Review: Philips Senseo (with Douwe Egberts coffee pods)

Ed Steele June 16, 2004 15


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In today’s edition of “Using gadgets to determine relatively useless information,” we review the new Philips Senseo Coffee system, the coffee it makes, AND measure the temperature of the coffee with a laser temperature sensor!

What’s in the Box?

The Philips Senseo (we picked Senseo blue – black and white are the other colors available), a single pod holder and a double pod holder, sample light roast coffee pods, the water reservoir, and the instructions.

What’s Good About It?

Lots. We took our Senseo out of the box, and ran it though its initial cleaning process per the instructions, which only took about 20 seconds. (Don’t worry about the awful noises it makes during the initial clean cycle, it is far noisier during the one-time cleaning process than it is when it makes coffee.) We then placed two dark roast pods in the dual pod holder, and pushed the two-cup button. Click on any of the images for a larger picture:

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The red light is from the laser temperature sensor as we measure the temperature of the coffee as it enters the cup. Just how hot is it, you may ask?

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A special thanks to Mr. L. Atreides, the superintendent of GadgetMadness Headquarters, for using his laser temperature gun to measure the temperature of our coffee. (FYI – my forehead measured 83 degrees!)

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Yep, that’s about how hot you want your coffee to be. It’s reaaaaaalllly hot, ok, so for Pete’s sake don’t do anything stupid like put it in your lap and drive somewhere. (That would just be dumb.)
Needless to say the coffee this thing makes is consistently strong, frothy, smooth, and freakin’ delicious. I say this from the vantage point of having consumed every form of caffeine I’ve ever been able to get my hands on, everything from chewing handfuls of raw beans to Starbucks, from Seattle’s Best to Cafe du Monde, toss in some French Market, Cafe Molido, and Medaglia D’oro – you name it. I don’t generally care much for brewed coffee, but the drip from the Senseo is probably the best I have tasted from a standard drip coffee maker. The coffee isn’t the best part about the Senseo though – the cleanup is!

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Two pods resting neatly in the two-pod holder, just the way we like it.

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What’s this? Pick up the pods, wipe the pod holder with a paper towel, and cleanup is finished!?! Delicious, delicious! Let’s brew two more cups and dance the dance of the meercat!

What’s Bad About It?

At close to $70 bucks (we bought our own) the Senseo may be expensive for some people. The coffee works out to twenty-two cents per cup, which isn’t bad for the final product the Senseo makes. I really wanted the white cups shown on the outside package, sadly the Senseo comes with no cups. That’s right, no cups! The humanity! I’m obviously stretching here – the only real bad thing that comes to mind is that I will be drinking fewer Red Bull and Monster Energy drinks, and making fewer stops to Starbucks now that I have a Senseo at my desk. Another drawback for some will be that you have to use the Douwe Egberts coffee pods exclusively. We found the coffee the pods produce to be of superior flavor, with no bitterness whatsoever, so we’re not complaining about being stuck with them.
We like the Senseo, and you probably will too. It’s a very nicely designed product that’s pretty to look at, and it makes a succulent cup of coffee too.

Update: I totally need to give a special thanks to GadgetMadness contributor Doc for his help during this review: reading the directions, coercing Mr. Atreides to use his laser temp gun, tasting the coffee, and holding the dirty pods in the picture. Thanks Doc!

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15 Comments »

  1. Jos Jonkeren June 16, 2004 at 2:23 pm -

    Yeah, I totally agree.
    We have had the Senseo for almost three years since it came in store. Yep, that’s right, three years – Philips dot NL you know…
    Nearly every household I know in Holland has a Senseo now! It’s a big hit over here, and I think Philips deserves that.
    By the way, prices of those coffee-pads are likely to drop over there as well, as other coffee-producers see their marketshare drop and start to also offer their coffees in those pads.
    Wow! It’s an amazing discovery 🙂
    And now even worldwide !

  2. GadgetMadness: Review: Philips Senseo (with Douwe Egberts coffee pods)

    “In today’s edition of “Using gadgets to determine relatively useless information,” we review the new Philips Senseo Coffee system, the coffee it makes, AND measure the temperature of the coffee with a laser temperature sensor!” GadgetMadness: Review: …

  3. Duff June 16, 2004 at 9:49 pm -

    Mellita has a similar unit out, the One:One Java Pod. I got mine at Target for $49. Same as Senseo but only brews one cup (5 or 8 oz, you choose) at a time. You can order the Java pods from the Melitta web site, and you can even place a recurring order for automatic home delivery of your Java Pods. They have 6 coffee (mild, medium, dark roasts, decaf, hazelnut and French Vanilla) They also have 3 different Tea Java Pods. http://www.melitta.com

  4. Brad Knowles June 16, 2004 at 10:19 pm -

    I’ve had one of these for a while. I’m not what I would call a coffee fanatic, but it brews a pretty decent cup. However, with the hard water we have here in Belgium, scale is a problem and the thing needs to be cleaned regularly.
    Even though I’ve been de-scaling mine once a month, it’s starting to make noises that it had never made before (at least, not like that), and leak more water than it had done before. Note that I’ve been using exclusively filtered water — I don’t want to think how bad things would have been if I had been using plain tap water instead.
    The container on the back is supposedly enough to hold water for five cups, but it’s not quite. I can always get four cups out of a single filling, but never quite a full fifth cup. There is a new model over here that has a larder container on the back, supposedly good for ten cups of coffee.

