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Tassimo Hot Beverage System

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The technology of coffee is second only to that of manned space flight – considering that it’s just water poured through ground-up beans, it’s remarkable how complex the process of brewing the stuff can get.

Tassimo is the third pod coffee maker we’ve bought. Its predecessors were cast into the back of a cupboard for the lack of a reliable pod supply in the case of the Black and Decker system, and due to profound and apparently unstoppable water leaks for the Melitta machine. Thus far, Tassimo seems to be made of sterner stuff.

Unlike conventional coffee makers, Tassimo makes one cup of brew at a time. It can only be fueled with its proprietary coffee disks, plastic and foil containers in which lurk enough ground coffee for a single serving. The machine heats water from its plastic reservoir and pours it though whichever disk has been installed in it.

The coffee that streams from the Tassimo machine tastes better than coffee from conventional coffee makers because it’s made fresh, rather than being allowed to ferment in a vat for several hours, and because you can’t buy Tassimo disks with cheap, nasty coffee in them. Perhaps in keeping with its affectations of luxury and elegance, Tassimo’s coffee disks are only available from manufactures the likes of Maxwell House and Gevalia.

Tassimo’s coffee disks cost somewhat more than conventional loose coffee maker coffee, but Tassimo embodies a hidden economy. Running for a minute or two, rather than keeping a pot of coffee hot for hours, what it spends on its coffee disks it more than saves in electricity.

The Tassimo machine is well built – almost entirely of plastic, of course, but nicely-made plastic none the less. It has a disturbingly loud pump – considerably more so than the other coffee pod systems we’ve used – which arguably constitutes its only failing. This having been said, the pump runs for about thirty seconds per cup, and it’s not likely to actually damage your hearing.

In addition to brewing coffee, Tassimo can make tea, hot chocolate and ostensibly trendy specialty brews like cappuccino. The latter requires that one change disks part way through the cycle – one disk for espresso coffee, and one for sterilized milk. The resulting cappuccino, easily the equal of commercial brews at five dollars a cup, is arguably worth the effort.

The only caution in adopting a Tassimo machine is to ensure that your local supermarket actually stocks Tassimo coffee disks prior to doing so. Having to mail-order coffee is a bit extreme, and it’s worth keeping in mind that only Tassimo’s disks will work in this machine.