Tassimo’s been one of Nespresso rivals since the beginning. Their similar brewing method rivaled that of Nespresso: While Nespresso relied on capsules for their coffee, Tassimo invented T-discs. These discs (T for Tassimo) are essentially the same as capsule coffee: inside any of them, you’ll find ground coffee. Holes are poked by the coffee maker to facilitate no water flow, then the coffee is extracted.
One major difference is that while Nespresso machines rely on high pressure to push the water through the grounds (19 bars of pressure, considered a professional standard for espresso), instead Tassimo relies on longer infusion time.
This is a very important difference: Nespresso advertises itself as a drink that, if not espresso, it comes very close to it.
Tassimo, while it can make espresso-like drinks, it is more fitting to call their drinks coffee, and not espresso. The defining characteristic of the espresso is the reduced time it takes for the coffee to be extracted: This, in theory, results in improved coffee qualities. Tassimo coffee takes about 60 seconds to make, Nespresso takes 30 in the slowest machines, 15 seconds with their fastest ones.
Of Tassimo’s strong points, their strongest is INTELLIBREW. A patented Tassimo technology (just like T-discs) Intellibrew means that each coffee disc has a barcode that the Tassimo coffee maker reads before brewing. Upon reading, the machine then adjusts its settings accordingly to the kind of drink that is in the disc.
While also found in Nespresso’s VertuoLine, which has a similar barcode technology that lets the coffee machine know what kind of brewing the coffee calls for, intellibrew was available for many years before. And for good reason: Tassimo does not only offer coffee: their discs can be a mix of actual milk and coffee, for making a latte or a cappuccino. T-discs also come to make cocoa or chocolate drinks as well as tea.
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The need for a machine that could distinguish between many different types of drinks -not just coffee- was what gave way to the amazing intellibrew technology.
Not convinced yet on buying yourself a Nespresso machine? Check out out our 14 Reasons You Should Buy Nespresso Machine, here!
Tassimo’s T12 is made by Bosch, which is a very well-known, respected manufacturer of machines and home appliances in general.
Even alongside other single-serve machines, the T12 is remarkably compact, weighing a little under 6 pounds. With a shiny black finish, a chrome brew head and a stainless steel drip tray, the aesthetic of this machine ought to please even the most fashionable coffee drinkers out there.
Coffee is made by only pressing one button. The size of your coffee can be customized by stopping the brewing process- or, if you want it bigger, by letting it run past the usual 60 that the machine takes to complete the coffee. This means about 3 different coffee sizes.
A very practical cup stand can be foldable and adjusted so that you can place different sizes of cups under your brew head.
- 700ml removable water tank.
- One-button operation.
- Light and compact.
- Three coffee sizes
The Pixie can be compared to the T12 because of its compact design. It’s also above ergonomic, being able to fold several parts of itself to be transported with no effort.
- 700ml water tank
- Two coffee sizes
- Cable storage
- 25-second heat-up time
- Can use compatible capsules
Though the two coffee makers and similar in size and capacity, the Pixie goes at a lower price. It’s also considerably more portable.
With all this talk about Nespresso, make sure you know the proper maintenance steps to keep your machine clean. View our guide, here!
This machine has a very similar design to the T12, yet it manages to improve in many areas while not turning into an impossibly boxy machine.
It has a self-cleaning and descaling function that needs almost no interaction from you. Meaning that the machine can tell when it’s not going to be used anymore and it proceeds to purge by steam, and then clean itself. Amazing for people who don’t have the time to look after their machine.
The 47+ comes with a built-in water filtration system. The MAXTRA filtration system guarantees a better tasting beverage, made with higher quality water.
- 1.2L removable water tank
- One button operation
- Self-cleaning function
- Adjustable tray to accommodate different size cups
- Weighs a little under 8 pounds.
Nespresso’s Essenza Plus:
The Essenza Plus is one of OriginalLine’s better-equipped machine in you look at the relationship between price and features. It is a very classy, small machine that has a lot of features for its size and price. One of Nespresso’s best choices.
- 1L water tank
- Bluetooth connectivity
- One-touch order
- 4 different coffee sizes
Tassimo’s newest coffee maker adds to the consistent all-black, super fashionable line of coffee makers a touch of more modern aesthetics by cutting down on sharp angles and making this machine much more ergonomic than their last two.
