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Oct 17, 2010 10:31 AM

single coffee brewers

Well, I think I want to get me one. Any thoughts on Keurig vs. Tassimo vs. Nespresso. Do they hold to the real coffee drinker? Can they replace a 4-cup drip maker for breakfast? (certainly if you need a 12-cup it makes no sense. But I am talking 2 people having a cup in the afternoon or for breakfast.

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  1. mrotmd, the two ends of your inquiry suggest two very different approaches, and the very different approaches mean different results in the cup.

    Your initial mention of Keurig, Tassimo, and Nespresso suggests that you are locked in on a fully automatic pod (capsule-type) electric plug-in coffee maker, basically in-home fast food. Nothing wrong with that, but ...

    The mention at the end of your inquiry of two people having a cup in the afternoon suggests something more intimate, communal, and romantic than the coffee equivalent of a Hot Pocket. Am I reading you wrong?

    If you want a pod model, because you then will be locked into a single source for the coffee itself, the sales figures may be more important than the performance. It is likely that at least one of the systems will lose favor and disappear from the marketplace, like Toshiba's HD-DVD (lost out to Sony's Blu-Ray, disks no longer made in the format) or xD Picture memory cards for digital cameras. If you buy into the wrong pod system, your coffee maker could become a museum piece in a surprisingly short time.

    If you want romance and involvement for your coffee for two in the afternoon, you might look into "stovetop espresso" coffee makers, also called "moka pots." Bialetti invented the category, but recent low-end Bialettis, made not in Italy but in India, reputedly lack the quality of the Bialettis many of us came to know and love; in today's marketplace, the high quality Vev Vigano lines might be a better bet, and there are a variety of styles to please the eyes as well as the taste buds. See, for instance, this one: Beyond peradventure, you certainly would expend more "effort" to make two cups of coffee in a moka pot than you would expend to make two cups of coffee in an automated pod machine, but the work aspect disappears with familiarity, and by the third or fourth time you brew in a moka pot, it will not seem any more difficult than using a pod maker, and the taste results will be rewarding.

    1. Manual drip is also a great way of making coffee for 1 or 2. You boil the water in any pot or kettle, and pour it slowly over coffee in a paper filter (e.g. #2 cone). Minimal cost, and you aren't locked into any brand of coffee or 'pod'.

      1. We're not caught up in the romance of fine coffee but we are serious coffee drinkers and the Keurig changed our lives. Having a fresh cup in seconds far outweighs any trade off in expense, being locked in to a technology or perceived quality. It's a drip system. If you like coffee made in an automatic drip maker, the Keurig brew quality will be fine. If you are concerned about being "green" however, your conscience might bother you about the waste issues with the single use K-cups. There is a reusable K-cup filter but it sort of defeats the ease and convenience of the premeasured, sealed system. Keurig is, as I said before, primarily a drip coffee maker, Nespresso is an espresso maker and the Tassimo is geared more to what I'd call "coffee house beverages"...mochas, lattes, etc.

        When we were looking for a single serve coffee maker, we found a wealth of information on this site:

        1. Honestly, you can't go wrong with a Melitta or French Press. I don't feel like the more "traditional" methods of brewing coffee are time or labor intensive enough to merit buying an expensive machine like the Keurig, especially given the final quality (or lack thereof) of the coffee and the incredible amount of waste they produce.

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          1. re: dbeighley

            I just switched to a melitta porcelain filter and LOVE it. Amazingly simple and great coffee (which you have full control over).

            Even easier if you're okay with plastic/hot water exposure are Clever Coffee Filter (with lid) and Aeropress, both a/v at Sweet Maria's: