Beyond its panels, it can make both hot and cold drinks with Nescafé Dolce Gusto pods. Dispensing amounts range from a speedy-sipping 35ml ristretto to a sumptuous XL cup.
Design and features
While this coffee machine sports a similar shape and operation to sister machine Lumio, there’s a greater emphasis here when it comes to design. Rather than just cover one part of the back of the machine, each panel extends from top to bottom to create a block of colour. The water tank is slightly more opaque than the usual clear plastic, presumably to highlight the colour, and extends entirely over the panel. In contrast, the rest of the machine is glossy white.
The functionality suffers from the same design pitfalls as the Lumio, with a fussy two-part dispensing head (comprising a clamshell-style holder and a cover that locks it in place) and a precarious removable drip-tray that balances on the plinth to bring small cups closer to the spout.
The controls remain similar too, with a roller to scroll through dispensing amounts and a flick-switch to choose between hot and cold. However, there’s a wide platform for variations of cup size and a red power cord that makes it stand out from other appliances.
NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Cappuccino, Pack of 3 (Total 48 Capsules, 24 Servings) £12.00
What’s it like to use?
The first decision we had to make was regarding the colour of panel to dress the coffee machine in. However, while each panel clips on either side in three places, removing the existing cover proved fiddly.
The water tank needs to be removed to provide access to the panel, but there’s no obvious lug or indent to aid removal, nor any advice in the instructions. After struggling for some time, I found that squeezing firmly in the location of the top clips proved the most effective way of removing the water tank. There was also a question of where to store the spare; they don’t fit on top or underneath each other on the machine and are too bulky for the average kitchen drawer.
With the panel changed, I filled the water tank. Since it extends up to cover the entire rear of the machine, the opening through which you fill water is in the middle. This not only makes the unit rather awkward to fill, but also to see the max fill line while doing so and to fit it back onto the machine without suffering any water spills. On the plus side, Colors heated up the water in seconds to be able to make a drink, and is an energy saver with its eco auto-off mode of one minute.
De'Longhi Dolce Gusto Colors £67.99 at the time of review (Check current price)
I started by making a long drink, using the scrolling wheel to alter the dispensing amount to just under XL with a Grande Mild capsule and a wide cup, which fitted easily below the spout. This produced a generous amount of coffee with a medium crema. While this strength was the recommended one, the coffee was quite weak and lacked a rich flavour. There were a few splashes around the machine.
Next, I used a Ristretto Ardenza capsule with the minimum dispensing amount of water. I tried setting the smaller espresso cup on the raised platform to reduce splashes, but the drip-tray didn’t sit securely, feeling as though it could easily be knocked over. It dispensed without the cup falling off, however; and without any splashes. It produced a good crema, too.
Note that the cup felt more stable when reset at the lower level, though. The only clean-up required was a rinse of the pod holder between capsules and worktop splashes.
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NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Latte Machiato Coffee, Pack of 3 (Total 48 Capsules, 24 Servings) £12.00
How good is the coffee?
There was some adjustment required, with a better crema produced by having the espresso cup raised up, rather than lower down. The taste of the ristretto was remained consistent in both positions, though: rich, intense and multi-layered.
Similarly, a reduced amount of water may work better for a stronger Grande Mild cup. At 180ml, the taste was similar to that of filter coffee. That said, it’s a good machine for variety beyond coffee, with a range of 40 options including hot chocolate, tea, cold drinks, and milk alternatives.
The Nescafé Dolce Gusto Colors by De’Longhi, buy?
Colors’ interchangeable panels are a great idea, but there’s nowhere to store spare panels and swapping them over isn’t as quick as the clip-on, clip-off premise suggests.
From a brewing point of view, the Dolce Gusto Colors is appealing due to the variety of capsules on offer, and the fact that there’s no need to have a fridge on hand for milk. As a result, this is a versatile coffee machine that requires infrequent refilling, making it suitable for both busy families and home offices alike.
NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Caffè Americano, Pack of 3 (Total 48 Capsules, 48 Servings) £12.00
Verdict - Nescafé Dolce Gusto Colors Coffee Machine Review
Despite a few niggles, the Nescafé Dolce Gusto Colors is a versatile coffee machine that’s suitable for use at home and the office.
NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto Chococino, Pack of 3 (Total 48 Capsules, 24 Servings) £12.00