Published on November 20th, 2009 | by Greg0
Nectar of the Gods By the Cup or Pot
I’m trying to imagine my life without coffee. When I was a kid I would watch both of my parents drink coffee each morning, my mom taking hers straight black and my father having some cream but no sugar. I can remember thinking that I would never like coffee, and wondered how they could stand it. Then in high school I worked in a small coffee shop for a few years, and developed a toleration for coffee. Somewhere along the way I moved from merely tolerating to full-on coffee snobbery. The morning my father passed away I can remember drinking a cup of coffee and how it brought back all of the Saturday mornings I would go and spend with him drinking coffee and solving all of the world’s problems. Needless to say, coffee is something that is near and dear to my heart, so it’s important to me that I have good coffee.
This isn’t the first time Truly Obscure has looked at coffee grinders or items from Capresso, or coffee makers, but it may well be the first time we’ve looked at a machine that does both. The Capresso CoffeeTEAM GS combines a conical burr grinder with an automatic drip coffee maker. This machine is really ideal for small kitchens; typically a burr grinder takes up almost as much room as a small coffee maker, so having them combined into one space is really nice. I also really appreciated the charcoal water filter because one key to truly great coffee is cold clean water. Of course it was necessary to test out all of the different brewing options, and this coffee maker was quite up to each task. I was able to program the machine to grind and hold, as well as grind and brew immediately. Having the grinder dispense into the filter meant that I didn’t have the never-ending mess of coffee grinds between the grinder and the coffee machine. Score one more for Capresso! If you are inclined to do so, it is possible to set the machine to use pre-ground coffee, but I fail to see why you would want to do such a thing with the capable grinder at your disposal. Of course, the grinder doesn’t offer as many options as a stand-alone unit but the grinds are perfect for the machine, which also happens to be reasonably attractive and sturdy. The only real downside we could find is that the machine is fairly loud. You can find the impressive CoffeeTEAM GS directly from Capresso or online from Amazon for around $190.
For those of you who maybe don’t need a 10-cup coffee machine, or don’t want the hassle of buying beans perhaps, consider instead a single-serve coffee maker. We’ve looked at other coffee makers that utilize pods and capsules, and felt that Senseo had a lot to live up to with this machine. First impressions were fairly good, as the black Senseo HD7810 has definite aesthetic appeal, and isn’t too large. It has a slightly futuristic appeal, like perhaps you’ll be able get into your flying car for your commute to work if only you’d use this machine. Operation is simple of course: let the machine warm up, add your coffee pod, hit the button, enjoy coffee. The parts that come off, like the drip tray and lid to the water reservoir can be washed in the dishwasher for super simple clean-up.
Senseo makes a few good single-origin coffee pods, which always appeals to the coffee snob in me, but their blends are not bad either. I liked the Breakfast Blend better than the Kona Blend, though neither are bad choices. I have a slight bias towards 100% Kona coffee, and would love to see Senseo make this an option for their pod machines. The Kona Blend comes 16 pods to a box and will cost around $5.50, and the Breakfast Blend offers 18 pods and runs $5. Both are nice smooth coffees, medium roast and certainly easy enough to drink. The coffees can hold up to most any, and there are many flavored, decaf, and blends available. The machine does feel a bit cheap, and doesn’t offer quite the number of options as some of the others we’ve tried. You can find the HD 7810 online from Senseo or retailers like Amazon for between $60-70.