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  • That’s a good cup of joe: The Tassimo T20

    2010 - 12.28

    I love to drink my coffee every day.  I depend on it, even.  But I’m generally only good for one cup (albeit a LARGE cup, as I like the nice tall coffee mugs), maybe two in a day.  Once upon a time, we had a regular coffee pot.  But it was a waste.  I was throwing away pot upon pot of coffee.  It got to where we only made coffee on the weekends when my husband was at home in the mornings or whenever we had company visit.  Then my husband stopped drinking coffee and switched to tea. I tried a Senseo for a while but the quality of the coffee was not that great.   I needed to use at least two “coffee pods” to make a decent cup which got expensive.  And it couldn’t brew tea to save it’s life.  That’s when we got a Keurig.  And everything turned around.  I could get marvelous cups of coffee, my husband could get tea, we could brew up hot cocoa or spiced cider or chai tea whenever we pleased.  Life was good.

    I was approached a few weeks ago to review the Tassimo T20 single-serve beverage maker.  And I just couldn’t say no.  We are pretty devoted to our Keurig but not so much that we can’t appreciate what the Tassimo has to offer.  After all, what drove us to the Keurig in the first place was the benefit of being able to brew one wonderful cup at a time and the flexibility of making different beverages.  The Tassimo offers all that and more.

    Now, it’s hard to compare the Keurig we have to the Tassimo we received to review.  Our Keurig is the top of the line Platinum edition, whereas the Tassimo is the T20, a more entry level edition.  So there are certain bells and whistles available on our Keurig that we have had the last year to get used to that the T20 lacks.

    But that said?  The Tassimo T20 was STILL able to knock our socks off.  That says something right there.  We were sent, along with the brewer, a package of Starbucks Cappucino and a package of Gevalia coffee to try out.  I kind of wish we had had even more different beverages to try out.  My husband is a big tea drinker, so it would have been nice to see how the T20 served up a cup of tea.  Judging on how it brewed everything else, I’m going to guess it would have done a great job.  As it was, we picked up a package of the Suchard’s hot cocoa t-cups at Walmart and we were VERY pleased with the finished product.

    As a matter of fact, we prefer the Tassimo hot chocolate to the different Keurig k-cup varieties we have tried.  The secret, I’m thinking, is in the fact that the t-cup uses a chocolate syrup to make the hot cocoa where the k-cup does not.  Another thing that probably makes a big difference is the way the Tassimo brews a beverage.  Each t-cup has a bar code printed on it that is read by the brewer.  So whether you are brewing up a cappuccino, a cup of coffee or some hot cocoa, the brewer knows precisely how to prepare each cup.  This is how you get cappuccino that literally tastes like you just ordered it from a Starbucks barista.  And how that cup of coffee tastes like heaven in a cup.

    There is a learning curve with the T20.  In it’s effort to be small and sleek, there aren’t many buttons or functions so you have to familiarize yourself with the instructions before you begin brewing (which is always a good idea anyhow, but tell that to a man!).   But once you get the hang of how to brew your first cup, you are good as gold.  It brews up a perfect cup very quickly (though not quite as quickly as our Keurig, but that is because our Keurig preheats the water, another premium feature).

    I was worried about the cost of t-cups.  At Bed, Bath and Beyond (a favorite place to purchase k-cups), I noticed that it’s the same price as a package of k-cups, but with fewer t-cups per package.  For instance, the average pack of k-cups has about 18 units inside.  Depending on what beverage you’re purchasing, a t-cup has generally 8-16 cups inside.  But then we went to Walmart to price out the t-cups there and were pleasantly surprised.  The prices were a bit more reasonable and you had the option of purchasing the Maxwell House brand of t-cup which was downright affordable.

    I would say, in the end, the Tassimo T20 is the right brewer for you if you a) only have 1 or 2 cups of coffee per day and struggle with leftover waste from a full pot of coffee or b) are the sort who must have her fancy Starbucks drink each day and are looking to save money by brewing your own fancy Starbucks drink at home (at $1-$1.50 per cup, the cappuccino from the Tassimo offers a significant discount from purchasing at the coffee house every day!).  It’s wonderful for occasional drinks as well or for special occasions.  We brought it to our in-laws house for Christmas so everyone could try it out and it was a BIG hit.  I also think it would be great in an office, to serve to clients or office coworkers as a little perk.

    And do you want to hear the best news of all?  I’m going to GIVEAWAY one of these sweet little bad boys right here on this blog!  That’s right!  You have until 10am PST on December 31 (that’s just a few days away, folks!) to leave a comment on this entry telling me what you would use your Tassimo T20 for.

    Only ONE entry per household please.  No additional comments (I will have to delete them) and unfortunately, this giveaway is only open to U.S. Residents.  Winner will be chosen via Random.org and will be notified at the email address used when leaving the comment.  If there is no response within the first day, I will move to another randomly selected winner.  Your brewer will be shipped to you straight from Tassimo.  Easy as pie!

    So what are you waiting for?  Comment now!

    UPDATE:  I’m extending the deadline for this giveaway until 8am PST on January 3rd 2011.  Enter now!!

