If you’ve got your heart set on a pod coffee machine, you’re probably debating between Nespresso Vs Dolce Gusto.
Dolce Gusto machines are more affordable and have more drink options – both large drinks and non-coffee drinks. Meanwhile, Nespresso makes the classic espresso with full-bodied taste and more aroma. Both are solid, and the choice depends on what you want: cheaper and more drink options (Dolce Gusto) or richer, smaller espresso coffee (Nespresso).
We’ve tried both models, and I use a Dolce Gusto regularly. I’ll cover the background of these brands, the pods they use, and how the drinks compare, so you can choose the one that suits your preferences best.
Nespresso machines were invented by Erik Faver, a Nestle employee, who noticed that a popular coffee shop in Italy was making espresso with a thick layer of crema. He developed a machine that eases the process of making an espresso while still providing a flavorful result. Nestle patented the system in the mid-80s, and their machines took off in the 90s.
However, Nestle doesn’t manufacture the machine themselves. They license the technology to third-party coffee manufacturers, such as Breville and DeLonghi.
Today, there are two kinds of Nespresso machines: OriginalLine and VertuoLine. OriginalLine was the first Nespresso model, and it only brews espresso. VertuoLine was invented to make larger coffee drinks to suit the taste of American consumers.
The two machine types use different pods, which are not interchangeable. What you’ll find is Original is cheaper with third-party pods, while Vertuo Nespresso makes pods have more coffee blends from Peru, Ethiopia, and other coffee-renowned locales, for flavorful espresso and the best texture.
Nespresso machines start at around $100 and go up depending on how many bells and whistles they have and if the milk frother is included.
Uses high-quality coffee blends
Best suited for espresso enthusiasts
OriginalLine and VertuoLine pods aren’t interchangeable
Pods are more expensive
Dolce Gusto Overview
Same as Nespresso, Dolce Gusto is also under Nestle. Also, Dolce Gusto coffee machines aren’t manufactured by Nestle but by other well-regarded manufacturers, such as DeLonghi and Krups.
Dolce Gusto was first introduced in 2006 and became a hit because of its versatility. It brews espresso, a range of coffee, and even other beverages like hot chocolate and tea. Genio, the newest Dolce Gusto range, can brew XL size, which is cups up to ~10 oz (300 ml).
Dolce Gusto machines are among the most affordable pod machines on the market, and the pods are less expensive than Nespresso.
Dolce Gusto doesn’t use fresh milk to make milk-based drinks but milk pods. Milk pods are paired with coffee pods to make different kinds of drinks (latte, cappuccino, macchiato, and more).
Affordable Dolce Gusto capsules and machines
Dolce Gusto machines have up to seven coffee sizes
Brews non-coffee drinks
A huge selection of pods
Weaker espresso flavor
No special like Nespresso
Main Differences Between Nespresso vs. Dolce Gusto
Taste is the deciding factor when choosing a coffee machine, but it’s also very subjective. So, will you get a more flavorful drink from a Dolce Gusto or a Nespresso coffee machine? It depends.
Overall, Nespresso wins when it comes to espresso flavor, especially for the VertuoLine machines. Nespresso wins when it comes to barista-style coffees, i.e., espresso drinks. I found their espresso is very close to the shots you get from a traditional espresso machine — a flavorful body and a rich crema.
I think this flavor comes down to the brewing difference for the two types of machines. The Original Nespresso are dedicated for espresso and do well there. Meanwhile, Vertuo tend to have premium coffee and use a unique centrifusion technology that creates more aroma and richness.
However, if you prefer something that isn’t overpower with a dark “coffee” taste, want larger portions, or drinks other than coffee, you’ll love Dolce Gusto coffee machines. They can make non-coffee drinks like hot chocolate (yes, we can acknowledge those exist here).
