As a rushed college student, I really wanted a single serve coffee machine to make things a bit easier in the morning before classes. I started out with the Black&Decker Home Cafe, which was terrible. After extensive research, I bought the Philips Senseo.
First off, it comes in some pretty amazing colors. Most of the exceptionally "cool" ones are only available in Europe, such as Electric blue and Mandarin Orange. Aesthetics aside, I pulled the machine out of the box. It looked rather chic and efficient. It comes with a bag of free Douwe Egbert pods, allegedly designed especially for the Senseo. Because of my experience with former pod machines, such as Bunn My Cafe and my Black&Decker, I knew these were dreadful coffee pods. Luckily I had some "gourmet" pods that I had purchased from online retailors (www.betterpods.com , www.coffeewhiz.com , and www.flavapods.com are my personal favorites.) Just as a warning, DO NOT JUDGE THE SENSEO QUALITY BASED ON THE QUALITY OF PODS PROVIDED WITH IT. Anyone will tell you the provided DE pods are just terrible. I would definitley reccomend buying some decent pods off of one of the provided websites.
Anyways, first things first, you have to prepare the machine for use by flushing it with water. After that, I placed a French Roast pod from betterpods.com into my Senseo. There is a 4oz (standard European size of coffee) and an 8oz option for brewing. I pressed the 8oz brewing option. (Side note: You can brew 2 cups at a time on the Senseo by selecting the 8oz option, and placing 2 4oz size cups under each spout, or you can just place a larger mug under the spout if you select 8oz.) The machine was rather loud, at first you hear a pump sound for about 3 seconds, then it gets much more quiet. All in all, you arn't going to be able to have secret coffee brewing sessions. Within 60 seconds, I had a cup of coffee brewed by the Senseo. Now, it does produce sort of a faux-creme at the top of your cup. Personally, I think the crema is terrible. It's flavorless, bitter, and way to excessive. However, if you call Senseo, they can send you a different pod insert that will make the same quality of coffee, minus the crema.
Now it was time for the truth; the taste test. Once I got through the crema, it was an extremely decent cup of coffee. Smooth, hot, and pleasantly surprising. After trying several different blends through the Senseo, the quality held up. I've enjoyed almost every cup I've had out of the Senseo thus far. With over 10 million units sold, you can't go wrong with this buy.
A few purks I forgot to mention: First off, it just looks really cool. Compared to some of the other machines, this one I am proud to display in my kitchen. Also, the drip tray has 2 holes strategically placed under the 2 spouts, so you don't get any splash back. It's all extremely easy to clean, and you can also purchase a larger water resevoir for about 15 dollars. This machine is perfect for the office, or for gifting!