Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: are Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee machines the same?

Both Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee machines can deliver your favourite brew in a trice, but which is the right buy for your kitchen? Our Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto guide’s got all you need to know

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Nespresso Creatista Uno by Sage
(Image credit: Nespresso / Amazon)

Trying to work out which is best? Both Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee machines use pods to create your favourite hot drinks, but which leads the league table of the best coffee machines? After all, the capsule system ensures both types are quick and convenient as well as simple to use. The only Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto comparison you need is right here.

They have the same drawback, too. There’s no getting around the fact that, in the long run, pods are a more costly way to brew up than using a bean to cup or filter coffee machine. It’s still a substantial saving on a daily trip to the coffee shop, mind you, if you’d like to pat yourself on the back.

But are Nespresso and Dolce Gusto coffee machines the same? Or are there differences? Here’s the inside track. 

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: How much do the machines cost?

Nespresso coffee machines fall into a price range starting from around £70 and going up to around £450. You’ll find a wide choice of models that use this system, including those from Krups, Sage, Magimix and Dualit, as well as Nespresso branded machines.

Be aware that Nespresso offers two sorts of pods: Original and Vertuo (of which more below), so make sure you match machine to pod type.

Dolce Gusto coffee machines begin from the same place of around £70, and go up to around £150. De’Longhi and Krups both make a range of machines that use these pods. 

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Will either look good on your worktop?

NESCAFE Dolce Gusto Oblo Coffee Machine by Krups

(Image credit: Nescafé)

The answer is yes. 

Dolce Gusto coffee machines have curvaceous modern lines, and you can keep things more understated with white or black or go bolder in colour. 

Nespresso coffee machines tend to have less extravagant shapes, but they’re smart and stylish, and you won’t be embarrassed to show them off in your kitchen.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Which drinks can you make?

OK, they’re both coffee machines, but we’re not just talking a mug of black or white here.

Nespresso, as we mentioned, has both Original and Vertuo ranges. Original is all about espresso – either authentic black with its crema on top, or the plus hot milk and foam type of coffee. The capsules in the Original range give you the choice of coffees from renowned coffee-producing nations – think Colombia, Ethiopia, and so on. Alternatively, you could choose based on taste, or opt for flavoured coffees – caramel, chocolate – or try the barista-inspired capsules designed to be used with milk. Don’t want caffeine in your drink? There are decaf capsules, too.

If you like the option to drink a longer coffee, the Vertuo range of capsules might float your boat. Pick from capsules destined to make different cup sizes. There are five of them, starting from the quick coffee injection of a 40ml espresso and going up to the Alto, which makes a take-your-time 414ml cup. As with the Original range, you can shop by country or flavour, or opt for coffees to create milky drinks.

Dolce Gusto pods aren’t just about coffee – although of course there’s plenty of coffee choice, including a Starbucks range if you’re hankering for the taste of the high street but putting aside the money you would have spent out and about. You can also pick coffees from countries like Peru or Colombia, or types of drink – that’s Americano, espresso and so on – or flavoured coffees.

A Dolce Gusto machine can also whip you up a hot chocolate, or a cup of tea or chai.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: What about milk frothing?

Here’s a big difference between Nespresso and Dolce Gusto machines. 

Dolce Gusto: if you want a flat white or  cup of tea with milk, perhaps, from your coffee machine, then that’s the capsule you use. 

Nespresso: this machine, on the other hand, comes either with a built-in steam arm, or you can use a milk frother. Nespresso’s Aeroccino version is sold with some models, or can be bought separately, and there’s a more costly Barista milk frother, as an alternative, which has a touchscreen and app.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: How many coffees can you make?

Nespresso Citiz and Milk Coffee Machine, Black by Magimix

(Image credit: Nespresso)

It’s a coffee (or other drink) at a time with Nespresso and Dolce Gusto machines – but the process is very quick.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Where can you buy pods?

Nespresso: if you want to order online, you can get Nespresso capsules – both Original and Vertuo – from its site. You’ll also find Nespresso compatible pods both online and from supermarkets. 

Dolce Gusto pods can also be ordered directly, or you can get them – or compatible versions – from supermarkets.

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Can the pods be recycled?

There’s no swerving the issue that the fuss-free nature of pods does equal more waste. Nespresso has a recycling scheme for its pods, as does Dolce Gusto. 

Nespresso vs Dolce Gusto: Which machine makes better coffee?

It’s the crucial question: will you get a tastier drink from a Nespresso or a Dolce Gusto machine?

Nespresso has the edge if it’s barista-style coffees – that is those that take espresso as a starting point – that you’re going to be drinking. That’s not just the black versions, either. A machine with a steam arm or an accompanying milk frother means you can conjure up cappuccinos and other foamy favourites simply.

A Dolce Gusto machine would come out on top if you’d prefer to get more mileage out of your machine in the form of other drinks, though.

As for the taste of the coffee, we give the Sage Nespresso Creatista Uno capsule coffee machine second spot in our list of the best coffee machines – which includes non-pod machines, too – and loved the coffee it made. Buyers of the same model on Amazon felt similarly with reviews awarding an average of 4.8 out of five for flavour. And, setting aside the particular machine, Amazon buyers of the mixed selection of Nespresso capsules gave the flavour an overall 4.7 out of five. 

How about the java a Dolce Gusto brews?

Mini Me by Krups coffee machine

(Image credit: Nescafé)

Buyers of the highly rated Mini Me by Krups coffee machine, which uses Dolce Gusto capsules, award a 4.5 out of five for flavour. The capsules themselves? It’s a big thumbs-up on Amazon with 4.6 stars for flavour for the Dolce Gusto Americano Intenso pods.