Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio 2 Review

Nescafe Dolce Gusto Genio 2 Review

Reviewed by: Jennifer

Rating: 4.5 Stars

It’s been awhile since I reviewed a really good “gourmet” style single serve brewer…I probably should disregard the quotes, because a lot of people who own the Nescafe Gusto Genio would say gourmet all the way.

The power of a more expensive piece of equipment in a small household size brewer for every specialty drink you can imagine. No, It does NOT take K-Cups. But you may not miss them.

I know you are probably thinking…and I’m way ahead of you. Did the team at Nescafe use a penguin as the model for the Genio? Tell me I’m not the only one thinking this?? Even if not, I think you’ll agree…this thing is SO COOL looking.

Coolness aside, how well does it function? Let’s dive into that right now.


What’s Included?

In addition to the Genio machine itself, you will also receive 2 extra coffee pod sampler packs, a start guide, user manual, and a standalone bin for used capsules (or you could use it to store brand new ones), a rinsing tool (for the pod capsule chamber) and finally, a 2 Year warranty.

Some consumers have claimed they didn’t receive the sampler pods, but instead received a product rebate. Upon further checking, the people who did not get the sampler pods they were expecting, got them when they purchased through the manufacturer listing and not a third party seller’s.


Ok, straight to Amazon’s sales page to get the measurements for this little guy: As stated, I got 10.8″ by 6.5″ by 11.7″ and 5.4 pounds.

Going to the manufacturer site, I discovered the measurements listed are: 11.7″ in height, 6.5″ in width, and 10.8″ depth and 9.7 pounds. So Amazon was not too far off – but you gotta have those indicators of length, width and depth sometimes to gauge where you might want to keep this brewing machine. And although it is compact in size you may notice that the depth overtakes the height a little which I elaborate on further (see Reservoir)

There is a 34″ power cord that’s red in color – ( yes, red, don’t ask me why) and as for the base to dispensing area clearance, there is a 7″ maximum height if you don’t have the drip tray in place.


This professional grade, yet compact single serve coffee and espresso machine’s most unique features include:

  • Unique “toggle switch” mode of operation with which to adjust to get the right flavor and extraction combination.
  • A Hot and Cold setting in the case you may want to switch to iced drinks
  • 15-bar pressure system
  • Auto-shutoff after 5 minutes of inactivity
  • Can make drinks from 2 oz to 12 oz
  • Operates fully with the proprietary Nescafe pods,

Gusto Genio Controls

Operation with the Gusto Genio is distinctively different. Instead of actual buttons to push, it is designed with a “toggle switch” lever that resembles a joystick with which to adjust the brew setting flavor and strength. When looking at the front panel there is a series of 9 lines (bars) that illuminate in green LED lights as the toggle is adjusted.

The up and down arrows will let you move up or down in the number of green-lit bars -push back to move up a number, forward to remove a bar.

Also notice that the power button sits right in front of the “joystick”. You can be assured of a worry-free session end by the auto-shutoff mode that the Genio goes into in about 5 minutes of inactivity.


The green lines represent bars that calibrate indicated by the number of bars on the chosen coffee pod, so you can be assured of getting the “right” amount of flavor, extraction, and strength in your drinks.

I think it’s a fun approach…all you pretty much have to do is examine your pod for the number of bars on the label and “dial in” the same amount using the toggle bar. Case in point, if there are 4 bars shown on the pod label, you’d tap the toggle bar 4 times.

The series of bars ranges from 2 oz (for little espresso shots) all the way to 12 oz, and each bar represents 30 ml.

 The syncing process is very similar to that of the special “t-discs” of an earlier machine,if you will recall, the Tassimo line.

How the capsules work…

Genio Gusto Temperature Settings

The “joystick” lever is flanked by a Hot and Cold setting on each side. Red is hot and blue is cold, respectively. After you made your selection with the green bars, you would then proceed to slide the lever tot he hot or cold side depending on the type of beverage. E.g.: iced coffee; slide the lever to the blue.

