T-Disc System

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Tassimo pod coffee makers use a unique system that uses T-Discs -- nonrecyclable, proprietary, prepackaged plastic coffee pods. The Tassimo reads a barcode that's printed on every T-Disc to calculate water, brewing time and temperature. Because the T-Discs can contain ultra-pasteurized milk, the Tassimo system can create lattes and other milk-based drinks.

The system was developed by Kraft in 2004 and has gone through a lot of changes since then. Originally manufactured by Braun, Tassimo coffee makers are now manufactured by Bosch for the US market.

More important to consumers than the name on the coffee maker, however, is the name on the coffee. Many aficionados were very upset to learn that Kraft's partnership to make Starbucks-branded T-Discs ended abruptly due to a court order in March of 2011. Starbucks alleged that Kraft had not done enough to promote their T-Discs, and the court agreed.

Currently, only Kraft-branded coffee labels are available for use in the Tassimo. In the US, that's mostly limited to Maxwell House for everyday coffees and Gevalia for specialty coffees, though a few other Kraft-owned brands can be ordered online.

Despite their limited availability, T-Discs cost less than K-Cups, at around 40 cents per disc for regular coffee and closer to a 60 cents a disc for specialty coffee. Depending on what you drink, your monthly cost for two cups of coffee a day could be as low as $24 or as high as $36, and your yearly cost could range from to $288 to $433.

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