I’m a big fan of coffee — I’ll dive into a cheap $2 cup of Dunkin Donuts’ brew all the way up to a $80 cup of kopi luwak from Peter Jones in London. Â My daily choice is typically French-pressed dark roast with freshly ground beans, but it’s time consuming and doesn’t stay as hot as I like my coffee to be.
Since my schedule gets hectic and I’m not always able to drink down 12 cups of French-pressed coffee before it gets cold, it’s been a necessity for me to buy into the single-cup brewing fad. Â With so many single cup brewers available, I had to choose between a variety of technologies: Keurig’s, Senseo and Tassimo Â being the top 3 on the market.
I had a Senseo brewer for a number of years, but found their pods to be stale pretty often, and the brewing machine only produced coffee at one temperature and pressure. Â Senseo also didn’t have a good selection of coffee options, so once my old brewer finally died, I moved on to the next style.
Keurig has a great assortment of coffee and tea varieties, and even lets you “roll your own” with a reusable pod. Â The downside, again, is that it’s limited in coffee brewing pressure and temperature, plus the pods from Keurig and their licensees are a bit expensive, up to $1 per 8-10 ounce cup. Â That left me with Tassimo, which seems to offer the best options for my drinking habits: custom pressure, temperature and even amount of coffee, based on each Tassimo pod’s bar code that is ready by the brewing machine. Â I can also pickup pods for under $0.40 per cup — not the greatest quality coffee, but it’s fast, easy, and comes out piping hot and perfect every time.
I monitor Tassimo’s Facebook fan page regularly to watch for any new coffee (as well as tea and hot cocoa) varieties and was pleased to see that they had released a new line of “European” style coffees: darker, bolder and in smaller cup sizes. Â The typical American cup of coffee is 8 ounces to 10 ounces but is noticeably lighter in flavor and aroma, whereas the typical European cup is 120 ml (or about 4 ounces) and is more concentrated in flavor and scent.
Tassimo’s new Carte Noire Voluptuoso Corse is exactly that: a deep roast, extremely aromatic out of the foil-sealed pouches that contain 16 small, sealed pods. Â At $9 MSPR, that puts each pod at under 63 cents a cup (cheaper online), which is well within my coffee budget.
The pour of each pod comes to just over 4 ounces — a perfect European “single” shot of coffee. Â While far short of the standard large American pour, it works well with how I drink my coffee: about 4-5 ounces per glass, plus 2-3 ounces of pastured heavy cream. Â I love the caffeine hit followed by the energy sustained from 500 calories of saturated animal fat. Â Pure diesel, as Dr. Harris says.
So how’s the flavor of the Carte Noire Voluptuoso Corse pod? Â My favorite coffee comes from George Howell Coffee Company in Acton, MA. Â Their Matalapa, sourced from La Libertad, El Salvador, is around $20 shipped for 12 ounces of perfectly roasted and fresh beans. Â That’s about 10 cents per cup for some of the best coffee you can make at home — but it’s time and energy consuming, and my time and energy costs me more than the actual beans I have to grind, brew and serve.
The aroma of Tassimo’s Carte NoireVoluptuoso Corse is fantastic: it doesn’t have the metallic aftertaste that some of the cheaper pods seem to have. Â Maybe it’s just a fresh package because of the newness of the coffee, but it smelled like freshly roasted and ground beans. Â The temperature was scalding: the main reason I adore my Tassimo brewer. Â Flavor-wise it was extremely complex, even with the heavy cream drowning out the tannins and bitters. Â Trying it without cream, it was full-flavored and stayed aromatic even ten minutes after brewing (not that my typical 4 ounce cup lasts that long, even).
The downsides: each cup tasted exactly the same. Â I love the variations in grinding my own beans: it’s never the exact same scoop measurement, or the exact same water temperature, or even the same flavor between two “identical” bags of coffee. Â But that’s an upside as well — with Tassimo’s higher end pods, every cup comes out exactly the same, pod to pod and package to package.
Even though it’s almost 40% more than Tassimo’s basic coffee pods, and it creates 60% less actual coffee, I’m certain to keep the Carte Noire Voluptuoso Corse in my arsenal of morning and late afternoon brews. Â While everyone else is going to Keurig, it seems they’ve forgotten that coffee is not just hot water through beans: pressure, temperature and volume of water means more than just the simple equation.
My rating: 8.7 out of 10, losing points for its standard flavor between batches and a slight hint of manufacturing in the initial sip.