Pros: Fast, hot, easy-to-use; delicious coffee, cocoa, and tea
Cons: Only brews a single cup at a time; T-Disks are expensive; not green friendly
I love coffee. Perhaps a tad too much. I seem to be unable to control my coffee addiction (They say the first step is admitting it...) with the ability to make 6- and 8-cup pots of coffee in an ordinary drip-brew coffeemaker. Then I discovered the Bosch Tassimo Single Serve Coffee Brewer. Little did I know that since that day, my mornings would never be the same.
An Updated Machine
The Tassimo is made by Bosch, a great manufacturer of both large and small kitchen appliances. But alas this was not always so. First introduced in Europe in 2004, Tassimo was distributed by Braun (manufactuered by Saeco Int'l.) and in 2008, Bosch took on the Tassimo line of coffeemakers, making several updates to the design. Among the many notable differences are:
**More compact design
**Improved water filtering
**No water heating time. Beverages are dispensed almost instantly.
**ON/OFF switch has been moved to the front of the machine.
Coffee and other beverages come in T-Disks, tiny pods with barcodes on their foil tops. As soon as you insert a pod and start the machine, Tassimo's patented barcode scanner reads the brewing time, temperature, and amount of water for whatever beverage T-Disk has been inserted. The Tassimo TAS4011 features a flow-through water heater. This eliminates water heat-up times so immediately, your beverage is dispensed into your very favorite mug. Ahhhh, now that's good stuff!
Water is contained in a 1.8 L (that's 61 ounces, in case you were wondering) water reservoir, so you only have to refill the tank about once every week, depending of course on how much coffee and tea you drink.
Ease of Use
The Tassimo is extremely easy to use, which is a benefit when you're using it first thing in the morning. Just slip in a T-Disk and lower the lid. I have heard reports of people having to use tremendous effort and force to close the "stubborn" lid, but in my experience, have encountered no such problems. Two readily-accessible buttons on the front of the machine control everything. An ON/OFF switch does the obvious. A one-touch start button begins the brewing process, controls the brew strength, and activates the self-clean feature.
This is a very clean machine. 2 MAVEA water filters which reduce limescale and chlorine come with the machine (you must purchase replacements yourself, readily available at many retailers of kitchen appliances or for $9.99 each on Amazon.com) and an automatic cleaning and descaling program ensure no buildup of minerals within the machine. The Tassimo also features absolutely no "tate transfer" between drinks, meaning I can make a hot chocolate and then a cup of tea and then a cup of coffe, one right after the other, and the flavor of each cup is unadulterated with that of the cup made just prior. There is absolutely no cleanup with the Tassimo. All you need to do is throw away the spent T-Disk.
Purchasing individual T-Disks is expensive. Drinks average about $0.30 to $1.10 per cup, and I have found my daily coffee comes out to about $0.50 a cup.
Sometimes, the Tassimo can be purchased with department store promotions by which you can get free T-Disks with your Tassimo. If you want to start drinking coffee right away, you'll either need some of these free Disks or you'll have to buy some, ranging from $5.99 to $8.99 for various sized packages of 8, 12, 16, and others. The coffeemaker also comes with a voucher inside for free T-Disks.
(NOTE: I have not seen this voucher mentioned in other reviews or advertisements for the product, and so I cannot say for sure whether all Tassimo coffeemakers come with vouchers for T-Disks.)
Your cup is customizable!
Tassimo makes more than 40 individual varities of T-Disks, by 12 different brands. Starbucks included. The variable drink strength allows you to customize your cup by adding more water if it's too strong for your taste (as some Starbucks coffees are for me). You can use almost any standard coffee cup, mug, teacup, or even travel mug with the adjustable cup height stand. I have yet to find a cup that doesn't fit.
This in mind, the Tassimo is probably not the best for a family of heavy coffee drinkers. Not only would this be very expensive; it would be very inefficient. The machine produces only a single cup at a time from a single-use T-Disk. I keep a Bodum on hand for when I'm entertaining or, for whatever reason, want to make more than just one cup of coffee.
I would not at all consider this a green product. For one thing, there are no Tassimo coffees or teas on the market advertised as "fair trade." Secondly, there are no organic beverages marked in the Tassimo T-Disk selection. Third up is all the packaging involved in using individual T-Disks to make each cup. I more or less dissected a T-Disk after making my cup one morning. The mostly-plastic little pod has no recycle-able parts and the same goes for each of the water filters. The "low energy consumption" advertised on the side of the box hardly makes up for any of this.
Taste and Quality
The coffee comes out very hot and tastes good, but that is going to depend on what brands of T-Disks you're using. Since this is a review of the actual Tassimo coffeemaker, I'm not going to go into much detail on the individual coffee brands, but I will mention that I have greatly enjoyed the Starbucks brand T-Disks. By comparison to the coffees made in the Starbucks store, these are just as tasty and cost less.