July 11, 2005

Review: Gourmet Coffee Café Single Serve Brewer from Lexxus International

Cafe-1Review from Single Serve Coffee.com - Coffee Pod ReviewsCharlie Golick, a Lexxus International representative sent us in the newly released Gourmet Coffee Café to review. The Gourmet Coffee Café is a single serve coffee pod brewer utilizing an espresso, coffee, and tea pod holder. You'll be able to order the Gourmet Coffee Café pods from Lexxus International representatives.

Gourmet Coffee Café - 08-1

One of the things that distinguishes the Gourmet Coffee Café from other single serve coffee brewers is the ability to make espresso, cappuccinos, lattes, regular coffee, and teas all from one single serve coffee brewer. The Gourmet Coffee Café has a milk frother on the side that allows for well - milk frothing. This little innovation makes the Gourmet Coffee Café the only single serve coffee brewer we know of with this innovation.

What's in the Gourmet Coffee Café Box

Opening up the Gourmet Coffee Café box you find what you'd expect in any single serve or one cup coffee brewer:

  • Water Tank
  • Machine
  • Drip Basin
  • Tea Pod Holder
  • Coffee Pod Holder
  • Espresso Pod Holder

Gourmet Coffee Café - 16Each of the pod holders is very different in the capacity of pod it will hold and how it will filter the coffee or tea through it. The water tank is of decent size, allowing for 2 big brews of coffee before refilling. Our only complaint with the water tank was it was hard to pull out and a little difficult to put back in much like the Melitta One:One.

Gourmet Coffee Café - 14The machine itself is pretty good looking out of the box. We liked the top pinching mechanism to pop open and put the pods into a "pod chasm". It's made of matte finished black plastic that is rubbery to the touch, giving a nice tactile feel. The drip basin is well designed and gives a feeling of quality as well as it's made of pretty heavy steel.

Gourmet Coffee Café - 12The milk frother is on the side and covered with a plastic material. I'm not a big fan of the plastic over the top, thinking I'm going to be eating PVC vinyl or the like in my latte, but it does clean up nice and also is well designed looking.

Gourmet Coffee Café - 11The controls of the Gourmet Coffee Café are a little unique. There is a Power On, Coffee Button, and Froth Button on the bottom. When you want to brew a cup of espresso or coffee you use the dial on the side of the machine to brew and then if you want to froth, you'll push the froth button the bottom and turn to froth to get some steam. The machine knows the right amount of water depending on the pod holder to use for espresso, tea, and coffee.

After brewing the machine will turn off. One of the interesting things we found was making espresso, the machine knows from the pod holder that it's for espresso, so it produces less water. The coffee pod holder produces an 8 oz cup of coffee. Very nice. We found the espresso setting to be a little tall for our liking (too much water), but you can always turn the dial to off and stop brewing at any time.

Gourmet Coffee Café Flavors & Pod Size

Charles sent along all the flavors to sample including:

  • Fusion - Mild Roasted Coffee
  • Mojo Rising - Medium Roasted Coffee
  • French Muse - French Vanilla Flavored Coffee
  • Dark Sienna - Dark Roasted Coffee
  • Cocoa Dream - Mocha Flavored Coffee
  • Serenity Roast - Decaffeinated Coffee (SERENITY NOW!)
  • Jubiliation - Espresso

We didn't receive any Tea Pods to review so we can't comment on the Teas from Gourmet Coffee Café.

The coffee pods for the Gourmet Coffee Café are also in the 55 mm range. They are much smaller than the Senseo 62mm pod, and are packed in what we would call the 7-8 gram range. I know of all you want to know exactly how much coffee is in a pod - but it's really hard to tell each time. We are in the process of getting a scale to know exactly - but 7-8 gram is our best guess.

Gourmet Coffee Café - 38
Gourmet Coffee Café on Left & Senseo on Right

The espresso pod is a loosely packed espresso pod. It's soft and more like a regular coffee pod than others we've seen. It has the standard tab that espresso pods have, and is of the 7gram size in weight. Later on we'll find the espresso it makes is more cafe crema in nature than espresso.

Brewing a cup of coffee with the Gourmet Coffee Café

Gourmet Coffee Café - 19Brewing a cup of coffee with the Gourmet Coffee Café is easy.

  • You open up the machine.
  • Pick the appropriate pod holder - coffee or espresso
  • Put in the pod.
  • Turn to Brew.
  • Wait about 60 seconds.
  • Fresh up of single serve coffee or espresso

Gourmet Coffee Café - 21The brew cycle on the Gourmet Coffee Café is interesting. It preps the pod twice by putting a little water in two bursts, then brewing the full cycle. This allows for a proper seating and sealing of the pod in the holder so water doesn't go by. We've been doing something similiar with Bunn My Cafe, by pouring a little hot water over the pod to get a perfect brew. It's nice to see a machine do this instead of having to do this manually.


