Last month we told you that there were no hands on reviews of the new Nescafe Dolce Gusto Eclipse capsule drinks machine on the Internet, but shortly after we were contacted by the company where they offered to send us one to review. We obviously jumped at the chance because we were intrigued to see if the system has improved, and whether the funky design is more for show than practically.
When we first saw this coffee machine – well saying that, it’s more of a drinks machine of the pod system type, as it makes more than just coffee. If we had to describe this device we would say it is an equivalent to a Tassimo, but not on par with Nespresso. However, this is only true if you are a coffee drinker because the taste of Nespresso coffee is far more superior compared to other pod based machines.
The design of the machine is by no means inferior, although this comes as no surprise considering the fact it’s made by De’Longhi. This has a very space-age look to it, and have to say that it will help to modernise your kitchen when placed on the side. However, upon first impression, it is not the perfect shape or design for all kitchen types, with some possibly thinking it comes across a bit pretentious if placed in the wrong style of kitchen.
We can see why some people would assume this, although with a selection of other Dolce Gusto machines available, there is going to be a style that would suit your kitchen perfectly – if it’s this type of automatic pod machine that you are after of course.
Ok, so we know that the company has had a machine that looks very similar in the past, but this is very different in the way that it opens up to allow you to make your drinks, which we will come to soon enough. The colour is platinum silver, which is very stylish and with a water canister hidden away into the body it does have the edge over some of its competition.
You will notice from the images that you get a drip tray that can be clipped into two different height locations, or you can do away with it altogether giving you the option for 3 cup sizes. However, the only issue here is that when you do not use the tray, you have nowhere for fluid to run anywhere, and so could cause a little bit of mess. We say this because we have known other Dolce Gusto machines to keep dripping if you leave the empty pod in the machine after it has dispensed your drink for you.
Now that we have given the De’Longhi Dolce Gusto Eclipse an introduction, it’s time we got on with the hands-on review itself. In the box you get the machine itself, the tray, a container to store your used pods in, a drinks starter pack, a quick start guide and a manual.
One thing that you need to be aware of, and that’s the fact you cannot just start making drinks right away. You need to make sure you have primed the machine, which is easily explained in the quick start guide. If you are use to Dolce Gusto, it’s worth pointing out that it will take a few attempts to get use to, even more so with the Eclipse – one because it just seems to be at a funny angle when sliding the pods into the holder, and second, selecting the correct setting for the drink you are about to prepare.
Like all Dolce Gusto machines you are able to control how strong or weak you like your coffee, hot chocolate or any other beverage you make. The Nespresso is better suited for coffee lovers that like a short drink, such as an espresso or lungo, whereas this one favours those that prefer longer drinks, such as a latte, or americano and more.
It did not take us too long to get to grips with how the machine works, but please remember there is a 30 second heat-up time, although after that you can have a drink ready in around 30 seconds time – well a bit longer if you go for one that requires the flavour and a milk as well.
The 15-bar pressure means that when you want an espresso you get that lovely velvety finish, although this is not too much of an issue if you are just going for an americano or similar drinks. We only got to try a few drinks out, although this review was never about the flavour drinks, but more so the machine.
Having said that, we did enjoy the mocha because it has that perfect mix of chocolate and coffee, with neither over powering each other. The americano was also decent enough, although it might be a little to weak for some of you, and so you might want to make the drink shorter to add a bot more strength.
With more than 30 different drink varieties, this is one of the more complete pod drink systems, but like we said above – only if you prefer other drinks and not just coffee.
Overall impression – We really do love the style of the Eclipse because it has a funny look to it, even if it might be too large for some of you – especially when opened u pro prepare drinks. We also enjoyed how quickly you are able to prepare your drinks, and how you can adjust the strength. However, just remember to remove the pod once used because it will still drip out whatever liquid is left inside. There are two issues though, the first is that it just seems a bit clumsy to use because of how the machine is open at a strange angle when making drinks and also the high price.
Speaking of which, you can purchase the machine directly from Dolce Gusto for £169.99. However, Currys are selling the machine for £120 at the moment, as are Amazon UK and Very. Although these are all sale prices, and are likely to return to the higher price soon.