Do Dolce Gusto coffee pods taste bad?

A reader recently asked me why Dolce Gusto coffee pods taste so bad. At first, I thought I would give him a quick and simple answer; your coffee machine is probably calcified! However, then I started to think about the number of reasons why these coffee pods might taste bad and decided to put together this article here.

Dolce Gusto coffee pods may taste bad if they have expired or the coffee inside has gone bad. On the other hand, they can also taste bad if there is a problem with calcification or dirt in the coffee machine, or even if you use water that tastes bad or uses the wrong technique.

What do Dolce Gusto coffee pods taste like?

Dolce Gusto has a wide range of coffee pods, from espressos, americanos and lungos to all kinds of coffee&milk drinks, tea and chocolate. So, saying what Dolce Gusto pods taste like is a bit tricky.

Because I have been tasting all types of Dolce Gusto pods for many years, I will give my personal opinion on the taste of each type here.

The flavour of Dolce Gusto espresso pods

The espresso brewed by a coffee pod machine is the first benchmark we should consider when judging a brand’s pod’s taste. And while Nespresso decided to focus solely on this type of pod, Dolce Gusto went the opposite way, offering a wide variety of coffee drinks with milk.

Dolce Gusto has a dozen espresso varieties, but they all have a very standard taste in common, with no strong notes and a decent (though not very long-lasting) crema. These espressos won’t seduce you with every sip, but for £0.22, they are ideal for those who drink three or more coffees a day.

If you’re a little picky about your espresso’s body, opt for the Espresso Intenso variety or the Essenza di Moka, although the latter has more than 160mg of caffeine per cup.

Flavour of Americano and Lungo Dolce Gusto pods

Americano and Lungo Dolce Gusto coffee pods follow the same standard as the espresso pods. With these pods, we obtain coffees without the body and intensity that we would expect from an Americano or Lungo in a coffee shop, where the crema will only last a few minutes.

In their favour, we can add that there is hardly any bitter aftertaste or much acidity, despite coffee pods that are very exposed to over-extraction. The Americano pod uses all seven bars of the beverage selector.

In summary, as with the espresso pods, we can say that these coffee pods are ideal for big coffee drinkers. But not for the most demanding coffee drinkers. If you want more flavour and intensity from this pod, look for Americano Intenso and Lungo Intenso.

The flavour of the Dolce Gusto coffee&milk pods

This is Dolce Gusto’s strong point; coffee drinks with milk. We have every type of coffee&milk drink imaginable (Cappuccinos, Lattes, Macchiatos, Café Au Lait, etc.), an option for every family member.

Those who share a coffee machine won’t fight over the Dolce Gusto pods, as they are all delicious, although they don’t have a very intense coffee taste. I don’t know if it’s because of the strongly flavoured milk powder or the low coffee strength, but they are soft coffees.

If you like to enjoy an intense cappuccino, I’m afraid Dolce Gusto is not for you. But this is the brand for you if you want to experiment with a different coffee drink daily.

Note: Be careful when adding sugar to these drinks, as the flavoured milk does some work.

The flavour of Dolce Gusto coffee-free pods

Dolce Gusto offers drinks such as tea, chocolate and juices. However, none of these drinks is similar to the beverage they try to imitate.

Whereas in the previous cases, we were talking about pods with less body or intensity than we would expect from a coffee, here we are dealing with a completely different case. For example, fruit juice pods taste like fruit but are far from real. And as for the Chococino, it has nothing to do with a good homemade hot chocolate.

Why do Dolce Gusto coffee pods taste bad?

I’ve already told you my opinion on the taste of Dolce Gusto coffee pods, and I’ve explained that, as a general rule, they lack intensity and body and have a very standard taste. However, that doesn’t mean that the pods taste bad.

If your drinks taste too acidic or rancid, that’s a different problem. If your Dolce Gusto coffee pods make coffee that tastes bad, any of the following may be happening:

Dolce Gusto coffee pods are in bad condition

To eliminate the problem of bad taste in the coffee pods themselves, you should try with pods from a different box, and if possible, buy at a different time. If you try pods from two different boxes and they still taste bad, the problem lies with the coffee machine.

Note: You can also prepare a coffee without a pod and see if the water alone tastes bad.

We have already explained in another article that coffee pods expire, how to detect if they have gone bad and how to prevent this from happening.

Problem with the preparation technique

Dolce Gusto coffee pods have a series of symbols printed on the top, including an inverted pyramid of 7 bars. These bars correspond to the volume selector on the Dolce Gusto coffee machine. Each pod has a different number of bars, which is very important to respect.

If you use an espresso pod with one or two bars printed on it, but you select 7 bars on the machine, the coffee you get will be too acidic with a bitter aftertaste. Something similar happens the other way round if you use Americano pods to prepare espressos.

If you do the technique wrong, the coffee will not be good, but we can’t say it doesn’t taste good.

Problem due to excessive calcification

The most common problem with coffee pod machines is the excessive limescale inside. This build-up of limescale and other mineral deposits can affect the performance of your Dolce Gusto and even the taste of your pods.

So if you have never descaled your Dolce Gusto coffee machine, you should do it as soon as possible, as it will not only prevent your coffee from tasting bad but also save you from breakdowns.

Dirt problem in the coffee machine

The injector is the component of your Dolce Gusto coffee machine that should always be kept clean. A dirty injector will cause your Dolce Gusto to lack pressure and even cause water leaks. On top of all this, it can make your coffee taste bad, so it is important to run the cleaning pin over it repeatedly.

Make sure the water tank does not smell bad because if you have left water standing there for a long time, it may be dirty, and this dirt can pass the flavour to the coffee you prepare.

Problem due to improper water usage

Continuing with the tank, ensure that the water you put in the tank does not taste bad, as any of the above matters if you use water that tastes bad.

To rule out the taste problem in the water, you can use bottled water and even brew a coffee without a coffee pod to see if the taste is altered.

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Written by Pablo Barrantes Nevado
I am Pablo Barrantes, a coffee lover. I decided to start this website to solve all the doubts that arise every day when preparing our favorite drink: coffee. I am an industrial engineer by profession, but I have worked in coffee shops for many years, where I have learned all the secrets about coffee machines and coffee. My passion for coffee has led me to investigate and study beyond the obvious, and thanks to this, I can offer solutions and give news about coffee and coffee makers. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I research, document and write here.

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