Dualit 3-in-1 coffee machine review

Don’t just stop at pods. The Dualit 3 in 1 offers flexibility and a wide choice of coffee drinks.

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Luxury
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Founded in South London during the 1940s, Dualit is probably best known for producing commercial and domestic toasters, which literally became its bread and butter for many years. The 1990s saw the company expand its range to include kettles, food processors, and coffee machines. 

In recent years it has moved to Crawley, West Sussex, opened a capsule production plant and created more coffee machines and accessories.

The 3 in 1 Coffee Machine is one of its most modern releases, a hybrid machine that combines three different ways of making coffee: capsules, ESE pods and ground coffee. It’s a versatile machine aimed at coffee drinkers who are ready to move on from pods, but can it make a decent cup of coffee?

The Dualit 3 in 1 coffee machine sat on a kitchen worktop in the Saga Exceptional testing centreCredit: Saga Exceptional
The Dualit 3 in 1 coffee machine takes coffe pods, ESE capsules and ground coffee
Recommended

Dualit 3-in-1 Coffee Machine

Luxury

A good-looking machine that offers great flexibility, this coffee machine takes a little bit of time to learn how to use it well. But once you do, you can make a variety of coffees, using either pods or ground coffee, and including milky drinks thanks to the steam wand. Its also a great choice for heavy coffee drinkers or large households thanks to its large water tank and ability to make two cups of coffee at once.

Design

Ease of use

Performance

Value


Who’s this for?

If you’re looking for versatility within one machine or want to take that next step up from coffee pods, the Dualit 3 in 1 is a great choice.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Looks great on the kitchen counter
  • Versatile, supporting three different brew options
  • Can make two cups of coffee at once
  • Messy and needs regular cleaning
  • Takes time to make a coffee
  • A bit pricey

Expect to pay

RRP: £199 The RRP is £199 but we’ve seen it for as little as £156. At the lower price, you’re getting a good deal and a great introduction into the world of espresso making.

Dualit 3-in-1 Coffee Machine Review method

How we test

At the Saga Exceptional testing centre, we put the coffee machine through a rigorous battery of tests. 

First, we conducted technical assessments using tools such as a coffee refractometer to measure the extraction levels and caffeine concentrations of the coffee. We also looked at factors such as flow dynamics, temperature precision and brewing duration. 

Next, we tested the machine in a home environment, using it daily for a week. We evaluated its ease of use and cleaning, and made sure to try all the different types of coffee production it offers. 

Finally, we performed the all-important taste test, evaluating each cup of coffee on flavour and visual appeal. 

Dualit 3-in-1 Coffee Machine Design

Stylish retro design that looks sleek on the kitchen counter

As our product tester Mark Wyndham-Jones noted, with its polished chrome exterior this machine “shouts old school”. It looks fabulous on the kitchen worktop, and we loved the shiny finish, which makes it feel like a proper coffee shop machine (albeit half the size).

After a few uses, though, it needed cleaning to get rid of the sticky fingerprints. We found a damp E-cloth got it shining nicely again, but if you don’t want to be constantly wiping your machine, this is not the one for you. 

At nearly 6kg, it’s the heaviest coffee pod machine we’ve tested, and the solid weight makes it feel long-lasting and of premium value, It also means portability is not a strong point and it would be a struggle to store away, but this is a machine that you would want on display anyway.  

Although it’s wider and taller than the other coffee pod machines we’ve used, it’s not as deep so it fitted nicely at the back of our worktop. It also has a long cable, which gives you plenty of scope when it comes to where to keep it.

Unlike the other coffee pod machines we’ve tested, this lets you make coffee in three ways – with coffee pods (Nespresso and Dualit’s own), ESE coffee pods and ground coffee. It also comes with a steam wand and a jug that allows you froth up the milk in true barista style.  

It also has a huge (1.5ltr) water tank, which meant we rarely had to refill it.  

Dualit 3-in-1 Coffee Machine Ease of use

You’ll need to read the manual before use

Once we plugged the machine in, we set up about trying to work out what all the accessories are for. It comes with a whole heap of these, and can feel overwhelming at first, especially if you’re used to a regular pod machine where you just pop the capsule in and press a button.  

This uses filter holders like a “real” espresso machine, plus there’s a steam wand to froth up the milk. It’s fair to say this is probably the most complicated of the all the coffee pod machines we tested, and we needed to consult the manual to make our first cuppa.

The good news is there are images throughout and it was easy to follow with the written instructions under each image.

Unlike most coffee pod machines, which have a slot to insert the pods in, here you use them in a holder (where you also put ground coffee). You have to pierce the capsule before using it – there’s a tool included for this – then the pierced capsule is placed in the holder with an adapter over the top. It’s then a case of fitting the holder into the machine and locking into place.  

This is the bit we struggled with the most as we’ve not used an espresso-style machine before. After a bit of fiddling, we got it, though, and it became easier over the course of the week, which is just as well as it’s how you make all types of coffee.  

Aside from struggling to get the holder in, the controls are all easy to use. The button you turn to make the coffee is nice and big and easy to hold on to.

What you don’t have with this machine is a button to press and go; you have to control the length of the extraction process (when the water comes into contact with the coffee) and this took us some getting used to. We’re so used to using automatic machines that we forgot to turn it off a couple of times, meaning an overflowing cup and very weak coffee. 

A machine like this needs regular cleaning. All of the removable parts, such as the drip tray and water tank, are easy to take out and wash. Dualit also recommends flushing the steam wand and wiping it clean after every use to prevent the build-up of dried milk. The rubber tip of the wand is easy to pull off, making it easy to do a thorough clean. 

The coffee holders will also need a regular clean, especially if you use ground coffee. In fact, if you don’t like cleaning, don’t get this machine as it does create some level of mess after each use, something noted by our testing centre.  

“The downside to all this versatility is the slight messy nature to the operation of the machine,” says our head product tester, Philip Sowels.  

“This was particularly noticeable with the ground coffee there isn’t a valve to suck out residual moisture (as with higher-end machines) leaving a wet, gloopy puck.” 

Dualit 3-in-1 Coffee Machine Performance

Takes some practice to get tasty coffee

We tested all three types of coffee and decided some work better than others. We loved the taste of the pod coffee, which was a big improvement on our regular coffee pod machine.

We think that’s because we were able to control the extraction process a little, turning it off when we felt it was enough. Dualit recommends 15-20 seconds for an espresso and we used this timing for the pod, which resulted in a delicious cup of coffee. 

We had to experiment a few times to get the hang of making espresso, as we’ve never made it before. Our first attempts resulted in a weak brew and we realised how important it is to get the right kind of coffee – you don’t want it too fine or too coarse.

We experimented with our grinder to find the happy medium, but it’s probably easier to buy freshly ground espresso coffee if you’re trying this for the first time. 

The ESE pods, which look like tea bags filled with coffee, were the simplest to use. You just place one in the holder and turn on the machine, but once again we had to play around with the extraction time and our first cup was very watery.

The time to pour the coffee is quick – 13 seconds for the pod and espresso – but you must also factor in the time preparing the coffee beforehand. You can though make two cups of coffee at once, which we loved – however, this will only really work for ground coffee.  

This is not a quiet machine either – it measured 82 dB, which is the equivalent to heavy traffic or a lawnmower.  

The fun element of this machine was frothing our own milk. This can be used to make milky coffee drinks such as lattes or cappuccinos and you can also use the milk separately to make hot chocolate. 

We have to admit it took us some time to get used to frothing the milk, though. First you heat the milk up by keeping the wand in the milk; then to add some froth, you gradually move the jug, lowering to introduce some air into the milk.

It was fun to do but it does add time to making a cup of coffee, so not one for when you’re in a rush in the morning. Also, one thing to remember is to turn the wand off before you remove the milk – we forgot, and our work surface got splattered! 

Dualit 3-in-1 Coffee Machine Value

Not cheap, but versatile

At £199 RRP, it’s not cheap, especially compared to regular coffee pod machines, but it does offer great versatility. We have seen it cheaper on some sites for as little as £156, which would make it a good buy. If you’re thinking you’d like to take a step up from coffee pods, this is a great option.  

As it takes different types of coffee, the ongoing expense varies. Ground coffee can be bought for as little as £3 for a pack from the supermarket, but ESE pods are more expensive (around £7 for a box of 18) and harder to source. We had to buy ours from Amazon.  

The fact that it takes Nespresso pods as well as its own Dualit ones does mean you have a lot of choice, which is always an appealing aspect of any coffee pod machine.   

Bear in mind that Dualit also recommends you use filters when you make ground coffee, and at £7.49 for 250 that will also add to the cost.  

The Dualit 3 in 1 only comes with a one-year guarantee. A more complicated machine like this has more that can go wrong with it, so a longer warranty period would be nice. However, you can buy spares – such as the filters and filter holders – separately, so if these fail they can be replaced at a reasonable cost (from £4.95 on the official Dualit website). 

Dualit 3-in-1 Coffee Machine Competition

Other versatile coffee pod machines

There are not many machines that take coffee pods and ground coffee, but there are a couple that are available at a similar price point to the Dualit 3 in 1. 

