Review: Tassimo Hot Beverage System from Single Serve Coffee
We received Tassimo earlier this month to review and are feeling good about this new offering in the Single Serve Coffee arena. The machine is manufactured by Braun, however Tassimo was designed by Saeco and Kraft. Tassimo will launch in the US this Fall.
Update: Tassimo has two new brewers from Bosch. Check out our reviews of the Tassimo Bosch Brewers:
Also check out our continued updated Tassimo and T-Dics area of articles.
Update: Tassimo is now calling this system a "brewbot". What's a brew bot? The Brewbot (BROO·bot) is an advanced brewing machine programmed to make over seven different varieties of beverages. Brewbots can create coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, espressos, hot chocolates and coffee cremas all at the touch of a button. a.k.a. Roboticus Brewtus. The machines are the same as earlier Tassimo Bosch models above but being marketed as brewbots. Please check out our review links of the current lineup of Tassimo machines.
Updated Bosch Tassimo Review: Read our review of the new Bosch Tassimo hot beverage system here.
The Tassimo does not use coffee pods, ESE espresso pods, or K-Cups, but utilizes a new hot beverage brewing system in the form of T-Discs. Each T-Disc has a bar code on it to tell the machine how the hot beverage of your choice needs to be prepared, and the brewing of the coffee happens inside each T-Disc as water is pushed through it. Tassimo can make single serve coffee. single serve crema coffee, espresso, lattes, cappuccinos, tea and best of all - HOT CHOCOLATE.
Tassimo is also the first single serve coffee system to have liquid milk instead of powdered milk to make cappuccinos and lattes. You don't have to keep the milk T-Discs cold either, as they are shelf stable and ultra-pasteurized. By using milk T-Discs to make a latte or cappuccino, the Tassimo eliminates the need for a complicated steam wand or frothing attachment.
Update: You can now order Tassimo at Amazon.com.
The Tassimo features:
- Prepare a range of freshly brewed hot drinks at the touch of a button
- Works exclusively with Tassimo T-DISC beverage pods
- Each cup is freshly brewed in 30-60 seconds
- Large 64 oz water reservoir or 8 - 8oz drinks from each full water resevoir
- Dishwasher safe parts (except water container)
- Adjustable cup stand that will fit Travel mugs, regular mugs, and espresso cups
- Bar code system lets Tassimo know exactly how to brew each drink
- Comes complete with T-DISC starter kit to get you going
- Cleaning system included
- Available T-DISCS include Kenco cappuccino, espresso, cafe crema, classic blend and classic blend decaffinated; Twinnings tea and Suchard hot chocolate, and other available online
The water reservoir is very large and clear like the Nespresso Romeo. We love a clear water reservoir as you can see how your water level is doing. We also like the fact you can nearly take apart the entire machine and wash it by hand or in the dishwasher.
We really liked the adjustable cup stand. It can be removed to fit travel mugs, or put in place for espresso and regular sized coffee cups. You can dial up or down the little stand for a regular coffee mug or espresso cup. It's very sturdy and has a drain spout that connects in the back of the maker.
The machine also comes with a cleaning T-Disc. The cleaning T-Disc is essentially an empty T-Disc with a bar code to make the machine go through an intensive rinse cycle. This is very convenient if you have heavy water and need to descale your coffee makers frequently.
T-Disc Technology & Brewing Simplicity
The TASSIMO Disc (T-DISC) is designed to work exclusively with the TASSIMO machine. Each T-DISC contains a precisely measured amount of coffee, tea, chocolate or concentrated milk, and is individually sealed. The T-Disc is about the same size as a pod but 1/2 inch thick and made from plastic and covered in foil.
When you insert the T-DISC, the machine reads the bar code printed on the foil label. It automatically calculates the amount of water needed, brewing time, and temperature to prepare the beverage. All the brewing happens inside the T-DISC using an inverse flow. Your beverage pours directly from T-DISC into the cup so you can prepare different drinks, one after the other.
We found inserting the T-Disc a bit weird at first. Unlike the Keurig where the foil side stays up facing you, you flip over the T-Disc to and then clamp down the jaw to puncture the disc. This also starts the Tassimo to begin heating up and when it's ready you go from red (standby), yellow (heating up), and then green (for press the button).
You can watch through a little window in the top the brewing process in action. Since the bottom of the T-Disc has an almost conical/snail shell shape to it and is clear, when you start the brew process simply look at the top of the clamp and you'll see your coffee being made. We think this is one of the more interesting design touches of the machine.
