Top critical review
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Well designed and convenient to use but product ruined by limited (and shrinking) product choice and serious environmental issue
on 24 February 2013
The new Tassimo Joy is a very well designed and rather 'cool' machine which is incredibly easy to use and produces a range of drinks (unsurprisingly, predominantly coffees) at little more than a flick of a switch. First set up is straightforward: within 5 minutes you can have carried out the pretty-well automated initial clean and be sipping your drink of choice.
Clean up is minimal: emptying any accumulated spills from the cup shelf and rinsing out the plastic water tank (which holds a generous 1.4l so you won't be constantly having to refill) is about it, and really, unless you've been pretty careless and failed to choose a sensible cup size, there SHOULD be no spills. Insertion and removal of the drink 'pod' is a doddle and takes seconds. So ideal for those who are in a rush and like their drink immediately and with no effort at all: perfect for bleary-eyed early mornings and exhausted homecomings. Compared to a number of machines of this type that I have tried, the temperature of the drinks is higher than most - unless you like to have your coffee scalding hot, you won't be rushing to the microwave to give the cup a temperature boost, as some friends of mine have to do with their Nespresso. The Tassimo process certainly produces an optimal version of the specific drink brew you have chosen.
For me, however, there are some negatives, not so much about this machine as compared to others, but to do with the nature of the beast;
1. You are tied to a delivery system which is not cheap when compared to more traditional ways of making coffee - on average about £4.00 for 16 drinks which do not have a creamer component, 8 drinks for £4.00 if you buy drinks with a creamer. Not going to break the bank, but a consideration.
2. You are tied to a pretty limited choice of beverages from a narrow range of providers. My everyday favourite, Lavazza Crema di Gusto will never be Tassimoed. The system is only interested in market leading product, not interesting or top quality blends
3. I'm not sure that the Tassimo process is significantly better as far as taste is concerned than my hitherto method of choice of coffee making - Aeropress Coffee Maker + Extra 350 Micro Filters - Aerobie which is quick, (2-3 minutes, less if the water is ready) relatively clean and relatively inexpensive (£25.00 for the maker and filters) in initial outlay. Added to which, the cost is simply that of the basic ingredients. I am NOT a coffee connoisseur, but I think the Aeropress offers a more personally controllable brew.) However, I think a coffee produced in a Tassimo is better than the same blend produced by many methods, such as filter or cafetierre. But whilst it IS quick, and cleanup is pretty insignificant, at least in those terms it cannot quite compete with the Tassimo.
These machines do the job very well and quickly, IF they make the discs in your drink of choice (see Amazon or the Tassimo site for the full range): if speed and convenience are more important to you than cost, these are brilliant buys. 5*s by those criteria. (NB teas and chocolate options are awful, IMHO.)
However, the choice of drinks is limited and variable: I like to buy espressos and found a great option in Tassimo pods (Maestro Lorenzo) but that has been withdrawn due to 'lack of demand', though they clearly like it in Spain and Portugal where it is still available, apparently. The company seems to be interested only in selling coffees which have well known high street names and which shift by the container load. I DON'T like the options that remain (and I'm not a connoisseur!)
An even more important objection to the machine for me is the recycling issue. Initially Tassimo showed no interest in the piles of pods going into landfill. Then a company called Terracycle got on board and had a great scheme whereby used pods could be posted in 3+kg sacks for free where they would be recycled. That scheme has now closed though I still have the option to take the pods to one of the very few collection points - my nearest is over 40 miles away!!
So, as of December 2014 I have given up on my Tassimo and bought a Delonghi Dedica pump espresso maker. My coffee is now a third of the price of the Tassimo versions, a staggering sixth of the price of the versions with creamer, provides me with the range of choice that didn't suit the Tassimo corporate straitjacket, and doesn't produce difficult to dispose of and environmentally unfriendly plastic and foil wrapping. It takes (only) a little longer to make (perhaps 2 minutes max from switch on to sipping coffee with frothed, warmed milk and clean up takes 1 minute.
I'm am REALLY glad not to be using the machine any more.