As mentioned on Whatever Works 30 in relation to a Room 101 on bizarre pricing, here are my thoughts on the Nescafe Dolce Gusto Jovia Manual (could they have made the name longer?!) after a couple of weeks of use with their Pod system. The context is that I had been using, for the last year or two, the Bosch Tassimo Vivy with the Tassimo Disc system (, which seemed to go wrong when it came to descaling, with an ultimate solution offered by a Community member at The bizarre pricing was that Tesco were selling this Dolce for £29, Amazon for £39, Curry's for £59 and Sainsbury's, for £90! I see that at the time of review, Tesco is now up to £49.

Firstly, I reckon that the Pod/Disc systems tend to get you a very similar drink for a very similar price per cup. So, nothing to choose there really, unless you prefer some of the wacky variations unique to each system, like Chococino for the Dolce, for example! Take a look before committing to a system as to which has what, as, obviously, they won't work with each other's machines!

The water is put into a container at the rear, which, actually, is less convenient and works more stupidly than the Tassimo. The Tassimo water reservoir has a big open top, easy to fill and slots into the side of the machine, meaning you can neatly place the unit backed up against a kitchen wall. The Dolce's is a daftly shaped container with a daftly shaped hole on the front/side/top which has a much smaller opening and needs to placed at an angle under the tap. Furthermore, because it attaches on the rear, so you have to leave space. On the plus side, the whole unit has a smaller footprint and is taller, so even when left away from the wall, it doesn't take up as much space as the Tassimo.

The feature that I like most about the Dolce over the Tassimo though is that it has a manual lever to control the flow of hot (or cold) water, which means that for each Disc of drink that is made, user-control over strength is easily attained by just leaving the lever in the on/off position. With the Tassimo, flow is controlled by a button and a controlled amount of water is applied by the computer and that's it. It stops when it's finished. You can then press and hold the button for extra water, but it's a bit hit and miss as to amount, as whilst the button is being pressed, the water is not actually pouring, but heating, so you have to guess how long to press without seeing any action. And I don't see any way of making your drink stronger than Tassimo dictate. If you take your cup away mid-flow, I guess it might be technically stronger, but it's a bit of a guessing game! No, the manual lever of the Dolce wins here.

Nothing much else to say, really. They both have a drip-tray which needs regular cleaning. The Tassimo has a lift and plunge arrangement for the Pods whilst the Dolce has a sliding drawer. I think that you can buy a Dolce machine which is not so manual, and does behave in a more measured-dose way, but for me, OK so you can't walk away and let it finish unattended, but the strength of this system over the Tassimo is the easy control over water-flow and strength of drink. Both are good machines, with pros and cons. Whatever you do, though, shop around!
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