I have loved coffee for around ten years now. I simply can't function if I don't get my morning cup of coffee. However, I also realise that coffee is bad for me. I try not to drink more than three cups a day and I usually only drink instant which is not nearly as bad for you as drinking fresh coffee. I have quite a lot of friends though who own coffee machines, when I visit I plug in and make a nice fresh cup of coffee, strong and dark just like I like it. I have always wanted a coffee machine but due to the price and the fact that owning one will no doubt get me drinking far more of the stuff, I've never splashed out.
However, my sister and her husband are moving to Kenya. They have sold most of their worldly possessions, this included a coffee machine. They only wanted £4 for it and seeing it would go towards there Kenya move I simply had no option but to buy it off them! So this is the machine I bought, a Russell Hobbs Uno Uno coffee machine. I must admit I didn't know much about it when I bought it but at that price I couldn't say no.
The first thing to mention with this machine is that it is not a regular coffee machine. It's not one where you put the big glass jug under the spout and wait for your coffee to drip out. This is a coffee pod machine. This means you have to buy special pods to use for the machine. These as you have probably guessed are called Uno Uno coffee pods. You make one cup at a time, simply pop your cup under the spout and make yourself a nice fresh coffee. So although this machine certainly has it's uses it is not as wonderful as a standard coffee machine, but for my needs it is just fine.
So how does it work? Well the coffee pod looks something like a t-bag. You flip the top open and place the pod inside. The you fill the back of the machine with water and hey presto a coffee is born. The machine is very simple to use, there are only a few buttons on the front which are self explanatory really. Unlike some fancy coffee machines this one doesn't really have any clever features, it just makes coffee. It doesn't take long for the coffee to come through the spout and if you are after making more than one cup this is not really a problem as you can simple pop another pod in and then start over.
When it comes to cleaning and maintaining the machine this is very easy. Due to the fact that you are not using ground coffee there is very little mess. That said you should still clean it from time to time, this is easy to do as you can open the machine up to clean inside with no problems.
One of the main draw backs of this Russell Hobbs Uno Uno coffee machine is the fact that the pods are not all that cheap. It tends to work out at about 15p per pod, this is not mega expensive but it will soon start to add up if you use it a few times a day. You can buy the pods from Tesco or online if you shop around. I did look online to see how much these machines cost to buy new, however I couldn't actually find any. You may be able to pick one up on ebay second hand, but it looks as though they are not actually making them anymore.
Overall then I would say this is a pretty good coffee machine though it does have it's draw backs. The fact that you can only make one cup at a time and the fact that you have to buy the special pods does mean that for most people a standard coffee machine would be far better. If like me though you just want to make yourself a nice cup of coffee in the morning then the Uno Uno machine may well be for you.
Now, I'm a bit of a gadget freak and like to make sure I get my hands on most of the 'mod cons' on today's market. Of course, this always has to be within reason. So, whilst browsing Amazon one day, I saw the 'Uno Uno Coffee Pod Brewing System' and decided I had to have it!
At first glance, not only would the black and silver design go with all of the other appliances in my kitchen, but it was priced at just £19.99. I quickly searched the internet to see what it was priced at elsewhere and found that they were selling for as much as £49.99! This was a bargain and I had to get it quick!
**WHAT ON EARTH IS THE UNO UNO COFFEE POD BREWING SYSTEM?**
The Uno Uno Coffee Pod Brewing System (from hereon I shall refer to it as Uno, to save my aching fingers!) is essentially a coffee machine - with a difference. Rather than using conventional Filter coffee, the coffee is stored in a round pod, very similar in style to a round Teabag, and is packed tight with coffee. This is, in many ways, a much easier way to achieve that perfect cup of coffee, something I definitely need first thing in the morning. The reasons for this are further on in the review .
The Uno is made by Russell Hobbs, the well known and very popular Company who make items such as Kettles, Toasters, etc.
**WHY UNO UNO?**
Well, apart from the extremely nice price and the fact that it would look great in my kitchen, the design and the very idea appealed to me. Imagine making the perfect cup of coffee without having to mess around with filters and scoops .yes, maybe not. It's not actually that hard to make a cup of coffee but I'm a sucker for new gadgets so my buying decision was based purely on the look and idea of the Uno.
As previously explained, the Uno really is an attractive looking little machine. It's of moderate size (around 40cm high and 25cm wide) and so fits perfectly snugly in a corner in my kitchen. The main colour of the Uno is black, with silver buttons and spout. It has a 'rounded' appearance and looks quite different from your conventional, bulky coffee machines.
Apart from the main body, the Uno consists of:
*1 Litre removable water tank
*2.2 bar steam pump
*Removable drip tray
*Three 'function' buttons - On/Off, small Cup selector and large Cup selector
It also comes with a fully fitted plug, Instructions, Guarantee (which must be filled in) and details for ordering spare parts for your Uno and additional Pods.
