‘Tis the season for entertaining! Holiday parties and family gatherings abound as friends and loved ones come together to celebrate the joy of Christmas. We don’t do a ton of entertaining, but we enjoy the opportunity to host friends and family in our home.
Since I tend to be an appliance junkie, I was very excited to test out the new Esio Hot & Cold Beverage System, now available at Walmart. The concept is innovative and intriguing…a system that can serve both hot and cold drinks at the touch of a button, customized to the strength you prefer. The machine uses MultiServe beverage E-Paks from well-known brands including Apple & Eve, Country Time, V8 Splash, and more.
Setting up the machine was relatively straight forward. The first thing you’ll notice, however, is that it’s quite large and heavy. I had to have some assistance getting it out of the box and onto the table. We don’t have a lot of counter space, so we’ll have to store the machine when we’re not using it.
The machine holds 1 gallon of water (1/2 gallon for hot and cold water tanks) and you’ll want to discard 2 cups of water from both the hot and cold sides of the machine prior to mixing your first drink (be sure to install the carbon filter). One thing to take note of is that it takes 8 minutes for the machine to warm the water enough for a hot beverage and 30 minutes for the machine to cool the water enough for a cold beverage. You can still dispense drinks but they may not be as hot or as cold as you might expect.
When you are ready to begin dispensing your preferred drink, simply remove the foil seal from the E-Pak and insert it into the front compartment. Place your cup below the spout and select your beverage strength using the dial. For cold beverages, simply press and hold the blue button until you have your desired amount. For hot beverages, press the “lock” symbol until the red light comes on, then press and hold the red button. As a mom, I appreciate the fact that it takes a few extra steps to dispense hot beverages so that my children don’t burn themselves in the event they attempt to get their own drink. Here is a quick video, demonstrating how easy the system is to use:
There are several things I like about the machine, specifically the innovation that went into designing a home entertaining appliance that can serve hot and cold drinks. It’s highly user friendly and allows for each individual to customize their drink to their taste preference. Lastly, because of it’s technology, you can dispense a variety of drinks without ever tasting the previous one.
As far as the drinks are concerned, I was disappointed with their current offerings. While there are several different types of drinks available including coffees, teas, sports drinks, and juice drinks, every single one contains preservatives, artificial sweeteners and/or high fructose corn syrup. Since we mainly consume natural foods and beverages, I don’t envision us drinking these beverages at present. I am hopeful that Esio will recognize those customers seeking natural alternatives and develop additional beverage options.
When I approached the Esio about the use of preservatives and artificial ingredients, this was their response:
- The vast majority of our beverages for the Esio that are sweetened are done so with non-caloric sweeteners, usually Sucralose (better known by most folks by the Splenda brand).
- A very small number of the 30 beverages offered for the Esio (3, I believe) use a very small amount of HFCS to balance their flavor profile. You can tell that the amount of HFCS is negligible by the fact that none of those beverages has more than 15 calories per 8 oz. serving.
- 11 of the 30 beverages (4 Barista Brothers coffees, 2 Barista Brothers teas, 3 China Mist teas, and 2 Maxwell House coffees) contain neither HFCS nor artificial sweeteners/colors/flavors.
- The nature of our E-Pak filling process, the shelf life requirements, and the nature of the E-Paks (Multi-Serve/reusability, no need to refrigerate) necessitates the use of a very small amount of preservatives in every product.
The product is still so new so I’m hopeful of it’s future beverage offerings. You can find the Esio Hot & Cold Beverage System at your local Walmart for $199.99.
I participate in the Walmart Moms Program and am compensated for my time and honest opinions.