It’s of course the time of year when retailers are going mad pimping their wares, and the fine folks at TASSIMO are no exception.
I’m no longer the prolific blogger I once was, but thanks to a give-two-get-one promo, I ended up with a TASSIMO of my very own, courtesy of the fine Miss Colleen Coplick.
So what do I think of the machine itself? I’ve got a bit of a love-hate thing going on with it.
The ease. You really can’t beat sticking a pod into the top, putting a cup underneath and hitting “go.” The reservoir holds water for plenty of drinks (the water filter is a nice addition) so there’s no need to even add water before making a drink. When the brew’s done, toss the pod and go. I’m certain I will appreciate this both when Neil’s out of town on business, when I can’t be bothered to make a pot of coffee just for myself in our regular drip machine, and definitely when my hands and time are occupied with a squirming creature in a few months.
The variety of drinks available. The whole barcode-reading to optimally brew each drink is pretty swish. TASSIMO sent the brewer with a couple sets of drink pods – some Starbucks regular coffee and some NABOB cappucinos (a 2-step drink with an espresso pod and a milk pod). Since I’ve cut down on the caffeine lately I also picked up a pack of English Breakfast tea pods and some Maxwell House decaf. I’ve tried them all and they’re all quite good. Probably not good enough for an ultra coffee snob, but I pulled enough late-nights in university that I have an extremely high tolerance for extremely bad coffee (and dodgy leftover pizza). I’m also excited to eventually try the hot chocolate.
Making one-off drinks. If Neil wants a hit of the high-test stuff, he can easily make a cup of regular joe for himself, and do a cup of decaf for me. It’s now super easy to make either one or two cups of decaf or one or two cups of regular, depending on the preferences of the group. Of course, if you’re doing more than 3 or 4 cups, it’s still faster to just brew a pot the conventional way.
The waste. This kills me, and is the primary reason I will use the TASSIMO as the exception rather than the rule. Each pack of drink pods comes in a cardboard box. That box is wrapped in non-recyclable plastic. Each pod is made of non-recyclable plastic. Every time I make a drink (especially the cappuccino, which takes 2 pods) I think of the pods ending up floating here. If there were some magical way to create recyclable (good) compostable (better) or reuseable (best) pods I’d feel a whole lot better about it. (UPDATE: read the comments, turns out they are recyclable.)
The cost. Making drinks with the TASSIMO falls somewhere between buying them at a coffee shop and making them on your own. The TASSIMO plain coffee and tea work out to be about $0.75 each (depending on where you buy and if they’re on sale) while the specialty drinks (lattes and cappucinos) are about $1.30. If you’re really cost-conscious and only want single-cup servings, you’re far better off buying loose tea and ground coffee, and making a cup at a time with boiling water and a single-cup pour-over filter. If you think this will save you money by using it to reduce your fancy coffee shop budget, don’t forget you’re buying a not-inexpensive machine first. Spending a bunch of money to save money is rarely a good solution.
The chemicals. Of course I threw out the wrapping around the cappuccino package, but the ingredients for the “concentrated milk product” are far more than just milk. I’m certainly no stranger to chemical-laden franken-foods, but I do try to limit them. Since I’m not even that much of a cappuccino or latte afficionado, I’ll probably use these up, then not bother to replace them.
Overall the TASSIMO is a pretty cool piece of technology, with the single-serve coffee making and the barcode-reading drink customization. It’ll certainly get its fair share of use making single-cups of regular or decaf coffee, and was a pretty awesome treat of a thing I wouldn’t have ever bought myself.
What would make it the go-to coffee maker in my house? If TASSIMO changes the pods to be more environmentally friendly, and introduces a more natural milk product (concentrated UHT milk would be kindof awesome). Or, you know, if we discover the world actually is ending in 2012 and suddenly tossing out plastics and ingesting chemicals don’t matter so much anymore.