The Bosch Tassimo Coffee maker has been around for as long as Keurig brewers. Why did the Keurig K-Cups brewers become a household name while the Tassimo T-Disc brewers fell into relative obscurity? One might conclude that the Keurig was simply the better machine, but not so fast. See the Demo before you give up on the Bosch Tassimo Coffee Maker.
iCoffee Opus Update
The iCoffee Opus by Remmington has continued to serve my needs well the past couple of years. I do have a recommendation to insure that you are getting the most out of the product and making the best coffee possible on a consistent basis. Over time, I noticed that the coffee began to taste less strong and bold. The problem was consistent whether regardless of the brand of K-Cups I used. After giving the iCoffee brewer a good cleaning with vinegar the coffee immediately improved back to the impressive level it was at the time of this review. The other recommendation I have is to remove the plastic taste from the brewer using the recommendations here: Coffee Tastes like Plastic. A new model, the Mozart has been introduced. From what I can tell from the manufacturer website these products are both the same and both names Opus/Mozart are being used to describe the product online. Scroll below for the full review on the iCoffee Opus which should also apply to the Mozart .
New iCoffee Model or Name (Mozart)
The price on the Opus seems to have sky-rocketed since I last did this review. The Mozart model seems to have the very same features and is considerably less money.
iCoffee Opus (Original Review: March 2015)
This review also applies to the iCoffee Mozart. The name Opus and Mozart appear to be interchangeable. As you have probably noticed from my dozens of coffee-maker reviews, coffee brewers are a bit of a habit with me. I’ve tried percolators, drip makers, thermal carafe brew stations, grinder-drip makers, various single-cup Keurig machines, Tassimo single cup brewers, and French Presses. The latest addition to my coffee maker addiction is a new and improved, off-brand version of the most popular, single-cup, K-Cup brewer, the iCoffee Opus. While there are a few other off-brand, K-Cup brewers, the iCoffee Opus utilizes a unique technology not found in other coffee makers.
How do you rate the iCoffee Opus?
Hamilton Beach Brewstation
Review: Is this a better way to make a pot of coffee?
The Hamilton Beach Brewstation makes a very powerful argument against the every day use of single-cup coffee makers like the Keurig. Not too long ago, I began to feel that the convenience of the single cup Keurig coffee brewer topped my reasons to ever buy another coffee maker. I even wrote articles about how coffee is enjoyed one cup at a time, not one pot at a time. Why deal with messy coffee grounds and coffee that sits in a pot and gets old and tastes burnt? On the other hand, single cup coffee makers give you only one cup at a time. Would if you want just a little bit more, but don’t want to waste $.40 to $.87 cents on that second full cup? Perhaps, when you consider the the limitations of single cup coffee makers, they aren’t so convenient, after all. Does life really happen one cup at a time? Would if you want just a little more or a little less and don’t want to pay for the entire cup? And, why does it have to sit in a pot and get old? Why can’t we have the best of both worlds?
Hamilton Beach 12 Cup Brewstation
Is it a Single Cup Coffee Maker or a Coffee Pot Brewer?
The Hamiton Beach 12-Cup Brewstation is neither a single pot or single-cup coffee maker. It brews coffee into a holding tank that can be dispensed into your cup when, as often, and in the quantities you like. The Hamltion Beach Brewstation keeps the coffee fresher because there is no carafe or coffee pot sitting on a hot plate to burn it and make it taste bitter. I discovered the Brewstation at a condo I stayed at for the weekend in Copper Mountain, Colorado. I became intrigued with the Brewstation’s simplicity and flexibility. I could sip as much coffee as I wanted without being in a hurry and didn’t have to worry about the costs of cracking open another k-cup or two. So, how do you make coffee in this thing?
