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Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby dsharp88 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:27 pm

nativefloridian81 wrote:Hello! Newbie here!

I'm so delighted I found this forum. I've been trying to decide between the CBTL and the Nespresso and this is certainly helping me. Here are my thoughts, and maybe someone can steer me in the right direction.

I've been leaning towards the CBTL mainly because of the price. Bed Bath and Beyond has a $50 rebate, plus you can use a 20% off coupon bringing the price down from $150 to $70. Plus you get 5 free boxes of coffee. To me, this sounds like a no-brainer. Downside: I would probably only use the machine for coffee and espresso. I love Teavana loose leaf teas, and just can't go back to ground tea. I'm not sure CBTL does hot chocolate, but I'll admit I prefer Swiss Miss dark choc sensation made with milk...so i'm not sure a hot chocolate function would be benefically to me either.

My MIL has a nespresso...and I have to say, I had an amazing to-go cup for the post-thanksgiving drive home. But I am a bargain queen, so I would not be excited about shelling out a couple hundred for this machine. I do love that crema tho...

While I've always enjoyed the occasional starbucks (I steered clear of caffiene for a long time due to sensitivity to it), I've realized how much I enjoy a good latte, and would like to explore the world of coffee/espresso. Truthfully, I still don't feel great after I have one of these beverages, but my tastebuds are probably going to win this war. LOL. I am definitely not anywhere near Don's ability to review, but would love to get there someday. Definitely open to suggestions for navigating through the bean world!

Thanks all!
Cary :mrgreen:

CBTL is a great bargain right now, and it does both coffee and espresso. Nespresso only does espresso, but, of course, you can add hot water to make an Americano or try pulling a couple of lungos to see if that fits your tastes. Nespresso makes better crema. CBTL is hotter. You can clean out and adapt a used CBTL espresso capsule to make espresso from your own grinds (provided you have a burr grinder that can evenly grind coffee that fine). The only decent homemade Nespresso adaptation I've had was the Capsul'in system, which is only sold in the UK. Both systems have about the same number of good espressos. CBTL is more widely available, but Nespresso gives you 2-day shipping. Both companies give fine customer service for warranty problems with Nespresso getting bonus points in one regard by giving you a loaner machine while yours is being fixed, but with CBTL also getting bonus points by replacing your broken one with a brand new machine when they receive your non-working one. CBTL has a little more coffee in the capsule and can thus give you just a little bit more espresso. Hope that helps. Your cost for this advice - Let us know what you decide and then later on what you think of the capsules you try!
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby jbviau » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:30 pm

Re: cost, that's a bargain! ;)
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby nativefloridian81 » Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:48 pm

Thanks everyone! Going with the CBTL. Will purchase in about a week and post about my experience!
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby ecoblue » Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:08 am

Thanks to Don and everyone else who has posted; this thread has been a real education.

I'm picking up a CBTL Americano and CBTL Milk Frother at Bed Bath & Beyond tomorrow!

A little about myself; I've never owned a coffee machine before because I have always preferred espresso drinks to drip coffee.

Then two things happened - 1) I saw a demo of the Verismo at Starbucks, which opened up my eyes to the world of capsule-based espresso machines (everything else must have been under my radar), and 2) I discovered that I don't mind drip coffee as much as I thought I did--if it's in the form of a cafe au lait. :)

Like any gadget-minded IT person, I did a lot of research before committing to a purchase. I read reviews, scoured this forum, watched plenty of YouTube videos, and even checked out my local Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and Macy's stores.

After all that, I decided that the CBTL system was the one for me. The idea of being able to make espresso and drip coffee from the same machine is very attractive indeed.
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby jr461 » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:59 am

ecoblue wrote:Thanks to Don and everyone else who has posted; this thread has been a real education.

I'm picking up a CBTL Americano and CBTL Milk Frother at Bed Bath & Beyond tomorrow!

A little about myself; I've never owned a coffee machine before because I have always preferred espresso drinks to drip coffee.

Then two things happened - 1) I saw a demo of the Verismo at Starbucks, which opened up my eyes to the world of capsule-based espresso machines (everything else must have been under my radar), and 2) I discovered that I don't mind drip coffee as much as I thought I did--if it's in the form of a cafe au lait. :)

Like any gadget-minded IT person, I did a lot of research before committing to a purchase. I read reviews, scoured this forum, watched plenty of YouTube videos, and even checked out my local Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and Macy's stores.

