“There isn’t enough room on the counter top and you are the only one who drinks coffee.”
“Well…yeah…but…we can move the bread bin? The bread bin is just full of boxes of tea.”
My flatmate and I were having what was, to my memory at least, our first argument. Not a proper one, really, just sighs, slightly raised voices, and eyebrows arched in indignation.
She was right – and oh man, I will never hear the end of admitting that – in that we don’t have an enormous amount of counter space. It’s taken up with by a utensils pot, a spice rack, the kettle, a biscuit tin, a ceramic chicken for keeping eggs in, and the dreaded bread bin, not to mention the bottles too tall for cupboards and the obligatory sugar and coffee jars.
But I love a morning coffee. The problem is that by the time it’s the right temperature to drink, it’s time to run out the door, starting the morning with a slightly burnt tongue and one abandoned half-coffee next to my bed. So obviously, I got the coffee machine, knowing, having seen it in the flesh, that we wouldn’t really have trouble fitting it in.
Meet Sven.* I carried it home on the underground – the Dolce Gusto had already won me over just by having a carry handle as part of the box – and snuck it into the kitchen, tucked away in a corner. The flatmate I’d argued with came back to the flat an hour later, and didn’t even notice it. At around 17cm wide and 32cm tall, it’s as inconspicuous as hedgehog in a bush. Dolce Gusto 1 – 0 kitchen space.
I wasn’t sure that I’d end up writing a review, to be honest. Having never had a coffee machine, I thought, “Eh, aren’t they all the same?”. But when someone popped up on Facebook asking for opinions on whether to get this or a rival machine, I realised I was pretty strongly – vocally – in Camp Gusto.
If you’re a coffee snob, look away now, for this is not a review from a coffee snob’s perspective. I’m a reformed Starbucks lover, and first came to a cup of Joe via sickly-sweet syrups (as a side note, I still love Starbucks for the comfort and familiarity it provides, particularly when travelling).
First and foremost, the coffee itself. All of the pods I’ve tried, even the darker, milkless ones which I’d usually steer clear of, are smooth and have none of that dustiness or bitterness that instant and just plain bad coffees have. It is worth noting that some of the varieties are surprisingly high in calories, but it’s really easy to avoid those, particularly as some have “skinny” versions.
And oh, the ease. Fill up the water bucket at the back, pop a pod in, let it fire up, and knock the lever to the left for cold water and the right for hot. In a machine vs kettle race, the machine was a clear winner, and, importantly, it kicks out your morning coffee at a drinkable temperature, making it excellent for those whose pre-work rituals can be a bit of a mad dash.
The costs: Coming in at just under £90, the Jovia is actually in the cheaper end of the market when it comes to non-filter coffee machines. Tassimo and Lavazza, both of which make bulkier machines, hover around the £130 mark. For the actual coffee pods – of which there are many varieties – you’ll be looking at 25-50p per coffee, as some of them use a coffee pod and a separate milk pod. The pods themselves can be bought online, although cafe au lait (my favourite) and latte pods seem to be fairly widely available in small supermarkets.
In terms of ecological costs, the pods themselves currently aren’t recyclable – although they are working on it – and it’s very tricky to get the spent coffee out of the pods to use it, for example, as fertiliser. It’s also worth noting that Nescafé, which makes the Dolce Gusto, is owned by corporate behemoth Nestlé, which many people actively avoid.
Before I got Sven, I never thought I’d want a coffee machine, and merrily drank instant at work. Now, I can’t imagine being without it, and instant tastes so odd that I’ve switched to drinking fruit tea during the day. For the casual coffee drinker, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the Dolce Gusto Jovia.
* What do you mean, you don’t name your appliances?
I was sent the Jovia following a bloggers’ event, but with absolutely no obligation to write a review.