This post has been updated with the benifit of six months of use.
The Nescafè Dolce Gusto Mini Me is a compact and quirky coffee pod machine. It does not have a steamer, frothy milk is added with a second pod, but it does have a pressure pump that adds a lovely crema to an Espresso or Americano. The Mini Me is easy to use and clean, compact and makes a decent cup of coffee.
The Dolce Gusto Mini Me looks a little bit like a small stylish penguin. It is a compact machine with a smaller water tank that holds 800ml. The pod is placed in a small pull-out drawer that is pierced when the hinge is closed down over it. Turn it on, set the amount of water for the type of pod and flick the mechanical lever right for a hot drink or left for a cold one. The tray is height adjustable for different sizes of mugs and all these parts are removable, making it easy to clean.
The Mini Me can make over 30 varieties of hot and colds drinks, starting with a basic black ground coffee, the Americano, moving through a range of milky coffee based drinks, a selection of Espresso’s and finishing with a few cold drinks including a Cappuccino Ice, Lemon and Peach Ice tea. I have tried six of them.
The Americano is a roast and ground coffee blend and served with or without milk, it’s my first choice. It makes a great a Cappuccino (and Skinny), but be aware that these use two pods, doubling the cost. I was disappointed by the Cafè Au Lait, hoping it would be an Americano with a splash of milk, all in one pod, I realised it was instant soluble coffee instead after the first sip. It is a really good instant, but it lacks the flavour of a roast blend.
It all comes down to the selection of Pods and what is in them and overall the Dolce Gusto Mini Me has a large enough selection to suit most tastes. It is also possible to adjust the strength of a cup by either adding more or less water when making the coffee. This is not a design feature, but I prefer my coffee a little weaker and adding an extra bar of water is a big bonus for me.
The coffee machine itself is available from £50 upwards, the RRP is £99. The price of the pods are however the important number. Dulce Gusto Americano pods are about £ 3.50 – £4.50 for a box of 16 pods, making the cost between 20 – 50p per medium sized mug. Dulce Gusto Speciality including capuchini pods are about £ 3.50 – £4.50 for a box of 8 pods, making the cost between 40 – £1 per medium sized mug. A standard cup of filter coffee is about 10g of ground coffee per cup, depending on the coffee machine. Using that as a benchmark, a cup of Supermarket brand is about 10p, whilst brands like Taylors, Percol and Starbucks and Costa is about 18p per cup.
I found the Americano pod to be about the same or slightly better as a fresh filter coffee made by an equivalent cost non-pod coffee machine, except for the crema that is a nice touch not produced by most coffee machines under £100. The advantage of the pod option is that it is possible to make just one cup at a time, so that each cup is freshly made every time. It is a cost-effective choice for me because I tend to waste a fair amount of stale coffee otherwise and it also comes with the bonus of being able to make a Cappuccino on a Saturday morning, a hot chocolate on a wet winter’s day and has the option of being able to provide coffee drinking guests with the drink of their choice.
Size: 24.1 x 16.1 x 30.5 cm
Water tank capacity: 800 ml
Weight: 2.5 kg (3.2kg boxed)
Colour: Black, grey, purple or red
Machine pressure: 15 bars
Machine Wattage: 1500W
Power: Plugs into mains
Guarantee: 2 years
Coffee machine plugs into mains and uses coffee pods.
It is quite easy to use with a visual impairment. All the components are easy to distinguish and use with touch alone, with one exception. There is a red light when turning the coffee machine on that turns green when it is ready for use. It is not an insurmountable problem; it takes the same amount of time every time and even if you cannot see the light or distinguish between red and green, if you turn on the machine first, by the time the mug is in place, the pod is in place, the water filter is filled and the switch adjusted, it is ready for use.
There is no audio, making it perfectly accessible for deaf users or anyone with a hearing impairment. It is also quiet when working, making a soft percolating sound and hum. Anyone with hyperacusis (sensitivity to sounds) should find it quite accessible because it produces no sound unless in use and it takes less than a minute to make a cup and during that time it operates automatically, so it is possible to leave the room if even that much noise for a short duration is a problem.
Input and Touch
The Dolce Gusto Mini Me is reasonably accessible for anyone with a physical impairment that affects grip, hand strength, causes a tremor or fatigue. It is also easy to use with one hand.
The on button is standard size and requires little pressure but some accuracy to press. The water tank is probably the most challenging to fill with a moderate to severe impairment, but it is lightweight, the handle is a bit small but ergonomic and the tank just slides in and out. I did have to hold the tank whilst filling it, but resting it on the surface made that easier and even with water it is still light weight. If this is a problem, the tank does hold enough water for about 3 – 4 cups depending on the pod type, so someone else can fill the water tank and only has to come and refill it after multiple drinks.
The volume selector has to be lifted before the pod can be placed in, but again the handle is ergonomic and relatively easy to grip and those with a mild to moderate hand issue should be able to do this. The pods are easy to fit in the pod holder, it has large grooves that slide into place and the volume selector just clips over the top and can be pressed down with the palm of the hand. Lastly, the lever is pressed. It requires little pressure. To remove the pod, lift the volume selector, pull out the tray and tip the pod into the bin then return the tray.
Ease of Use
The machine is easy to set-up and use. It just plugs in and is immediately ready for us. There is an instruction manual with step by step guides on set-up and use.
Language & Math
A basic understanding of English is required to read the instructions, but if this is a problem, someone else can demonstrate the first time how to use it. There is little requirement for math, but there is a volume selector with 7 bars that needs to matched to the number of bars on a pod.
Allergy & diet
There is a variety of drink available. The Americano pod is just roast ground coffee, but some other drinks have more ingredients. Some pods contain lactose and/or soya, whilst others like the ice teas, contain Aspartame.
Price: RRP £99
Retailer: Amazon£47 – £57.04
Included In The Box (omit if not sure)
- 1 x Delonghi Dolce Gusto Mini Me EDG305.WB
- 1 x Set of instructions
- 1 x UK plug
The Nescafè Dolce Gusto Mini-Me is a sleek, cost-effective coffee machine that has many good features. It is accessible, flexible, takes up very little room on the worktop surface and will look good in any kitchen. My favourite feature is that I can take it with me when travelling because it is compact and small and wake up every morning to a great cup of coffee, no matter where I am. It is a beautiful gadget that doesn’t break the bank either on cost or the cost of a coffee and I would particularly recommend it coffee consumers who prefer different types of drinks or a household with different coffee type connoisseurs.
The Nescafè Dolce Gusto Mini Me was released in September 2013.