DeLonghi tweaks a winning coffeemaker design

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The DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto line has dominated our single-serve coffeemaker Ratings for years. But in our tests of the $150 DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Circolo and the $100 DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Piccolo EDG200T, we've had mixed feelings about the joystick control. On the one hand it seemed to speed brewing and gave us the flexibility to put in only as much water as we wanted. But on the other hand, all that freedom lost these units points in our tests for portion-size consistency.

As it turns out, the company claims it was users who gave the ultimate thumbs down to the joystick, resulting in new “Flow Stop” models with cup-size presets. The company routinely conducts focus groups and online surveys, along with engaging with customers on Facebook and monitoring user reviews. And when it came to the Dolce Gusto’s joystick, the objections were clear. “Consumers want to enjoy great results without having to spend a lot of time in the process,” said Enrico Baso, senior product manager of kitchen products, including coffeemakers, for the DeLonghi and Kenwood brands. “With the Flow Stop feature, they could set the machine for the cup size they want and walk away to do other things while the coffee is brewing.”

We’re all in a desperate hurry in the morning. But hey, today’s innovation starts with yesterday’s experimentation, so you can’t fault a company for trying. Fault it if it won’t accept criticism, which clearly doesn’t apply here.

The $180 DeLonghi Nescafé Dolce Gusto Circolo Flow Stop, the second such model we’ve tested, is one of four new pod coffeemakers in our Ratings. The other is the Bosch Tassimo T12 Brewing System, $80. Neither has an overall score yet, pending taste tests. We’ve also tested two drip coffeemakers, the $20 Living Solutions Single Serve Coffeemaker, a to-go model that brews into a travel mug, and the $60 Melitta 46894, a standard carafe model. But don’t rush to buy one without doing your homework. Check out our buying guide for coffeemakers before viewing our Ratings of 112 models.

—Ed Perratore



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