  5. Pat Fanchr June 17, 2004 at 3:53 pm -

    The comments by Phil make you wanta buy this pot.
    I was an intertaining piece of writing.Thanks

  6. Lars June 19, 2004 at 2:26 am -

    140 fahrenheit? That’s only 60 degrees celsius! That’s way below the drinking temperature.
    Espresso machines brew at 90 C (195 F), because you drink it when it’s around 89 C (192 F). The ideal drinking temperature is around 73-89 C (165-192 F).
    The only thing good about the senseo is that it is a better alternative to freeze dried instant coffee.

  7. cdog June 19, 2004 at 3:00 pm -

    I have a krups orchestro, it is fully automatic and grinds the beans and dumps them etc. All you have to do is fill the water tank, empty the bin and top up the beans from time to time. Since it grinds the beans and dumps them on its own you just walk up press the button and walk off with your coffee. The coffee it makes is great but it could be hotter.
    Problem is, it shorted out after 2500 cups, its being fixed and after another 2500 cups will need to go for its 5000 cup service.
    I would never go back to a plunger though.

  8. Dave June 20, 2004 at 6:08 pm -

    Hi, I just happened to come across your Senseo review.
    The machine was popular some time ago, here in Holland (Philips is a Dutch company) and at this moment we are not stuck to the Douwe Egberts pads. They come in all kinds of flavours and brands (yes, even cheaper ones!).
    Illy makes high-density pads, really compact pads that make a lovely coffee.
    I think it’s just a matter of time untill you will have a choice in coffee-pads too!
    And of course you don’t need a Senseo. I use pads in a regular espresso-machine and that works great.

  9. Susanne June 23, 2004 at 7:25 pm -

    I brought one of these over from Holland about 9 monthsago, best coffee machine ever.

  10. Theresa Lofton June 24, 2004 at 12:04 am -

    Just want to tell all who will listen; i bought my Senseo two days ago and was about to return it. Why?- because the coffee/water ratio makes the coffe a bit to strong for my taste (i’m talking about Mild roast) and secondly being trapped into a certain brand with no variety. BUT i just discover (while surfing the web) a permanent filter for about 20.00!!!!! Now i’m gonna keep my Senseo and use whatever kind of java i want!!!!!!!! Here’s the info:http://www.cafe-filter.nl/Cafefilter_EN.htm

  11. Julie June 28, 2004 at 9:19 pm -

    We were so lucky, Target and lots of local stores send any product with a damaged box to the local Habitat for Humanity store and they sell them and use the money to build houses for local people.
    This weekend I got a Philips Senseo for $10 (yes TEN DOLLARS) including two cups, two packets of coffee and a voucher for $2 off my next purchase and we just love the coffee. My Husband and I have always loved Douwe Egberts coffee and the Senseo produces a lovely cup of coffee that has no bitter after taste.
    I am so pleased with the machine but the normal price tag is a little high. I did notice that my local Walmart sells pods made by Millhouse and another coffee producer but I will be sticking with Douwe’s.

  12. jan cudmore June 29, 2004 at 5:08 pm -

    I’ve found everyones comments really helpful. I haven’t bought a senseo coffee machine as yet. I am wondering whether you can make cups for say 6 people without too much delay. the noise factor worries me a bit too. Is it as loud as a filter machine or worse? Are there any retailers who give demos? That would be a big help.

  13. Gerrie January 7, 2008 at 5:36 pm -

    I own a Senseo in Holland which makes terrific coffee. Imagine my surprise when I bought one here in the U.S. and found the coffee taste like dirty dishwater. It is weak and looks like tea. I understand that most Americans prefer weak coffee, but Europeans don’t. So I am pretty ticked off having no access to the REAL Douwe Egberts which has a robust fullbodied flavor that you can still taste an hour after you finished it. THAT is coffee. What we drink here is not coffee. I have contacted Douw Egberts with my complaint and a request for a solution, otherwise my machine goes back to the store. It’s a big bust!

  14. geek January 27, 2009 at 1:03 am -

    My Senseo machine quit after less than a year. I was surprised when Phillips was less than supportive given there are other alternatives on the Market. I purchased a Keruig that while slightly more expensive, is less complicated, does not leave me with a soggy pod, and appears better made. As I noted I was surprised, that they were not interested in keeping a customer, but their loss is Green Mountains (Keruig’s) gain. I would have thought that the lesson of GM and Ford would have been noted by companies that depend on customer loyalty, nevertheless the Keruig is a great product and I am thrilled.