After all that, I decided that the CBTL system was the one for me. The idea of being able to make espresso and drip coffee from the same machine is very attractive indeed.


While I'm not an IT person, I am gadget minded and went thru a similar process before buying the Americano at BB&B about 2 weeks ago. I had also been through the Tassimo and Keurig standard and Vue machines, but without total satisfaction. The Tassimo using the SB Verona, and then Gevalia dark Italian roast when the SB was discontinued was the best of that group, however, even that coffee was getting harder to find and at higher prices. Plus my unit was starting to leak after several years.

Standard Keurig was never good for me - just hot, brown water, with some of the extra bold coffees offering a little flavor. I thought the Vue would help with it's options, and it did somewhat, but when that started leaking after 3 weeks, I figured it was a sign to find something better!

First, this site and forums are incredible. Been here for a couple of years and what a wealth of knowledge and information. Having done what you did, scouring everything, looking in stores, even trying the Verismo during demos (the wife doesn't like SB, so ruled that out, not knowing at the time I could use CBTL in that machine). Decided on the Americano, particularly with the great deal at BB&B.

So far it is by far the best single serve coffee of the machines I have tried. I am generally a coffee drinker, as opposed to espresso, however, I find I am even into that now! In fact, my favorite "coffee" is pulling 2 long shots from the same espresso capsule.

Go for it!
CBTL Americano
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby ecoblue » Fri Nov 30, 2012 12:33 pm

jr461 wrote:While I'm not an IT person, I am gadget minded and went thru a similar process before buying the Americano at BB&B about 2 weeks ago. I had also been through the Tassimo and Keurig standard and Vue machines, but without total satisfaction. The Tassimo using the SB Verona, and then Gevalia dark Italian roast when the SB was discontinued was the best of that group, however, even that coffee was getting harder to find and at higher prices. Plus my unit was starting to leak after several years.

Standard Keurig was never good for me - just hot, brown water, with some of the extra bold coffees offering a little flavor. I thought the Vue would help with it's options, and it did somewhat, but when that started leaking after 3 weeks, I figured it was a sign to find something better!

First, this site and forums are incredible. Been here for a couple of years and what a wealth of knowledge and information. Having done what you did, scouring everything, looking in stores, even trying the Verismo during demos (the wife doesn't like SB, so ruled that out, not knowing at the time I could use CBTL in that machine). Decided on the Americano, particularly with the great deal at BB&B.

So far it is by far the best single serve coffee of the machines I have tried. I am generally a coffee drinker, as opposed to espresso, however, I find I am even into that now! In fact, my favorite "coffee" is pulling 2 long shots from the same espresso capsule.

Go for it!


I didn't meant to imply that only IT people could be gadget-minded. :D

You bring up some good points. I considered getting a Keurig standard or Keurig Vue (to make cafe au lait), but dismissed that idea because I knew I would probably end up buying an espresso machine (anyway) if I got one of them. My kitchen isn't that small, however, counter space is at a premium, so I would prefer not to have two machines.

I'm in western Washington state, so Starbucks (and many other coffee shops) really are everywhere. I wanted to like the Verismo more than I did. I value fresh milk (dairy or soy), so the milk pods aren't a compelling feature for me, and the two Verismo machines seem more limited in brewing options and supported cup sizes than the CBTL Americano.

Thanks for the tip, I'll have give that "double-lungo" coffee a try when I get my own machine after work today.
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby ecoblue » Sat Dec 01, 2012 9:23 pm

UPDATE: I got my CBTL Americano, CBTL Milk Frother, and five free packages of coffee at Bed Bath & Beyond yesterday
I would agree that the quality of the espresso and coffee that I have tried so far tastes great.

The frother surprised me when I used the aerating whisk. I had intended to make a latte and ended up with more of a machiatto.
Either way, it was delicious! Today I was more successful in making less foam by using the other attachment in the frother.