If your coffee tastes like plastic there are a couple of good reasons for this: One, your coffee maker is made from plastic. Two, you just bought a brand new coffee maker. It is unfortunate that even most expensive coffee makers are made from plastic. Plastic, particularly when it is new, contains chemicals which become significantly more active when hot water is added. There is nothing worse than tasting plastic in your favorite brand of coffee, especially when you just purchased a new brewer which is supposedly designed to extract the most flavorful cup of coffee possible. Unfortunately, there is no way to get around the materials manufacturers use to make their coffee brewers. There is, however, a fool-proof way to permanently get rid of the plastic odor and taste for good.
How to get rid of plastic taste in coffee maker
Getting rid of the plastic taste in your coffee maker is so simple, I wish I had thought of it. The only ingredients you will need are a bottle of 70-90% rubbing alcohol and a few minutes of your time. Don’t be fooled by the claims that vinegar works. I’ve tried it several times and it simply doesn’t do the job. Using vinegar will only make your coffee smell like both plastic and vinegar at the same time. The rubbing alcohol works and chemists have confirmed the scientific reasoning for this. The chemicals contained in plastic are soluble in the alcohol. More importantly, I’ve tried it on a brand new, Hamilton Beach Brew Station and the strong odor and taste of plastic have completely vanished. Here’s how I recommend doing it. Pour half of the bottle of rubbing alcohol in the bottom of your brew dispenser. Fill the dispenser with water, leaving room for the rest of the alcohol. Fill the top up with the remaining rubbing alcohol and brew. I recommend leaving the fully brewed hot water/rubbing alcohol mixture sit in the coffee maker for about 10 – 15 minutes before emptying it. Then, you will need to brew about 2-3 pots of additional water until you’re confident that the alcohol is completely diluted from your brewer.
Gevalia K-Cups are now available in just about every store. Being that I have never been a huge fan of Gevalia coffee in general, I hesitantly picked up a box of 18 at my local Target store for $11.99. I have liked some of the Gevalia Tassimo products which are advertised as being similar to Starbucks (Which they are), so I thought I’d give them a try.
Gevalia K-Cups Columbia Taste Test
Gevalia Columbia K-Cups are advertised as a medium roast coffee. Normally, I prefer dark roasts which are just a tad lighter than French or Italian roast coffees. The darker roast coffees seem less acidic to me and don’t give me the jitters quite as bad as lighter roast coffees. Perhaps, some of the caffeine is roasted out of them. Still, I often get tired of dark roast k-cups because they all taste roughly the same. The Kirkland Brand Pacific Roast is my favorite but only because it is a bargain in a box of 100 for just $37.99. Thirty eight cents a cup for a reasonable quality coffee is about as good as it gets for the Keurig. At $11.99 for a box of 18, the Kirkland is practically double that in cost. But for some variety, I thought I’d try something new and lighter tasting, so I went for the Columbia. The Gevalia Columbia roast is indeed lighter, but is very fresh and plenty strong enough using the normal-size cup setting on my Keurig. It is bold, but yet light at the same time and doesn’t have the sour after-taste of some of the cheaper, commercial Columbia coffees. Gevalia coffees have always been fresh and good quality, but they’ve always seemed weak to me until I discovered some of their larger, Tassimo brands. The Gevalia K-Cups are no exception (at least in the Columbia flavor). It is good, bold coffee that is just a tad lighter and richer than most of the dark roasts like Newman’s, etc.. Give Gevalia K-Cups a try if you like a lighter, rich cup of coffee.
Flor de Apia Coffee comes from Colombia. Have you ever imagined how great the coffee must be in other regions of the world where conditions like climate and altitude are ideal for growing the perfect coffee bean? While American roasters do import green coffee beans from all over the world, how do we know we’re getting the real thing – the way coffee would really taste if we were sitting at a cafe somewhere in a place like, say, Colombia? I have to believe that drinking a cup of coffee from one of these ideal coffee-been growing regions of the world would be a vastly improved experience. Very recently, I was treated to two, authentic samples of the real thing: FLOR de APIA comes from Colombia, where the most perfect cup is made possible from altitudes of around 5,900 feet upon the most perfect, volcanic soil, climate and growing conditions.
