one minute review
If you are looking for one of the best coffee makers (opens in a new tab)Choosing a capsule coffee machine does not necessarily guarantee you the best tasting coffee. But what you can count on is consistent coffee that’s quick and easy to brew and with minimal mess.
The Dualit Café Plus is the only dedicated pod coffee machine available from this respected British brand. It’s a small, slim pod coffee maker, though it’s a bit larger than the similarly priced one. Krups Nespresso Pixie.
This simple coffee maker accepts original Nespresso capsules, or other brands that are compatible. dualit even makes its own range; We tested the 50-capsule test pack while putting this machine to the test. And to dispose of them, we use EcoPress from Dualit, which allows you to easily separate the coffee grounds from the aluminum capsules for recycling. You can read more about what we think of that here [insert link].
We also tried the Dualit Milk Frother, which is a separate purchase, but essential if you like coffee with milk (there is no integrated steam wand in the Dualit Café Plus coffee maker). Makes hot frothed milk, no barista skills needed, but capacity is limited and expensive for an add-on.
In the test, the Dualit Café Plus performed well: it is easy to use and prepares espresso and lungo with ease. But the lack of room on the drip tray for a full-size cup proved frustrating, and espressos had disappointingly fine crema, with even the strongest blends producing a bland flavor. As such, the Dualit Café Plus is ideal if you want a convenient and quick way to get a cup of coffee; but if you’re looking for top-notch flavor, this isn’t the machine for you.
Dualit Cafe Plus price and availability
The Café Plus is available directly from Dualit or through other retailers such as Amazon. At the time of writing, it is only available in the UK.
The accompanying Dualit milk frother will set you back an additional £59.99. A 50-capsule trial pack of Dualit’s own-brand aluminum pods costs £12.99 and includes four different flavor and strength coffee pods, as well as a pack of decaf pods.
Price and Availability Score: 4/5
Dualit Coffee Plus Design
- 28 oz/ 800 ml removable water tank
- Programmable dosing volume
- Auto power off after 10 minutes
This slim coffee machine comes in a modern shiny black and silver finish. Measuring 11.7 x 5.9 x 16.3 inches/ 29.8 x 15 x 41.5 cm (H x W x D), it is compact enough for even the smallest kitchens.
Around the rear of the machine you will find a removable water reservoir, which is transparent so you can easily check the water level at a glance. While at the front, a small drip tray opens up to reveal the used pod storage bin, which can hold around 12 used pods. The distance between the drip tray and the spout is only 3.5 inches/ 9 cm, which leaves no room for most standard-height cups, so you’ll need to use a shorter cappuccino or espresso cup.
Just above the spout is a button with a coffee bean symbol, which dispenses espresso if pressed once, or lungo when pressed twice. The tea dispensing button is located just below and is marked with a leaf symbol.
Pulling up on the large silver lever at the top reveals the capsule slot. When the lever is pushed down again, the capsule is pushed into position, ready to brew. Then, when the lever is pulled again, the coffee capsule drops into the storage container below.
There are no other settings, although if you want to change the volume of drink dispensed, the manual walks you through how to reprogram the machine to dispense the desired amount. Fortunately, this is stored in memory for future drinks.
We use the Dualit milk frother in conjunction with the Café Plus, and with just one button it is easy to operate. Pressing the button once gives hot frothed milk; pressing it twice simply heats the milk, while holding it down for 2.5 seconds produces cold, frothy milk. It’s similar to a cordless electric kettle in that it sits on a round base that plugs into the wall. It measures 7.9 x 6.7 x 4.7 inches/ 20 x 17 x 12 cm (height x width x depth).
There are clear minimum and maximum markings on the inside of the brother, and it has a capacity of around 11.3 fl oz/320 ml. The internal beater uses magnets to hold it in place, which means it’s easy to remove for cleaning. It lacks a defined spout for easy pouring, but this does mean that the lid creates a good seal on top. And the clear lid lets you keep an eye on the milk as it froths.
Design Score: 4/5
Performance Dualit Cafe Plus
- Easy to use
- Espresso cream is thin
- Pour espresso in less than 30 seconds
When first taken out of the box, the coffee machine had a fairly strong plastic smell that took a few days to dissipate. In terms of setup, there’s very little to do before you’ve brewed your first cup of coffee: simply wash out the water tank and fill it with fresh water.
Once the main power button on the side is turned on, it takes about 50 seconds for the machine to warm up, and during this time the lights on the front will flash. Although you can insert a pod and make your coffee selection during the heating process, the machine will not start dispensing until it is hot.
An espresso dispenses in approximately 25 seconds, and the 35ml/1.2fl oz can comes out at an average temperature of 70°C/158°F. This is a decent temperature, and around what we’d expect, but if you like your coffee hotter, Dualit recommends heating your cup before serving the coffee. However, the espresso had a disappointingly thin crema, although to be fair this did vary a bit between capsules, with some producing a slightly better crema than others.
Taste can be quite subjective, and with so many capsules available to try, from both Nespresso and Dualit, results will vary. However, as with all pod coffees, the flavor of the coffee here was not as fruity and full-bodied as what you would get from freshly ground beans. In the end, it’s up to you to decide what your priorities are: the freshest possible coffee with bold, intense flavors, or the speed and convenience of capsules.
A lungo dispenses around 70 ml/2.5 fl oz of coffee in just under 50 seconds. We did experience some spattering and sputtering from the peak when the Café Plus dispensed a lungo, which meant the counter and machine needed cleaning afterward. Also, after dispensing the coffee, the machine kept dripping for several seconds, unless I discarded the pod.
When dispensing tea, you can expect to pour no more than 6.3 fl oz/180 ml per pod, which is just over half a cup. Frustratingly, this means you’ll need to use two capsules to get a decent-sized cup of tea. Arguably, this is an unnecessarily expensive way to make tea; tea bags are a much cheaper option and tea is not exactly a difficult drink to prepare. While it’s nice to have the option, we think most people are unlikely to use Café Plus’s tea feature.
As for noise, the Dualit machine measured about 60dB at its loudest when dispensing coffee. This is no higher than normal conversation, and it was only for a short period.
Maintaining this coffee maker after use is not too complicated. Just rinse with some hot water without a pod in place, wipe it down and empty and clean the drip tray. You’ll also need a small brush to clean the filter plate regularly, but note that one isn’t included in the box, so it’s worth saving an old toothbrush for this job. The Café Plus will also need decals at least once a month if you live in medium or hard water areas. This is an automated process, but you will need the manual on hand to follow the instructions.
The milk frother proved to be quiet, barely making any sounds in use. It can heat and froth 29.6 fl oz/300 ml of milk in three minutes, or about two minutes for half that amount. Heat the milk to a comfortable temperature just below 158oF/70oC. We noticed that the less milk you add, the more foam you will get and the bigger the bubbles, while when it is almost full it produces a better microfoam. The heat only function also produces a small amount of foam.
Our biggest complaint about the frother is that the lack of a defined pouring edge means it’s sometimes tricky to pour milk without dripping. Plus, its capacity means that if you want to make more than two small cappuccinos or a large latte, you’ll have to put it back. That said, it’s easy to rinse off and offers a great hands-off option for heating and frothing milk.
Performance Score: 4/5
|Prices and availability||Competitively priced, it offers good value for money and is widely available, but only in the UK.||4/5|
|design score||Overall, the coffee machine offers a user-friendly design, but not including enough space for a standard cup is a big drawback.||4/5|
|performance score||The machine is intuitive to use, but the coffee produced lacked a bold, full flavor, and the crema was thin.||4/5|
I should buy?
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
- First revision: September 2022