As the brewing action starts, the lever will slide back to the starting point in the middle.  If you wish to pause a brew cycle for any reason, you can push the lever back to the middle manually. It’s a little tricky to see at first:) it is located kind of closer to the back.

You’ll also use these hot/cold settings upon periodic descaling sessions – instructions in the manual will tell you to start with the Hot and for the second part of it the Cold setting.


It’s not just this machine itself that is avant garde in appearance, but the water tank is pretty funky looking too (in a good way) and it adds to the depth of this unit overall.

Due to its bulbous appearance it’s definitely not going to sit flush against a wall (but don’t make this a deal-breaker – I wouldn’t. I like it, personally! )

All esthetics aside, it has a 45 oz capacity (enough for roughly about 10 beverages) Only bugaboo here with the tank’s design is that it MUST be removed for refilling as there is no lid or accessible opening with which to do so. There is a gripper pocket area near the top and a slight bulge in the middle which marks the max-fill line.

It does not come with a filter, so if this is important to you you may want to consider the use of bottled water or a filtration pitcher.

Gusto Genio Drip Tray

The marquis-shaped drip tray and plate is sturdy, but as per the user manual, don’t put it in the dishwasher (well, it didn’t say “top rack only” – just don’t periodðŸ˜). The unit (can you see? this is the best image I could get) has got grooved edges that permit you to move the tray up to two different levels to accommodate different size cups.

So whether you’re into the little dainty demitasse or a taller Americano, you will be in good hands without straining or splashing of hot liquids.

Capsule Holder

The Nescafe Gusto Genio 2’s coffee capsule holder sits below the bar light display and when the chrome handle is raised,it becomes accessible. It slides straight out and pushes back in – unlike a lot of single serve brewers that the coffee pod is situated at a 45 degree angle.

When you drop a pod in and push it back, lower the handle back down again-you should hear a “click” to know it is secure.

gusto genio pod capsule holder

There’s another tool – a rinsing tool that kind of resembles a miniature funnel (apologies as I could not find a picture), which is made to be used to flush out the capsule tray periodically. It can also be stored in the tray for safekeeping when you are not planning to brew up a delicious beverage anytime soon 🙂

Coffee Capsules For the Genio

The big hindrance (or crowning glory, depending on how you look at it!) of the Gusto Genio (and the whole Gusto line as well, is the line of proprietary coffee capsules needed for operation. I’ve drank a lot of Nescafe coffee over the years, and though i haven’t had the good fortune to try the pods, I’ve been informed that the flavors are delicious.

However, they are made to work exclusively with this machine and others in its family. You can’t use K-cups, t-discs, or anything else, unless you find some of the alternative coffee pod products under the Nescafe label (keep reading for some options…) Pretty much online is where you are going to find the best selection for your enjoyment.

Nescafe Dolce Gusto Coffee Pods, LatteNescafe Dolce Gusto Coffee Pods, LatteSee on AmazonNescafe Dolce Gusto, Caffe Lungo, 16Nescafe Dolce Gusto, Caffe Lungo, 16See on AmazonNescafe Dolce Gusto Coffee Pods, EspressoNescafe Dolce Gusto Coffee Pods, EspressoSee on Amazon

All of them are hermetically sealed with a beveled bottom. The specialty drinks (cappuccino, etc.) also include milk pods. They seem to have a great shelf life and you can store them for up to a year and have ultimate freshness.

Compatible Accessories for the Genio 2

A number of products here to make the most of your Gusto Genio 2 experience…

  • The line of Nescafe pods pretty much exclusively.
  • Sealpod Reusable Pods for Nescafe
  • iCafilas Stainless Steel Reusable Coffee Pods
  • Proprietary  (Nescafe brand) descaling solution  (as per the manual, white vinegar is explicitly discouraged.)
nescafe gusto genio side view
The Original Genio-side view

How is the Genio 2 Different From the Original?