**HOW TO USE**
This machine is great for people who don't like complicated machines, as it is extremely easy to use. Being the inpatient person I am, I was able to use the machine easily without having to read the instructions. Here's how I make my perfect cup of coffee:
*Firstly, I remove the water tank from the back of the Uno and fill with water to the 'max' water level. The water tank holds up to 1 litre of water and is extremely easy to remove and inset back in - to remove, simply hold the top of the tank and push back. To re-insert, insert the bottom first and push the top towards the Uno. I have done this numerous times now without any struggle at all and have never spilt any water.
*Once the water tank is back in place, I then turn the Uno on by pressing the 'Power' button at the bottom of the front of the machine. The Power button is clearly marked with the popular 'Standby' icon. The machine then makes a low humming nose as it warms up - the power button will flash as it is doing this. You will know when the machine has heated up fully when this button stops flashing and remains a constant red.
*Whilst the machine is warming up, I insert the coffee pod. This is done by pulling the front, silver latch forward, which causes the lid of the Uno to rise. The lid then pushes back at an angle of around 45 degrees.
The pod is then placed in the pod holder, which looks very similar to a tea strainer. The pod should be pressed gently buy firmly into the pod holder, ensuring that nothing of the pod is left above the rim of the pod holder - this could cause the hot water to spill over, bypassing the pod and making a mess. However, this has never happened to me yet, even when not using the 'suggested' pods, made especially for this machine (more on the pods later on).
Push the lid back down, making sure to press on the body of the pod, to ensure it stays. The silver latch should then be pushed back in until you hear it 'lock'.
*A cup should then be placed under the silver spout. The Uno accommodates two cup sizes - the small cup button dispenses around 135ml of strong coffee, whereas the large cup button dispenses around 220ml of a slightly milder brew. I always like to have a small cup in the morning, to wake me up!
Once you have decided which cup size you want, press the appropriate button. The machine then comes into action. Again, the humming noise comes into force, although slightly louder than when heating up, the noise is by no means loud.
The Uno dispenses in two stages (I'm not exactly sure of the exact reason for this), so the cup must be left under the spout until it has finished dispensing. In all, it takes around 60 seconds, from inserting the pod, to dispensing, to make the cup off coffee - pretty impressive!
The pod can then be removed by opening the lid and taking out the pod holder - the used pod can be emptied in the bin - make sure you keep hold of the pod holder, though!
When finished, the machine should then be turned off using the Power button. Don't worry if you forget to do this, though, as the machine does switch itself off after an hour or so.
The machine needs to be cleaned after a few uses, and this again is an easy process. The instructions clearly state how to remove the parts of the machine carefully and how to wash them - warm, soapy water usually does the trick.
The machine is incredibly easy to use but obviously there are a few cautions, as it is dispensing hot water. This caution should particularly be adhered to if you decide to clean the machine immediately after use - some steam may escape when opening the lid and touching metal parts should be avoided, as they can become quite hot.
Although I've made this out to be a coffee machine, it is slightly misleading, as there are also Tea pods available to buy for the Uno.
The recommended pods to use with this machine are obviously Uno Uno pods. These, as far as I am aware, can only be obtained online at unounopods.com. The range of pods available are:
JAVA PODS (Coffee) - All priced at £2.99 for 18 pods (around 17p per cup)
Love at First sip - 100% Arabica medium roast. An aromatic medium strength coffee.
Skip the Buzz - 100% Colombian decaf coffee. For those of you who want the coffee without the buzz.
A Café Kind of Day - 100% Colombian light roast. A pleasant and mild coffee which is a favourite in our house.
Buzz worthy - Dark roast coffee - Definitely one for the mornings!
TEA PODS - All priced at £2.99 for 18 pods (around 17p per cup)
All that Razzberry - Raspberry flavoured herbal tea
Zen in Black - A traditional English breakfast tea
Shades of Jade - Fine green tea
I have ordered tea and coffee pods from unouno pods.com. Delivery was not only fast, but free. I have yet to try the tea pods -I'm currently too addicted to the coffee ones! Additional offers for the pods can be obtained if you register with unouno Club. **Tip** Don't try to use conventional tea Bags - I did and lots of tea leaves had to be cleaned up afterwards !
We have also purchased the Kenco Café Crema coffee pods, available from most Supermarkets. These are available in Light Roast, Medium Roast and Decaff, priced at £1.58 for 18 pods (around 9p per pod). Although these pods aren't an exact fit in the pod holder, they are compatible and work fine.
For other deals, it is best to search the internet for offers of pods. Make sure that the pod size fits the machine, though.
Ok, I admit, this was one of those purchases where I liked the look of it, more than what it was actually for. After all, if I didn't like it, it would still look great in my kitchen silly, I know.
But, even after having very low expectations of the machine, I am happy to say that I am extremely impressed with the Uno coffee machine. It's easy and fast to use (as well as being a novelty at the beginning!) and although the taste of the coffee is definitely based upon which strength of pod you use, I've not had a bad cup yet.
I would definitely recommend this product, but if you do want to order one, make sure that you get one for the right price as some website are still selling them for nearly £50.00, as opposed to the £19.99 for which I got it.
www.unounopods.com 0845 658 9700