Adjusting the brew strength of each beverage you brew is pretty easy. You simply insert the T-Disc you want to make and while in the brewing cycle hit the start/stop button to stop the brew process. We liked this feature and
The Tassimo Machine Design
The Tassimo looks and feels like a very well designed, curvy coffee machine. We liked the small footprint of the Tassimo and found the machine to fit quite well into our kitchen countertop space. It does not look like a traditional coffee maker and has an almost super automatic feel to it like the Jura Capresso or the Nespresso Romeo. Like the Keurig, the head features a clamping mechanism and this gives it a real "jaw" like appearance.
The controls and lights are very easy to see and use. The machine features a standby light, a heating up light, manual light, and auto light. There is but one button to push on the Tassimo for brewing and it has a very dimpled pleasing appearance - almost like a perfect skipping stone.
Beverage and Flavor Varieties Available at Launch
There will be 15+ varieties of beverages you can product with the Tassimo system at launch.
- Gevalia: Signature Blend, Signature Blend Crema, Signature Blend Decaf, Espresso
- Carte Noir Classique (online)
- Mastro Lorenzo Crema (online)
- Maxwell House Cafe Collection: House Blend, Decaf, Espresso, Cappuccino and Latte (online)
- Twinings Earl Grey
- Gevalia English Breakfast (on line only)
- Gevalia Cappuccino and Latte
Since the machine is not available until this Fall, we only received the Gevalia coffees, Gevalia Lattes, Suchard Hot Chocolate, and Twining Earl Grey Tea to sample. As more coffees become available we will continue to review them on Single Serve Coffee.com and let you know how the flavor variety progresses.
Tasting the Gevalia Tassimo Coffee
Unlike other reviews for pod machines, we benchmarked the Tassimo coffee produced with pod coffee produced from the Bunn My Cafe & Senseo coffee pod machines. Why? We've liked the Gevalia French Roast coffee produced from their coffee pods in the past and feel we need to produce a context for the Single Serve Coffee audience given the Tassimo will be new to the market.
The Tassimo produces an 8oz cup of Signature Blend hot coffee or coffee crema from a Gevalia T-Disc. We put Columbian & French roast coffee pods into the Bunn for a benchmark to see how the extraction and coffee produced matched up. We also fired up the Senseo with the Gevalia French Roast and Columbian pods for a benchmark on the coffee "faux crema" front.
- 8 oz cup of Coffee Signature Blend
- 8 oz cup of Coffee Crema
- 8 oz (Double Cup Setting) Gevalia French Roast Coffee Pods
- 8 oz (Double Cup Setting) Gevalia Columbian Coffee Pods
Bunn My Cafe:
- 8 oz Gevalia French Roast Coffee Pods
- 8 oz Gevalia Columbian Coffee Pods
Note: For every cup of coffee we produce, we first taste black and then taste with half & half and one teaspoon of sugar. We also like our coffee medium to strong and not totally chunky.
The Tassimo 8 oz cup of Gevalia Signature Blend coffee was quite good. The Gevalia Signature blend coffee has a good amount of flavor and is more of a light to medium roast coffee. We liked the finish and had no problem downing several cups of the coffee.
In tasting the Tassimo Gevalia coffee versus the 8 oz cup of Bunn Columbian coffee, we liked the Tassimo a little better. When we put the Gevalia Signature Coffee up against the Bunn Gevalia French Roast coffee, we preferred the french roast over the Signature blend.
The Tassimo 8 oz cup cup of Signature Blend Coffee crema was excellent. It has a rich flavorful taste with notes of chicory like flavors. We liked this cup of coffee head and shoulders above the standard coffee produced from the Signature blend coffee. It's important to note that each T-Disc is different and the coffee crema produced from the Tassimo was a little more real than the Senseo.
In tasting the Senseo coffee produced in both the Gevalia French & Columbian roast coffee pods, there was little comparison except in the amount of "faux crema" the Senseo produced. We liked the Tassimo Coffee Crema better than the Senseo coffee and found the coffee to be hotter as well. We do want to note - it's not a direct blend to blend comparison but the Senseo coffee was a little more "watery" at 8 oz compared to a the Tassimo coffee crema at 8 oz.
Tasting the Espresso & Lattes Created from the Tassimo
Making a shot of espresso and other hot beverages that use espresso is easy with the Tassimo. Simply load an Espresso T-Disc and the Tassimo will produce a 1.5 oz cup of espresso. We tried the standard shot of Tassimo Espresso to be adequate. Since the air pump in the Tassimo produces quite a bit of bubbles, the crema head tends to look a little less thick than it is, but it does have a good texture and sugar will sit on top for 2-3 seconds.
