Dolce Gusto has long experimented with the idea of what a coffee machine should look like. The Eclipse takes this concept to a new level, styled as a loop that transforms into an eye-catching twist. But it’s not just the shape that’s striking – this machine is incredibly feature-packed.
It has a used-pod alert light, an XL function for longer drinks, and automatic opening alongside touch controls, descaling alerts and an auto-off function for saving energy. There’s also a mini capsule basket to save you from endless trips to the bin, and the Eclipse's varied pod options mean it can make more than 40 different hot and cold drinks, preventing beverage boredom.
In a world of boxy and bulbous coffee machines, the Eclipse changes the pace with its elegant design. Its shape is neat when closed and it opens smoothly with a touch of a button, the appeal of which is surprisingly enduring. The Eclipse is bigger than some equivalent machines, yet perches on a small, round base to reduce its visual bulk.
Fortunately, there’s some substance behind the style. The drip tray can be fixed at three heights or removed completely, so the Eclipse can accommodate every size and shape of cup, from a teensy espresso cup to a large mug. Its capacious water tank with a level-indication window is incorporated into its right curve, while all the controls sit on top.
Drinks are made by inserting a pod, then selecting the amount of water needed via a touch-controlled slider and choosing whether it should be hot or cold. While this machine's new XL function doesn’t align with the suggested amounts on the pods, it does provide the option of a longer drink for those who find the suggested preparation strong.
Five minutes of non-use results in the Eclipse turning itself off, plus it has a distinctive red power cord and plug that help differentiate it in a kitchen with multiple appliances.
Whether you’re in need of an express espresso or have time for a more structured drink, the Eclipse ticks both boxes. You can leave it open and ready to go or start from a closed position and allow its automatic opening to add to a satisfying coffee-making ritual. A fast heat-up of less than 30 seconds means you can have a basic coffee in under a minute or you can combine milk and drink pods to create something more personal.
Once I'd run the cleaning function – the machine comes with a rinsing tool that sits in the pod holder – I was ready to start. I began by making an Americano. With the drip tray in place at the base, we selected the XL setting, popped in a pod and hit the red button for hot water. The Eclipse pierced the pod automatically, then ran the selected amount of water through, bars reducing as it progressed. The machine stops by itself, meaning you can step away while it’s brewing without worrying about it overfilling.
Once it had finished dispensing, the on/off light blinked for a few seconds before the orange ‘used capsule’ indicator showed and the capsule was ready to be removed into the useful mini bin. Next, I tried making a Mocha. This required using a coffee capsule followed by a milk capsule (with a white base). As the machine remembers the last bar setting used, it was made a bit easier by both of these capsules requiring the same number of bars. The resulting drink had some residue at the bottom of it, so it would probably still need a stir to combine.
I finished by mounting the cup platform higher for making an espresso. The cup fitted neatly below the spout to reduce splashes, and dispensed an aromatic, perfectly made espresso with a minimum of fuss and mess. While the Eclipse opens itself automatically, it sadly doesn’t close itself when you’re finished, so this had to be done manually. The only clean-up required was a quick rinse of the pod holder.
Even the most exacting coffee purist would struggle to find fault with the Dolce Gusto system. A silky-smooth crema is guaranteed every time from Americano and Espresso pods, with an authentic aroma and rich, complex taste. The other drinks are undeniably convenient and the variety on offer is exhaustive, but those requiring the milk pods may not be to everyone’s taste.
The Dolce Gusto system has been making reliably good coffee for several years, but previous machines, especially of the manual type, have been clunky. Where the Eclipse does well is by resolving many of the usual problems with pod machines, such as a limited water tank and pod disposal, as well as offering a more immersive drink-making experience. A wide range of drinks and strength options makes it ideal for a busy household or multiple users, catering to espresso addicts and families alike.
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As well-rounded in functions as its shape suggests, the Eclipse is a crowd-pleaser and design statement rolled into one.