* Prices may differ from that shown
For those of you that don't know, the Tassimo is a pod-style coffee maker where you buy pre-packed pods of coffee that each make one drink at the touch of a button.
This isn't my first pod style coffee maker, the first being a Dolce Gusto. Whilst this was more than adequate at making great tasting drinks, it did take time to perfect making the milky drinks such as lattes and hot chocolates as you had to manually control the amount of milk and coffee used. Gradually, the Dolce Gusto was used less and less until it was eventually given away as part of a kitchen de-clutter.
Fast forward a year and we again found ourselves in search of a pod style coffee maker. After researching online, looking at reviews and the range of drinks available, we decided upon the Bosch Tassimo T65.
The main advantage of the Tassimo T65 over the Dolce Gusto is that it is more automated, using a barcode scanner to identify the type of pod currently being used, and automatically adjusting the temperature, brewing time and amount of water required to make the perfect drink. It's so simple; open the pod compartment, pop the pod in and press go!! It's really that simple!
For milky drinks, the milk and coffee come in separate pods so you do need to repeat this process (remembering to remove the used pod before inserting the second). The milk pods contain UHT milk rather than powdered milk that is used in the Dolce Gusto pods.
If you like a stronger coffee, simply press the main (only) button before the end of the process, or to make it a bit weaker, press it again after the end of the process to control the water flow.
With this barcode system, you get the perfect balance of milk and coffee with each drink, unlike with the Dolce Gusto where you had to guess the right amount of milk to balance the coffee.
The Tassimo caters for all sizes of cups and mugs, with a cup stand that is adjustable in height to cater for the small espresso cups to your larger coffee cup. For larger mugs, the cup stand can be removed entirely.
The Tassimo also comes with a yellow cleaning disk that can be inserted in the pod compartment and is used to clean out the water pipe and nozzle between the pod and the cup stand - I tend to use this after most drinks, particularly where a milk pod has been used in case any splashes of milk have been left behind.
A small downside is the location of the slot to hold the yellow cleaning pod - it's at the back of the machine behind the water compartment, so you have to turn the machine round, remove the water compartment to get the cleaning pod out. I think the cleaning pod would be more useful at the front of the machine where it would get used more often. Instead I keep the cleaning pod beside my coffee mugs.
The water compartment (it holds 2 litres of water) has space for a Britta water filter, although I decided not to use this as the water here is of a high quality. A filter does come with the unit, but as I didn't use it. I cannot comment on its effectiveness or how long it lasts.
Registering your Tassimo T65 also gives you a £20 voucher to spend in the online Tassimo shop, where you can choose from 36 different flavours -not just coffee, but tea and hot chocolate too! My favourites so far are the Twining's Chai Tea Latte, Milka hot chocolate and the Caramel Macchiato Latte.
Pods are available from most supermarkets but the widest choice is available from the online store. Prices vary depending on the type, but you can expect to pay upwards of £4 per pack (most packs have 16 pods which will give 16 drinks, apart from the milky drinks which will only give 8 drinks as two pods are required.) Prices do however vary so shop around online and you might find some good deals.
In my mind the machine has been designed to be environmentally friendly - it only boils the water required for each drink and goes into a standby mode after a few minutes of inactivity. There is also a pod recycling scheme, administered through Terracycle, where you can send off your used pods to be recycled into new plastic products. The disadvantage of this is that you need at least 200 pods before you send them off, so unless you are a heavy user, it would take a while to get to this level. On the plus side, your pods are exchanged for points which you can donate to local charities, schools etc for cash payouts.
Once you have sat back and enjoyed your drink, it's easy to clean the machine. As I said earlier, there is a special cleaning disk that starts a cleaning programme, and a quick wipe of the outside the machine keeps it looking spick and spam. I tend to wash out the water compartment every few days, but again this is easy to do with no hard to reach areas.
This is a review of the TAS6515GB (T65 for the sake of this review) that I have been using for around a month now. This isn't the first pod coffee machine that I have owned or used, previous to this machine I had used a Dolce Gusto KP2100 and during my honeymoon earlier this year I had one weeks use of a Nespresso Citiz Titanium (Krups XN7001) machine. In fact I had mistakenly thought that the Nespresso machine was a Tassimo and when my new machine arrived from Amazon I was confronted by my mistake so this is my impression of the Tassimo T65.