I am going to be trying more coffee over the next few weeks and comparing my own impressions with Don's.
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby nativefloridian81 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:30 pm

Update:

Purchased my CBTL yesterday! (from BBB with rebate, 20% off, frother and FREE coffee.)

My first experience was DELIGHTFUL. I used 2 Premium espresso capsules, a dab of honey, and some frothed milk (holy froth, batman!). My only regret is not having a clear mug so I could enjoy the aesthetic beauty of my beverage :lol:

This morning's experience was not as delightful. :? I decided to try the hazelnut coffee (i love hazelnut and was very excited about this) on the 10oz setting. Too watery. So I tried a new capsule on the 8oz setting and stopped the brew before completed. The results was better, but still not what i was looking for...so I added 1 cap of espresso and that helped. Along with some honey and milk. Maybe I just like espresso beverages better. Definitely going to be some trial and error figuring out my preferences!

So I have some questions:

1. is the capsule level supposed to be difficult to lift/lower? I'm afraid I'm going to break it everytime I move it. I assume that the capsule brewing compartment needs to have a tighter seal (as opposed to say, a Keurig) so that the pressure settings can operate properly, but the lever is much stiffer than the Keurig lever. And I seriously feel like I'm going to snap it off. I wonder if it makes a difference that I lifted the lever to peek inside before I primed the machine?

2. the manual says the first prime should take about 2 min. Mine was more like a few seconds???

3. is it normal for the brew to start out dark and gradually lighten? my coffee this morning was a murky clear color by the end of the brew.

any other beverage or mechanical advice is welcomed :D

thanks!!!
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby jar » Fri Dec 07, 2012 2:48 pm

You don't say which machine you bought so just guessing on the lift/lower issue. My Contata though is slightly more effort than the Keurigs I've owned.

Yeah, prime times vary. If it flows though then it's primed.

Yes, all brews will show darker at first. BUT... based on the amount of coffee in each capsule I think anything over a max of 8 ounces net is just wishful thinking.
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby nativefloridian81 » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:02 pm

Oh Sorry...I have the Americano machine. it has 6 cup settings.
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby jar » Fri Dec 07, 2012 3:22 pm

I'd ignore anything larger than the smallest coffee size.
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby dsharp88 » Sat Jul 13, 2013 10:28 am

I wish I hadn't put off trying this last one for so long. It turns out they're the best of the CBTL bunch, coffee-wise, that is.

CBTL Mocha Java Brew (Coffee) - (coffee roast: medium-light/2) - **** - Wonderfully sweet medium roasted Indonesian combined with light, honeyed African combines to create the most perfect cup of the CBTL coffee capsules. Complex with a terrific aftertaste as well. As usual, follow the CBTL coffee rules: make it as hot as possible and no more than a 6-ounce coffee cup (with the Kaldi and Contata machines).
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby dsharp88 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 7:21 pm

CBTL Winter Espresso - (espresso roast: medium-dark/4) - **** - A spicy Sulawesi seems prominent in this limited edition (?) release for Winter 2013. Much like the pepperiness in Nespresso's Indriya and Kazaar capsules, this one surpasses those two with a smoother blend. CBTL's version is the winner for its evenness, It's dark enough for a great espresso, but not so dark that the roast profile takes over the coffees' profiles. The rest of the blend has a wonderful dark chocolate approach similar to Premium. In fact, this may be Premium with Sulawesi substituting for Sumatra, although it seems stronger than the amount of Sumatra in Premium. In any case, it still manages brightness, complexity and a long aftertaste. I hope this one stays, or at least comes back every Winter, because this is one that deserves to regularly have around.
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Re: Don's reviews of CBTL/Caffitaly capsules

Postby dsharp88 » Wed Dec 25, 2013 3:15 pm

CBTL Holiday Blend Brew (Coffee) - (coffee roast: medium-dark/4) - *** - If I'm not mistaken, this is the exact same coffee blend as the Winter Espresso that has just been ground courser and put in a coffee capsule instead of a higher-pressure espresso capsule. It works fine as a coffee, but doesn't have the intense spiciness and long-lasting aftertaste of then espresso version. The flavors are similar with its peppery spiciness and dark chocolate overtones. Like Winter Espresso, this may be a limited Winter 2013 release or, perhaps an annual holiday release.
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