Thursday, 23 October 2014
I've been toying with the idea of getting a capsule espresso machine for a while, so when Tassimo offered to send me a Vivy machine to review, I jumped at the chance.
The Tassimo Vivy is a neat, compact machine that fits easily into my kitchen cupboard, keeping it out of the way when it's not in use. It's small enough and light enough that it's no hassle to get it out when we need it and then put it away. Since I have a worrying tendency to fill my worktops with gadgets, this is a definite plus.
At 20-30p per drink, the capsules compare very favourably to coffee shop prices, and there's a significant range to choose from. Well-known brands like Costa, Kenco, and Carte Noire are all getting in on the act, as well as hot chocolate from Oreo or Suchard, and teas from Twinings.
The coffee discs have an Intellibrew chip that tells the machine what's being made, affecting the temperature, brewing time, and amount of water (so your espresso automatically comes out short, and your longer drinks). Packaging design seems to be left largely at the discretion of individual brands, but the sensible ones list the volume of the resulting drink so you can pick an appropriately-sized cup. (You can also override the settings to make a longer drink, for example extending an espresso into an americano.)
There are a few other features that make this a particularly good design. The drip tray has two positions, which is really handy for making espresso in a smaller cup.
The capsule process does feel quite wasteful compared to spooning loose coffee into a pot: every time you make a drink, you're throwing away a fairly hefty chunk of plastic. As such, I'd feel guilty if I used this machine daily to feed my (extensive) caffeine addiction. But for an occasional treat, it's ideal, and as each capsule is sealed you can keep a range of different drinks in stock without them going off.