simply to help them sleep better, there are many valid arguments for cutting caffeine out of your diet if you’re worried about the amount you’re drinking.
Taking away the caffeine element doesn’t mean losing out on taste, as the lungo is still made from 100% Arabica that is perfectly blended to preserve the full flavour.
Box colour: dark orange
Origin: Brazil, Colombia
Varieties – Starbucks Range
We have briefly mentioned the partnership Dolce Gusto and Starbucks have formed, which bolsters the overall compatible range with 4 more exciting coffee blends.
Enjoy the taste of freshly-made Starbucks coffee from the comfort of your own home – we’ll give you a preview of what’s on offer.
These are all popular coffee types that also appear in the regular Dolce Gusto range, but they have that familiar Starbucks vibe that you know and love. The boxes are mainly black, but the colour on the top of the boxes indicates what flavour they contain.
An Americano is always a safe bet when you’re serving coffee, and the Starbucks version is no exception. It’s a light roast that is both mellow and full of flavour, and it’s difficult to imagine anyone objecting to it when offered.
The taste recalls Latin American coffee plantations, and if you close your eyes you can really see yourself in the midst of the action.
Box top colour: yellow
This blonde espresso has a slightly different character from the regular Dolce Gusto Espresso, because it has a lighter roast. It also has more caffeine per serving, so is great for if you need an extra boost to wake you up.
Nevertheless, the taste is still smooth and mellow, making it a pleasant drinking experience. This roast is particularly recommended for pairing with milk.
Box top colour: orange
3. Latte Macchiato
This home version of the ever-popular Starbucks Latte Macchiato is just as velvety and alluring as the coffee shop treat. Three ingredients blend together to create the drink: 100% Arabica coffee, whole milk powder and sugar.
The creamy taste will feel relaxing and indulgent, although you’ll only get 6 complete drinks out of one box of these.
Box top colour: cream
4. Caramel Macchiato
If there’s one other variety you should have to complete any collection, it’s certainly a caramel macchiato, since it’s always a favourite anywhere you go.
The other thing that sets it apart from the regular latte macchiato is the vanilla flavouring, which really complements the caramel element. Top it with some caramel sauce to make it just like they do in the shop.
Box top colour: brown
Where Can I Buy Dolce Gusto Capsules?
Because the Dolce Gusto machine is one of the most popular around, the capsules that go with it are easy to source. They should be available in all major supermarkets, as well as some corner shops and other establishments.
It is of course also simple to order them online – you can use the official Dolce Gusto website, or you can go through Amazon. Other companies have also brought out capsules that are compatible with the Dolce Gusto machine; the coffee chain Costa is one of them, and you can also find these on Amazon.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll always be able to find the exact capsules you want, as stores may only stock a limited range. This means that going online may be your best route, as the full range should be available there.
You may even be able to get drinks that aren’t otherwise available in the UK, since other countries have access to different flavours. Another advantage of online shopping is that you can buy in bulk and save money if you’re planning to get through a lot of capsules.
What Extra Flavours Are Available In Other Countries?
While the varied range that’s available in the UK is certainly sufficient for all your coffee needs, there are more individual flavours in the extended Dolce Gusto range if you count all their products made across the globe.
Here are some notable drinks you can get in other countries that you can’t get in the UK:
Brazil: Mochaccino, Lungo, Cortado, Macchiato Coco (Coconut Macchiato), Mocha, Chococino Caramel, Nature’s Heart Power Tea
Germany: Caffè Ginseng, Madagascar Vanilla Macchiato, Almond Flat White, Grande Intenso, Coconut Flat White, Chai Tea Latte
Italy: Cappuccino Light, Marrakesh Style Tea, Oat Macchiato, Starbucks Veranda Blend
As you can see, the Dolce Gusto is a coffee machine that is popular all over the world and has a varied range of compatible capsules. Over 45 of these are available in the UK, with additional beverages being sold in other countries.
There’s the main UK range of coffees, then there are also 11 Starbucks varieties on top, so you can get the same great taste you enjoy when you order from a cafe.
Dolce Gusto machines take large pods, which means they require a large tray compared to other brands. The boxes that house the pods are also quite bulky, but they stack nicely and are a convenient shape.
You can recycle your pods once you’re done with them – a relief if you’re getting through a lot of coffee and are concerned about the effect your consumption has on the environment.
One of the reasons Dolce Gusto took off in the first place was because its parent company, Nestlé, had already made a known name for itself. Its competitors haven’t all enjoyed that same trajectory, and have had to work at establishing themselves within the market.
If you’re trying to decide which coffee machine you should get, a Dolce Gusto is always a great, reliable choice that has reputation on its side.