The interest in capsule machines is still unbroken, certainly thanks to the advertising of George Clooney. In meanwhile many German households such a coffee machine is to stand, tendency rising. And for a good reason. Never before has it been so easy and fast to prepare such a wide variety of coffees, such as espresso, latte macchiato, cappuccino or regular coffee. As you can see very well from our selection, there are no such big differences in terms of price between the individual capsule machines. But before you decide on a machine, you should first take a closer look at the underlying capsule systems. There are many different suppliers, but three capsule systems dominate the market: Nespresso, Tassimo and Nescafé Dolce Gusto.

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    Operation of a capsule machine

    Unlike conventional filter machines, the coffee is not filled by the spoonful. The capsule machine belongs to the portion coffee machines, just like the coffee pod machine. In the capsule machine, the coffee is not in small pods, but in prefabricated capsules. First, open the apparatus and then place it on a device. If you press the lever down again, the capsule is pierced and its contents can be scalded. In part, opening the portions also works by pressure, which is caused by heating and allows the capsule to expand until it bursts. Then the coffee is mixed with water and brewed.

    Known capsule systems

    An important factor that should be clear before buying is the right capsule system. The different manufacturers are not compatible with each other so that only the company’s own bags and partly also those of third-party manufacturers can be used for one machine. However, the portions of a producer then work with all its capsule machines. Which system is ultimately the best, cannot say in general because each has its advantages and disadvantages. Below you will find the three best-known capsule systems in this country.

    Nespresso

    The Nespresso system was the first on the market and only very few will know that capsules have been around since 1986. Like the Nescafé Dolce Gusto system, Nespresso is distributed by Nestlé. It is available in over 60 countries making it the most widely used and successful capsule system. A clever marketing and TV spots with celebrities such as George Clooney helped Nespresso to success.

    Compared to Tassimo or Dolce Gusto, the target group at Nespresso is different: the high-quality capsules, which are made of aluminum, are not available in supermarkets, but exclusively online and in chic Nespresso boutiques. This Nespresso club and the comparatively high prices make you feel like you have something exclusive in your hands.

    The focus is less on hot drinks with milk but more on selected coffee and espresso variations. Nevertheless, milk drinks can also be prepared, but here with conventional milk, since many Nespresso machines already have a milk frother. Nespresso machines are priced in the premium segment and are manufactured by Krups and DeLonghi.

    Incidentally, Nespresso prepares milk hot drinks such as latte macchiato or cappuccino with espresso capsules and conventional milk.

    Tassimo

    Tassimo is distributed by the US company Kraft Food (now Mondelēz International). The capsule system has been on the market since 2005 and is now available in more than 20 countries. The capsules, called T DISCs, are made of plastic and available in every supermarket. Coffee, but also tea, cocoa, and other hot drinks can be prepared with the Tassimo T DISCs. For the preparation of latte macchiatos or other milk hot drinks, there are extra T DISCs filled with milk powder. The Tassimo machines themselves are without milk frother and are manufactured by Bosch. An often-mentioned disadvantage is that the Tassimo capsules are patented and therefore there are no alternative providers.

     

    Dolce Gusto

    The Nescafé Dolce Gusto system is distributed by the Swiss food company Nestlé. It is also available since 2005 and was developed together with Krups. Just as with the Tassimo system, the Dolce Gusto capsules are made of plastic and available in all supermarkets. The selection of hot drinks is similar to coffee, tea, cocoa and many more. Again, there are extra capsules filled with milk powder for the preparation of hot drinks with milk. It is even possible to make cold drinks like iced tea. The machines are of high quality, look quite futuristic and are made by both Krups and DeLonghi.

    Important equipment details

    Separate milk frother

    Some capsule machines have an integrated milk frother. He beats the milk until it gets a creamy consistency. Such devices can also be purchased separately, but then cost around 60 pounds, if they are of good quality. Milk foam is a matter of taste if you have not yet tasted it, ideally, this will catch up in the café and can then decide whether the foamer is even needed.

    Pump pressure

    How much the pump works affects the aroma. More pressure means more taste. However, in machines with high values, the duration of brewing is often shorter, which is why less caffeine gets into the coffee. The pressure is especially important if the espresso is to be produced. After all, he is particularly intense. The pump pressure must be at least 7 bar. Most devices outperform this, however, and even work with almost 20 bar.

    Coffee strength setting

    For most models, the amount of spout can be varied to match the coffee or espresso strength. For the most part, there are two variants, of which the first is intended for small and the second for large cups.

    Height adjustment

    Extra-large cups cannot be used on all devices. With only a few, namely the nozzle from which the coffee flows, adjust in height.

