The gift that keeps giving

TASSIMO teamed up with Tim Hortons to offer "Tims" at home, just in time for the holidays. (Courtesy photos)

Everyone always talks about the worst gift they ever received for Christmas: An ugly tie, itchy wool sweater or that dreaded rum-soaked fruit cake. But what about the present that brought you lasting joy?

Over the years, there have been many priceless presents from my four sons, often involving paint-splattered macaroni and gobs of glitter glue. And I’ve always been a sucker for cosy flannel jammies, scented candles and gift cards to the spa.

Last December, my in-laws surprised me with a Tassimo coffee maker on Boxing Day, that much to my surprise has changed my life.

But it wasn’t love at first sight. Sliding the T55 out of the gift bag, I remember thinking: “Why would they buy me this?”

Sure, I love coffee and drink multiple mugs of dark roasted brew a day. But a single-serving coffee maker cluttering my kitchen counter went against my practical sensibilities.

First off, there’s not a lot of excess space in my 1960s kitchen and I shuddered to think of all the extra cost and plastic waste I’d create from buying individual coffee discs. If I want a cup of joe, I just make a pot.

But I soon discovered what a treat it is to make a steaming cup of rich coffee whenever the caffeine craving hits — with no measuring, messy grounds or wait time. Push a button and in seconds, the black liquid pours out, every cup tasting as good as the last.

I’ve never achieved that level of consistency in all the years I’ve been making coffee.

I confess: I haven’t done a cost analysis to determine how much cheaper/more expensive one method is over the other. It would take an elaborate spread sheet to compare the supply costs (ground coffee and filters versus T-discs), energy consumption (hydro and people power), water usage and waste (plastic versus all the half-pots of coffee I’ve dumped down the drain). Sorry, but I’ve been too busy enjoying my Gevalia Dark Roast to do the math.

Just when I thought I’d reached complete coffee bliss, Tim Hortons and Tassimo announced this holiday season they’d joined forces, offering Tim’s premium blend, decaf and latte in those single-serving discs.

Hockey parents, like me, can rejoice because this means no more pitstops at the drive-thru on the way to the rink at 6 a.m. Priceless.

Other coffee takeout titans, including Starbucks, Second Cup and Timothy’s, are also available in single-serving pods, K-cups and T-discs starting around $7 for a 12-pack.

Besides Tassimo, other big-name brewers include Keurig, Nespresso, Cusinart and Dolce Gusto. Prices range from around $80 to $700.

Starbucks has even come out with its own fancy machine called the Verismo that can make espressos and forth milk for lattes.

So if you’re not sure what to buy this Christmas, give the gift that keeps on giving. I swear these small kitchen appliances can change lives.

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