Ironically, it was my never-ending search for finding a better, more convenient K-Cup that led me to the good fortune of trying FLOR de APIA for the first time. I was very fortunate to have stumbled upon a Colombian coffee distributor who sympathized with my desire to find better K-Cups coffee here in America. He understood my desire to find coffee with the true character of the land and atmosphere. The Keurig brewer is a great invention and for the most part, the coffee is reasonably fresh, tasty and very convenient. Unfortunately, I have yet to try a K-Cup flavor that is truly intense, unique and memorable. I’ve listed my favorite K-Cup brands here many times and while there are some good ones, none of them are truly special or unique.
Upon hearing about my dilemma with ordinary Keurig coffees, a distributor of the Colombian, Flor de APIA Coffee contacted me at once, insisting that I try the Colombian made coffee, FLOR de APIA. I was happy to oblige and received two bags in the mail. The two flavors were Cafe “Sybarite” and Cafe “Premium”. These are sealed, ground coffee beans which meant that I would have to break-out the Cuisinart Drip Coffee maker in my basement which, of course, I was more than happy to do.
Flor de Apia Coffee Samples
I started with the Premium which was the darker of the two. Before I describe the taste, I need to remind everyone about my displeasure with the drip-coffee makers I currently own, which eventually led me to buying a Tassimo and then a couple of Keurigs. There was no question about how incredibly fresh this coffee was from the moment I first opened the bag. After brewing the first cup and tasting my first sip, the overall freshness and smoothness of the Premium FLOR de APIA was unmistakable. There is an unusual and pleasant sweetness of chocolate and floral tones that compliment the overall smoothness of the flavor. Despite the fact I usually prefer darker roasted coffees, the Sybarite might be my favorite. The flavor is a bit more complex with some hints of citrus and floral overtones. I believe both of these coffees are excellent and could well become my favorite if they were brewed with the right coffee brewer at the right temperature. Most of the Colombian imported coffees I have tried in the past tend to be lighter and more acidic than I like. This is not true with FLOR de APIA which leads me to believe that the coffee really is better when you drink it in Colombia … or get it from an authentic supplier who really knows how to deliver the true experience.
So, where do you get a better cup of genuine, Colombian coffee and is it possible to find it in the K-Cup version for your Keurig? There is good news on both fronts.
Flor De Apia Coffee Sold in K-Cups
Now, for the best news of all – rumor has it that this truly great, Colombian coffee will be available in K-Cups.
Caza Trail was the result of my latest quest to find a better cup of K-Cup coffee. It is great that the price of K-Cups have come down over the last 5 years, I have become bored with the selection of coffee that’s available. I am not sure if it is the design of the Keurig coffee maker or the actual K-Cups, but I find the taste of the coffee, overall, to be inconsistent. It doesn’t matter what brand I buy, sometimes the coffee just doesn’t come out the same. It often tastes more weak and watery than usual. Probably, the most consistently good brand and flavor I’ve tried is, Barista Prima Columbian. This is probably the best coffee there is for the Keurig, but who can afford to drink it every day? With Newman’s, Tully’s and Pacific Bold being sold in 80 and 100 pack cartons for $37.99 at Costco, it is hard to justify paying more than 50 cents per cup. Besides consistency, there is another problem with these 80 and 100-pack cartons of K-Cups coffee and this is why I decided to try Caza Trail:
In a nutshell, drinking the same coffee becomes boring after a while. I would gladly pay a little more to try new and interesting brands. Caza Trail fit the bill perfectly when I spotted an 24-pack carton at Target for $11.99. Not the cheapest by any means, but it’s a good price for a small quantity.
Caza Trail Dark Roast Taste-Test
The Caza Trail was limited to a Dark Roast selection at my local target store. It is comparable to Newman’s and Tully’s. Good, not great, and pretty ordinary. It tastes fairly low-acid, which is good – and doesn’t leave any grounds or residue in your cup like some of the other cheap brands. I would buy it again, but only for convenience of not having to buy an 80-pack carton at Costco. Caza Trail also comes in Creamy Hazelnut, Donut Shop Blend and Kona Blend. If you shop online, you can find Caza in 50-Pack boxes for around $20.00
Update: Caza Trail K-Cups are now hard to Find
I have not seen Caza Trail at my local Target store. It’s too bad more coffee brands are not sold in the 24-pack. It makes sense and the coffee is pretty good. From now on, I’ll be looking for the Caza Trail at other grocers. Hopefully, Caza Trail K-Cups coffee is now available in a medium or medium-dark roast. I will try it if I can find it.
