CBTL single-serve coffee machines

Coffee is big business. This is clearly true in the Philippines, where, as the President declared in his State-of-the-Nation address yesterday, one government agency alone spent P1 billion for coffee during the previous administration.

And with food and its preparation being important in Filipino culture, the quest to find the perfect way to prepare a cup is never-ending.

Single-serve coffee machines have been popular abroad for some years, and have recently reached our shores. One of the most visibly marketed here is the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf (CBTL) system.

CBTL had a demo some weeks back at the Powerplant Mall at Rockwell, where they showed off two models, the Kaldi and the Contata.

I saw a demo of the Kaldi, thanks to pretty and helpful sales associate Sy. She guided me using the system which is easy to use. Just pop a beverage capsule (CBTL offers coffee and tea) in a slot in the back and pull the lever down. Hot water from a chamber at the back of the machine shoots through the punched capsule, resulting in a no-hands-brewed cup of coffee.

I must say the crema on the espresso was rich, thick, sublime. Sy also showed me how to use the accessory CBTL milk frother, which steams milk for lattes and machiattos. The latte she made me was one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever tasted.

The Kaldi (above) comes in red, white, blue, and yellow, the Contata only in black. 

The beverages can be enhanced with the addition of “flavored powder sachets” which come in French Deluxe Vanilla and Special Dutch Chocolate.

Their promotional flyer gives the price of the machines as P13,750; the frother (which comes in white and black), P4,250. Capsules per box of 10 cost P400. At the time of the demo, they were having a special sale. The Kaldi and the frother together would have cost around P14,000.

I fell under the spell of the luxurious cup of coffee the machine created, but the system was rather too pricey for me. Other brands of machines cost only half as much – the Nescafe Dolce Gusto at $135 (P6,000), the Bosch Tassimo at $125 (P5,500).

For coffee lovers like me, you can’t go wrong with a single-serve system, and somewhere out there is the right one for you.

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