Tech Blog

Coffee Machines, Ink Cartridges, Razor Blades! Oh My!

by Blogger on ‎12-27-2010 03:38 AM

Tis the season for Tassimo to reach out to the blogging community.  The past few weeks have seen legions of bloggers tweeting and filming themselves and their shiny new Bosch Tassimo Brewbots.


images.jpgI was included in the blogger blast again, just like earlier in the year.  And, just like last time, the machine has sat on my counter taking up precious real estate after one use. When we moved in February, we actually left the other machine behind.


I shot a video when Tassimo first approached me to review the unit and all of my beefs remain.

While the machine is eternally convenient (we have a Keurig machine at my office that is fast and easy to make cups a la carte), it's wasteful and a cheap entry drug to the world of T-discs and K-cups.

These new style coffee machines are simply implementing the strategies of the printer and razor industry to lure customers in.  The hardware (coffee maker, printer, razor) is cheap, while the software (coffee, ink, blades) ineeds to be regularly replaced often thereby offering the manufacturer a constant and loyal revenue stream.  Is it really a shock to learn that the machine was created by the company responsible for the disposable razor, Gillette?


Aside: you could argue Apple's approach to iTunes, iPhones and iPods is a similarly vertical strategy.  They seed the marketplace with devices that can gain software from a unique source and then develop user loyalty.


Each cup you brew requires a K-cup or T-disc (if you're making a fancy drink then 2 are needed).  The companies license the disc and cup technology to coffee producers and then pull in royalties. Each cup or disc is single use and is wrapped in a box which is wrapped in plastic. Keurig's foil and plastic cups are completely non-recyclable, Tassimo's FAQ dodges a definite answer by saying the recycability of their product is facility dependant


Now, I'm not a preachy hugger of trees, but it seems like a lot of packaging for the convenience of something that still takes as much time as boiling water and french pressing on your own. (Michael Kwan's video counts nearly 5 minutes to make a Tassimo cappuccino).


If you have a variety of coffee tastes in your house - some loving tea, others lattes, others espresso - then perhaps one of these machines will help each get their caffeine craving quickly and simply. The Starbucks crowd is the target market for these products, too.  People who routinely drop $4 on a daily latte will enjoy the less than a dollar cost to make the drink at home.


In my house, however, my wife is satisfied with a stiff Tim's from a french press.  We can buy a big can that lasts a couple months or more for $15.


Are you a Tassimo / Keurig fan?  I'd love your feedback.

catch the buzz .. pass it on.

by Blogger on ‎12-28-2010 11:34 AM

We got a Nespresso for our wedding, and while I was a skeptic at first, I really like it now. While Nespresso does still have the buy the machine but are chained to the refills model, there are a couple things that set the Nespresso apart for me.


First, is recycling. The sleeve that the pods come in is just paperboard so can go right in the blue box. The pods themselves are all aluminum so I can just dump the used ones in the blue box as well.


The second is the quality of the machine and the coffee. A friend we were staying with this holiday season has one of the new Tassimo machines and I thought the Starbucks coffee that it made was made...not to mention it took freakin' forever to cycle through to finish a single cup.


My system of coffee pods and water for an Americano from our Nespresso might not be speedy (it felt faster than the Tassimo), but the coffe in the end is superb. Yep, Nespresso is marketed as a more high-end appliance...but I think it's worth every penny.


From what I've seen and tasted thus far, Tassimo, not so much.

by Retired Blogger on ‎12-28-2010 01:42 PM

I think the concept of one coffee machine for all types of drinker is flawed. Coffee quality just can't compete with a carefully brewed cup of fresh, ground 'whatever-your-roast'.


We tried the Tassimo -- it's now at my wife's office and she uses it there. It only made one type of coffee that I liked, and yes, was slow. But could be convenient.


We have a Keurig, and it's our morning get-ready-for-work coffee while we're running around and feeding the dogs, etc. We've tried many different roasts and blends from many different providers -- all are OK to Good, but I've never had a great coffee from one. But is very convenient first thing in the morning.


We have a couple of French Presses --- get the grind on the bean right and you can have an awesome cup of coffee. Can be tricky to pull off when you're not awake yet :smileyhappy:


We have an inexpensive espresso maker -- get the run-time right on the pull and again, a great cup of coffee. Again, takes a bit of practice and timing to make everything work out right.


I'd like to try an Aerorpess some day -- looks like it'd work well. And could be simpler.


I think what I've illustrated is that there is a tradeoff between convienience and quality. A good cup of coffee that can be made consistently requires practice -- and a good process that is easily duplicated. Which is what the 'coffee machine' companies would have you believe they've created.


Me? I prefer the 'experience' of making a good cup of coffee, then sitting back and enjoying it. And there's a lot of toys that are 'needed' to make that great cup of coffee -- thermometer, scale, grinder, tamper... gadget-geek heaven!

by vhillel Recognized Expert on ‎12-28-2010 03:06 PM

I have a Keurig at home... bought it 8 months ago.  Not only do I love it, but my whole family got to enjoy the taste.  My uncle bought one, my step parents did, my grandparents, my aunt and my step grandparents did.  Great taste, a lot better than your usual coffee machine and it only takes 5 to 10 seconds!!!  I absolutely do not see what the beef is about.  If you don't drink coffee and it does stay on your countertop, why did you buy a coffee machine in the first place?? 

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