Dolce Gusto makes milk-based drinks using powdered milk. For example, you’ll need one espresso capsule and one milk capsule to make a cappuccino. The milk capsule can contain sugar and other natural and artificial flavors. Meanwhile, Nespresso has a standalone milk frother (more on that later)
Overall, in terms of milk-based drinks, both coffee machines are pretty equal. However, Dolce Gusto espresso isn’t quite as flavorful as Nespresso’s.
Both kinds of machines use the capsule system. Both Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee pods are manufactured by Nestle. You should evaluate the individual pods before buying, as pods are the majority of expenses and pods are not interchangeable.
As we said before, Nespresso has two unique types of machines: OriginalLine and VertuoLine. Each product line uses a specific pod that can’t be swapped between the two, so you’re stuck with your choice.
OriginalLine machines have fewer sizes and smaller pods with only two buttons for espresso and lungo. You insert the pod, press the button, and the machine brews your coffee drink.
If you buy a VertuoLine coffee machine, you must use a bowl-shaped VertuoLine pod. VertuoLine pods have a barcode imprinted under the edge. You insert the pod, and the machine reads the barcode and automatically adjusts the brewing parameters. The pod spins 7,000 times a minute for the best extraction. The nice part about Vertuo is there are more drink sizes and better coffees, but it’s more expensive than Original.
Nespresso capsules use premium freshly ground coffee. Also, Nespresso often has gourmet coffee blends, which are more flavorful than Dolce Gusto. Nespresso pods come in “sleeves” of 10 pods. We’ve always liked Nespresso because their pods are very easily recyclable.
Nespresso pods can be more difficult to come by compared to Dolce Gusto. Nespresso OriginalLine pods are also manufactured by third-party brands, such as Starbucks, which means there are more options and a lower cost. Meanwhile, VertuoLine pods are only made by Nespresso. These can be harder to find and they are more expensive.
We recommend you look in Nespresso boutiques or order online for the best selection.
Dolce Gusto Pods
Dolce Gusto pods are bowl-shaped and wider at the rim compared to Nespresso capsules. All Dolce Gusto capsules are compatible with all Dolce Gusto machines. You don’t have to choose a machine “type” here!
You use one pod to brew espresso and a second milk pod to brew milk-based drinks, such as macchiato, cappuccino, or a latte.
Dolce gusto pods contain finely ground compressed coffee. You insert the pod into the coffee machine and choose one of the seven coffee sizes. Once the Dolce Gusto coffee machine heats up, the water turns into steam and brews through the pod into the cup.
Dolce Gusto also has capsules for other drinks, such as hot chocolate, tea, iced coffee, and iced tea. There’s a huge range of Dolce Gusto capsules made by third-party manufacturers, such as Starbucks, Barcaffe, Costa Coffee, Lipton (tea capsules), and more.
These capsules are less expensive compared to Nespresso. They come in boxes of 8, 12, 16, and 32 pods and are widely available in supermarkets and online.
As I talked about above, Nespresso has Original and Vertuo ranges. OriginalLine Nespresso machine is all about espresso — it brews espresso and lungo.
The capsules in the OriginalLine range can brew these sizes:
- Ristretto: 0.85 oz
- Espresso: 1.35 oz
- Lungo: 3.7 oz
- Gran Lungo: 5 oz
Note: some OriginalLine machines (Essenza Mini, Pixie, Citiz, and Inissia) only make the espresso and lungo options.
VertuoLine machines make larger coffees and different cup sizes, including:
- Espresso: 1.35 oz
- Double Espresso: 2.7 oz
- Gran Lungo: 5 oz
- Coffee: 8 oz
- Carafe: 18 oz
For both options, You can choose coffee based on origin (Colombia, Peru, Ethiopia, etc.), go decaf, or opt for flavored drinks, such as caramel, chocolate, and more. You can make any kind of coffee drink with milk frother, including flavored ones if you buy syrups. However, you won’t get iced coffee, hot chocolates, or teas with any Nespresso machine.
