Review: Jacobs Latte Macchiato T-Discs for Tassimo
A quick Google translation of the official company website will reveal that Jacobs coffee first got its start in 1895 when it was introduced by Johann Jacobs in the town of Bremen, Germany. Johann later opened his first Coffee House in 1907 and created his own roasting facility in its backyard since he knew that each coffee variety, based on the nature & structure of the bean, could impart its own special flavor when roasted. He was also much ahead of his time by offering pre-roasted coffees since until then; it was customary for people to roast green coffee beans at home on a stove top. The Jacobs company suffered many setbacks while weathering both World Wars but managed to pull through. By 1982, they had acquired the Suchard Chocolate company in their portfolio and in 1993, they merged with Kraft General Foods to become the company we know today.
Jacobs uses a combination of their espresso T-Disc and the European shelf-stable latte milk creamer T-Disc (which is common among most latte varieties overseas) to create their latte macchiato. A "macchiato" made with a Tassimo machine is basically a "reverse-latte" where you insert the creamer disc before the espresso disc. This results in a layering of creamer on the bottom, coffee in the middle and creamer froth on the top. The only way you can truly appreciate this effect is by using a clear mug or double-wall glass. You can also stir the contents together to create a regular latte which has a slightly better taste, but for the purpose of this review, we wanted to prepare the drink "as intended" by the manufacturer.
The latte milk has a somewhat sweet yet watered-down taste compared to the North American version and is not as "buttery". We're not sure if this is due to 1% skim milk being used instead of 2% milk (we couldn't find any indication of this on the packaging) or if it's just due to the way European milk is supposed to taste. It still has some of the "chemical" flavor which is present in the North American version, so we're hoping Kraft will improve the taste of both latte creamer varieties in the near future.
As with most lattes, the espresso's flavor is diluted by the creamer, but in this case, it was diluted to the point where we found it difficult to focus on the espresso itself. There are hints of the espresso's Arabica beans hiding underneath, but they are rather washed-out compared to regular lattes. The European creamer also seems to lack the richness of its North American counterpart and even though it has a somewhat "buttery" scent, we didn't notice any of this in the taste.
Despite these issues, there are however a few good things about these Jacobs Latte Macchiato T-Discs. An ongoing & often-reported issue of the Bosch Tassimo would be its inconsistent ability to produce a decent amount of froth compared to the old Braun model. Interestingly enough, the Jacobs Latte Macchiato T-Discs do not appear to suffer from this problem since the froth is at least half an inch thick and remains that way for several minutes after the drink is brewed… much longer than the froth on any other lattes, cappuccinos or espressos we've brewed using the Bosch model. Froth lovers are sure to be pleased.
At first we thought this was due to a narrower nozzle design on the creamer disc, but upon closer inspection, the nozzle is identical to the North American version… very strange. Another plus might be that the drink's watered-down taste could appeal to people who don't care for stronger-tasting lattes and prefer lighter alternatives. As a result, we feel this drink is best suited for those types of coffee drinkers.
- Aroma – 2 – The final "combined" aroma of the espresso + creamer disc results in the very mild buttery scent of the creamer disc overpowering the scent of the espresso.
- Acidity – 1 – This is by far the mildest & lightest latte we've had in a while. The watery nature of the creamer helps kill any acidity of the espresso.
- Body – 7 – Standard macchiato "layering" effect with white creamer on the bottom, beige espresso in the middle and white froth on top.
- Flavor – 4 – We were hoping for more of a coffee taste, but the creamer disk overpowered the espresso to the point where we barely noticed it. We did however note a sweet finish in the creamer when we reached the bottom of the cup. Unfortunately, Kraft still needs to work on improving their creamers.
- Mouth Feel – 7 – The creamer adds a certain silky/smooth feel, but not as much as other lattes we've tried.
- Coffee Drinker – Best suited for casual coffee drinkers who like lighter-tasting lattes or who want to try something different than their usual light-bodied roasts. We feel such drinkers would probably give this macchiato a much higher score.
Overall Rating: 71 – Poor
The Jacobs Latte Macchiato T-Discs will work in your Braun Tassimo Tassimo TA1200 or TA1400 models as well as the Bosch Tassimo. These T-Discs can be found at TassimoDirect.com
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Posted by Jay Brewer at December 4, 2008 9:40 AM