The espresso has a bit of a bitter finish. But when compared to a 1.5 oz shot of Baronet Dark Espresso pod espresso, we found it to hold up but liked the Baronet a little better (we will review the Baronet espresso pods shortly). We found the espresso to be what we call "straight up" espresso with no real distinct flavors.
Making a latte is very easy as well. You make a latte by making 1 shot of espresso, and then taking 2 milk discs to create the hot milk. In the Fall, the 2 milk discs required will be combined into 1 larger milk disc and have a unique code for "latte milk" or "cappuccino milk". Since the barcode and the Tassimo T-Disc determine how the milk is prepared, you'll need to buy latte T-Discs and cappuccino T-Discs that come in packs.
The latte produced is quite good. It has a nice rich buttery taste with pretty decent temperature. We think this is above average for a totally automated latte we've had from a Flavia or other like machines. Since you simply put in the correct discs, it's also very easy to make and takes about 3-4 minutes total time. In the Fall when there is one larger milk T-Disc, this will only take about a minute.
Making Twining Tea & Hot Chocolate with the Tassimo
Okay - we have to admit. The range of beverages you can make with the Tassimo is a little astounding. We have been working on this review for 3 days now and just hit Tea & Hot Chocolate? I can't say we're big tea drinkers here at Single Serve Coffee.com but the Twining Earl Grey tea produced tasted good to us, was hot, had a nice concentration of flavor.
I can say however we are hot chocolate fans! We often get hot mint-mocoa things are the local coffee shop and the Suchard hot chocolate is excellent. The 8 ozs of hot chocolate produced is from a liquid hot chocolate - not a powder. We're pretty sure this tips the scales on why the hot chocolate is so good. It's way better than using Quik or the like, and is on par with many of the hot chocolate drinks we've made in the past using much more time consuming measures. We even added a shot of espresso to the hot chocolate and found it to be quite good and quite the caffeine buzz.
We did note that you needed to wipe a little of the syrup from the piercing mechanism after making hot chocolate. However, even if you didn't wipe the syrup it would not contaminate the next beverage you make using the Tassimo as the brewing happens inside the T-Disc not using the piercing mechanism.
The Tassimo is a great machine and hot beverage system. Since the machine is not solely focused on coffee, but spans the entire hot beverage making arena, we have to give it high marks for making an excellent cup of coffee crema, decent espresso, and yummy hot chocolate.
It has several features like being able to add water in mid brew cycle and then finishing the drink without wasting the T-Disc as well as the ability to stop it from brewing and add the amount of water you'd like. It also accomodates travel mugs, regular mugs, and espresso sized cups.
We like the size of the reservoir and the footprint of the machine. We also like that nearly all of the parts you'll use are dishwasher safe and easily cleanable. The machine is pleasing to the eye and does make a nice addition to the line up of single serve coffee makers on the market.
We can say like other coffee systems (Nespresso, Keurig, Coffee Pod Machines) it's a choice to get into a system where availability of new T-Discs won't be at everyone's local super market. Many of the coffee flavors will only be available Tassimo.com, but if you are shopping on the web, we don't think availability will be a problem in the end.
The Tassimo will not have a huge variety of flavors at launch in the coffee arena, but we do feel the overall set of hot beverages you can make and the quality of the Gevalia coffee we brewed, more than outweighs the variety available at launch.
We like the Braun Tassimo and are going to give it a solid 4 out of cups. We will continue to test the machine and give you a follow up as more flavors become available and how the machine fairs with continued day to day use.
Tassimo will debut this Fall for a MRSP of $169.99 and T-Discs will be priced at $8.99 cents for a 18 or roughly $.50 a cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate. Lattes & Cappuccinos will be priced at $9.99 and come packed with enough in each set to make 10 drinks or roughly a dollar a latte.
Tassimo will be available at Tassimo.com, Amazon.com, Federated Dept Stores (e.g. Macy's), Bloomingdales, Bed Bath and Beyond, Linens n Things, May Company Stores, Sur La Table, Best Buy, and assorted other regional department and specialty stores.
Update: You can now order Tassimo at Amazon.com.
Updated Bosch Tassimo Review: Read our review of the new Bosch Tassimo hot beverage system here.
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Posted by Jay Brewer at August 30, 2005 11:42 AM