Thursday, June 2, 2011
When I was a kid, back twenty-some years ago, if someone had told me I would one day have a coffee maker that would use special discs and read barcodes to make me hot chocolate and espresso I would have been incredulous. Nothing makes me feel like the future is now quite like my TASSIMO. It reads a barcode, figures out what temperature water is required and how long to brew it, and produces one perfect cup at a time. It makes me feel like I've slipped into a Jetson's episode. I keep expecting that next Rosie the Robot is going to come around the corner with my slippers.
I love coffee and I hate making it. It seems silly, but it's true. I can't make coffee without something going horrifically wrong. So I was pretty excited to check out the TASSIMO Home Brewing System and see just how easy it was to use. It was incredibly simple to setup. Though it did take over a half hour to get it ready to use, as you need to run water through to clean it out prior to using it the first time and also pre-soak the filter. The learning curve was pretty much non-existent. Under five-minutes of leafing through the instruction booklet, or a 20 second explanation from someone that's used the machine before, and you're good to go.
After setting it up and reading through the instructions, I was a little leery about the descaling. There is a button on the machine that lights up and lets you know when it needs to be descaled. The instructions warn you not to use vinegar, as you often do in a regular coffee maker, but rather to use a special "descaling solution". I've since learned that any non-vinegar based descaling solution, as available at your local grocers, will do. I was also pleased to find that it took far longer then I had expected for the descaling light to come on. My mom used to recommend cleaning out the coffee maker with vinegar once a month. It took five months of near daily use for the descaling warning light on my TASSIMO to go off.
The system I was given is the TASSIMO T45, which includes a built in water filtration system. At first I thought this was a fancy and unnecessary add on. However, since it came packaged with two filters I put one in when setting up the machine. I then ran it for over two months, past the 8 weeks suggested use for the filter. There was a noticeable difference once the filter was removed. My coffee didn't taste as good, and at first I didn't put together in my mind why. Then one day I noticed that the coffee was almost separating. My black coffee was hazy and looked like it needed to be stirred. Hm. It finally occurred to me that the difference must be in the water filter. I popped the second filter in and found that my coffee was noticeably tastier, and no longer had a hazy separated look to it. Of course there is always the option of filling the tank with pre-filtered water and I'm sure personal experience will differ based on what your tap water is like.
I love that the TASSIMO Home Brewing System makes not just coffee, but also hot chocolate, tea, espresso, cappuccino and lattes. Coffee shop cappuccino or latte is a favourite treat of mine, one which I can now have at home for a fraction of the price.
My mom quickly fell in love with my TASSIMO. She even started buying her own Chai Tea Latte discs to use at my house, and eventually went out and bought her own machine. She bought the slightly cheaper T20 system. Having compared the two, I can say I would spring for the T45 (about a $50 difference) First there is the built in water filter which I have come around to loving, but the other differences are: a larger water tank and metal vs plastic on some of the key pieces. Overall the quality is just superior on the T45 system, and I think it is definitely worth the price difference.
After owning it for over 5 months I can say the novelty has not worn off, we love our TASSIMO Home Brewing System and use it nearly every day. Though I do have to admit that I wish there were more coffee options available. My husband and I both enjoy flavoured coffees, and would love to see say hazelnut or Irish cream as options. However they are releasing five new varieties in July including a Nabob French Vanilla which I am eager to try.
So have any of you tried the TASSIMO? Or are you wishing you could get your hands on one? If you've tried one, what did you think of it? Is it an indispensable part of your kitchen, as it is in mine?
I can't believe I forgot to mention Tea! The TASSIMO makes tea; earl grey, or green, brewed by the cup. At first I thought this was sort of a silly feature. Who the heck needs a special machine to make tea? I mean you just boil water and add a tea bag. Then I realized that now that I have two kids it often takes me upwards of six hours to successfully make a cup of tea. The TASSIMO is another tool in my mom arsenal, providing me with perfectly brewed darn near instantaneous tea (and coffee, and tasty latte treats), to keep me going through out the day.
After over two years of experimentation, I've finally come up with the perfect TASSIMO Mochaccino.
Disclosure: I received a TASSIMO system for free. I was not specifically required to write a review. As always my opinions are my own and were not influenced by the company, or by the free product received.