Dolce Gusto Mini Me Review
We asked our resident coffee connoisseur Louise Woffindin to bring us an in-depth Dolce Gusto Mini Me review. She tried and tested this entry-level coffee machine to bring you her thoughts before you buy.
Every coffee drinker will have heard of Nescafé and though most are more familiar with their instant coffee, their Dolce Gusto capsule coffee system has had Nescafé fans talking. The Dolce Gusto system is aimed at those who want to step away from instant but be able to find their capsules easily in every supermarket so that they’ll never run out – unlike Nespresso.
The Mini Me looks funky and the Dolce Gusto’s rounded styling is easily recognisable. There’s a whole range of colours to be had too. But, after all, it’s all about the coffee! Does this machine live up to expectations? Let’s find out as we delve in to our Dolce Gusto Mini Me review.
Dolce Gusto Mini Me Specifications
As its name suggests, the Mini Me is pretty compact, which means it’s suitable for very small kitchens. It measures 16cm x 31cm x 24cm (W x H x D) and weighs 2.5kg. The tank holds 0.8 litres, which is enough for three coffees. Its compact size means that it doesn’t take up much counter space, making it ideal for even the smallest of spaces – including in a home office.
In terms of materials, this machine has some parts made from aluminium but most of the body is made of plastic. Though it does look plasticky, most budget countertop machines are similar. It isn’t an ugly machine by any means, and it would certainly fit into any modern kitchen well.
The machine has a high-pressure system (up to 15 bars), which is great considering the cost of the machine. This sort of pump is used on models that are twice the price.
The tank is easily removed from behind the machine and given its size, doesn’t require a lot of manoeuvring.
In terms of energy uses, the machine has an A energy rating and switches off automatically after five minutes to save energy – and with the cost of electricity soaring these days, this is certainly welcome!
The Mini Me is pretty simple, it has a selection lever to choose between hot and cold water, a power button, and a volume selector. Using the machine doesn’t take any getting used to once you know how to operate these basic controls. It’s also one of the quickest machines out there and can give you an espresso in as little as 15 seconds.
The Dolce Gusto Mini Me has a huge range of hot and cold drinks you can try. There’s everything from latte macchiato and cappuccino to tea, hot chocolate and cold brew coffee. You can even get plant-based milk drinks like Almond Flat White and Oat Flat White.
What It’s Like To Use The Dolce Gusto Mini Me?
If you’ve never used anything other than instant coffee, the Dolce Gusto Mini Me is a great machine to try. It’s simple to operate and difficult to get wrong!
There is a first-use procedure that you’ll need to follow before you can start making drinks, but this is fairly standard.
Firstly, fill up the water tank and place the empty capsule holder inside the machine and close. With an empty container underneath the outlet, turn the machine on. It will blink red for around 30 seconds as it heats up. You’ll need to set it to produce the maximum volume and then move the lever to the left to rinse the machine. This lever will automatically come back to the middle to stop. The power button will blink red again for a few seconds. After this, you’ll need to move the lever to rinse with hot water (to the right). Again, the lever will come to rest in the middle. You’re now ready to make your first drink.
The first coffee
To make your first coffee, press the power button and wait until the light goes green. Adjust the position of the drip tray according to the drink you’re making and place your cup on it. Open the machine and take out the capsule holder. Put your chosen capsule in and then put it back. Each capsule has a volume guide image on it, so you’ll need to look at this and set the appropriate volume level. Everything is now in place for you to make the drink.
For hot drinks, move the lever to the right. For cold drinks, you move it the other way. As with the rinse, the lever will come back to the middle when the drink is finished. The power button will blink for around 10 seconds and it’s important not to try and take out the used capsule during this time as it will be hot.
You will need to lift out the capsule holder and put the capsule in the bin before rinsing and drying the holder on both sides.
Dolce Gusto Mini Me Taste Test
We first tried a standard espresso and found that the Dolce Gusto Mini Me had good results. The coffee is just over 60 °C when it lands in the cup, which is pretty good for a budget machine. There was a golden-brown, creamy crema as well, which we enjoyed.
When you’re trying a budget countertop coffee machine, you never expect to have big flavours. However, the espresso was rich and smooth with the right amount of bitterness. We also found there was a good choice of flavours for your espresso, though not as many as there are for a Nespresso machine.
The most popular coffee capsules in the range include: americano, flat white, café au lait, cappuccino, latte macchiato, chococino, lungo, espresso and ristretto. You can even get skinny and decaf varieties.
Dulce Gusto Mini Me milk drinks
There’s no doubt about it, the range of drinks for a Dolce Gusto machine is huge. Even though this machine doesn’t use real milk, you can still get lots of milky drinks – and even plant-based milk drinks. So, while you can’t alter the texture of your milk drink like you can with a milk jug, you also don’t need to worry about filling them, emptying them and washing them!
Creating a milk drink typically involves a process with two capsules. For a cappuccino, for example, you’d use a cappuccino milk capsule first and then a cappuccino coffee capsule. Though big coffee lovers might be wary about what this tastes like, it’s actually not too bad. If you like a creamy cappuccino or you’re stepping up from using instant coffee, you’ll find it much more palatable. For anyone who likes barista coffee, however, you might find the milk powder not as pleasant.
If you’re vegan or have an allergy or intolerance, Dolce Gusto’s plant-based milk drinks mean you can still enjoy a milky coffee. The milk varieties include almond, coconut and oat.
Dulce Gusto non-coffee drinks
As well as coffee and milk coffee drinks, the Dolce Gusto range offers other types of hot and cold drinks. These include chai latte and cold brew.
For the cold brew, you need to make sure you push the handle to the left so that you have cold water running through your capsule. It’s also advisable to add ice for that really refreshing cold brew taste.
Dolce Gusto has also partnered with brands like Nesquik and Starbucks to recreate their flavours in a handy capsule for home.
For a long time after they were first on the market, capsule coffee machines were out of budget for many people. Nowadays, however, they’re much more affordable thanks to ranges like the Dolce Gusto Mini Me.
With the cost-of-living crisis firmly upon us, many people might be looking for a cheaper option than their daily trips to Starbucks or Costa and the Dolce Gusto is certainly a way to step away from instant coffee at home.
If you’re a true cappuccino or latte aficionado, however, you might be a little disappointed with the quality of the milk drinks. The espressos are pretty great though.
The benefits of the Mini Me are clear. It’s a small, simple machine that doesn’t take a lot of maintenance. What’s more, the capsules are readily available in supermarkets and local convenience stores, which means you don’t have to remember to order them online in advance before you run out.
With over fifty different drinks to try, it’s also a great little accessory for entertaining others – and kids will love the hot chocolate too! Also, Nescafé makes some really cheap capsules for the Dolce Gusto and they’re often on offer too, which means that sometimes you’ll only pay £0.20 for a drink.
For its price, it certainly is a good machine, and it comes recommended to anyone who wants to step away from instant coffee – or who wants a more barista-style coffee on a budget without paying coffee shop prices.
Finally, if you’re struggling to decide which types of drinks to buy, you can get variety packs online too. That way you can try them all to find out which is your favourite.