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Sunday
Aug052012

Nescafé Alegria Review

For obvious reasons I can't tell you whether you would enjoy the taste of the coffee produced by this machine.  I can however express my personal opinion, of the machine and its abilities so here it is. 

I bought this machine during a half-price sale at Staples for £50 because I thought it would be an interesting thing to review, and I hadn't seen any other reviews of this online. It's a different take on a single-cup coffee machine, as it uses coffee made using the current fad of mixing in Micro Grind whole-beans with freeze dried instant. In my opinion this is the Emperor's Clothes of coffee, a way to re-market instant coffee at crazily high prices. My taste buds are not great. I can't identify a Sumatran from a Columbian from an Ethiopian coffee by taste.  But I can spot the difference between an instant, a filter and an Americano. The coffee this machine produces tastes to me like good quality instant.  

I've pretty much finished my 'free' refill cartridge now, and I won't be buying another. If the price of refills was more realistic, say £5, then I may well have stuck with this machine a bit longer. It is convenient and neat and the coffee whilst not great is passable, certainly respectable enough for me to quickly gulp down before setting off for work. 

However the machine is now back up to £100 and the refills are £13…..so at that price it's a complete non-starter. I suspect that without a massive price shift, this product's days are numbered.  Expect to find these cluttering up the bargain bins at your office supplies retailer in a few months.

If you want to know more about this machine, the official website is here.

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Reader Comments (25)

Fantastic review, you have a knack of producing addictive interesting videos, thank you! I quite like the micro ground coffees as a step up from instants if the supermarkets have them on reduced (only). Starbucks tastes the best but is a ridiculous price unless they're giving it away for free. Best of luck and thanks again :)

August 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDave

@Dave I agree that the micro grind coffee definitely tastes better than plain old instant. I'm not a coffee snob, but I really can't stomach normal instant. I always have a tin of the microgrind in the house, its great for coffee emergencies.

August 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Nespresso pods are pretty badly priced too, plus there's a limited source to get them from - either online direct or in one of the very few 'special places' for George Clooney. We've stopped using ours and just use the milk fluffer and micro grind coffee - not quite the same but then not quite the same price.

It's a bit odd that you do moan about the prices though, for someone who clearly goes to starbucks quite a bit. Have you tried http://www.hasbean.co.uk/ ? - although you'll probably need a 2nd mortgage for that :/


Now, when are you going to review that NC700 ? All the reviews I've seen have been pretty crap. Looking forward to a decent one. Does it have the dual clutch? If so, how does it affect riding?

Quick, get it done before the next torrential down pour starts :)

August 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAndy Powell

Nespresso's exclusivity has now expired, so third party pods are starting to appear. You can get some in Costco now.

My Starbucks mugs were a Christmas gift, although I do go there from time to time, a couple of times per month.

You'll be glad to know that I was filming some stuff for the NC700 review today. I've also figured out how to do a commentary whilst riding now and I'll be utilising the bullet cam for some interesting angles. This one will take weeks to put together. Things will probably go quiet here until it's done

August 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

I am not a coffee drinker, nevertheless I watched and enjoyed this review, thanks.

August 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAldenone

I'm not a coffee drinker either but I'm a little surprised that we didn't get a comparison to: "a benighted piece of equipment produced by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. It was called a Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer". Still, an awesome revew.

August 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

I'm not a coffee drinker so some of this coffee culture has bypassed me. What's the deal with all this americano, cappa-mocha-chino nonsense. As far as I'm concerned there are two types of coffee - black or white. I'm prepared to accept espresso as another variation on the basis that it uses a different blend of beans, but here everything comes from the same source so essentially it's just a small strong black coffee.

To me, having to refill the water container every two cups makes the device completely pointless. You may as just use a normal kettle, especially if the blend of coffee really is just barely better than instant.

One thing I thought you should have included in the review though - if there is nothing special about the coffee how does the cost per cup compare against a kettle and a good quality jar of instant/micro-grind?

One last question, as I believe is obligatory for any review on the this blog - can you use it as a webcam? ;o)

August 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRev Gear

Great review. I was thinking of buying a alegria, but didnt know the coffee was so expensive.

Isnt it possible to put a normal (good) instant coffee in it?

Cheers

September 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArtis

Well you've got to remember that this uses instant Espresso strength coffee rather than normal instant. If you can find instant espresso it should work.

September 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Ah oke thought it was normal instant coffee..

Maybe its better to wait for the senseo sarista thats gonna launch in a couple of weeks here in holland.

Thanks

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArtis

Update: i've just bought an alegria and tested it with alegria coffee and with "normal" instant coffee also from nescafe. We think the normal coffee almost taste the same if not better.