Its exclusive, built-in Mavea MAXTRA water filtration system reduces limestone and chlorine in the water; this really helps to bring out all of the taste and aroma of your coffee.
It also has self-cleaning and self-descaling functions, plus an automatic shutdown function to save power.
- 1.2L removable water tank
- Weighs 7.9 pounds
- Self-cleans and self-descales itself when not in use
- Water filtration system
- Pre-set drink strength functions which can be further customized
- Drip tray’s height can be adjusted
KitchenAid Coffee Maker:
Though the KitchenAid is a very good machine, the comparison gets a little more complicated when we take into account the T55’s water filtration feature. If it weren’t for this, though, we’d pick the Nespresso coffee maker over Tassimo’s without a doubt, but we do really appreciate a water filtration system.
- 1.3L removable water tank
- Weighs 8.9 pounds
- Foldable cup tray
- 25-second heat-up
Caddy Coffee Maker:
This, put simply, is a beautiful machine. It comes with a sort of dispenser attached to its right side where you can store pods in; when the urge for coffee kicks in, they’re right there conveniently placed next to your machine. And it looks really cool, too, which is always a big plus for us.
This one is a little more customizable: The Caddy lets you adjust coffee settings like water volume, temperature and flavor intensity.
- 1.2L removable water tank
- Weighs 8.5 pounds
- Customizable coffee settings
- Shorter heat-up time
- Energy-saving function
- 3 coffee sizes
Let’s compare it to the specs of the CitiZ:
- Weighs 8.9 pounds
- 1L removable water tank
- 25 seconds heat-up time
- 2 coffee sizes
Now, both the Caddy and the CitiZ have quite unique designs that set them apart from most other coffee machines, which is why we decided to pit them against each other. Both machines are quite matched, with the Caddy being a little better than other Tassimo machines, making it a very good match for Nespresso.
For some additional Nespresso comparisons, check our article Coffee Insight: Lavazza VS Nespresso, here.
In this case, personal taste will be the deciding factor since we think that, objectively, both the Caddy and the Pixie are comparably good choices for a coffee maker, with none being discernibly better than the other.
Ultimately, it is important to note that while Nespresso counts with many machines in their arsenal capable of frothing, steaming and in general preparing milk for making espresso-based drinks, Tassimo machines do not. This makes Nespresso machines very much the obvious choice for anyone who likes to make their own frothed milk because they’re picky about it (who isn’t?) or because they enjoy the experience.
But Tassimo can greatly reduce costs precisely because they don’t have any milk-oriented functions; they don’t need them, because their pods already come with milk in them. Although they’re not very transparent about exactly what’s in their pods (Nespresso isn’t transparent either about flavorings and whatnot, but there’s not a lot that can happen when it’s just coffee), they do say that their pods contain 100% pure milk, and it does taste like the real thing. Because of the implementation of powdered milk, they don’t care for making a frothing-capable machine.
That’s another very telling difference between Tassimo and Nespresso. While coffee lovers would no doubt rather make their own milk—to have their own machine with which to steam their milk, create unique drinks, experiment and so forth –which Nespresso knows and therefore has made many machines with this feature- Tassimo’s focus is greatly upon convenience.
It could be said that Tassimo’s more of an office machine—and they do have a special office machine that we couldn’t get our hands on. It’s supposedly much more potent than its commercial machines, and it works great in an office environment where there’s gonna be all kinds of people with all different kinds of tastes, which is exactly what T-discs work best for.
T-discs VS Capsule Coffee:
The main difference between Tassimo and Nespresso comes down to this: While capsule coffee can now be made by third-party companies, T-discs can only be made by companies associated with Tassimo. This is also the case with Nespresso’s VertuoLine machines— they have patented the technology to brew their capsules, so no one else can yet compete.
While Tassimo’s case is very similar to Nespresso’s VertuoLine, they have a number of sibling companies that are authorized to make T-discs. This means a greater variety of options to choose from –and prices- so that you aren’t limited to buying from the same provider over and over again.
Check out these 7 Nespresso-compatible capsules, now!
Let’s run down some pros and cons of each to better be able to compare them.