Tasting Gourmet Coffee Pod & Espresso Pod Coffee

The coffee produced from the coffee pod holder is decent. We liked the flavored coffees over the regular roasts. The Harvest Moon French Vanilla and Cocoa Dream Mocha flavored coffees were among the best of the coffee pod brews we produced from the machine.

Gourmet Coffee Café - 23We would put the regular roasts brew taste on par or a little better than the Mr. Coffee Home Cafe brewer. We couldn't say the coffee was great, but it wasn't awful.

Since the Gourmet Coffee Café has an espresso pod holder, we pulled out a Jubilation espresso pod and to our surprise, the espresso produced was pretty good. However, it's more coffee crema that espresso in nature. This is not the same espresso produced from the Jura Capresso or FrancisFrancis! but it was yummy, it passed the Cafepods.com sugar crema test, and overall was not that bitter.

Making a Latte with the Gourmet Coffee Café

Gourmet Coffee Café - 40We made of shot of Jubiliation espresso and whipped up some skim milk using the Gourmet Coffee Café milk frother. The machine heated up rather quickly and you could hear the pump working to produce a decent amount of steam for frothing. We enjoyed making a latte and overall it had good taste and was easy to do.

Gourmet Coffee Café - 41
Two lattes - One Espresso and One Regular Coffee - Not bad!

Senseo Versus Gourmet Coffee Café - Coffee Pod Brewing Showdown

Gourmet Coffee Café - 27We either use the Bunn My Cafe or the Philips Senseo to benchmark new single coffee pod brewers. We picked the Philips Senseo this time and tried both the Gourmet Coffee Café pods in the Senseo and the Senseo Dark Roast pods in the Gourmet Coffee Café.

Gourmet Coffee Café - 37The coffee produced from each one was astonishly different (Gourmet Coffee Café on left and Senseo on right). The Senseo Dark Roast in the Gourmet Coffee Café was not great. And the Cocoa Dream brewed in the Senseo however, was not bad. We know like the Senseo, the Gourmet Coffee Café was designed with their pods in mind, so we weren't phased by the pods perhaps not working in either machine terribly well.

The problem with the Gourmet Coffee Café is - unlike the Bunn My Cafe or other single serve coffee brewers, the Gourmet Coffee Café seems to produce better coffee from the Gourmet Coffee Café pods and doesn't seem to make a good cup of coffee from other pods that might fit in the Gourmet Coffee Café. The standard 62mm pod had to be jammed into the pod holder and was overall not a great fit but it should produce a decent cup of coffee provided there's a good seal.

We did find the taking a standard Senseo Dark Roast coffee pod and using the espresso pod holder produced a better tasting cup of coffee than using the standard coffee holder. The only issue here is the Gourmet Coffee Café knows you've used the espresso pod holder and uses about a 1/3 to 1/2 the amount of water you'd want for a cup of coffee. If you do purchase this machine, we think other pods would have to be brewed using the espresso pod holder for a 4oz cup of coffee.

Conclusion

We like the Gourmet Coffee Café and feel it's a decent offering. You can get a full range of coffee pods in different roasts and flavors for it right out of the gate which we think may be important to some consumers. Also the milk frother alone is pretty interesting. It works and is a nice addition.

All that being said, we have to say we didn't like the coffee the Gourmet Coffee Café produced and the only way to make a good cup of coffee was to use the espresso pod holder and brew twice. If you wanted an 8oz cup, you'd have to use 2 pods and brew 2 espresso pod cycles with normal coffee pods.

We expect that the line of Gourmet Coffee Café coffee pods will work for some coffee drinkers, but we just weren't won over by any of the coffees we tasted. The coffee produced is on par with the Home Cafe from Black & Decker.

We give the Gourmet Coffee Café Single Serve Coffee Brewer 3 out of 5 pods for it's solid construction and overall quality design and unique features. We give the overall Gourmet Coffee Café line of coffees 2 out of 5 pods.

That brings us to an overall Gourmet Coffee Café experience of 2.5 out of 5 pods.

Gourmetcoffeecafe Review1-1

You can purchase the Gourmet Coffee Café brewer from Lexxus International representatives or by visiting Charlie Golick's Gourmet Coffee Café web site. Thanks again to Charles Golick for sending this in.

Update: The lowest possible wholesale price is $99 for the Gourmet Coffee Cafe going up to $159.00 (depending on the quantity ordered) and retailing at the suggested $250.00.

The Gourmet Coffee Cafe comes with a lifetime replacement guarantee and is manufactured by the company that brought the George Foreman lean mean grilling machine to market. 

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Posted by Jay Brewer at July 11, 2005 7:34 AM
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