A few key differences, one of them is size. The first Genio is smaller with a 20-oz water tank as opposed to the 45 -oz tank for the Genio 2. Also with the original Genio, the power button is on the side of the device rather than the top.

The control mechanism differs slightly as well – instead of a lever, the Genio has an integrated wheel that you rotate to adjust the number of bars (in this case, 7 as opposed to 9.) Last thing – the Hot and Cold settings on the Genio are push buttons.

Which one you choose will depend on whether or not you think you need the extra room. Of course, due to volume alone, the price on the Genio is lower. However, availability is a bigger concern, as it’s an older model (first introduced in 2011) and fewer in stock. In fact, it looked like according to recent listings, only pre-owned models were available.

nescafe dolce gusto genio 2 review

Nescafe Genio Consumer Ratings and Reviews

I did find a significant amount of positive or satisfactory reviews for the Genio. Comments have similar themes, including “expedient” and “great tasting, better than my usual brand” and a lot of them marvel at the crema on top and the versatility of drinks that can be produced. There was some concern expressed that the pods are harder to find, but worth the effort 🙂

Obviously, I did find a few less happy comments, a few otherwise thrilled users said it was a little loud. When I got a chance to listen up close, it pretty much sounds like a men’s electric razor….nothing horrendous, to give you an idea. A few consumers were unhappy about not getting the sampler pod goodie, but this appeared to be an oversight more or less. (see my remarks in What’s Included for clarification.)

And, one remark…why is the power cable RED?? I love red, but I understand where those comments are coming from. It doesn’t seem to be the color you’d choose for a silver/black coffee machine doncha think.

OK, third, a few people had complaints about machines leaking. Upon closer inspection, I found that you have to take extra caution to seat the water tank correctly, as it is a little trickier (this kind of goes with the fact that you cannot refill the reservoir while it is seated.

But customer service was excellent and attentive, said a few people, and that’s enough to go on to tell me that the Genio is a winning coffeemaker.


  • Small and compact yet eye-catching design
  • Machine is designed to calibrate the right settings for chosen drinks
  • You can adjust the drip tray to fit different sized cups
  • Quick operation
  • Many varieties of coffee types
  • Auto-shutoff after 5 minutes of inactivity


  • Compatible with only proprietary (Nescafe brand) products
  • Coffee pods themselves a little more pricey than Kcups and harder to locate except online


I think the price on the machine itself is fair and reasonable, and at the time of writing it was under $150 so if you see it in that range, don’t hesitate to grab it!

However that being said with the unique brand of coffee pods involved here’s where we might begin to think of dollars adding up. A lot of people rave about them, no joke, their quality is obviously superb, and there are many great flavors and varieties to choose from and something for everyone (even hot cocoa for the kids.)

So I have to compare their price to that of K-cups and the average price of a box of 12 K-cups is roughly $7 to $8 where I come from. If I take a box of these Nescafe pods in a box of 48…but also factor in that half of them are milk powder pods that means you are getting 24 drinks  and the box of 48 pods I found is a little under $30 at the time of writing.

I’m not a math whiz but yeah these cute pods are a tad more…how much more it will be for you will depend on how often you see yourself wanting to drink gourmet style drinks.

With regard to descaling, there are good brands of descaling solutions available – it doesn’t have to be the proprietary brand (just skip the vinegar; even if it does work ok, it’ll void the warranty if you ever need help in the future) which would only be a small expense.

Verdict: Very Good ðŸ‘

So, are you ready for a small but powerful espresso coffee maker, and a palette of amazing flavors and drink types? As well as a little eclectic design?

And you don’t think you’d mind having to dig a little deeper to find the tasty coffee capsules, as well as stock up on them just in case so you don’t run out.

If for you, coffee is just coffee, this product may be of no interest…but if you’re looking for more, and want to dial in real coffeehouse beverage variety with less effort, then you may very well enjoy the thought of making this little “penguin” your appliance.

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