Review: Mastro Lorenzo Espresso T-Discs for Tassimo
Mastro Lorenzo embraces the Italian culture where fine espressos and crema coffees were born and are part of daily life. Unfortunately, a quick search on their French website did not yield any further information regarding the company's history. We've tried a few of their different T-Disc varieties over the past several months and have found that their aroma and flavor always seem superior to their competitors. Such is the case once again with their espresso T-Disc.
From the moment you first start brewing your first cup, you'll notice the intense scent of fine Italian espresso will soon fill the room. Close your eyes and you might think you're sitting at café instead of your kitchen. Give the cup a light swirl and let the nose develop… you'll smell the initial burst of acidic bitterness but you'll also notice slight notes of chocolate hiding underneath. Not surprising, these hints of chocolate are also present in the taste and the acid lends an almost citrus-like quality. Kraft describes this coffee as being 100% pure Arabica, but we can't help but wonder if they mixed-in a few Robusta beans without telling anyone.
You start off with a smooth texture but then your senses are slapped awake by the sheer intensity of the bold flavor. Push past that and you'll end up with a surprisingly neat, well-balanced finish that leaves barely any bitterness in the aftertaste. We're trying our best to describe the sensation, but it's truly something which one has to experience on their own. One word of caution: If you don't normally drink espressos, we recommend staying away from these T-Discs since you may find their acidity and flavor to be too overwhelming. This espresso is not meant for the casual coffee drinker.
As with most espresso T-Discs on the market, Mastro Lorenzo's espresso disc yields the average 1.5 to 2 ounce shot. Due to its strong acidity, adding an extra ounce of water will not dilute the taste too much. By now, you're probably wondering "Is there anything wrong with this T-Disc?" Well, it's not so much an issue with the disc but moreso with the Tassimo machine itself. As discussed in previous reviews, the new Bosch Tassimo model appears to have problems producing decent amounts of froth or crema depending on the style of drink you're making. Some drinks have decent amounts on top while others have none.
The biggest example of this problem is present here with this particular T-Disc. On the Bosch Tassimo, the crema layer is almost negligible… it barely exists and disappears within a few minutes. On the old Braun model however, you get one of the best crema layers we've seen on an espresso T-Disc so far. A solid, half-inch thick crema remains on top for several minutes & sugar takes 5 or 6 seconds to sink. We can't help but ask Bosch: "What's up with that?!?"… Let's hope they manage to set things straight with future generations of the Tassimo.
As far as intensity goes, we should give fair warning again that this is one STRONG espresso shot. It doesn't have the harsh acidity of the Gevalia espresso but it does have more overall kick than the Carte Noire espresso. Needless to say you should not be taking this at night or letting the kids take a sip anytime soon. On the plus side, this is perfect for people who are on the go each morning and want a quick kick in the pants to keep them wide awake as they head out the door.
- Aroma – 10 – A nice & hearty, deep, dark roast. Very intense Arabica scent which is on-par with any espresso shot you'd find your local coffee house. Excellent.
- Acidity – 9 –Surprisingly balanced. Characteristic bitterness gives way to a smooth finish.
- Body – 10 – Very dark body, crema cap is excellent on Braun Tassimo models but lacking on newer Bosch models, very dark & opaque black color. We were considering giving this an 8, but due to the results on the Braun, it gets a solid 10.
- Flavor – 9 – Extremely bold, but doesn't taste too "burnt". Hints of dark chocolate appear to be hiding in the background. Adding sugar or picking a good side-dish only compliments this espresso even further.
- Mouth Feel – 9 – Starts off smooth, then the bold taste hits you like a ton of bricks. If this doesn't wake you up, we suggest checking your pulse. We often find most espressos to be lacking the much needed "oomph" to get you going in the morning, but that's certainly not the case here.
- Coffee Drinker – Suited best for dark & extra bold coffee drinkers who want a good shot of Italian-style espresso. We're even betting that most espresso enthusiasts might favor this espresso over other offerings currently available on the Tassimo.
Overall Rating: 97 - Excellent
Until now, our favorite espresso T-Discs were Carte Noire's variety, but Mastro Lorenzo outshines them in many ways. We feel this is currently the best espresso disc available for the Tassimo and until something better comes along, this is our top pick. We already like Mastro Lorenzo's Crema Coffee T-Discs and had high hopes for this espresso, so it's nice to see we weren't disappointed.
When compared to traditional Italian espressos made with manual espresso machines (our favorite Lavazza comes to mind), this T-Disc is a very good substitute. As noted earlier, the Bosch Tassimo model's inability to produce as good a crema layer as the Braun is rather annoying but seeing as how the taste is not affected, it's an acceptable loss. If you love bold, robust espressos, you should definitely give this T-Disc a try.
The Mastro Lorenzo Espresso 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 18, 2008 9:11 AM