Newest Review: ... So I looked for a coffee and espresso machine after moving to my new flat and I chose the Senseo. The optics: The machine looks really... more
For fresh coffee, it makes Senseo
Member Name: x-cupcake-x
Advantages: Easy to use, quick, makes a nice cup of coffee
Disadvantages: Pods can seem expensive, and different flavours aren't widely available
The Senseo uses a pod system, where the ground coffee comes in pods which resemble round tea bags, so once used you can just throw them away or put them in the compost bin. One Christmas my parents were kind enough to buy me one.
The Senseo I have is the HD7814 which is one of the more basic models, some others have a milk chamber so you can also make a latte and there are ones with bigger water tanks. For me the HD7814 is more than sufficient.
The machine is made from black plastic but it still looks quite smart, and the plastic means it is easy to keep clean.
The base of the HD7814 is 11" by 9" (approx) so it doesn't take up too much worktop space; the height is around 13". Despite this worktop space is still something I am lacking in my kitchen so when I'm not using it I usually store it away on top of one of the higher cupboards, when it has no water in I can easily lift it up and down so it's not too heavy. I would say it probably weighs about 2kgs.
It is made up of six parts, the main body of the machine, the water tank, drip tray, cup tray, water spout, pod holder and the lid. The drip tray, cup tray, water spout and pod holder are all removable for cleaning and are dishwasher safe but they are easy enough to clean with a damp cloth when needed.
Instead of using boiling water which can "burn" the coffee the water is 84° which according to Philips is the optimum temperature for making coffee.
It also has an auto-off function so if it hasn't been used for an hour it will automatically switch off.
*Making a cup of coffee*
The first time you use the Senseo or if you haven't used it for a few days you first need to flush out the system. This is easy to do, just fill the water tank with cold water to the max line, make sure there isn't a pod in the holder put a large bowl on the cup tray (I use a Tupperware box) then press the power button and then the one cup and two cup buttons at the same time.
You can now make a cup of coffee which is a pretty simple process. Choose whether you are making one or two cups or a mug, then put the relevant pod holder into the machine and place the coffee pod into the holder. Make sure the water tank has enough water in it and put your cup or mug on the cup tray. Press the power button and then either the one cup or two cup/mug button. In around one minute you will have a delicious cup of coffee with a lovely crema (frothy) layer.
When it's in use the Senseo does make a bit of noise but I don't think it's excessive, and it hasn't woke my other half up when I've made myself a coffee before leaving for work.
When I am making myself a coffee I find that the one cup option isn't quite enough, so I use the two cup/mug option. I still use the one cup holder and one pod and it isn't detrimental to the taste of the coffee.
I also put my milk in the cup first and quickly warm it in the microwave; this stops the milk from cooling the coffee too much.
*The coffee pods*
As I mentioned earlier the pods the Senseo use are very similar to round tea bags. You can buy these in most supermarkets and the Senseo brand ones are made by Douwe Egberts. You can expect to pay around £2.30 for a pack of 18 cup pods or £3 for 20 mug sized pods. This works out at less than 15p for a cup of fresh coffee, which I don't think is too bad a price to pay.
The most widely available are the Medium Roast, Dark Roast and Decaffeinated flavours. You can also buy Kenya, Brazil and Columbia blends (although I haven't seen these in my local supermarkets).
If you are prepared to shop online there are more flavours available including Espresso, Rio and Hot Chocolate pods. The Espresso and Hot Chocolate need different types of pod holders which you would have to buy separately. I believe that the online shops get the pods directly from Holland where Philips and Douwe Egberts are based and have a lot more variety available.
I have tried the Sevilla blend which is flavoured with caramel and vanilla, I think this flavour is gorgeous and it has quickly become my new favourite.
The only place where I've seen an own brand pod for the Senseo recently is Lidl where they cost £1.49 for 18 Kenyan blend pods. I haven't tried these myself so can't comment on the quality of them.
*Price and Where to Buy*
The HD7814 costs around the £60 mark and I have seen it for sale at Argos, Tesco Direct and Amazon or from the Philips website.
I think the best way to find out how useful something like this is to ask yourself whether you would replace it if it stopped working. For me, I definitely would buy another Senseo if my current one broke.
Summary: Far nicer than instant coffee
|Ease of use:|
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