- You can also make milk-based drinks, hot chocolate and teas.
- Barcode technology for all pods
- Several coffee pods providers.
- Restricted machine range.
- Coffee quality is lacking
- While they do have a recycling program it is far from being as good as Nespresso’s, and it has only been fully implemented in the UK. Virtually no recyclable options in the US.
Nespresso’s capsule coffee:
- Compatible with third-party products
- Lots of coffee makers to choose from
- VertuoLine capsules with different sizes, barcode technology
- Good recycling program
- Coffee can be a little more expensive
- Capsules are just coffee; no other options like with Tassimo
All in all, while Tassimo has got several positive points, we would pick Nespresso’s capsule coffee over Tassimo’s. Because Nespresso’s game is coffee: they specialize in coffee and have been working towards good quality coffee and not just convenience.
Tassimo’s endgame seems to be mostly convenience. So, their pods are very convenient because of their ease of use, and their different types of drinks they offer (like cappuccino pods, which we did like a lot), but they do not hold their ground in a match against Nespresso coffee. Some of Tassimo’s most premium coffee pods do offer good quality coffee, but they’re an exception among their many other choices.
So let’s talk, specifically, what makes each of these two a good choice. Let’s look a little more in-depth at some their best, seeing what makes them a good choice either objectively or for a specific need.
Want a view of additional Nespresso machines? Click here for a look at our review of Nespresso’s best machines.
What makes Tassimo a good choice?
They make more than just coffee. There are days when you might want to start your morning with something other than coffee (can’t relate), and for those days Tassimo’s got your back. They’ve got a great selection of breakfast teas and cocoa/chocolate drinks that make it a great choice for people who like having at their disposal a wider spectrum from which to choose. They’ve even got milk & coffee pods that make a cappuccino.
More brands to choose from. As of right now, the number of brands that make T-discs is a little over 15. So you get a sense, this means that you can find little gems that you don’t really get with capsule coffee, like Baileys Hot Chocolate, an Oreo Tassimo, and Twinning’s English Breakfast.
Just to list some of their best:
What makes Nespresso a good choice?
They know coffee inside and out. While they’re not the best, they definitely give you a much better coffee than Tassimo, and that’s maybe the most important point that can be made here. Nespresso’s whole deal is coffee: Tassimo, however, sacrifices focusing on getting good at one thing to cover more area—which is reasonable, but we do think coffee is the ultimate drink. Step aside, tea.
They’ve got a great recycling program. Disposable coffee containers are always going to generate a lot of wasteful… waste. And although Tassimo does give this some attention, Nespresso has made some admirable strides toward reducing the impact of their capsule coffee on the environment. Their recycling program is available in more countries than Tassimo’s and it covers a whole more than just sending them back their capsules: They recycle most of the materials. Tassimo, however, incinerates most of their used pods.
Better coffee makers. There’s no other way to say this: Nespresso’s machines are clearly, painfully much better equipped than Tassimo’s— and the price is very reasonable for the amount of functionality you can get out of each machine, with the relationship of quality-price being one of the best in the market.
Exclusive capsule flavors. Though limited in range, Nespresso’s VertuoLine has a very high-quality repertoire. There’s virtually none of their Vertuo capsule flavors that can be said to score less than a 7 on a 1 to 10 scale: they’re that good.
The bottom line here is that while both brands do come close to each other in a number of aspects, they’re clearly aimed at different people, with their products being very hard to compare because they aren’t really competing with each other.
If you’re very much a coffee person like us, Nespresso will always be the better choice. Their coffee is far superior to Tassimo’s and many third-party companies work on coffee capsules, with some of them offering luxury coffee that you would never come close with a T-disc. Their machines are engineered with a very clear focus on coffee-shops and baristas, making them a fantastic choice for anyone who likes to experiment with their coffee.
Though, if you’re a coffee lover but not the kind that drinks coffee every day, several times a day, Tassimo might be the choice for you. Especially if you live in an environment where this is also true of many people –and particularly if you have children- that either don’t drink coffee or prefer tea or hot chocolate, then the Tassimo machines are very good at that.
So make your choice and remember: While coffee is undoubtedly the king of all beverages ever, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some of the many other kinds of hot drinks out there. Enjoy yourself!