Review: Bosch Tassimo Suprema Hot Beverage System

You want coffee instantly, not instant coffee. The Bosch Tassimo Suprema delivers a freshly brewed, honest cup of Joe in less than a minute. Fast enough for ya?

While there are other single-cup beverage makers on the market today, from Keurig and Senseo, the distinctive secret to this robotic barista is the unique barcode printed on each pre-measured, plastic- and foil-encapsulated Tassimo disc (or “T-disc”). This code instructs the machine exactly how to prepare the particular coffee, or, for that matter, espresso, latte, cappuccino, tea, or hot chocolate.

If you are still half-asleep when you amble into the kitchen in the morning, Tassimo’s one-button operation has got you covered with its slumber-proof system. Stick a T-disc in the top loader, press the Power button, and with minimal machine noise, your beverage is delivered to the waiting cup below. If the drink is too strong for you, press the Power button again within 20 seconds and the brew percolates a milder beverage.

Tassimo is the spawn of food behemoth Kraft Foods, so it’s no big surprise that almost all the brand-name T-discs available are from coffee or tea companies owned or distributed by Kraft. These include the usual suspects: Starbucks, Maxwell House, Seattle’s Best, Gelavia, Yuban, Twinings and Tazo teas. T-discs aren’t cheap: For instance, Starbucks Caffe Verona costs $1 per disc, whereas the same coffee would run you about 20 cents per cup if you bought the beans and made the coffee yourself.

Some drinks do better than others when confined within the compressed cylinder of a T-disc. Regular and decaf coffees fare best but even the ‘mild’ blends tend to produce a fairly strong cup. The teas don’t do so well, invariably tasting either watery or like heated-up, concentrated, instant tea. While the espresso would probably offend European taste buds, it comes out robust and characteristically muddy, if not overly authentic. As for the Tassimo’s attempts at cappuccino and latte, let’s be diplomatic: Yuck. And Suchard’s hot chocolate should be renamed ‘Swiss Piss’ with its, ahem, ‘richly flavored’ layers of high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated coconut oil, and artificial flavorings.

The easily removable water reservoir on the back of the Bosch Suprema includes a replaceable water filter (like in a Brita or PUR) to insure contaminant-free aqua, but it only holds enough for about a half-dozen cups before a refill is needed. Still, that’s a small inconvenience when you can get a decent cup of coffee in a one-touch flash.

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