about tassimo coffee makers
Tassimo coffee makers employ the “Tassimo Hot Beverage System” to prepare single-cup servings of coffee (including espresso, latte and cappuccino), tea or hot chocolate. The machines, originally manufactured by Braun, are currently manufactured by Bosch, and although several different models are available they are all broadly similar in both features and performance.
Instead of using loose ground coffee Tassimo machines use “T-Discs”, a proprietary pod technology. There is a wide range of Tassimo T-Discs available from companies including Starbucks, Gevalia, Seattle’s Best, Maxwell House, Mastro Lorenzo, Nabob, Carte Noire, Kenco, Jacobs, Tazo, Suchards and Twinnings. While T-Discs mean that the “cost per cup” of a Tassimo made coffee is greater than one made with loose ground coffee the prices are still fairly reasonable, ranging in price from $0.31 to $1.12 per drink, with a typical price of around $0.50 for an espresso.
One of the major distinguishing features of Tassimo coffee makers is their ability to also produce other, non-coffee based, hot drinks. This is possible because each T-Disc carries a printed barcode which the Tassimo coffee maker reads and then adjusts it’s settings accordingly, adding the right amount of water and setting the ideal temperature for any specific drink. However, if you find the pre-programmed drinks too strong you can also manually adjust the strength of any drink by adding more hot water at the touch of a button. Because all brewing happens inside the T-Disc there are no nozzles to clean and flavors don’t “cross contaminate” between different types of drinks.
Because Tassimo coffee makers heat water on demand, and only in the quantities required, they are very energy efficient – far more so than regular electric kettles. This frugality in heating water also contributes to the fast brewing time of these machines, with initial coffee delivered in under a minute.
The shortcomings of single serve coffee machines become apparent when you come to make a round of drinks – because each drink has to be made individually it takes longer than usual. A french press is quicker and more economical in this scenario, but the results would probably be less consistent, and that’s assuming that everybody wants to drink coffee in the first place. This issue isn’t unique to Tassimo coffee makers though, but is rather one of the trade-offs that you need to consider when researching a purchase.
A slight concern is that the T-Disc refills are themselves made from hard plastic. Given that the machine itself is energy efficient it would be nice if the packaging of coffee refills were equally environmentally friendly. You’re also tied in to the proprietary T-Disc refills, but each major manufacturer tends to lock you in to their system.
Minor niggles aside, we were impressed with the design, operation and features of the model we tested. We liked that the cup stand gave enough room to allow us to use larger mugs, and the large 1 litre water tank avoided the need for constant refilling. The machine itself is relatively compact, so it won’t take up too much much worktop space – great if you have a smaller kitchen. Best of all, the quality of the coffee our Tassimo produced was excellent. Espressos were topped with a good crema and the brew was rich and aromatic, exactly what you need at the start of a busy day!
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