Think of it as a CD player for coffee. Tassimo, a new hot beverage maker, has harnessed smart technology to create a perfectly brewed cup every time, at the push of a button.
Manufactured by Braun but created by Saeco and Kraft, the sleek, compact machine uses little round plastic cartridges called T Discs to brew a choice of coffee, espresso, hot chocolate, cappuccino or tea. Each disc comes with a bar code that is read by the machine to adjust water, brewing time and temperature to the required levels.
"There are only two things that can go wrong," the confident young product demonstrator said at this week's Toronto launch, held at hot Bistro & Bakery Thuet. "Either you run out of water, in which case the lights start flashing, or the disc is in wrong."
"You mean like my stereo?"
Because the actual brewing happens inside the disc, rather than the machine, there is virtually no "flavour transfer" between drinks, says Tassimo director of technology Adam Lloyd.
At the launch, we sampled a frothy cappuccino while the demonstrator made us a cup of Earl Grey (at the ideal temperature of 190 degrees Fahrenheit, as opposed to the usual tepid cafeteria slop).
The result? The tea tasted exactly like tea, aromatic and steeped to a medium strength.
"All of that technology enables us to have a very simple machine with just one button to operate," Lloyd says. "And it gives you a drink within a minute."
Cleaning up is convenient too: The parts are easily removed for running through the dishwasher. And the cup stand adjusts for espresso, standard and giant-travel-mug size.
The T Discs, available in grocery stores across the country, feature brands like Nabob and Maxwell House, Twinings and Suchard. Lattes and cappuccinos also require separate discs of milk, which is semi-evaporated and has been ultra-pasteurized to be shelf-stable.
And all those little empty discs left over?
Except for the tinfoil top, they are recyclable; soon, they'll be entirely recyclable. There, doesn't that ease your consumer guilt a little?
$199 at major retailers across Canada; T Discs, $4.99-$5.99/14-16 servings coffee/tea/hot chocolate at selected supermarkets or through http://www.tassimo.com.
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