Coffee pod machines are hugely popular, with a no-mess, no-fuss approach to brewing the perfect coffee. There are no coffee grounds to deal with, or beans to handle; simply pop the pod in, press a button and coffee is delivered in short order.
While Nespresso may be the brand everyone immediately thinks of when it comes to pod machines, there are other options, such as Tassimo.
Owned by Jacobs Douwe Egberts, the Tassimo system covers a range of drinks from espresso and iced lattes to tea and hot chocolate, and has a number of different machines that are compatible with its T-discs, including the My Way 2, Happy, the Vivy and the Suny machines. All come in under €150, making the whole system an all-round affordable one.
The My Way 2 is the ideal coffee machine for those who like minimal fuss. It’s intelligent yet simple. The machine itself is probably the biggest in the range, but is still compact enough on the counter. The cup tray can be adjusted to bring it closer to the dispenser, ideal for smaller drinks, or left at the lowest setting for taller lattes. On the front are some touch controls for creating your coffee (more on that later) and on the back is the 1.3-litre water tank, which comes with a Brita Maxtra water filter to make sure you get the best-quality coffee.
It’s almost impossible to mess up your coffee, either by putting too much water in or too little, because of the Tassimo Intellibrew system. Each T-Disc has a barcode on it, which contains the information that the machine needs to brew the perfect drink. When you put the disc into the machine, it reads that barcode, and uses the optimal amount of water and brews it at the correct temperature for each drink. The only thing you really need to ensure is that the barcode can be read by the machine, but everything is lined up in such a way that it’s difficult to put the pod in the wrong way into the machine.
That level of automation may be okay for those who want something simple, but it won’t suit everyone. That’s where the My Way 2 comes into its own, allowing for some customisation. You can increase or decrease the temperature, add more water or less, and adjust the brewing time to get your desired intensity. This is all within a defined range for each drink, so you can’t ruin your coffee by messing with the settings too much.
The machine also allows you to save those settings into one of four preset slots, so that when you find the perfect settings for your Americano, you can keep them handy, alongside your preferred cappuccino strength.
In general, it’s an easy system to use. I only ran into some issues with the milk-based drinks due to not actually reading the instructions properly. Speaking of milk drinks, the milk pods are UHT, which means they are slightly sweeter than standard milk, so that’s something to bear in mind if you’re a fan of cappuccino or mocha drinks.
The machine also cleans itself in between drinks, so you don’t thave to deal with mixed flavours – cappuccino traces in your hot chocolate or vice versa.
There is one thing to consider about pod systems: the waste. Each Tassimo pod has numerous components: the foil cover that also contains the barcode; the plastic pod itself; and a small filter inside each pod. Unlike other coffee pods, it’s difficult to recycle these yourself. But Tassimo does have a pod-recycling programme, similar to Nespresso’s scheme, where you can send your pods back to the company and they will recycle them for you.
The good Easy to use, with enough flexibility to customise your drinks to your personal taste on intensity and temperature, but not so much latitude that you can ruin your coffee. There's also a good variety on offer, from straightforward coffee and cappuccino to mochas and hot chocolate. Tassimo has linked up with Cadbury and Costa for some of the pods, so there are other options besides Jacobs Douwe Egberts brands.
The bad You are limited to the drinks offered by Tassimo, unless you want to start messing about with third-party reusable pods. However, there are 40 on the list, which should cover most tastes.
The My Way 2 is a bit larger than the standard pod machine, but Tassimo has other options if you need something more compact.
The rest Tassimo operates a recycling programme for its pods. Currently, that involves printing off a prepaid An Post label and returning the pods in packages of up to 100.
The verdict Easy to use with a good variety of drinks on offer.