Move Over, Pod Coffee—This Coffee Maker Proves Freshly Ground Is Where It’s At

·4 min read
Photo credit: Tchibo; Cat Bowen
Photo credit: Tchibo; Cat Bowen


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I am a coffee fanatic—a die-hard lover of the bitter bean brew. I drink the hot java like it's my job, and I'm being paid to do it. Alas, I cannot make a decent cup to save my life. I can cook, I can bake, I can even make a darned cheese soufflé, but a simple cup of coffee eludes me.

I’m also a bit skeptical of single-cup brewing systems. I had a Keurig but felt guilty about all the plastic pods I used for the mediocre coffee I got from the machine. I have a Nespresso, and while the pods are recyclable, they’re pricey and obviously not as fresh as they could be since they’re preground. My husband makes a mean cafetiére of coffee using freshly ground beans, but as I wrote earlier, that is out of my wheelhouse. And don’t get me started on drip coffee.

Suffice to say, I grew heavily reliant on my husband’s affection for me and his beautiful habit of bringing me coffee in bed every morning. But when Covid caused serious changes to his work schedule, it put my glorious weekday coffee luxuries behind me.

So when I heard that there was a company making single cups of espresso or coffee without pods, without a drip maker, using a high-quality burr grinder? I might have done a little dance right there in my kitchen. The only thing was, I'd never heard of Tchibo, and you probably haven't either. Tchibo is a German coffee retailer that's gaining popularity in the United States and prides itself on innovative coffee machines, making high-quality brews available to the home consumer wherever they are.

The bean-to-brew coffee maker is their newest addition, and I’m officially hooked. With settings to adjust the grind, the strength of the brew, and the type of coffee produced, it’s truly a user-friendly experience. Seriously, it’s a touchscreen, and you just hit the “+” button to make it stronger, choose the picture of the cup you want, and the grind setting is just as simple. The whole process from grabbing your cup to your first sip is about 3 minutes, and you can do it with barely one eye open. Even if you’re dead tired after a night staying up late reading the latest installment of your favorite vampire novel, you can still operate the machine perfectly. No guarantees on your toaster, though.

The ease of the machine doesn't end with the fancy buttons — the whole thing is designed to be completely error-proof. Case in point: The beans are stored in a hopper on the top that Tchibo claims has “aroma-sealing” capabilities that lock in freshness. If you're someone who is an infrequent or light coffee drinker, you don't need to worry about stale coffee. But honestly, I go through too much coffee to worry about the beans losing their power. The reservoir for the water holds a whopping 37 ounces of water (or approximately one morning's worth, at my house). Best of all, the machine itself isn't huge, but it packs a lot of power in a compact space — measuring at just about a foot tall, 9 inches wide, and just over a foot deep.

Photo credit: Cat Bowen
Photo credit: Cat Bowen

The one drawback is that the machine is arguably kind of noisy, but not so much that it wakes my kids up when I use it. Like so many other coffee makers, the Tchibo's brews largely depend on the beans you use and the strength and grind settings that you select. Currently, I'm using a fair-trade Yirgacheffe blend from Porto Rico with a medium grind and medium strength, and it is like someone blessed my mouth with the nectar of the gods upon each sip. The crema that brews naturally on each cup? It's just a bonus, really.

My favorite part is that while it brews the coffee hot, it isn't surface-of-the-sun hot. When I add just a dash of soy milk, it's instantly the perfect amount of scalding to wake me up, or about 180ºF. And no lie, I had two cups from my Tchibo before writing this, and I'll brew another over ice before my meeting with my editor this afternoon. I'm that dedicated to this machine, and I think you will be, too.

Closing Argument: Whether you're a brewing-impaired busy mom like me, or you're just looking for a yummy single-serve, waste-free coffee maker, the Tchibo won't disappoint.

Shop Tchibo Coffee Maker

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