18 January 2009


One coffee at a time

Bosch Tassimo coffee maker at Flickr.comSeveral years ago, pioneering podcaster Adam Curry had an ad campaign going for Senseo, a Dutch coffee maker that uses individual single-cup pods. At the time, I thought it was kind of a silly idea, though he genuinely seemed to enjoy using it.

For Christmas 2008, my wife bought me a similar machine, a Tassimo by Bosch. I had been wasting quite a bit of coffee, because I'm usually the only one to drink it in the house, but I do have some almost every day. The Tassimo, with its plastic pods, at first seems a bit wasteful too, but rather than our making half a pot and throwing most of it away, this system lets us brew a single cup of coffee, tea, latte, hot chocolate, or whatever in less than a minute. If I want another, it's easy to make a second one.

The system is clever because the "T-Disc" pods each have a barcode that the machine reads in order to know how much water to brew, how hot it needs to be, and how long to brew it for each beverage. Of course, that means that you can only use Tassimo-branded discs (from makers including Nabob, Maxwell House, Gevalia, Starbucks, etc.) and can't refill them with your own coffee, which is very corporate and controlling of them—in principle.

In practice, I pretty much always brew pre-ground brand-name coffee anyway, so the only difference for me over the past few weeks is that the Tassimo is more convenient. I'm sure the roast-your-own-beans crowd would be horrified, but I have bigger things to worry about.

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Funny - I got the Senseo at Mr. Currys urging and burping, and I have loved it for the last two years. It gets such high usage at the Aprigliano's that we threw away our brewer and use the Senseo exclusively. When the high price of its pods were getting outrageous, we picked up some eco-pads which allow us to use the device AND grind our own blend. But I agree with you totally and do not like the Sony-minded, proprietary nature of these devices and refillables.
What I like about the sounds of this device is that it is ridiculously easy. Throw in a pod and it figures everything out for you. My coffee machine is much more labour-intenstive (you have to measure the water, grind the beans, put it in the filter, etc.) I usually set my coffee pot up at night before I go to bed so that in the morning my coffee is waiting.

What I don't like about it is that you only get one cup. I'm a really big coffee addict, so I brew a half pot every morning and drink the whole thing myself. (I've actually started brewing it with half-caffeinated, half-decaf beans because I'm thinking my caffeine intake might be a bit crazy.) It would be cool if there was a slightly bigger size (maybe 3-4 cups) with pods. That I would go for.
I've had a Tassimo for a couple of years now. My only two issues with it are the fact that the pods aren't recyclable (or refillable as you mentioned) and that the milk based drinks (understandably) tend to really mess up the machine if you don't clean it immediately. I tend to make latte's with it almost exclusively and usually as I'm heading out the door.
I got a new espresso/drip coffee machine as a thank you gift from one of my former students, but haven't tried it. But my best friend has a Tassimo and it is WONDERFUL. Glad to hear you're enjoying yours!
I used single mug coffee maker for years. I then started drinking two mugs in the morning, so I bought a 12-cup coffee maker.

It turns out that the 12-cups is 2 mugs and a coffee cup. I was surprised.

Drbethsnow, I use half-caf coffee, too.
I should say the single pod Tassimo serving is more mug-sized: with milk, it's just about perfect in my favourite mug.
Write a post about Obama. Wht is your opinion of him and the challenges hefaces ahead?
It's coming. Just gotta thing about it a bit more. Go read my old one in the meantime, maybe.
Been using an AeroPress for a few yrs. Love it. Esp great (light wt) for traveling.