Monday, 17 March 2008
Posted by Dave
You remember these' Bzzagent guys I told you about before? Marketing outfit aimed at word of mouth. Well anyway I signed up and didn't really see anything I wanted to do that took my fancy, and they never sent any invites to anything either. It seemd a bit of a faff for not much reward.Then out of the blue last week they invited me to the Nescafe Colche Gusto campaign, this is one of those coffee machine things based on a pod. It's not something I'd ordinarily do. I want a real espresso machine and I kind of don't approve of having just a single range of stuff you can use in it, meaning you have to buy your coffee from Nescafe. And there's the environmental concern of disposable plastic pods for every cup.But fuck, they only went and sent me one for free didn't they. In a big box, 90 quid worth of kit and a box of pods. So it's rude NOT to try it out eh? What have I got to lose.So I did and... it's pretty good if I'm honest. It really is piss easy though. I like it because it's actually got a sort of cute looking water pod thing that fits on the back so you can fill it up from the tap and just slap it on the back. Putting in one of the pods is absolute piss, twist to the side and out comes coffee... there's nothing to clean at all. The lack of even having to fill a kettle or wait around means it's a question of slapping in the pod and getting a cup from the cupboard and it's good to go. The machine is made by Krupps, who know about this stuff, and it's very practical, good looking and pretty good quality. It's not all metal like some ninja espresso machine, but it's pretty good. Seems you can get them for about 80 quid in the shops.The coffee? First the Dolche Lungo pod, mild coffee. It wasn't what I expected. It's not got the powerful bitter hit of fresh coffee as I expected - it's more like a ... sort of smoother vastly more mild affair not unlike instant, but with aroma and the foam etc. I'm not sure if I'm describing that well, but it's pretty good. Not the sort of coffee (too mild) I'd regularly choose. Instead I went for the espresso and filled a whole cup, making a kind of 'americano' and sure enough that had more of the bitter hit. Very good. Not fantastic by any means, but very good.I thought I'd use up the free supply and chuck it on ebay. Might still do that. But I did come to realise it kind of has a place. Basically it's as piss to operate as making a cup of instant, it really is. And that's what I mostly make now because I tend to jump up from work (or before playing a game for that matter) when I realise something is going to take a little while, make a really fast coffee and come back. If I have longer than 15 seconds, I make a cup of green tea. And I'd like to be able to make late night hot chocolates too - which is a bit of a much around normally, any which way it swings.
And it does this stuff really. It manages to kind of deliver a near espresso machine experience just as quickly as instant coffee. There's no doubt in my mind that pods are a bit of an environmental drawback though, as is the lack of range. But then I vastly prefer Nescafe instant (Cap Columbie) over anything else anyway so it might not be a killer. On the other hand it basically only heats the water you use, which is a bit of a win over a kettle. I shudder when I see the 3 kilowatts of power drawn by our kettle... one just has to remember to switch the machine off after making the first morning coffees etc otherwise it keeps a little reservoir of water hot inside which isn't great either.
The Bzz campaign thing said they'd send me another box of pods if I regged on the Dolce Gusto site. This was all a bit weird, at first I thought the 200 points they gave me was what I had to use to buy a box of pods but fortunately it isn't, they just send a voucher for them which presumably you claim from a supermarket? I say fortunately because they wanted to charge £2.95 for postage. Given a box of pods is £2.83 from Tesco it's clearly not worth bothering with unless you had a couple of boxes to claim for free.
Converted? Not exactly. I'd still like an espresso machine and I'm a bit iffy about the whole two pod process to make a cuppercino (works out at about 35p a cup then), which probably has God only knows What in the milk pod. I wouldn't know because bizarrely they only sent me the cuppercino pods and not the milk pods. Why wouldn't you use an espresso pod and a milk pod? Marketing bollocks I assume.
However I've been pretty impressed by how it all works and right now it's giving me a much better cup of coffee in the same time it takes to make an instant so it's kind of hard to completely write it off. If it makes a decent hot chocolate too it might just earn a place in the kitchen.
It's definately made me a bit less negative about pod coffee machines and I can definately see how they're a complete win for some people. Course what it really needs is people like Dowe Egberts making coffee for it and some sort of bamboo decomposable paper pods. Moon on a stick eh? :)