Imagine my delight when I saw a big box on my chair after being out of the office for two weeks. My co-workers gathered around to watch me unpack the Tassimo Home Brewing System from Kraft Foods. I had the public relations agency specifically send me a sample to test at work where coffee connoisseur wannabes can help me evaluate the cute little machine made by Bosch. We already have a Keurig machine set up in the kitchen, so we set the Tassimo up in one of the designers’ cubicle to schedule coffee breaks and tea times during our regular work hours.
The Tassimo was easy to set up. After following the instructions to clean, we started to make our coffees and teas. Throughout the first day of testing, co-workers came up to make their own cups. The following are the pros from several testers:
1. I like that it has a sensor to stop brewing if you move the cup.
2. Convenient. I don’t have to drive to get my coffee in the middle of the day. (We are, after all, testing in a Connecticut office.)
3. Easy clean-up.
4. Making coffee is quicker than going downstairs to the cafeteria!
But for such a compact machine, the Tassimo is pretty loud. It did help with advertising it to the rest of the office because a few of them stopped by to check out the whirring noise that was coming out of the cubicle. The button that starts the quick brewing process looks like a dial, so all the testers kept trying to turn it to skip a step ahead, i.e., to add more water. The designers asked why the buttons couldn’t be separated and labeled clearly.
We were also sent several samples of the beverages: Starbucks, Espresso, milk for latte and cappuccino and Chai. Each came in small pods with a barcode. The Tassimo reads the barcode and magically knows what to do with it. We all loved that when you put the milk pod, it knows to make it frothy for cappuccino, but some worried if they have to waste and throw a pod if the machine deems it unreadable for one reason or another.
For the Starbucks fans in the office, they thought the coffee brewed up nice and strong. For deli coffee fans, they had to re-brew just to add more water to it because it was too black. A couple of people didn’t like the idea that the milk came in the pods. Although convenient, they didn’t like that they could be sitting on a shelf for a long time. For those who like their coffee with only a little milk, they wanted a button to stop the machine from processing the entire milk pod. But what to do with the leftover milk? They deemed a pod a waste if only one user can process the milk at a time.
On Amazon.com, a box of twelve pods is retailing for $21 which means a cup of coffee is less than $2, but there was a also big concern about the waste of plastic that the pods use even if you use your own mug to brew your coffee.
Overall, the Tassimo Home Brewing System is affordable, compact and convenient, but it could use some design tweaks to make it easier for people to operate without having to pour over the manual. You, as the coffee drinker, should just decide whether you like the taste of the coffee and tea it brews.