But now an increasing number of third-party Dolce Gusto-compatible coffee pods are becoming available, giving owners of Dolce Gusto coffee machines more choice over the coffee they drink.
Most are supermarket own-brand options, which are cheaper than Dolce Gusto pods, so switching could lead to big savings for regular coffee drinkers. One supermarket pod could save you more than £70 a year compared with the official Dolce Gusto version, based on having two coffees per day.
We asked a panel of expert coffee tasters to blind-taste and rate Nescafé Dolce Gusto pods alongside compatible pods from brands such as Aldi, Asda, Costa, Lidl and Starbucks.
Below, we reveal the best options for Americano and latte drinkers.
Our expert tasting panel blind-tasted Americano pods from Dolce Gusto, Costa and Starbucks alongside cheaper compatible options from budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl.
Overall, they found that all the drinks came out too weak and suggested making a smaller coffee to give a stronger taste. But some options fared better than others.
£2.49 for 16 pods (16p per pod)
£4.09 for 16 pods (26p per pod)
Drop off at CollectPlus, only if ordered through Dolce Gusto website
£2.89 for 16 pods (18p per pod)
£4 for 12 pods (33p per pod)
Recyclable via drop-off scheme
Table notes: Results published April 2020. All pods are compatible with Dolce Gusto coffee machines.
As well as Americanos, there are compatible versions of latte and cappuccino Dolce Gusto pods available for fans of milky coffees. These come with a second pod that contains milk powder, which is used to make the milk froth.
We asked our panel to assess these, too, to find out how the cheaper compatible pods compare. Our panel liked the Dolce Gusto, Starbucks Latte Macchiato and Costa Signature Blend Latte best, but thought the cheaper Lidl and Aldi latte pods had an unpleasant artificial sweetness that didn’t compare well to coffee made with fresh milk.
We asked a panel of coffee experts to blind-taste and rate a range of Dolce Gusto-compatible pods.
Our panel of independent coffee experts included:
We made each coffee using a Best Buy Dolce Gusto machine and asked our experts to taste it both with and without milk.
They rated the aroma, appearance, flavour, mouthfeel, sweetness and aftertaste of each coffee. These ratings were then combined into an overall percentage score.
Not sure what type of coffee machine is right for you? There are several types of pod coffee machine, most of which just work with one type of coffee pod, such as Nespresso or Dolce Gusto, which limits your options to the range available for that brand.