The T65 a uses barcode system that reads the barcode printed on the individual "T Discs", that allows the machine to know the correct brewing time, water and temperature needed for a particular drink.
The main body of the machine is stylish enough coming in two shades of grey or Twilight Titanium, whichever you prefer. There is a recess at the front for your cup to go to catch the dispensed drink (A very useful feature).
This itself is illuminated so you will never lose sight of your cup even in the dark. A "clamp" at the top of the machine which when opened allows you access to put a T Disc into the T Disc holder; this also houses the barcode scanner.
Located on the front right side of the machine is the control panel which comes in a mirrored effect, this consists of a small display that explains what the machine is doing at that moment, an on/off switch and a large silver stop/start button which itself is surrounded by five indicator lights these consist of: Standby (the power is switched on), Automatic (the machine is ready to use), Manual (the period during the process where you can add water to your drink), Fill Tank (add more water, please) and Descale (time for some matinence).
There is a cup stand that fits into the front of the machine: this can be twisted up and down to accommodate a normal sized cup, a smaller espresso sized cup or removed completely for a tall cup.
Then lastly you have a Brita water filter which is branded with the Tassimo logo and custom made to fit the machine (This can't be used as a stand alone water filter) this slots into the back of the machine.
I guess the fundamental reason for buying a "pod" coffee machine is convenience. Traditional coffee machines, in my hands at least, tend to be a messy and comparatively time consuming affair.
Now this machine really is convenient just turn the machine on, put your chosen "T Disc" in, wait for the machine to read the barcode on the T Disc, press the large silver button when the machine asks and out comes the coffee to the amount prescribed to that particular T Disc's barcode.
The machine will then give you the option of adding water to your drink, if you would like it milder.
Now if the drink is a hot chocolate or latte style drink then you will have to put the second T Disc in and repeat. But with single coffee drinks it is pretty much fire and forget, though don't forget for too long or your drink will go cold (though I was impressed by how hot the drinks are).
The machine is very impressive when it comes to the T Discs and mess, with the Dolce gusto machines it was always my experience that the "pod" would retain some of the water that passed through, which would then later leak out. My experience of the T Discs has been much better with the coffee, tea and milk T Discs appearing to retain no water. The only T Disc that has made any mess so far was a "tiramisu" T Disc and even then just left a rather small syrupy residue on my worktop. So in my very unorganized way I can leave the T Disc "on the side" without the worry of it leaking out all over the place.
Maintenance of the T65 has so far been pretty straight forward; there is a service T Disc which is used during the descaling process. The small "receptacle" into which the T Disc is placed is easily removable and the area underneath which contains the barcode scanner is very accessible, without hard to reach corners (very well designed) and is easily wiped clean. There is some splash back from the coffee being dispensed into the cup but again this is easily wiped clean.
The latte style drinks have been a slight disappointment for me, the milk used being a touch too sweet and often the milk at the bottom of a tall glass being cold and tasting much the worse for it. I found the latte drinks in the Dolce Gusto range much nicer, though I guess this is highly subjective to an individuals taste.
There are many variations of T Discs available so there is probably a coffee (There are also teas and hot chocolate drinks available) to suit most tastes.
Some of these drinks are available in your local supermarket but many are internet exclusives only available to buy from the online Tassimo shop. The Tassimo has (at the time of writing) 36 different varieties of drinks, one of these being creamer for milk. 21 of these drinks are internet exclusives only available from the Tassimo shop. The drinks come in packs of 8 or 16, 8 usually meaning it is a drink that uses a milk T-Disc.
Here are a few examples of per cup cost (from the Tassimo shop):
Kenco Medium Roast 23p
Twinings Breakfast Tea 23p
Milka Hot Chocolate 47p
Carte Noire Latte Macchiato 56p
Tassimo sells the machine for £139.99 but it is available much cheaper from other outlets, my machine cost £89.99 from Amazon. The machine came with a £20 off voucher for use on the Tassimo shop website. The online store has a minimum spend of £25 and an additional charge of £5 for postage and packaging; Orders £35 and over have free postage and packaging.
So although it was my intention originally get a Nespresso machine I am not overly upset by my mistake and will keep the T65 (though I still intend to buy a Nespresso at some point). The T65 is a good looking machine that makes a quick tasty coffee with next to no mess. So if it is convenience that you seek I recommend this machine.
(prices were accurate on 2nd of July 2012)
Short name: Bosch TAS6515GB