Cool gifts for geeks, 2011: Miscellaneous tech treasures

Random goodness for the gadget lover on your list

Page 9 of 10

Dulce Gusto Circolo KRUPS coffee machine, By Nescafe

If your office already has a Keurig K-Cup machine, you know how awesome it is to just pop a cup in the tray and create your own single-serving cup of coffee, compared with the old method of brewing it in a regular coffee pot that none of your co-workers ever clean or refill. Like those machines, the Dulce Gusto Circolo KRUPS machine from Nescafe aims to allow for single-serving cups, but with a slight difference - they aim to add other flavors like cappuccino or espresso, but with additional "flavor capsules" that mimic the foam of those flavors (as well as hot chocolate).

This is done through the machine's Control Lever, a manual process that lets the user decide how much strength and mixture to put in their cup. Unlike the automated process of the Keurig machine, if you want stronger coffee you can add less water during the pouring process. Most of our testers were unimpressed with this, however, as they expected an automated process and seemed annoyed that they would have to sit there and pour their own instead of pushing a button and letting the machine do all the work.

Another nice touch on this machine is that it alternates between hot and cold beverages - in addition to all of the coffees, the machine can make iced tea (we only saw a peach-flavored tea available, however). The switch is achieved through water and a heating element inside the device. Because of this feature, it also means users have to add their own water through a plastic reservoir in the back of the unit, unlike the other K-Cup machines which are usually attached to a water line.

While most of our testers enjoyed the chance to have some new flavors of coffee to try, in the end the additional work involved turned them off and they went back to their K-Cup machine. If you don't have that kind of competition, you may find this interesting to use in the home, but you'd really really have to like the flavors that Nescafe is offering (although in theory, these could work with other K-Cups). But you'd still have all of that manual labor.

Cool Yule rating: 3 stars
Price: About $250 (Amazon)
Reviewed by Keith Shaw

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