The normal instant coffee cost 5 euro for 200 gram, instead of the alegria coffee 12 euro for 150 gram.

Anyway, i'm happy :)

September 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterArtis

Well thanks for the tip on the Sarista. I had no idea this product existed and I'll be keeping my eye on it. It looks interesting.

September 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterTechmoan

Just bought the Alegria today from Staples for £60 which included a free coffee refill cartridge. I already have the Dolce Gusto but found I really dislike the taste of the powdered milk (I like latte), Hoping this might be better because I can use fresh milk. If anyone can recommend a good decaf alternative to use instead of the Nescafe refill cartridge I would love to know.

September 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTizziewizzie

Good review- I very nearly bought one of these the other day in staples but was put off by the lack of clarity about how on earth a pot of coffee grounds could turn into cappuccino....you've cleared that up nicely. Glad I didn't buy one now. Some years ago I purchased a machine that used instant coffee to make cappuccino, but the coffee all gunked up inside as the storage put was not airtight- but it was great at frothing the milk- they've solved that problem with this machine but taken a step backwards on the milk.

October 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSentinelred

First time I have seen one of your reviews. Thank you for something light-hearted, informative and very well produced. Shame about the Alegria - I was thinking of getting one! - but I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for your reviews in future.

November 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhil

This product ships in Japan under the name 'Barista'. There is a small selection of coffee available, and Gold Blend is one. No need to buy the 'Alegria' branded coffee at inflated prices.

November 23, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul

I bought one the other day. It makes everything so effortless, which is great (the main reason i bought it). The thing that puts me off though, is that every cup comes out luke warm. I find myself first heating the milk, which seems counter intuitive.

December 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdavid

I bought it as well and have kept the empty coffee container. Later on I've put cheaper instant coffee in it and re-filled the machine. It's working fine!!

December 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYvonne

I bought the Allegra for Christmas. I am not a coffee afficionado but I love the taste and the ease of making any style. The refills are a lot cheaper than the pods and most of my coffee loving friends approve too (or else they are being nice!)

January 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjudi

I love my Alegria machine but the coffee is a silly price and not that special...I have experimented with many different coffeess in my Alegria machine and all work great. But only use granules not powder. I have found bog standard (and cheap) nescafe does really well and has a surprisingly good crema layer.

Here is the clever bit..... don't through away your empty Alegria cartridge.... keep it, cut the bottom off, and use it as a funnel to fill the machine.... without the special top to the Alegria cartridge filling the machine is awkward.

Have fun, experiment with the coffee.... and never sleep again! Like me. (2:22am)

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBob

Update - have had my Alegria since September 2012 and really disliked the Nescafé coffee you are supposed to use. Have tried a few different decaf ones and the one I prefer is the Kenco Milicano Decaf - it works very well in the machine. Only negative with the Alegria is that the finished drink is not hot enough if the hot water jet is used to heat and froth the milk - I now heat the milk in the microwave first. Still a very good machine for the £60 (including a Nescafé coffee cartridge) I paid for it. A large funnel works well to refill the coffee container if you don't haven't kept the original empty Nescafé cartridge.

February 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTizziewizzie

Bought mine for use in the lunch room at work - now use Robert Harris freeze dried blends - 1/3 price of the Nescafe - microwave the milk first for a real hot frothy drink - we all prefer the results to "normal instant coffee" . I now look forward to my daily caffeine fix I am obviously not a coffee snob. Just pull the rubber cap out and pour straight out of the packet - no problems in 6 months.

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLarry

I recently got a machine for my birthday. In South Africa it still quite new and subsequently still very expensive.

It worked great for like week one, and now produces piss cold coffee, no matter what we do. Has anyone else had this problem? The seems as though the machine skips the warm-up process and goes straight to shooting cold water into the cup.

We regrettably don't have the receipt anymore, so I can't return it :-(

May 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimone

My husband is the only coffee drinker in the house and we bought one of these from Staples about 18 months ago when it was on offer. The machine is great if you are regularly making coffee for 1. No fiddly capsules to store just a canister to top up about once a month. The Alegria coffee is quite expensive so we have experimented with other types and settled on Milicano for now, we kept an original canister for easy filling but a funnel would also work.

January 11, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCoffeewidow

I refill this by taking the bottom off the coffee container off and filling it with either Gold Blend barista style or Carte Noire Instinct and it works perfectly :) I paid £69.99 and it came with the 2L kit in the box. I mainly use it for espresso's and americano's though because the frothed milk is bloody awful in my opinion. Although the latte is bearable if I use a big enough cup and add a single espresso to it.

September 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

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