Costco has done it again – they’ve made an expensive habit affordable. Kirkland Pacific Bold comes in a box of 100 K-Cups and sells for just $38.00 at Costco. That’s only 38-cents a cup. When the Keurig brewers first appeared on the market, it was tough to find affordable K-Cups for them. Anything under 75 cents a cup seemed cheap back then. There is the really, really cheap French Roast, San Francisco brand that is only $25.00 for an 80-Pack, but the quality simply isn’t as good. The open-mesh, bottom creates a mucky, mess in the cup. 38 cents a cup for a coffee as good as the Newman’s or Starbucks would have to be considered a break-through.
Costco K-Cups Pacific Bold
If you like dark, bold coffee that is a little lighter and less ashy-tasting then European roasts, you’ll find the Kirkland Pacific Bold to your liking. In fact, I think I like this is as well or better than either the Starbucks Pike or Newman’s extra bold (My former two favorites). Pacific Bold tastes strong, bold and has a smooth, roasted finish that doesn’t leave your mouth tasting like you swallowed an ash-tray. I definitely prefer this to the French and Italian Roasts by the San Francisco brands at Costco. This is really good coffee – one of my favorites if not thee favorite. It takes time to make that judgment. The quality of the k-cups is as good as any of the other brands. The foil on top seems to be packaged well and doesn’t separate, break or clog the spout as some of the cheaper brands have done. The Costco k-cups aren’t perfect, though, there was a little residue left in the bottom of the cup. (not enough to spoil a good product). Kirkland is a very low-acid, well-roasted coffee similar to what I used to buy in the green bag, whole beans at Costco. I recommend Pacific Bold K-Cups from Costco.
Costco Kirkland K-Cups Rating
** 3. 5 Stars
Tassimo T-Discs are hard to come by these days, so I was surprised to see the newly, available, King of Joe Tassimo Coffee brand at my local Target store. Gevalia, without doubt, is the prominent T-Disc brand being offered these days – and unless you buy the one advertised as, if-you-like-Starbucks-try-this, you’ll be very disappointed with their weak flavors. The one advertised as Starbucks really is very good, but their are only two; Dark House Blend and Dark Breakfast Blend. I have trouble distinguishing between the two and while the price is very good, they are often hard to find. Truth be told, the way Tassimo is going, I’m not sure how much longer they’ll be around. So, King of Joe coffee was a welcome surprise. It was more expensive than the Gevalia 12-packs which are $7.49 at Target. King of Joe Tassimo Coffee t-discs are $10.49 for a 16-pack, though, which is not too unreasonable. I decided to give King of Joe coffee a try.
I’ll be honest, when I first opened the box of 16 T-Discs of King of Joe Tassimo Coffee, I became very suspicious about how small the packaging was which usually means unusually weak coffee. Not so with, King of Joe – the aroma is very good and the coffee tastes only a tad weaker than the Starbucks simulation by Gevalia. The roast is dark, not so much that it has the charcoal burnt flavor of Italian and French Roasts. The other benefit to King of Joe is that the coffee comes out piping hot from the Tassimo Brewer. Obviously, the smaller sized T-Discs keep the water from cooling off as fast. I really like this coffee – mostly because it’s nice to know there is another brand available at the supermarket. King of Joe coffee keeps the Tassimo from growing obsolete.
April 2014 – Update on Tassimo T-Discs
The great buy on Gevalia (like Starbucks) T-Discs is no longer available. The price is a full $2.00 per box higher. At Bed Bath and Beyond, I was able to find a couple of other brands that were pretty good: Carte Noire and Timoth Horton. I think the Timothy Horton is my favorite and I will do a review on that one very soon.
