Bosch Tassimo T65 Home Brewing System Review

By Cody Burke on 1 March 2011
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As a serious coffee drinker, I have cycled through various methods in an attempt to find the optimum coffee brewing solution for my taste.  Until recently, however, I had neglected to try out a single-serve pod-based coffee machine.

My introduction to the world of single-brewed coffee was the Tassimo T65 Home Brewing System.  The unit makes one cup at a time, using coffee pods (dubbed T-Discs) that come in a variety of flavors and styles.  The pods themselves are marked with a bar code, which is read by the machine to determine the proper brewing method for that particular style of drink.  For example, espresso pods get less hot water than a standard cup of coffee, and a latte is created by the combination of an espresso pod and a milk pod, which is steamed.

Using the T65 is easy and the unit was a breeze to set up.   The only reoccurring task is filling the 8 3/8 cup water tank.  The water is filtered by an included Mavea filter.  Operation is simple and straight forward: you simply insert the pod and press the button (there’s only one), and the machine does the rest.  There is an adjustable stand for your coffee mug or espresso cup to prevent splatter as the coffee is brewed.  If you require more water in your drink, you can press the button again to add some more water, although I found that to be unnecessary.

Cleaning is accomplished via a cleaning cycle which is recommended after each drink that uses a milk pod (such as a latte or cappuccino). To clean, you insert a reusable cleaning disc where the T-Disc would go, and cycle the machine.  This is a slight hassle, but not a huge problem.  One key note here, do not lose the cleaning disc, cleaning is impossible without it.

Tassimo has T-Discs for coffee drinks, teas, and hot chocolate; brands such as Carte Noire, Maxwell Housee, Seattle’s Best, Starbucks, Tazo, and Twinings are available.  The selection is impressive and competes nicely with what is offered by others, although Tassimo is pricier.  The best price I found online for Starbuck’s T-Discs was 60 pods for $80, which is about $1.33 per cup of coffee.  A one pound bag of the same Starbucks coffee for use in a standard drip system costs only around $12 and yields ca. 45 cups per pound, bringing the cost down too ca. $.27 per cup.  It is possible to make the argument that actual coffee waste goes down with a single-serve system, which, depending on your coffee drinking habits, may make up some of the price difference.

For contrast, a 24 pack of Green Mountain Coffee Keurig K Cups can be found online for ca. $12.95, or around $.54 per cup, and espresso pods from illy in packs of 18 are available for $13.99, or ca. $.78 per cup (illy also has a scheduled delivery service that brings the cost per cup down further).  Prices vary by brand of coffee, retailer, and special deals, but Tassimo consistently costs a bit more per cup.  Although more expensive, Tassimo balances this by providing a far greater selection of styles (standard drip, espresso, lattes, cappuccino, teas, hot chocolate, etc.) than its competitors.

The brewed cup of coffee that the T65 produces is good, but not great.  I found the brews to be a bit on the weak side, regardless of the brand of T-Disc.  Lattes and cappuccinos were good, not to the level of a nice home espresso system or quality coffee shop, but impressive considering they were produced on a multi-function device.  It produces consistent results that are not operator dependent, which is a major plus if you have had bad experiences with a co-worker or spouse making either unappetizing weak watery coffee or undrinkable thick sludge.

Another important note is the waste factor.  The T-Discs are in theory recyclable, but to do so correctly the label must be cut off and the grounds rinsed out.  Not exactly a seamless process that one would expect most users to make wide use of.

The Tassimo T65 is a capable coffee maker that makes a consistently decent cup of coffee.  The convenience factor is high, and the variety of drink options is impressive.  Unfortunately, a true coffee connoisseur is not likely to be satisfied with the final product, nor is a green or budget-minded consumer likely to be happy with the cost and waste produced.

–Cody Burke is a Contributing Editor at Executive Road Warrior and Senior Analyst at Basex, a knowledge economy research firm.

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