Lakeland 3-in-1 Espresso Maker

This gives you the flexibility to use ground coffee, ESE pods, or Nespresso capsules. It also features a 20-bar pressure pump to extract the most flavour from your coffee and, like the Dualit 3 in 1, it features a steam wand for frothing milk to perfection.

At £159.99 (RRP), it’s also cheaper but perhaps lacks the looks of the Dualit.

Featured product

Lakeland 3-in-1 Espresso Maker

RRP: £159.99

Lakeland 3-in-1 Espresso Maker

Kotlie Espresso 4 in1 Coffee Machine 

This hybrid coffee machine is compatible with Nespresso and Dolce Gusto pods, and ESE coffee bags. It brews a fresh cup of coffee in just 30 seconds, and it is reasonably priced at £139.99 (RRP). However, it does not come with a milk frother.

Featured product

Kotlie 4-in-1 Coffee Machine

RRP: £139.99

Kotlie 4-in-1 Coffee Machine

Dualit 3-in-1 Coffee Machine Verdict

A great stepping-stone coffee machine

The Dualit 3 in 1 Coffee Machine is a good option for people who are looking for something versatile and stylish.  

The large water tank makes it a good choice for habitual coffee drinkers or large households, while the steam wand allows you to make milky coffee drinks with relative ease. 

However, the machine is not without its flaws. It can be a bit messy to use, especially when using ground coffee. We also needed to experiment a bit to get the hang of it and ensure we had the best-tasting coffee the machine could make.  

Overall, if you want a coffee pod machine that goes that bit further, it’s a good choice. But if convenience and speed are a necessity, you’re better off keeping it simple and choosing a machine that deals only with pods.

Recommended

Dualit 3-in-1 Coffee Machine

Luxury

A good-looking machine that offers great flexibility, this coffee machine takes a little bit of time to learn how to use it well. But once you do, you can make a variety of coffees, using either pods or ground coffee, and including milky drinks thanks to the steam wand. Its also a great choice for heavy coffee drinkers or large households thanks to its large water tank and ability to make two cups of coffee at once.

Design

The standout element for us is undoubtedly the design. It’s sleek, retro and looks great on the worktop.

Ease of use

You’ll need to consult the instruction manual before attempting to make your first cup of coffee. It gets easier over time, but it’s not quick, so look to a more automated machine if you’re after speed and convenience.

Performance

It takes some getting used to but, once mastered, it makes a decent cup of coffee. Frothing the milk up also adds some fun into your daily coffee routine.

Value

Quite pricey for what it is. It’s versatile, but if you’re after a simple coffee pod machine, you can get one cheaper that’s easier to use.


Who’s this for?

If you’re looking for versatility within one machine or want to take that next step up from coffee pods, the Dualit 3 in 1 is a great choice.

Our likes and dislikes

  • Looks great on the kitchen counter
  • Versatile, supporting three different brew options
  • Can make two cups of coffee at once
  • Messy and needs regular cleaning
  • Takes time to make a coffee
  • A bit pricey

Expect to pay

RRP: £199 The RRP is £199 but we’ve seen it for as little as £156. At the lower price, you’re getting a good deal and a great introduction into the world of espresso making.

Dualit 3-in-1 Coffee Machine Specs

Weight 5.92kg (13lb 1oz)
Water tank capacity Water tank capacity: 1.5ltr (2.6 pints)
Dimensions 33cm x 21cm x 28.4cm/35cm with filter holder attached (13in x 8in x 11in/18in with filter holder attached)
Cable length 103cm (40in)
Adjustable coffee strength Manual, so you can control your own desired coffee length and strength
Capsule compatibility Dualit NX, Nespresso, ESE pods, ground coffee
Noise level 82 dB
Drink sizes Multi-brew
Adjustable cup height No, but has a height clearance of 10cm (4in) for larger cups and mugs
Auto shut-off Yes, after 30 mins
Milk capacity 300ml (10 fl oz)
Jayne Cherrington-Cook

Written by Jayne Cherrington-Cook she/her

Updated:

Jayne is the Senior Editor at Saga Exceptional. She cut her online journalism teeth 24 years ago in an era when a dialling tone and slow page load were standard. During this time, she’s written about a variety of subjects and is just at home road-testing TVs as she is interviewing TV stars. A diverse career has seen Jayne launch websites for popular magazines, collaborate with top brands, write regularly for major publications including Woman&Home, Yahoo! and The Daily Telegraph, create a podcast, and also write a tech column for Women’s Own.

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