    Second Update: Thanks to everyone who entered!  I’ve selected the winner via a random draw on random.org.  We had 31 comments and the winner is….

    number 5!  Congratulations, Rosalie!  I will be emailing you for more information.  Enjoy your new coffee maker!
    FTC Disclaimer Thingie: I was sent a complimentary Tassimo T20 brewer to try out with my family.  I was not compensated in any other fashion for this review.  These opinions are mine (and my family’s) alone and haven’t been influence by anything more than a nice steaming hot cup of cappucino after a long day of gift wrapping.

    Some like it hot

    2010 - 01.07

    I couldn’t resist using that as a post title for a review of salsa.  Can you blame me?

    I’m a mild girl myself, but I do enjoy salsa with tortilla chips.  So when Mom Central contacted me about doing a review of a new line of Rosarita salsas, I could hardly say no.  Besides, I thought it would go perfectly with our annual New Year’s Eve snack-fest.  Each year we do up an assortment of appetizers and snack foods and instead of having a meal that night, we just snack on yummy things all night long.  And if you’re having a snack fest, you’ve pretty much got to have salsa.

    The salsa initially arrived in pieces.  Which isn’t exactly how you hope to receive a package of salsa.  The Fed Ex guy didn’t even ring our doorbell when he dropped off the package and I can hardly blame him.  Luckily, Mom Central got another package out to me ASAP and it arrived just in time for our New Year’s Eve celebration.

    We received three bottles of salsa.  A mild, a medium (with green peppers) and a hot.  Now, as I mentioned before, I’m a mild girl.  So I only really tried the mild.  But I liked it!  Word to the wise for other mild child’s out there: this salsa still has some kick!  Which was definitely tasty but also required a glass of water to cool my tongue.  And also, this cemented my decision not to try the medium or the hot.  Instead, my more intrepid husband tried those.  And his verdict:  SPICY!  (the hot)  TASTY! (both)  I would definitely rank these salsa’s up there with Pace and the Walmart store brand, which is what we normally buy.  And I was right, these salsa’s fit right in with our holiday snack-fest.

    I even tried some over a microwave burrito the other day and OMG so good.  I like rather plain bean and cheese burritos, but they are somewhat bland.  A good salsa always punches it up and I think the Rosarita salsa is the best compliment I’ve tried so far.

    This new line of salsas is still in somewhat limited release.  Currently, according to Rosarita, they can only be found in four cities — LA, Dallas, Phoenix, and Denver — at select Walmart and grocery stores.  However, when I was at my local Walmart just a week or so ago, I found these salsas on the shelf there.  I would say, if you don’t live in one of those cities, don’t expect to find it.  But if you do?  Bonus!

    Do you love salsa like I do?  Hey, even mild child’s can love salsa.

    I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Rosarita and received a sample to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.

    Holiday cards done right

    2009 - 11.17

    You might remember last year about this time when I reviewed custom photo holiday cards from Minted.com.  Imagine my pleasure when someone from Minted contacted me again this year to do another review.  I admit, that besides the lure of beautiful, professionally crafted Christmas cards to mail out to friends and family, that I was intrigued to see what the company had changed this year and what new designs they had to offer.

    I wasn’t disappointed! I couldn’t say for sure, but I think this year they’ve doubled (or maybe even tripled!) the number of available designs to choose from.  And there is literally something for everyone.  Do you want a secular holiday card, appropriate for passing out as someone who doesn’t celebrate Christmas?  Or maybe you’re looking for something with a heart-felt message of faith?  Do your interests swing towards the more modern, or retro-stylish look?  Perhaps you prefer a traditional, elegant card.  Whatever your fancy, Minted has what you’re looking for.


    It was a tough choice, but this card fit the bill!

    Last year I mentioned that the cost might be somewhat prohibitive.  It’s still a little pricey for those of us who do most of our Christmas card shopping at places like Walmart, but when you consider the quality and service you get with Minted, the prices are really not that bad.   Especially when you consider you can get corporate cards, engagement announcements, wedding invitations, baby shower announcements…. the list goes on.  Custom cards like that aren’t exactly cheap, and Minted’s prices are very much in line and often, you can get a great deal on something that looks like it cost a whole lot more.

    Last year, everyone was very impressed with our Christmas cards.  We had many people ask us where got them from and I was more than happy to pass on the information.  We’re not usually the bragging sorts, but it felt good to have people ooh and ahh over our cards (and the cute kiddo pics we selected go on them!).

    It also needs to be mentioned that Minted has made the ordering process even simpler than it was last year.  Last year I wanted to have a picture of each of my three children on the front of the card.  Unfortunately, it was next to impossible to get everyone together in one picture and looking appropriate.  I wanted to use one picture for each child.  My solution was firing up my trust photo editing program and creating a collage that I saved as one image and then used that.  Not difficult at all for me, but I can see where other people might not be able to or know how to do that for themselves.  This year, Minted offers many cards that are MADE for multiple images.  I had my pick of beautiful designs, since I planned to do the same this year, with three separate images.

    Once you submit your order, the folks at Minted proof it closely, making sure the typography is centered and that the photos are looking their best.  I was impressed at how quickly they got back to me via email with a proof to approve.  And once approved, it took just a few days for the order to show up on my doorstep.  So if you’re thinking it’s too late to get custom cards this year, think again!

    Consider pampering yourself (and your loved ones!) with a custom card from Minted this year.  It sure had eliminated a lot of guesswork for me this year and I’m actually (gasp) looking forward to sending these out!   I just need to go get stamps and I’m all set!