The Keurig and Tassimo machines both use plastic cups, known generically as pods, to brew single portions of coffee. We preferred the Keurig, above, shown with the plastic cups or “pods” that contain the single portions of coffee.





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KAREN HOCHMAN is Editorial Director of THE NIBBLE.



December 2005
Updated January 2009

Appliance Review / Kitchenware / Appliances

Keurig & Tassimo Coffee Makers

Page 6: Cleaning The Machines


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Cleaning The Single Serve Coffee Machines



The Keurig is very low maintenance: just toss out the pod. Some pods will drip slightly because of the puncture on the bottom; but perhaps we were spoiled by the no-drip Senseo pods we used for several months prior to testing the Keurig.


The Tassimo represents more of a challenge. Because it can switch from coffee to milk-based lattes and cappuccinos to hot chocolate, you are advised to rinse the puncture mechanism between uses. After the tenth cup of latte, we found gobs of coagulated milk product at the bottom of each successive cup we brewed.  We cleaned the brew mechanism, but that had no impact. We then read the manual, which suggested that we “flush the inside of the machine between drinks.” This means that for every cup brewed, we should “brew” a plain up of water to flush out the pipes! Could that possibly be? We phoned customer service and were told that we might want to do so after every five cups. We probably had made twenty cups of assorted beverages before the problem arose...but with this system, just be aware that you trade off the chore of cleaning up coffee grounds for the chore of flushing the machine.

While we complained about cleaning the Tassimo, after we stopped using it, we really missed drinking the five cappuccinos and lattes a day that necessitated the frequent cleaning.  They weren’t Starbuck’s best, but they were the best we were going to get in our home; and a lot less expensive (and more convenient) than running out to a coffee shop).

Both machines suggest descaling every three months, which should be done with all frequently-used coffeemakers to eliminate the mineral build-up in the water tank.

What Would We Do?

In our office, we enjoy the quick convenience and neatness of the machines. If someone gave us a Keurig, we would use it, although we wouldn’t run out to spend $150 on another large appliance in our limited-space kitchen. As stated earlier, our fondness remains for the smaller-footprint, less expensive, paper-pod Senseo. Otherwise, for a single cup of excellent coffee, one can’t beat the time-honored Melitta cone and filter, or a small French press.

We love cappuccinos and lattes, spend too much money on them at coffee emporia, don’t want to own a cumbersome $900 espresso/cappuccino machine, and would have loved for the Tassimo to be our home solution. Alas, we couldn’t learn to love the powdered-creamer flavor of the Tassimo brews, even at the bargain price of $1.00 a cup. But then, we’re food writers and we’re picky. We know that many people will love the ease and convenience of these machines, and the ability to have several foamy cappuccinos a day without ever leaving the house.



Single-Serve Coffee Brewers

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The Tassimo brews these different beverages—some more successfully than others.

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