I like coffee. I’m not a connoisseur: I prefer something like a basic arabica blend- more or less what Tim Hortons or McDonald’s serves. I may not define good coffee as something pooped out of a civet’s butt, but a good cup of coffee (based on my definition of “good”) is a crucial part of every day. I drink perhaps three or four 12+ ounce cups per day in total: more than I should, but less than some.
Irene can’t drink coffee any more, so brewing an entire pot each morning is not efficient. And a regular brewer isn’t very effective at producing a couple of cups- the magic that takes place when the hot water passes through the ground beans loses effectiveness. And instant coffee is barely a substitute: yes, I drink it, and it serves the minimal purpose of something calling itself “coffee” I.E.: jumpstarts my brain, but I can’t really say I enjoy it very much.
As a result of these factors, I’ve been exploring various single cup brewing systems. The “to go cup” brewers you can buy for $15 suffer from more or less the same problem as trying to run two cups through a brewer designed for a pot: the water and the coffee don’t intermingle quite the way they are supposed to. That leaves fancy gizmos like the Tassimo and Keurig single cup brewers.
I’ve been reading up on these two competing products for quite some time now. Tassimo is the new(er) kid on the block, with the machine being marketed by Braun and Kraft being the sole manufacturer of coffee supplies. Kraft works with other coffee companies (E.G.: Starbucks) to produce “T-disks” (the coffee inserts), but the actual manufacturing and distribution all goes through Kraft themselves. Of the two, Tassimo is the more “geek” enhanced: each T-disk has a barcode that the coffee maker reads to tell it how to brew, and this includes supporting things like frothing/heating milk. So the Tassimo can produce other things beyond just coffee: something sort of like espresso, or cappuccino, or a latte.
The Keurig has been around for a while. Although their coffee maker uses a microprocessor to control temperature and such, the actual coffee inserts (K-Cups) are not “smart”: they are well engineered coffee + filter gadgets, but possess no fancy barcodes and just deliver coffee. You get neither milk, nor espresso, nor latte out of a K-Cup. Keurig licenses the K-Cup technology to dozens of coffee companies, and there are hundreds of choices: most of them from the more “elite” coffee manufacturers. And as an interesting option, you can buy a little reusable K-Cup and fill it with your own coffee if you want.
Everything I read seemed to indicate that the Keurig makes better coffee than the Tassimo system: this review is a good example illustrating the general consensus. But in my area, at least, I’ve not had any luck finding anyone selling Keurig K-Cup packs. I can buy the machine at London Drugs, but not the coffee. Tassimo T-Disks, on the other hand, are available everywhere: the power of the Kraft distribution system, no doubt. So I’ve been on the fence, drinking instant coffee and trying to make up my mind, for several months.
I finally broke down today and ordered two boxes of K-Cup coffee from Green Mountain Coffee. That’s 48 cups of coffee, more or less, for about $45 including shipping. Ouch: makes me wonder if I would have been smarter to hook a pipe up to the nearest Tim Hortons and pipe the stuff to my house, but whatever. Now I’ll have to go pick up the machine itself, and maybe the reusuable K-Cup thingy so I can make some coffee while I wait for my delivery. I’ll write something up here on the blog in a month or so, after the coffee has arrived and I’ve had a chance to try it out.
Update: I found a Canadian coffee company that makes K-Cup coffee: Timothy’s Coffee. I had read about Timothy’s previously, but didn’t realize they were Canadian. I’ll order a batch of coffee from them as well and compare 😉