Tag Archives: coffee

Keurig vs. Tassimo – A side by side comparison

Keurig vs. Tassimo – How to make bad coffee slightly better

Oh now stop it. We’ve all lowered ourselves for a quick caffeine fix. These single serve coffee makers are perfect when you want a quick cup of ordinary to awful cup of dark hot liquid.  They are on the same shame level as a foodie going to McDonalds or a beer nerd drinking a macro beer. It happens. It’s shameful but sometimes convenience trumps good taste.

I already have a Keurig, but when a friend (Random Ron) dropped off his german designed Bosch Tassimo I had to do a side by side comparison.

Looks:
Winner: Tassimo
The Tassimo is compact. It artistically shines a beauty light on your coffee mug for goodness sake.

Sound:
Winner: Tie
The Keurig sounds industrial the Tassimo spits and sputters. Both models fail the 5am sound check.

Cost:
Winner: Keurig
Keurig dominates the US market for single serve coffee makers. As a result, there’s more economic support for the replacement k-cup market. I purchased a box of k-cups at Costco that was the size of a microwave once. I also wonder if design has a part to play in this pricing equation.

The Keurig k-cup is a shining example of design simplicity. Coffee grounds are packed on top of a paper filter, all of which is packaged inside a thin walled cup. The Tassimo disk just seems to have more plastic packaging complexity and heft.


Keurig
Machine range: $80-$180
Cartridge: $0.35 – 1.00

Tassimo
Machine range: $80-$190
Cartridge: $0.50-$1.00

Ease of Use:
Winner: Tassimo
I always seem to be flipping the Keurig handle to reset the machine in an attempt to trigger a brew. Up, down and pushing buttons until something happens. The Keurig dance works until I realize the reservoir is empty.

The Tassimo machine reads the barcode on the top of the cartridge and determines how to brew the coffee for you. Granted there are less options, virtually none in fact, but I crave early morning simplicity. Also, the cleaning function is unreal. Put the yellow disk in place (stored in back of machine) and then push the button. The machine will automatically run through a short cleaning cycle or a 20 minute descaling routine.

Flavor:
Winner: Tassimo
I believe additional testing is required and would welcome additional feedback from our readers. For a fair test, the same roaster brand should be evaluated on both machines.

From my limited sampling, the Tassimo had a richer tasting brew that smelled good. The Keurig coffee had limited flavor and aroma, almost as if the water didn’t spend enough time in the grounds.

I do marvel at the k-cup design simplicity (again). Water is pushed through the top and exits at the bottom. Contrast that with the disk which demands that the water enters and exits the same side of the cartridge ( a water circuit best described as in-up-around-down). The water’s straight forward route in the k-cup leaves much less residual moisture in the grounds. Why is this important? I have no idea. 

Overall:
The flavor, ease of use and aesthetics are superior for the Tassimo. However cost and vast coffee variety will continue to make the Keurig the market winner for the US market. If I were to choose between the two, I would choose the Keurig. Nothing from either of these singe serve machines will taste as good as coffee from a full pot maker. It’s all about convenience here. The Keurig allows consumers to buy their refill k-cups just about anywhere at an affordable price.

How to make better coffee

Look.  I’m not here to make sweeping judgments about you or the people you care about. But if you use a K-cup or automatic drip, you are a monster.

You know what? I’m sorry about that. Like I said I am not here to…actually who am I kidding? I gotta go back to that K-cup/automatic drip thing. Why are you doing this? Did coffee hurt you in some way? Did someone raise you to believe you should go for the least best way to enjoy life? Including the stimulating dark as night bringer of joy and wonderment, coffee?

And I know we’re all busy. And I know at times we just need caffeine and we don’t have the time to have it in its best form.  But I also think that most of the time, you probably do. And I think you are selling coffee short. Especially since raising your morning coffee experience is easier than you think. So come with me on a journey where we can learn and grow.

Just kidding.

But here is how to make better coffee. It’s not that hard. Grow up.

THE COFFEE MAKER

Stop being a baby and get yourself a French Press. Sorry, I’m just still mad thinking of all that stale pre ground stuff that used to be coffee you have crammed in those K-cups.

But seriously. French Press.

Not only is it a relatively simple system, it is so much better than what you’re using. It’s not even close. Now some will champion pour over or Aeropress. And those people are not wrong. Those methods are fantastic. But they are a lot more sensitive to variables to get it just right. And you don’t need that kind of hassle. You’re a busy man/woman with a winning smile who grabs the bull by the horns. Yes, I am resorting to cheap flattery. But this is serious.

French Press.  Any one from Target or Bed Bath and Beyond will do. Bodum is a good brand and not expensive.

THE COFFEE

If you take nothing else out of this discussion I just hope in the name of all that is decent and right on God’s great earth it’s this: only buy whole bean coffee.

Please. Heaven knows I don’t ask you for much.

Coffee is actually pretty volatile. It goes stale pretty quick. So get whole bean and grind it right before you brew it.

Also, Starbucks is terrible. Find a hipster coffee shop near you and get beans from them. Now, nobody would mistake me for a hipster. But they contribute great things to coffee. Getting fresh roasted, local coffee is best. But if that isn’t possible most non-Starbucks whole bean coffees will do.

Even if you plan to stick with automatic drip coffee this will make your experience so much better. And you can believe me. Because I am always right.

Which brings us to our next element…

THE GRINDER

Invest in a conical burr grinder. I use a Cuisinart I got from Bed Bath and Beyond for 45 bucks.

It’s this one.

Sure, there are better ones, but this is the one I can afford, okay Zuckerberg?

The conical burr grinder is way better than those hand held ones. Those are dangerous for a couple reasons. One, they tend to “burn” the beans. And two, the grind is inconsistent. I’ve seen it compare to randomly chopping a steak all different sizes then throwing it on a grill and expecting it to all cook the same.

The burr grinder produces a very even grind and doesn’t ruin the beans.

If you are using a French Press (did I mention you should?) grind the beans to a coarse grind. If still using auto drip go for medium.

As a side note,  I will say the hand held grinders are still better than pre ground coffee, you animals. If you must use one don’t hold it down. Pulse it twice. Then shake it. Then pulse it two more times. Keep checking the beans until you have a relatively even grind.

BREWING

The general idea is 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 oz. of coffee. I tend to do a little more than that cause I like stronger coffee. My suggestion is to experiment during the weekends and times where a cup isn’t imperative or there isn’t a time crunch to get to work. It took me a good two weeks to get it right when I got serious about my coffee.

So, get the ratio right.  Do not be afraid to figure it out. Use you K-cup or auto drip and then figure this out in your off hours. Now, here’s how to brew….

Bring a tea kettle to whistle. Remove it from heat. Then grind your beans. Boiling water will burn your coffee. But waiting 30 – 60 seconds will bring the water down to perfect brewing temp.

Pour the coffee into the French Press. Pour just enough water over the coffee and mix it. It should be like a coffee mud. Let that sit for thirty seconds. It’ll expand. That releases the flavor.

Now, at this point, famous Food Network guy Alton Brown says to add a pinch of salt to reduce acidity. He is right. Not like a tablespoon. Just a pinch.

After that pour the rest of the water, give a stir to mix it all together, and let sit for three minutes. Now über snobs will tell you to plunge it for 30 seconds. But come on. Who has that kind of time? Just do a slow, steady plunge.

RESULTS

You will have a cup of coffee that is worlds ahead of the normal one. Mathematically it’s an 80% better cup of coffee with 10% more effort. These numbers are not official.

If you follow these rules, however, you will make a great cup of coffee every day.