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Single-cup coffee/espresso maker advice needed

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I've read some of the other topics on this, and have some specific questions. My husband wants to make coffee and flavored coffee, and I'd want espresso, hot chocolate and tea. My preferred espresso is Illy, but I tasted the Nespresso restretto and it was acceptable. Whatever machine we gets needs to be easy to operate (like 1 button easy) and take up minimal counter space.

It appears Keurig, Tassimo and Nespresso are the main options, but Illy also has espresso machines that take their capsules and pods.

Are capsules interchangeable, by any chance, between the different systems? How about the pods?

I understand you can refill the Nespresso capsules yourself -- any particular grind required? Would hot chocolate or tea work also? (And are other companies' capsules refillable?)

I believe I read the Tassimo system has a wider selection of flavorings, etc. Is that still the case?

Any recommendations based on our requirements?

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  1. I love my Nespresso -- but it doesn't do tea or hot chocolate. Espresso, longo, cappucino, steamed milk only -- so you can get there in a roundabout manner, but there are no capsules containing tea or hot chocolate.

    And no, the capsules are strictly designed for a particular machine -- no interchangeability. Google each of those manufacturers and their capsules and you'll see how wildly different the pods/pads are.

    4 Replies
    1. re: sunshine842

      Adding to that, hot chocolate and tea require only the addition of hot water. There's no need for an expensive capsule. Most of these systems willl dispense hot water.

      1. re: ferret

        which is what I meant by "you can get there in roundabout manner" -- we occasionally make *real* hot cocoa by just running a mug of steamed milk (usually easier to just microwave a single mug of milk, or just heat it on the stove, though)

        There is a hot-water dispenser right on the machine for tea.

        1. re: sunshine842

          I agree about the ease of hot chocolate or tea without the machine, but one of the more expensive machines was touting that they made those drinks. It doesn't seem like the most necessary feature!

          Out of curiosity, can you change the size of the cup of coffee on the Nespresso?

          1. re: waldrons

            yes, there are two buttons -- one for an espresso, one for what I call an allongée -- kind of the lovechild of espresso and American coffee (and what I tend to drink the most often)

            (on mine, there are two additional buttons for a macchiato and a cappucino -- they light up if the milk container is attached)

    2. Also consider Flavia (owned by Mars), primarily an office machine but delivers delicious brews in all kinds of flavors.