    Dimensions of the machine

    Who has only a little space in the kitchen available should buy a correspondingly small capsule machine. In general, however, these are relatively space-saving in comparison to coffee machines.

    Water tank capacity

    Especially when the device is to provide the entire family with coffee, pay attention to a large water tank, otherwise, you would have to refill again after each use. A good value is anything over a liter. If you only drink coffee once in a while and are alone in the household, smaller tanks can be even better. This way, the water never stays in the container too long and can not germinate.

    Automatic shutdown

    Often one forgets to turn off the device after use. For this purpose, an automatic is installed in many capsule machines, which performs just as soon as no button was pressed for a few minutes. In addition, some devices have a sensor that detects when the cup is about to overflow and then stop brewing.

    Dishwasher safe parts

    Coffee quickly leaves streaks and stains. And if you have to scrub these by hand from the material, this is associated with correspondingly high expenditure. Therefore, the removable parts of most appliances are dishwasher safe.

    Discounter capsule machines – Aldi, Lidl & Netto

    Aldi

    Aldi currently has two capsule machines on offer. Their names are EXPRESSI Latessa and EXPRESSI Wave. The former has a 1.2-liter water tank, 19 bar pressure and a self-cleaning program for descaling. It costs just under 180 pounds but is also equipped with a milk frother. The tank of the EXPRESSI Wave is slightly smaller with 1 liter. Both devices can be equipped with a supply of capsules, which are used one after the other and then automatically ejected.

     

    Tchibo

    Tchibo offers several capsule machines like the Cafissimo Pure, Classic or Latte, which cost just under 50, 100 and 200 pounds. The devices can all produce tea, espresso or caffé crema. Incidentally, they can also be ordered from third-party providers such as Chicco Dore, but in some cases are even more expensive.

    Lidl

    Among other things, Lidl offers the BEEM espresso machine Espresso Perfect. It costs just under 100 pounds and has a milk frother. It operates at a pressure of up to 15 bar but is also available in a 20 bar version for an additional charge of 50 pounds. In addition, there is the 1BEEM portafilter coffee machine i-Joy Café Ultimate, which can be used with both pods and powder. The acquisition costs here amount to 200 pounds. In addition, the discounter sells the Espresso machine from Severin, which beats at just under 80 pounds.

    The capsules for these devices are manufactured by Bellarom and can also be used in Nespresso machines. They cost currently in the 10-pack £1.75  and are thus much cheaper than that of Tchibo. However, their taste is a little less intense. If you do not want to compromise here, you can switch to alternatives from, among others, Nestle.

    Netto

    Netto distributes the Cremesso Compact One, which brews the coffee with up to 19 bar pressure and has three settings for the output quantity. It is relatively cheap with almost 70 pounds purchase price. The capsules are distributed by Netto and run under the name “Cafét”. 80 pieces currently cost about 25 pounds. In addition, capsules are still offered by Cremesso, which costs 4 pounds per 16-piece package. Netto’s caps have done particularly well in tests so far. Among other things, the aromatic and full taste was praised. Incidentally, they are also compatible with some other devices.

    Well-known manufacturers of capsule machines

    DeLonghi

    DeLonghi was founded in 1902 in Italy and is currently headquartered in Treviso. The company initially focused on craft products and then expanded into the home appliance market. Today it mainly produces coffee machines such as espresso machines, coffee machines or capsule machines. In terms of price, the product range ranges from cheap to expensive. The former can, therefore, implement the brand because the items are produced in low-wage countries. Currently, Delonghi realizes more than 1.5 billion pounds per year and employs approximately 7300 people.

    Krups

    Krups was originally a blacksmith who bought up Robert Krups in 1846 and then started making scales there. The production of coffee grinders began in 1956. However, the devices became a mass-produced product a few years later, and Krups sold over one million copies in just one year.

    In 1991, the company was taken over by Moulinex but went bankrupt shortly thereafter. Krups was then acquired by Groupe SEB, a French manufacturer of electronic goods, and is still in its possession today. Krups currently manufactures hand mixers, coffee machines, and scales.

    Bosch

    Bosch was founded in 1886 and initially produced auto parts and electrical goods. Nearly 15 years later, the first factory was founded, which produced 100,000 magneto ignition systems for gas engines in just 5 years. Over the years, Bosch has continued to expand, developing key technologies such as ESP (Electronic Stability Program) or ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) for vehicles. The wise management and the talented engineers gave the company immense success. Today, Bosch employs around 370,000 people and generates more than € 70 billion a year.

    6th test winner of the Stiftung Warentest

    In 2015, the Stiftung Warentest put a total of 12 capsule machines through their paces. Although the test ( 11/2015 ) is a bit older, the Krups, DeLonghi, Tchibo, Bosch and AEG models are still available on the market today. The test simulated the use of the machines for one to two months. For this, a total of 180 drinks per machine were prepared. The test criteria included sensory evaluation (30%), brewing behavior (30%), preparation time and temperature, daily use (25%), power consumption, noise development and odor development of 5% each.

    The DeLonghi Nespresso U EN 110 and the Krups Nespresso XN 250 share the common first place in the test of Stiftung Warentest with the grade 2.0 “Good”. The two models convinced the testers in all listed areas and could thus refer the competition to the rear places. Only the DeLonghi Nespresso EN 80, as well as the Krups Nespresso Inissia XN 1005, landed with the overall score 2.1 “Good” just behind the two test winners. In the sensory assessment, the models were even more convincing than the test winner. According to Stiftung Warentest, the models were able to produce the best espresso in the test. There were deductions during daily use. In the case of Lungo coffee, on the other hand, all 4 Krups and DeLonghi machines were able to point fellow competitors to the rear. The respective capsule machines by Krups and DeLonghi with double notes are otherwise identical and differ only minimally in design and manufacturer identification.

    All in all, the tested capsule machines were convincing in the test. Altogether there was 8x the predicate “good” and 4x “satisfactory”. The devices are very low maintenance, inexpensive to buy and also the espresso or lungo tasted good in most cases. In the case of frequent drinkers, the Stiftung Warentest advises against the purchase of a capsule machine. The follow-up costs can swell to a four-figure sum over the course of 2 years. Here, the testers recommend the purchase of a coffee machine. This is more expensive to purchase but also brings significantly more coffee variety.

    Advertising faces at Nespresso

    Advertising can cost Nespresso a lot. So since 2006, one of the advertising faces no less a person than the Hollywood beauty George Clooney, who incidentally has cashed nearly 2 million dollars per second film.

    A few years ago, its counterpart was probably John Malcovich, less well known, who played God in the spot where Clooney was slain by a falling piano. God was flirting with the bag of Nespresso capsules and promising Clooney he would revive him if he handed him the capsules. He merely denied and preferred to accept death.

    George Clooney is currently playing with Jack Black. The alto rocker and lead singer of the band Tenacious D act according to its reputation out of place in the world of fine taste and must first learn from Clooney, how to behave there.

    Capsule machines for tea on trend – sensible or not?

    A recent trend is the brewing of tea in capsule machines. Nestlé and Teapot have even developed special tea capsule machines, which are sold under the name Special.T by Nestlé and teapot Tealounge. None of these machines are included in our Top 10 yet.

    The environmental problem of capsules

    One of the biggest disadvantages of the portion capsules is the high burden on the environment. Since every single portion is elaborately packed here and not just all the coffee, around 2 billion coffee capsules accumulate in Germany, which corresponds to a waste mountain of more than 4,000 tons. The main problem with this is that they can hardly be recycled since most of them contain substances such as plastic or aluminum. Therefore, most of the capsules are simply burned and the exhaust gases pollute the air. In addition, the production of such capsules requires a great deal of energy and resources.

    However, products are also made that are recyclable and less harmful to the environment at all. If that is especially important, you should carefully study the package before purchasing and pay attention to a corresponding note.

    Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

    Who makes the Aldi capsule machine?

    The manufacturer is called K-fee. The company is based in Bergisch Gladbach and manufactures in addition to the models for Aldi and other coffee machines.

    Which capsule machine can make cocoa?

    Not all machines are suitable for this. The preparation usually requires a further step, in which milk is added in addition to the cocoa powder. It is best to look closely at the packaging or, if necessary, to ask a seller.

    Are there capsule machines for baby milk?

    Nestle offers the possibility to prepare baby milk with the Babynes system. The capsules are adapted to the needs of the little ones and each optimized for a specific age. Thus, for example, the content of protein varies, since the infant initially requires a great deal and then successively less and less. Also, the capsules are particularly protected against bacteria and the milk can be prepared in different temperatures.

    How do you descale the capsule machine correctly?

    For this purpose, a decalcifier is filled and then rinsed by the machine. You do not necessarily have to use an expensive branded product. Partly sufficient already vinegar or citric acid. It is only important that the procedure is repeated several times in succession. Also, the machine must then be freed from the decalcifier, for which you rinsed with water.

    This is the basic principle that works on pretty much all devices. However, they differ partly in small details. So before cleaning you should read the instructions for use.

    Can you also fill coffee capsules yourself?

    There are some models of recyclable plastic parts for this purpose. In it, you fill the coffee and then place it in the machine. In addition, empty capsules are sold, which can be used only once. 100 pieces cost just under 10 pounds. Although not less waste, but the capsules are altogether about 50% cheaper because you make the filling itself.

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