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Keurig
The Keurig and Tassimo machines both use plastic cups, known generically as pods, to brew single portions of coffee. We preferred the Keurig, above, shown with the plastic cups or “pods” that contain the single portions of coffee.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.

 

 

December 2005
Updated January 2009

Home Zone / Kitchenware / Appliances

Keurig & Tassimo Coffee Makers

Page 2: Summary Of Benefits

 

This is Page 2 of a six-page article. Click on the links below to visit other pages.

 

Summary Of Benefits

Single-serve machines are ideal for those who seek speed and convenience and don’t mind the higher cost per cup of coffee. The coffee is average to good, but never rises to the level of “great”: serious coffee drinkers will prefer their brew ground from fresh beans.

  • The Tassimo is an interesting piece of engineering* and is flying off the shelves this holiday season (it held a position between #80 and #87 among all of Amazon’s kitchen and housewares products during the weeks prior to Christmas). Sales have been abetted by an advertising campaign that promises to “brew the perfect cup.” It doesn’t, however: you would not mistake its output for anything from a coffee chain or a quality eating establishment. But if you want an easy way to make cappuccino and latte at home, this is it.
  • Overall we prefer the Keurig, both in sturdiness (from its heritage as a a heavy-duty office machine) and perhaps more important, for the quality of its coffee. And, it is virtually no-maintenance: the Tassimo requires regular cleaning or clumps of residue from any milk beverages you make end up in the bottom of your cup.

*A bar code reader on each pod tells the mechanism inside the machine what kind of beverage is being brewed, so it provides exactly the right amount of water for espresso, latte, regular coffee, tea, or hot chocolate; and you can adjust the machine for a stronger or weaker brew.

  • Neither system is for conservationists: the coffee is vacuum-packed into plastic pods and after brewing each cup, there is a plastic cup to throw away. If you’re using just one cup a day, it probably won’t bother you. Make 10 cups a day, and the plastic piles up.
  • For this reason and the fact that superior coffees are now available for the Senseo (which uses biodegradable filter-paper pods), we net out in favor of that single-serve system if you just want plain coffee. Plus, the system costs less than half the price to buy and keep stocked.

Tassimo beveragesThe five different beverages brewed by the Tassimo: cappuccino, latte, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. Forget making tea in it: tea needs to be steeped, not shot through with water for 30 seconds.

We do want to say that both the Keurig and Tassimo systems have their place in America’s homes, small offices and dorms; and that some of our visitors who saw us use them and drank their coffee loved them and ran out to buy them. They tended to be people who only want one cup of coffee to start their day, loved the no-fuss, no-mess convenience of a quick-brewed cup, and loved the freedom from needing to have fresh-ground coffee on hand.

While we enjoyed those same benefits, the palates among us would only be satisfied by better-quality beans. The coffee produced by the pods ranges from average to good, but none of it is a great cup of coffee. Keurig sells an adapter that allowed us to use our own ground beans, but that defeated the purpose: we could have easily measured our own beans into the Melitta cone or French press that we already own, with no need to cede precious counter space to a large, expensive single-serve machine.

A detailed analysis follows.

Continue To Page 3: Is A Single-Serve Coffee System Right For You?

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