Most helpful positive review
258 of 267 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2010
We have this machine, bought in 2004 and used 2-3 times a day. It still works fine, but it's white and we wanted a black one to match our new kitchen appliances. So the old one goes into storage in case the new one breaks down.
There are a lot of so-called "single-serving" coffee makers on the market today. My wife and I have been very select coffee drinkers all our marriage - nearly 30 years. We started with a beautiful La Pavoni expresso maker, which we still have although we had it completely overhauled about 8 years ago.
When we saw the Senseo we thought we'd try it because it seemed much less trouble - although we were highly suspicious of anything that made coffee from "pods" because we were used to grinding our own coffee from beans stored in air-tight containers in the freezer and each cup of coffee we made was made from freshly ground beans.
From the very beginning we were impressed with the Senseo. Push a button and 90 seconds later the water for coffee is at temperature. Push another button and you have a fresh cup of delicious hot coffee, complete with a nice "creama" or frothy top just as you would get from an espresso coffee machine. The single serving button gives you a cup a little larger than the single serving espresso you typically get - say in a Parisian or Italian coffee house. This may not be enough for American coffee drinkers used to a large mug of coffee. If not, you can push the "double" button and get either a large cup of coffee or two small cups the size of an espresso drink described above. Coffee pods come in all strengths (light, medium, dark roast), flavors etc. and are sold at Wal-Mart, Target, Safeway etc. and online at Amazon and lots of other places.
The pods come 18 to a package and a package costs about $4.75 - $5.25 depending on how many you buy and where. That averages about 25-30 cents per cup of coffee if you choose the single serving button - twice that for the double serving button. This is more than if you make drip coffee or do espresso with fresh ground beans, but I think it's worth the convenience. The resulting cup of coffee is really good - rich, hot, flavorful and frothy. We used "Dark Roast" but tastes vary.
As I said earlier, our 6-year-old machine still works pefectly and we use it every day, at least twice but more often quite frequently.
When we have guests we sometimes go back to the automatic drip coffee maker so we can put a whole pot of hot coffee on the table. But even then, if guests request, we can make cups so fast that it's no problem to serve 4-6 guests a hot cup, all done within 4-5 minutes.
We recommend the senseo to friends without reservation.
However, there is one thing you must remember if you use this machine - and this is probably true for any machine: If your water has a lot of minerals in it - especially calcium - you must clean this machine periodically. The instructions say every 90 days - but where we live the calcium builds up quickly so we do it about every 60 days. This is important. A friend of ours through out his machine because he said the coffee started tasting bad and I'm sure sure it was because he wasn't cleaning the machine at all. It's easy to clean - just run half vinegar and half water through it once, and then pure water once. All you do is put in the vingegar and water, then push both buttons (the single serving and the double serving) and the machine pumps all of the water / vinegar solution through the machine without stopping. Of course, you have to be sure it has a contained below large enough to receive all of this liquid.
Also, depending on the mineral deposits in your water, you may need to push a needle or pin through the pod holder drain hole once in a while because sometimes a grain of coffee or calcium build-up clogs the hole.
The machine comes with a reservoir tank for water, two pod holders (one pod and two pods) and a supply of coffee (one package of 18 pods).
You can order accessories for the machine, which include:
A double sized water reservoir (I recommend it highly), replacement pod holders, and a specil pod holder for making espresso coffee especially. You can also buy other replacement parts, but there are only two other parts besides the reservoir and pod holders. These two parts are the small overflow or spill catcher plastic part and a metal "grill" where you sit the coffee cup.
The new machine we ordered from Amazon (in black rather than the white one we already had) has one difference from the machine we bought 6 years ago: the spout where the coffee comes out it shorter, making it higher from the grill where the coffee cup sits. This is an improvement because now you can sit a large mug under the spout whereas the old machine made this difficult because the spout extended down quite far - made to accommodate short little demitasse (sp?) or espress cup sizes. You can still use these smaller cups with the new spout but now you can also use a large mug if you want a "full-size" cup of coffee.
Summary Good Points:
1. The coffee is very good.
2. The coffee maker is very reliable. Our first one has worked without fail for 6 years and is still working. We just wanted a different color.
3. The coffee maker works very fast. A fresh cup of coffee from "0" to finished cup in about 3 minutes. After the first cup, the next cups can be made in less than 1 minute.
4. The price is far below most other single serving coffee makers: We bought our new one from Amazon in April 2010 for $49 with no cost for shipping.
5. The price for each cup of coffee is below any other single serving coffee makers that I have researched. This coffee maker costs between 25 and 30 cents per cup. Double that if you make a typical American "mug" sized cup of coffee.
6.Coffee pods are available at Wal-Mart, Safeway, Targe and other major chains. You can buy a "pod-maker" which allows you to make your own pods. This may be cheaper but we prefer the convenience of commercially produced pods since the coffee is still very affordable even if you buy the pods ready-made.
Caveat: Coffee will turn bad if you do not perform simple regular cleaning - i.e. run half vinegar/half water through the machine at least every 90 days. Every 60 days is better if you live where the water has high mineral content and creates build-up in the machine. If you have a water softener or filter or use bottled water this may keep the machine cleaner longer.
Summary bad points:
We have had good experience with Philips products. They are a Dutch company (perhaps owned by the Royal Family, I'm not sure) and they seem to research companies and then buy them. Some examples are this Senseo machine and their Sonicar electric toothbrush.
Except for their TV, we have had good experience with Philips products. We bought a Philips TV and a Philips DVD/VHS player. The TV works OK but we can't get the player/recorder to work with the TV. When we called their support line the only suggestion they had was to buy another player. So for TVs and DVD/VHS player / recorders we stick to Japanese products.
But the Senseo coffee maker is an excellent machine and we recommend it highly.