Tassimo Brewbot Is A Razor Blade Scheme

Tis the season for Tassimo to reach out to the blogging community.  The past few weeks have seen legions of bloggers tweeting and filming themselves and their shiny new Bosch Tassimo Brewbots.

I was included in the blogger blast again, just like earlier in the year.  And, just like last time, the machine has sat on my counter taking up precious real estate after one use. When we moved in February, we actually left the other machine behind.

I shot a video when Tassimo first approached me to review the unit and all of my beefs remain.

While the machine is eternally convenient (we have a Keurig machine at my office that is fast and easy to make cups a la carte), it’s wasteful and a cheap entry drug to the world of T-discs and K-cups.

These new style coffee machines are simply implementing the strategies of the printer and razor industry to lure customers in.  The hardware (coffee maker, printer, razor) is cheap, while the software (coffee, ink, blades) ineeds to be regularly replaced often thereby offering the manufacturer a constant and loyal revenue stream.  Is it really a shock to learn that the machine was created by the company responsible for the disposable razor, Gillette?

Aside: you could argue Apple’s approach to iTunes, iPhones and iPods is a similarly vertical strategy.  They seed the marketplace with devices that can gain software from a unique source and then develop user loyalty.

Each cup you brew requires a K-cup or T-disc (if you’re making a fancy drink then 2 are needed).  The companies license the disc and cup technology to coffee producers and then pull in royalties. Each cup or disc is single use and is wrapped in a box which is wrapped in plastic. Keurig‘s foil and plastic cups are completely non-recyclable, Tassimo‘s FAQ dodges a definite answer by saying the recycability of their product is facility dependant.

Now, I’m not a preachy hugger of trees, but it seems like a lot of packaging for the convenience of something that still takes as much time as boiling water and french pressing on your own. (Michael Kwan’s video counts nearly 5 minutes to make a Tassimo cappuccino).

If you have a variety of coffee tastes in your house – some loving tea, others lattes, others espresso – then perhaps one of these machines will help each get their caffeine craving quickly and simply. The Starbucks crowd is the target market for these products, too.  People who routinely drop $4 on a daily latte will enjoy the less than a dollar cost to make the drink at home.

In my house, however, my wife is satisfied with a stiff Tim’sfrom a french press.  We can buy a big can that lasts a couple months or more for $15.

Are you a Tassimo / Keurig fan?  I’d love your feedback.

catch the buzz .. pass it on.

buzz bishop future shop tech blogThis post was originally published at The Future Shop Tech Blog.



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  1. Karen B
    December 27, 2010

    We love our keurig and as a mixed tea/coffee drinking household it definitely comes in handy. I also keep a sampler of different coffees and teas on hand for guests, kinda fun to offer everyone their own special brew!
    We recycle all but the aluminum top of our k-cups. The coffee/tea and filter are sent to the composter and the plastic cups go to the blue bin.

  2. December 27, 2010

    Thanks for mentioning my post. I’m not completely sold on the Tassimo thing either — the cappuccino tastes salty and buttery — but I am sold on its convenience (albeit a wasteful, environmentally-unfriendly convenience). As far as time is concerned, you don’t save a huge amount in the making a latte, but you do save on the mess and cleanup.

  3. December 28, 2010

    I agree that they get you chained to their t-discs but since my hubs doesn’t drink coffee (what’s wrong with him?) a whole pot goes to waste for our household. And dragging to kids to Starbucks isn’t exactly fun. So I’m in love with my Tassimo and wouldn’t give it up for the world….

  4. […] blogs as a hobby. Then someone told 2 friends and so on and so on and so on and next thing you know a free coffee machine is on our doorstep. // It’s enticing to toss a few bones to a company. You want to be PR […]

  5. Hasi
    January 7, 2013

    I’ve never considered myself an “environmentalist” so to speak however I must say when this product really took off I was pretty disappointed. Although mindless consumption and single serving convenience is nothing new, this just takes it to a whole new, blatantly wasteful level. How can a responsible person in 2013 be ok with producing that much plastic (non recyclable) waste for just a single cup of coffee? Have we gotten so lazy and careless that convenience trumps all else?
    Excellent article by the way.

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