Dolce Gusto can brew a huge variety of drinks, such as:
- Black coffee
- Flat white
- Hot chocolate
- Iced coffee
- Iced tea
- Flavored coffee
You can brew more flavorful coffee drinks with a Dolce Gusto coffee machine. Some of the most popular options include caramel, hazelnut, coconut, almond, and others. You can also brew different cup sizes, as the machines have seven options available, plus XL on the Genio range. This one tends to cater to those who like fancy-flavored drinks (nothin wrong with that either!).
You can choose Dolce Gusto drink based on the coffee origin, type of drink, or manufacturer.
Dolce Gusto has a larger selection of milk-based drinks compared to Nespresso — you can even choose between a regular and skinny cappuccino. Finally, you can also brew iced drinks, hot chocolates, and several different tea blends.
Milk frothing is one of the crucial differences between Nespresso and Dolce Gusto. This is important is you like lattes in the morning.
Most Nespresso models don’t have a built-in milk frother for steaming milk. you might find something on the really old OriginalLine, while none of the VertuoLine devices do.
Instead, Nespresso manufactures its own brand of milk frother, the Aeroccino.
The Aeroccino brand is Nespresso’s device for preparing frothed milk. You pour fresh milk into the Aeroccino, press a button, and the device automatically froths milk for your lattes and cappuccinos. I really like the Aeroccino and it;s replaced steaming on my espresso machine. The Aeroccino produces nicely textured milk and is really a one-button device. My only complaint is the milk comes out quite hot.
There’s also a newer Aeroccino 4 model that is another upgrade with more milk texture options. Aeroccino comes built-in with some Nespresso models, or you can buy it separately.
Dolce Gusto doesn’t have an optional or built-in milk frothing attachment. Instead, you create milk with one of their milk capsules. This is powdered milk that gets brewed into a “foam” when you put it in the machine.
I admit I was skeptical when I first heard about it, but the powdered milk capsule works well. I used them with my Genio S Dolce Gusto machine, and the drink always had a nice layer of foam on top to which I could add different syrups.
Each type of drink has its own capsule. If you want a flat white, a latte, or any other milk drink, use an appropriate capsule. To make a milk-based coffee drink, you brew a coffee pod, remove it from the Dolce Gusto machine, and then insert and brew the milk capsule straight into the coffee mug. Pretty simple.
Dolce Gusto is a clear price winner. Both the machines and pods are more affordable compared to Nespresso.
Individual VertuoLine pods are priced from $1.10 to $2 on the Nespresso website, while a pack of 40 capsules is priced at $40+. OriginalLine pods are more affordable. Most of them are sold for $0.75, and they go up to $1.20. A sleeve of 50 pods of priced at less than $40 for some capsules. Dolce Gusto pods are sold in boxes and aren’t available individually.
A new Nespresso machine is also more expensive than a Dolce Gusto machine. For example, Dolce Gusto machines start at $50, while Nespresso starts at around $150.
Recommendation: Who Should Choose Each Type Of Pod Machine?
If you’re a coffee connoisseur who wants a flavorful espresso and high-quality coffee, go for a Nespresso coffee machine. Nespresso is also a good choice for you if you aren’t on a strict budget, mostly drink espresso, and don’t mind investing in a separate milk frother.
Dolce Gusto is a better choice if you don’t particularly care about gourmet coffee and want to drink flavorful espresso-based drinks. This is a better option if drink variety is your primary requirement and you’re on a tight budget. It’s also a good option if you don’t want to deal with milk frothing or having to get a separate frother.
Nespresso Vs Dolce Gusto: Final Thoughts
Nestle stands behind both Nespresso and Dolce Gusto, but these two coffee machine ranges and pods are very different. The coffee makers use different technologies, brew different kinds of drinks, and are priced differently. Choose Nespresso if you’re a big espresso lover, or go for Dolce Gusto if drink variety is your primary concern.
If you want to learn more about Nespresso machines, we’ve got you covered. We’ve reviewed the most popular devices from both Original and Vertuo ranges. Check out Vertuo vs. Next comparison and OriginalLine Nespresso Inissia vs. Citiz.