Tassimo T20 Single Serve Coffee Maker Review and Giveaway
I got my hands on a Tassimo T20 single serve coffee machine this week (from the marketing company in charge of social media and blog outreach for Bosch and Tassimo), and I’m here to review it and give one away to one of my readers. It’s my job to give this machine an honest review, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I already own a Keurig single serve coffee maker which I’ve gotten good use out of for the last three years. I like it, but I’m also curious about how it stacks up against the Bosch machine. To be fair though, my Keurig is the B70, not the comparable B40. Nevertheless, I like my B70, and I want to like the Tassimo, too.
Opening the Box:
Talk about easy to use! I opened the box, removed the Tassimo T20, filled the tank, plugged it in, and followed the instruction to run 4, 8 oz cups of water through it before making my first cup of coffee. Then I made the first cup of coffee. The total time from opening the box to making coffee was less than 5 minutes. Initial setup then is about 5 minutes. Each successive cup of coffee is about a minute. Thus, the thing is ridiculously easy to use. In other words, if your grandma needs a coffee maker, and you’re feel generous this Christmas, she will definitely be able to work this thing.
Why It’s a Good Choice:
1. Good Coffee: The coffee is good. It isn’t instant coffee or anything horrible like that, and it’s not super great coffee house coffee, but it is better than average. For non-coffee snobs like me better than average is good enough.
2. Design: The thing looks a lot less gangly than my Keurig B70 and takes up much less space. It’s solid (like the Keurig), the washable bits are easy to remove (unlike my Keurig), and the button, just the one, is impossible to miss.
3. Customized Serving Size: My B70 comes with 4 sizes 6, 8, 10, 12 oz servings. The Keurig B40 only comes with two. The Tassimo T20 comes with one, standard, 8 oz size, but you can manually hold the button down to keep dispensing until your coffee becomes weaker if that’s your preference. Or, you can press the button before brewing is finished to stop the process prematurely to make a stonger brew. In other words, with just one button the Tassimo T20 comes with more sizing options than even my B70.
4. Reasonably Quiet: I’ve owned a Keurig B40 in the past. They’re noisy little machines. The Tassimo T20 is not. It’s not exactly quiet, but it doesn’t sound like it’s taking off either. The Tassimo T20 is a much better engineered machine than the Keurig B40, and it’s obvious; my B40 lasted less than a year before it died (the B70 is a different story entirely; it’s been super reliable).
5. Automatic Descaling Notification: Coffee machines need occasional descaling. That’s when minerals from water eventually build up on the walls of the machine and affect taste and clog tubes. The Tassimo T20 has a light that illuminates when you’re supposed to descale. That’s a handy feature (also present on my Keurig B70 and the B40).
6. Smart Pods (T-Discs): This is something that Keurig does not have. The Tassimo T-Discs each have a bar code that tells the machine how much water to dispense. So, for instance, if you’re making a cappuccino (an option with T-Discs) the machine only dispenses 3 ounces to make an espresso shot. Then, to complete the cappuccino, there’s a separate T-Disc that you put in that makes the milk foam – cool. Thus, depending on what sort of coffee you buy, the machine gives you the proper size automatically without you having to do anything extra. This is a major advancement over all the Keurig machines, including the B70.
One Major Complaint:
Too Damn Expensive: Not the machine. The machine is competitively priced and completely worth the expense when compared to its weaker competition. It’s the pods that are way too expensive. 60 Tassimo coffee pods (they call them T-Discs) sell for $53 on Amazon. I saw them for sale today at Safeway for $11 for a package of 16 pods. The Keurig pods are sold on Amazon for $26 for 48 pods. Target sells the Keurig pods for $60 for 108 pods. The price discrepancy is due to the bar code feature of the T-Discs so you have to decide if that feature is worth the added price per cup of coffee from the Tassimo vs. the Keurig machines. The taste alone is not significantly different to warrant double the price in my opinion. In fact, considering that I think the Keurig Pods are pretty expensive the T-Discs are almost prohibitively expensive. Side Note: Both are cheap when compared to a cup of Starbucks coffee (which, in my opinion, doesn’t taste any better than Tassimo T-Disc or Keurig Pod coffee). Thus, if you’re the kind of person who’s addicted to Starbucks on your way to work every morning, you’d be much better served, despite the price tag, making Tassimo coffee at home.
Use Filtered Water:
Fill the tank with filtered water. Coffee and tea always taste better with pure water, but it also cuts down on the need to descale. I haven’t descaled my Keurig in more than a year thanks to using filtered instead of tap water. I have a Zojirushi hot water pot that also has gone without descaling for more than a year. Before filtered water I could taste a difference in my beverages, and I was descaling every 3 months. Filtered water makes all the difference!
The Honest Trade Off:
You have a choice. You can go the quick and dirty route of instant swill (reference Starbucks Via packets); you’ll save some money, and make quick coffee, but your taste buds will suffer. You can go the route of an aluminum espresso maker which is cheap, and makes excellent tasting coffee, but it takes time and is messy. You can spend tons of money and buy a mechanical espresso maker which will take your time and your money but also give superb coffee. How about a French Press? It’s cheap, true; and it makes great coffee quickly. But, it’s messy and cleaning up after yourself is a drag. Then there are all the choices with the single serve makers and drip machines.
I love my Keurig B70. But, it’s way more expensive than the Tassimo T20. The Tassimo T20 is a better machine by a long shot than its main competition, the Keurig B40, but the outrageous price of the T-Discs make the choice less simple than it should be. Do I want a superior machine or cheaper pods? I’m still inclined to prefer my B70 only because the pods are so much cheaper (yet still pretty expensive) and the machine is competently built and reliable. But, if I had to choose between the Tassimo T20 and the Keurig B40, its rival, the Tassimo would win hands down. The Tassimo T20 is the superior machine, and the T-Disk price is bearable if only to have a machine that’s reliable. But, really, Tassimo needs to do something about the price of their T-Disks because that’s the only thing keeping anybody from preferring the Tassimo over a Keurig.
Tassimo is going to send one of my readers a free Tassimo T20! What do you have to do to get it? Simple. Leave me a comment here on the blog, below, in the comment section, “like” my fan-page on Facebook and also click “like” on the Tassimo Facebook page. Do those things and you’ll be entered to win the machine. Easy Peasy! I’m going to randomly pick a winner next Wednesday, December 22 (using Random.org), to announce the winner on Thursday (should make a good Christmas present for someone!). I rarely get tons of comments so your chances are pretty good. Yay, you! The winner, when selected, will have 24 hours to respond, (I’ll contact you via e-mail and add a comment on this article just in case you miss the e-mail) before I move on to an alternate. Oh, and I apologize to my international audience, but we can only ship to an address in the United States.
UPDATE: The giveaway has now ended. Tabitha B was the winner! Congratulations, Tabitha!