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Tassimo by Bosch Finesse TAS16B5GB review: A compact drinks maker with an intense kick

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £120
inc VAT

The Tassimo Finesse’s coffee boost function sets it apart from its more basic siblings and it’s a total bargain when discounted


  • Boost function
  • Auto shut-off
  • Compact


  • Small water tank
  • Can’t be topped up with water in-situ
  • Tied to compatible pod system

There are some mornings when you leap out of bed and then there are some where a strong coffee is the first order of business. For those mornings, the Tassimo Finesse could be the thing to reach for. Equipped with a new IntensityBoost function, it delivers a more intense flavour by brewing at a higher temperature with grounds that are pre-wet for longer, resulting in increased coffee extraction.

As well as this brand new addition, the Finesse has many of Tassimo’s classic features. It comes in a range of popping colours, has an easy to use barcode drinks system and bundles of capsule choices from big brand names. It’s also regularly and heavily discounted, making it excellent value when on offer.

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Tassimo by Bosch Finesse review: What do you get for the money?

Most of the Tassimo drinks machines are on the compact side and the Finesse is no exception. It measures 15.7 x 26.5 x 36.6cm (WDH), making it ideal for squeezing into tight spaces or in a cupboard – it’s also incredibly lightweight at 2.75kg. Despite this, the Finesse still offers everything you’d expect from a Tassimo machine. This includes three height options for your cup with no width restriction, a one-minute auto-off to save energy, a single button for brewing and the ability to make a variety of hot drinks and coffee using its barcoded T Disc system (Tassimo’s version of pods). The Finesse also comes in a variety of attractive colours: choose from Jet Black, Lupine Blue, Radiant Red, Snow White and the less excitingly named Cream.

Its price point can fluctuate. While the RPP is over £100, it’s not uncommon to find it at half that price, making it something of a bargain when compared with Tassimo’s other compact machines with fewer features. Like most machines in the range, it brews drinks to a pre-programmed size, strength and temperature, dictated by the barcode on the T Disc, although it is possible to stop brewing by pushing the button again or increase the drink volume by holding it down while brewing.

There’s a single button to start brewing but the IntensityBoost function is activated by holding it down until a small orange light next to a coffee bean symbol illuminates. This light changes to red to indicate that the tank needs refilling and there’s a third light to show that the machine needs to be descaled. To descale or run water through the machine, it has a “service disc” tucked into a slot at the side, along with instructions.

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Tassimo by Bosch Finesse review: What’s good about it?

The IntensityBoost is the Finesse’s defining feature, setting it apart from the other Tassimo machines and giving an extra dimension to its coffee. In testing, we found that it did make a difference to the flavour of the coffee: it produced a slightly sweeter, more aromatic Americano and what tasted like a punchier espresso. There’s no worry about accidentally activating when you’re not brewing coffee, though, as the IntensityBoost feature won’t work when a non-coffee capsule, such as tea, is inserted.

What we also liked about the Finesse is its fast heat-up time. It’s pretty much ready to brew from the moment you switch it on and it takes only seconds to start dispensing after inserting a T Disc. Ideal if you need to make several drinks one after another.

The other reason to buy the Finesse is the wide range of drinks. While it leans heavily towards coffee, there are more than 70 T Discs from brands including L’OR, Kenco, Costa, Cadbury and Milka, as well as generic Tassimo-branded drinks. The L’OR capsules make particularly good espresso: aromatic and with a good crema despite this machine’s low bar pressure. Beyond coffee, you can make hot chocolate, tea and frothy milk, so there’s no need for fresh milk to make a cappuccino or latte. It’s worth noting, though, that the milk discs contain sugar and can be overly sweet depending on your preferences.

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Tassimo by Bosch Finesse review: What could be better?

As the Finesse is a compact machine, it has a similarly sized water tank of just 700ml. While this is less of an issue for espresso making, if you’re preparing multiple hot chocolates, long coffees or lots of frothy milk, you’ll find yourself refilling it more than once a day. The tank sits at the back and while it’s easy to remove and replace, it can’t be filled in-situ.

Its IntensityBoost function is simple to activate but it’s trickier to increase the volume of your drink with extra water by pressing and holding the button. You only have a short time frame to do this before the drink finishes brewing and sometimes, I missed the opportunity to do so. This is an issue with all Tassimo machines and is something that I’ve encountered when testing multiple machines. The Finesse also produces a cloud of steam as it finishes brewing, which is worth noting if you plan on storing it below wall units in a kitchen.

Another Tassimo niggle I have is that its T Discs must be taken out after each brew cycle. There’s no pod bin for easy dispensing like you’ll find on other pod machines and this seems to be an almost exclusively Tassimo issue. The T Discs also aren’t compostable. However, they can be recycled using Podback: you can order free bags online from Tassimo or pick them up in Morrisons supermarkets.

READ NEXT: Our pick of the best reusable coffee cups to buy

Tassimo by Bosch Finesse review: Should you buy it?

The Finesse has been created with espresso and black coffee lovers in mind and its IntensityBoost function provides you with the ability to alter the flavour of your coffee without buying different pods. This change can be subtle, though, and milky coffee drinkers might not appreciate the intense flavours as much. That said, if you manage to snag the Finesse at its discounted price, it’s a great value machine whatever your preferred drink.

Whether it’s the right coffee machine for you will come down to how much you enjoy its barcoded T Disc drinks system. Like other Tassimo machines, the pods are easy to use but you’re restricted to compatible discs. And while there is a huge selection to choose from, they aren’t as widely available as Nespresso-compatible capsules.

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