We have evaluated all the single cup machines on the market as well as most of the roasters who make coffee for them.
The headline on the Senseo is that it is a nicely priced convenient way to get a medicore cup of coffee.
The temperature range for brewing in the Senseo machine is 72 degrees C (162 F) to 90 degrees C (194 F). 32 degrees seems like a very wide range to ensure a great cup of coffee.
To deal with some of the temperature issues, they recommend that when you first turn on the coffee machine, you run a one-cup brew cycle with an empty pod holder in place. This will ensure that the boiler is heated to proper brewing conditions and that you will have a hot cup of coffee. Another suggestion is to rinse the cup or mug with hot water a couple of times. Seems to work against the promise of convenience. Not a big deal, but it doubles the time to make the first cup or worse, risks underextraction and a bad cup of joe because of too low brewing temperature.
The coffees in pods are certainly better than Folger's crystals and Nescafe. But they are not going to measure up to specialty coffee. And once you open a box, you need to be concerned about oxygen contamination and stale coffee.
But the Senseo sure looks cool on a countertop. It looks less cool with dust on it, sitting behind the Kitchenaid in the closet.
I found a Senseo at a yard sale for $2 and decided to try it. Since I home roast, I bought the Wal-Mart contraption that lets you put your own coffee in, but I wasn't as happy with the results. Then I tried making my own pods using regular coffee filters, and after a lot of experimentation I have found that I can get a half-way decent cup out of it.
I usually use as much coffee as I can in my pods (probably enough for two pods), and then only brew one cup. I do this twice and I get a pretty strong cup that isn't bad.
For people who want convenience and are using Folgers now, this would be pretty good item. Those who home roast can get a half-way decent cup if they make their own pods. But I do prefer French Press or Moka Pot more. Otherwise, it is fun to tinker with.
Bottom Line: This may be for the person that needs the "cup of joe on the go,” but it is not for the coffee connoisseur.
Positive Product Points
Sleek styling, looks good on the counter
Simplicity (no clock, no timer, no built-in grinder), fewer things to break
Negative Product Points
Does not reach proper brewing temperature
Convenience for some (no clock, no timer, no built-in grinder)
Phillips Senseo (Black), Model – HD7810:
1) I did not pay for this product and it was not a gift. I got this product free as part of an online survey.
2) I roast my own coffee beans and I expect products to make great coffee.
3) I am planning on giving this away to someone who will enjoy it.
Brew Temp = 178 - 193º F (as tested)
Brew Time = < 1 minute for a single cup
Dimensions = 13” tall x 8 1/2” wide x 12” deep
Weight = ~4 lbs with water
Cord = polarized plug, not a three prong grounded plug, 38” long
Electrical = 1450 watts, 120 volts
Capacity = ~24 oz., 6 – 4 oz. cups, 3 – 8 oz. cups
Filter = Coffee Pods
Certification = None that I know of
Warranty = 2 years U.S.
Made in China
Outlet voltage where tested = 121.5 volts
Arrival, Setup & First Impression:
This product is packed at the top and bottom with pieces of “egg-carton” type material and the box is the typical glossy packaging that includes smiling faces indulging in the aroma, but not actually consuming the brew.
The instruction manual is a well-written booklet (8 1/4” x 5 3/4”) of 20 pages including the front and back covers. It is written in only one language, English. Read the manual.
It takes a few minutes to set it up because you have to go through the process of filling the internal boiler. The instructions make this a simple task and also include directions for brewing, cleaning, descaling and storage.
The exterior of the brewer is made of lots of glossy, black plastic which enhances all of the curves. The chromed grate on which the coffee cups rest awaiting the brew adds a nice touch. Around the on / off button, the plastic bevels outward and around the brewing buttons, the plastic bevels inward. The buttons have a positive tactile feel.
After setup, brewing is simple and quick.
1) Fill the reservoir and reinstall on the back of the brewer
2) Turn the brewer on
3) Select one or two pods and the single or double pod holder as appropriate
4) Place pod(s) in pod holder
5) Lift lever to open the top
6) Place pod holder into brewer
7) Close the top
8) Lock the lever down
9) Place cup(s) under spouts (it can brew 2 - 4 oz. cups simultaneously)
10) Press the button
It is a shame that something this easy to use comes up short on one of the most critical factors, brew temperature. Optimum brew temperature is 195º – 205º F (closer to 205 for my taste) and unfortunately this brewer does not get that hot which negatively affects the brew. The absolute hottest reading I could get was 193.2º F, but the temperature readings averaged about 185º F.
