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Dualit Cafe Cino Capsule Machine Review

Call off the search for a crowd-pleasing pod machine because this is it

Verdict

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Compact yet packed with features, the Dualit Cafe Cino Capsule Machine does more than the average pod coffee maker. It’s less straightforward to use than some but offers plenty for the price.

Pros

  • Makes hot and cold foamed milk
  • Also brews tea
  • Compact

Cons

  • Limited cup space
  • Can be noisy
  • Compatible pods only

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £199.98
  • 800ml water tank
  • 19-bar pump
  • 500ml milk frother (air volume)
  • 250 x 180 x 370mm

Anyone who’s ever attempted to froth milk with a wand will know what a thankless task it is. How far down in the milk should the wand be? Is that spluttering sound a good or a bad thing? And why does it so often need to be painstakingly disassembled to clean it properly? Fortunately, the Dualit Cafe Cino Capsule Machine is here to help with an easier system, letting you play barista at the touch of a button.

With the ability to make tea at the right temperature, too, this is a machine that will suit all members of the family.

  • Espresso: It brewed faultless crema-topped coffee using Nespresso-compatible pods with no mess
  • Milk frothing: Making hot and cold foamed milk was easy, although the cold version didn’t hold its froth well once poured
  • Ease of cleaning: Unusually, even the drip tray, used capsule basket and water tank are dishwasher-safe, so cleaning was effortless

Related: Best coffee machine

While the Café Cino is primarily geared towards coffee, what gives it an advantage over many other machines is its ability to brew tea from Dualit’s own capsules. The dedicated tea button boosts the heat of the water, meaning that your cuppa tastes as it should – rather than being made with the lower temperature required for coffee. For tea, it also dispenses 180ml rather than an espresso-sized shot.

Great cappuccino or latte still remains the primary reason to buy the Cafe Cino. The machine’s coffee button can be pressed once for espresso and twice for lungo using Dualit or Nespresso-compatible capsules, plus each dosage can be reprogrammed. However, there’s no automation when inserting pods – you’ll still have to manually close a lever to hold it in place, and lift it to release – but there is for its milk frothing function. This takes place in a jug that sits on its own platform at the side, and has a steam pipe and whisk that removes the hassle from frothing milk using a wand.

There are three buttons that control the frother – cappuccino, latte and one for cold frothed milk (ideal for milkshakes). The two warm settings also have a temperature boost function if you like your latte extra hot, and that’s all there is to it – no spurting and no complicated shots of steam to contend with. Barista-standard milk pouring skills are optional, but with a little practice, you could be making hearts and leaves in no time. After a rinse, the frother was ready to make the next drink. We found that every cup of coffee it made was exactly as it should be – rich, aromatic and with a good, thick crema.

Its other useful features include an eco-friendly auto switch-off after 10 minutes, 
plus a warning light to let you know when it needs descaling.

While its diminutive proportions are a blessing for those with minimal worktop space or small kitchens, the Café Cino may well be limiting for others. Its 800ml tank will supply enough water for espresso without refilling but cups of tea demand far more. The used capsule container inside is similarly small, so even if it doesn’t need the water topping up, you’ll probably have to empty that daily.

Those brewing into mugs may also struggle to fit them below the spout. Removing the drip tray provides enough height but there’s still a small platform that larger mugs have to sit on at an awkward angle – plus the vibration of the machine meant we had to hold ours in place during dispensing.

The Café Cino’s low maintenance and compact size (it’ll comfortably tuck under wall cabinets or at the back of a worktop) means it’s brilliant for small or solo households as well as home offices. It’s pricier than similar compact pod coffee machines, such as the Nespresso Pixie, but its built-in milk foaming function gives it far more appeal – especially if there’s no spare socket to plug in a separate frother.

The ability to make tea is also a win if you don’t fancy having a kettle or its steam in a home office, plus there’s a good choice of pods available – Dualit alone makes 10 of its own delicious coffee capsules and five teas to keep things interesting. It comes unstuck if you favour big mugs, but for espresso drinkers and long coffee lovers, it’s proof that good things come in small packages.

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