Review: LilyPod Microwavable Single Cup Coffee Pod Mug
We've been testing the LilyPod over the past several weeks and we'll say this right up front - results have been varied. The LilyPod Microwave Brew Mug supposedly brews up a nice cup of joe in 3 minutes or and that means less mess and the convenience of using whatever flavor pod you'd like to throw into it. The big factor here is the microwave.
We have had less than stunning results with the Single Serve Coffee.com microwave but have had better results at our friends house. Each time we use the Lilypod with the exact directions and try a microwave the results have been different. It's like we're making microwave popcorn and not coffee, but we do believe it makes sense the results are so varied.
If you've ever cooked in a microwave oven anything like popcorn, perhaps a Lean Cuisine, or even poached some eggs - you'll know that finding the right power setting and time to cook is important for YOUR MICROWAVE. We have found this to be the case with the LilyPod. We simply could not find a great setting for our Microwave but did find some decent ones with other less powerful microwave ovens. That being said, the coffee produced each time was not great coffee.
Making a cup of LilyPod Coffee
The Lily pod features is a personal Pod Brewing System in an 8-oz mug. To make a cup of Lilypod coffee you turn the mug upside down, fill with water to the desired level and type of coffee you are making and put a pod in the base. Next you screw the base on and flip the mug over. There's a little ring you put on the top of the mug and then you set it in the microwave for 3 minutes (roughly for single serve coffee) and then microwave.
The inside of the cup has what appears to be aluminum or some coating that really heats up. The LilyPod is basically a little percolator pot. The water inside the outer ring of the coffee pod chamber brews into the coffee pod and then percs up into the main chamber.
You can do various things like putting in skim milk - etc. into the top chamber before brewing to make a latte - etc. They recommend frothing up to the brim - but we found results were better when we used less milk (these directions are provided as well).
We stuck to brewing up coffee with the 18 pods (Melitta One:One) coffee pods that came with the LilyPod. We did try Baronet Coffee Pods, Cool Beans Pods, and a Senseo pod or two - results were well all over the place. The best pod we had luck with was darker roast and really letting the coffee settle and cool before drinking (specifically the Love at First Sip Medium Roast Coffee Pods).
Now we have tried 3.5 minutes, 2 minutes, 2.5 minutes at 50% power - all types. We also mixed these with a variety of water levels in the reservoir. The best results so far have been in smaller microwaves (our friends house) at 3 minutes 20 seconds or so and on the highest water mark.
We found the less water we used and then tried to match the time to be less for less water resulted in really weak coffee. We simply could not get the mug to respond to the lower settings. The coffee pod would be very dried out like the mug simply heated up the water much faster then it took to extract any coffee from the pod.
The mug itself is also a factor. The big reason seems to be the amount of plastic the mug is made out of. After brewing about 10 cups of coffee and dumping just about half of the failures, the LilyPod started to wear in with less plastic taste.
Overall - even when we got a cup of coffee produced that looked less like brown water, the coffee was not that great. The coffee had a plastic taste and we couldn't shake the feeling we were drinking really bad office coffee. The coffee produced is so far below the Melitta One:One coffee we're wondering why Melitta would put something out like this when they have other amazing products.
Can you see how much we wanted this thing to work right out of the box? We put or best foot and mouth forward on the LilyPod. We can say the coffee we finally were happy with was on par with the Mr. Coffee home cafe, but certainly not the Melitta One: One and how could it be really? The LilyPod is a $19.99 kitchen gadget and the Melitta One:One is a very well designed single serve coffee maker.
We think if you like experimenting a bit with a coffee gadget - then the LilyPod may be for you. We don't think the LilyPod is a great gift to start someone off on Single Serve Coffee but it could be a great gift if you know someone who has the time and patience to try out 5-10 different methods to get their microwave oven and the LilyPod to work together on a less than great cup of coffee in the end.
We are going to give the LilyPod 1 out of 5 coffee pods. We could not get it to make coffee from our microwave and we got mixed results in other microwaves, but we could get a rather bad cup of coffee if the planets were in alignment. So it's possible that your microwave, the pods you choose, and the LilyPod might agree to all work together - but we aren't going to hold our breath here at Single Serve Coffee.com.
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Posted by Jay Brewer at December 6, 2005 8:05 AM