I went out and bought an insert to replace the pod holder so that I could brew some of my fresh, home roasted coffee that I had brewed in another brewer earlier the same day so that I could do an objective comparison. After several attempts culminating in using 25% more coffee than recommended, I did get some flavor out of the brewer. It was reminiscent of the coffee brewed earlier, but the flavor was very thin, mouth-feel was similar to hot water and the brew was devoid of body. The creama maker in the pod holder is pointless and I understand that you can get the pod holders without this by calling Philips.
If you like store-bought coffee with (or without) cream / flavored creamer and / or sweetener, then you may thoroughly enjoy the convenience of this brewer.
On a positive note, there is no hotplate to cause burns; however the liquid is still very hot and you will want to keep children away from it; near the end of the brew cycle it drips into the full cup and it can spatter a little of the hot liquid. Once you remove your cup, there are two holes in the chromed grate that are directly beneath the spouts. Further drippings fall through these two holes and into the plastic drip tray beneath
Carefully, because things are still hot, lift the lever and open the top. Remove the pod holder and discard the pod out of reach of children (it is still hot). Towel dry the inside of the top, and wash and dry the pod holder, coffee outflow unit (spouts) and the drip tray. Wipe or wash the chromed grate (coffee cup tray), but be careful because the edges are sharp. According to the manual, these parts can be run through the dishwasher.
This is a relatively inexpensive brewer especially given the convenience it can provide as it averages at about $60.00. The pods can get to be expensive which is good reason to buy the pod holder replacement and use the coffee of your choice.
If you like this machine, or the idea of it, I strongly suggest getting the pod holder replacement that allows you to use the freshest coffee of your choice.
There are other factors that go into making a great cup of coffee:
1) Good, fresh coffee ground immediately before brewing
2) Use of a quality flat or conical burr grinder
3) Use of good quality water
4) Filter medium and quality thereof
5) etc., etc., etc.
6) Patience to tweak things until its just the way you like it!
I hope this is helpful ... If I left anything out or you wish to ask me questions, just email me.
None. I received this product free for participating in an online survey.
Eddie really covered it all, but just for the sake of having another opinion in case someone wants more, I totally concur with almost everything he said.
I also got my for free through a survey and I think the machine and the concept is awesome. However, I also agree that the coffee is not really that good, but not horrible.
For people that just want a cup or two and for those people who aren't sticklers for taste, or they drown their coffee with something else besides coffee, this really passes the test.
I have started putting a half packet of hot chocolate in my cup as the taste has started to bother me and I need to use my packets up. At first it was cool, nice and convinient. I was able to only brew one cup and then go out and have a better cup somewhere else at a different time, but if you truly love coffee, this thing can only suffice for about a week. I have actually given mine three months and have tried nearly every flavor.
Again, I don't necessarily knock it, it just depends on what coffee or getting your cup of coffee really means to you.
I used one for quite a long time. Its ok but nothing more. I always use the dark roasted pads with it. And its all about personal standards. Nowadays I use a nice espresso machine along with quite expensive coffee, when I go back to my senseo I really get a slap in my face... :x
I had one of these things and got rid of it, cos it consistently made lukewarm coffee. Would've been good to know about making an empty cup beforehand to warm it up.
I can't see how you can complain about the quality of coffee to be honest, there's a good range and the dark stuff was pretty good. Sure, it's naff compared to espresso but personally filter coffee is generally anyway.
Pound for pound, you compare their coffee with identical fresh roasted coffee thats less then a week old and there will be big difference. The Senseo is really for people on a budget that only want one cup at a time.
Otherwise if you can afford a decent brewer and grinder why would you sacrifice quality for convenience. Unless your sitting in a cubicle, I don't believe a Senseo is the way to go.
I still use mine to make hot chocolate and iced coffees but that's pretty rare. Then again I still have a TI-99 4a and an Atari 2600.
I've also noticed a lot of them in offices. Sad but at least they found a way to stop people from complaining about how their co-workers brewed the Folgers.
I reccomend Senseo I''m very in inpressed with it but the pods do cost a good amount of money so that''s why I got \"my pod\" from presto it''s a part that goes in your coffee machine and you can put a mini filter in the part and your coffe in the filter it''s very nice and cheaper then buying pods
it cost me 10$ at wal-mart and it comes with 100 filters! in the long run it saves you money I hope you look into geting the part I love it!