We Keurig owners love our coffee, but what we don’t like so much is the high price of k-cups. The huge, 80-Pack box of San Fransisco Bay, French Roast K-Cups at Costco for $26.00 is a great deal, but how many times am I going to want to drink French Roast Coffee? How about some variety, in the cheaper, k-cups brands? Safeway Select to the rescue. For $6.99 per box, Safeway Select offers two, new varieties: Costa Rica: medium-roast and Sumatra: dark roast. Concerned that the medium-roast, might be too light and acidic, I opted for the 12-pack of Sumatra. At $6.99 for a 12-pack, the cost is about 58 cents each. Not as cheap or as good a deal as the Newman’s 80-packs from Costco for $38.00 or .48 per cup – and certainly no where close to the outrageously cheap, 80-Pack of French Roast San Fransisco Bay for $26.00 or .33 cents per cup. Sumatra, if done right, is a pretty reasonable roast which is not as dark as the French Roast that I quickly grow tired of. I took home the Safeway Select K-Cups Coffee and decided to give it a try.
The cheap, Safeway-Select K-Cups look exactly like the cheap, San Fransisco Bay coffee. The bottom of the k-cup is a light-mesh filter with no plastic casing around it. I assume this is what accounts for the cheaper price. The one drawback to these cheaper k-cups which I did not allude to in my last review is that they do leave some coffee grounds residue in the bottom of your cup. The advantage, I believe to these k-cups, is that they make the coffee a little hotter. Is this just my imagination? Perhaps, the plastic in most k-cups slows down the brewing process and allows the coffee time to cool before it reaches your cup. At any rate, the residue is not much of an issue with me – it’s no worse than what you’d get from a French-Press or Percolator.
Safeway Select K-Cups Sumatra Brand Rating
The Sumatra is a little bit lighter tasting than the French Roast. It has a nice, smoky flavor and is a little bit earthy like you’d want from Sumatra. I think it tastes just about as good as Starbucks Verona or Starbucks Sumatra and it’s much cheaper. The Safeway Select coffee might have a little bit more of a bitter-bite to it, but the flavor is full, bold and superior to most store brands of coffee. I look forward to trying the Safeway Select K-Cups in the Costa Rica coffee next time I visit Safeway. If you’re looking for affordable, reasonable tasting coffee and you have a Keurig, you owe it to yourself to try Safeway Select K-Cups.
I’m literally amazed: The cheapest K-Cups also happen to be among the very best! San Fransisco Bay French Roast K-Cups coffee by the Royal Family Coffee company is absolutely delicious. I’m not a huge fan of French Roast coffee, but the San Fransisco Bay K-Cups make a very tasty dark, coffee roast – perfect for after-dinner. Actually, these k-cups are not so dark that I wouldn’t enjoy them at any time of the day. The flavor of the San Fransisco Bay French roast Keurig k-cups is dark, rich and smoky – and the beautiful part is that it is a very smooth tasting coffee with a very low-acid content. The roast is excellent. I would have never dreamed of trying a french roast, but at the high-cost of k-cups these days, I was enticed by the extremely low price. If you’re in luck with your regional Costco store, you can buy an 80-pack of the San Francisco Bay k-cups for $26.00. At 32.5 cents each, that is the cheapest k-cups I’ve ever tried. Alas, not all Costco stores carry the San Francisco Bay K-cups brand. As soon as I opened up the package, I discovered the reason these k-cups are so cheap:
The 80-pack box comes in packages in 10, sealed 8-cup bags. The actual San Francisco Bay K-Cups themselves are not completely enclosed in plastic like the rest of the k-cups you’ve tried. They have plastic and paper on top, but the entire bottom is nothing but a tightly-knit coffee filter. Don’t panic by the net filter – there was absolutely no grounds left in the bottom of my cup after downing my first one. The only drawback is that the k-cups are packaged in 8-pack, bags. Once they are open, the coffee grounds inside the k-cups are exposed to air – which is made obvious by the delicious aroma once you crack the 8-pack. Simple Solution: Store them in a zip-locked bag. If buying the cheapest k-cups in the world means I have to use a .02 plastic bag to keep them fresh, so be it. That 2-cent, plastic bag can be used over and over again to store the k-cups each time I open a new 8-pack. The delicious, dark, low acid roast and cheap price make up about 2/3rds of the reason I like these cheapest k-cups on earth so much. There is another reason:
Hottest K-Cups Coffee
The San Francisco Bay K-cups make the hottest cup of coffee I’ve ever had out of my Keurig. I’m no chemist, physicist or scientists, so I can’t tell you why. My thinking is that maybe the enclosed, open-air filter drains brews quicker, keeping the coffee much hotter by the time it reaches your cup. Whatever the reason, there is certainly no sacrifice in strength and flavor. The San Francisco Bay french roast is hot and strong from the first sip to the last sip – (depending on how fast you drink your coffee).
Cheap Keurig Coffee Final Verdict
I tried this coffee after dinner. As impressed as I am with San Francisco Bay for it’s cheapest price and rich, low-acid flavor, I cannot be certain that I will be drinking something this dark in the morning and afternoons when I usually enjoy my coffee. On the other hand, it’s nice to know, I can enjoy coffee this good and this hot for a little more than 32 cents per cup.
What do you think of Gevalia Tassimo Coffee?
I’ve been an unusually harsh critic of Gevalia Tassimo T Discs and for good reason. Tassimo Gevalia coffee is usually weak, bland and uninspiring. To add insult to injury, Gevalia advertises a large, 12-ounce cup, T-Disc that has less coffee in it than a good Keurig 8 ounce K Cup. You can tell just by looking at Gevalia T-Discs that they are going to be weak before you even brew them because they have substantially less coffee in them than the former Starbucks T-Discs which were my favorite, but are no longer made. Virtually, all of the different K-Cups brands were stronger than Gevalia T-Discs. That is, until Gevalia came out with a real game changer.
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Gevalia Tassimo T Discs?
Having changed jobs, I gave my old Mr. Coffee Keurig away to my daughter in college. We use a bigger, 60-ounce model Keurig Brewer at home, so we figured we had no use for it at the time. In fact, I love the Keurig brewer so much that I’ll never drink coffee from a traditional drip coffee maker or percolator again. But, lo and behold – new job and now I needed another single-cup brewer. At my wife’s suggestion, I reluctantly grabbed the Tassimo which was collecting dust in the basement and brought it to the new office. Don’t get me wrong, the Tassimo is a great machine and when I was able to get Starbucks T-Discs for it, it was thef best single cup brewer in the world. But, those days are gone and Keurig rules when it comes to coffee selection. As I said above, the Gevalia Tassimo products, which are prominently sold in stores just aren’t very strong. Now, let’s talk about the game changer:
Gevalia Dark Breakfast Blend
As I was at my local Safeway store looking for Tassimo T Discs, a new one caught my eye: The package said, “if you liked Starbucks Tassimo, you’ll love this”. It was a new, Dark Breakfast Blend of Gevalia that I had never seen before. The price was $8.99 for a 12-pack – a little on the expensive side. As soon as I opened up the package at the office, I knew this was not your typical Gevalia T Disc coffee. The disc size was huge – identical to the Starbucks Tassimo coffee that was referred to on the package. This indeed was every bit as good as the Columbian Tassimo discs that became my favorite before Starbucks resigned from their relationship with Tassimo. Gevalia Tassimo Dark Breakfast blend is as good or better than my favorite Keurig brands including, Tully’s, Newman’s, Starbucks Pike Roast, etc, etc. I’ve definitely found something that I can enjoy for the Tassimo and it’s from Gevalia. What a surprise. Tassimo owners can only hope that Gevalia will start producing more coffee with the large-sized t-discs that taste just like Starbucks. In fact, the Gevalia dark roast breakfast blend tastes so much like Starbucks that I have to wonder if they really are.