For me, working at home requires coffee. That's a given, but I don't like the hassle of making it, keeping it hot, putting up with stale coffee in the bottom of the pot and of course cleaning up everything after it's made. That's why I've been eying Keurig Single Cup coffee makers for some time now.
This is a mildly expensive proposition. The least expensive model is around $90.00 and I don't usually like to buy at the bottom of the line. The K-Cups that these things use are also obviously more expensive than buying coffee by the bag. On the other hand, there is an argument to be made with regards to waste: we often throw away the last few cups of coffee when we perk it ourselves. There is also the matter of running out of the house with no time to make coffee - that means a stop for a cup that will cost at least three or four times what the K-Cup costs.
Then there's the always confusing analysis of electricity cost. It's probably better to heat up just what is needed for a cup than to perc a whole pot and then end up throwing it away. On the other hand, Keurig recommends leaving these plugged in all the time - yet another electricity vampire.
How about pollution? These K-Cups are plastic. There's definitely a disposal issue (arguably far less than the other plastic containers we go through every week) and it's possible that there is a health issue also. Keurig insists that there is none, but who really knows? But then again the ground coffee we buy comes in some sort of plasticy-feeling bag... and those cups we buy when we run out of the house aren't always paper. So who knows?
Finally, will it make a good cup of coffee? I have run into Keurig's at enough customer sites to feel that I knew the answer, but then again those are commercial units - the model I'd be buying might be different. In scouring the web, I often found people complaining about weak coffee from the very model I was considering (Keurig B60). I discounted these complaints because I assumed (incorrectly, as it turned out) that these people wanted something like Starbucks serves - very strong coffee. I don't like that; I prefer Honey Dew or Dunkin Donuts.
So, after hemming and hawing, we ordered a B-60 and a bunch of our favorite coffee, Green Mountain Rain Forest Nut. The unit arrived a few days later and we set it up with great excitement and brewed our first cup of coffee.
It was awful.
The coffee was very weak at the 7.5 ounce size and bitter at the smaller cup setting. We were shocked. I was especially astonished as I've had this so many times at so many places. My wife was also surprised as she has had good coffee from these machines at friends houses. Even more confusing was that her sister had recently bought the $90 model and complained that the coffee was too strong! How could that be? What the heck was wrong?
I called the vendor and complained. They suggested that it was the brand we chose and offered to send us three boxes of other brands free to try. We were dubious, but said to go ahead and send the coffee (they recommended the Breakfast Blend and the 10% Kona). We also tried some some Extra Bold K-Cups that had come with the machine; we were not happy with any of those either. The only thing I did like was the tea; that was perfect for me.
We had a 30 day return window so, while we were upset and disappointed, we knew we could always send this back if nothing worked out. While waiting for the free coffee to arrive, I did a little more research on line and found people recommending a "pre-wet" method. I like to call it "brewitus interruptus": the idea is that you start the process and let the water just start dripping into the cup. You then raise the handle just enough to stop the cycle. Wait 30 seconds (adjust to taste) and close the handle again. This makes a stronger cup and, for us, it's just right . Now the Rain Forest Nut tastes just like it does when we perc it ourselves - actually better, I think.
In fact, it's so darn good and so convenient that there is a real danger of drinking more coffee than we ordinarily would. I definitely have to exert self-control to stop at two or three cups.
Keurig really should make a model that would implement this feature with a dial that the user could set. I can't imagine that would be at all difficult; obviously it would add some cost, but that would likely be offset by fewer returns: if we hadn't discovered this trick, I think it's almost certain that we would have returned the unit.
But with this method, you'll have to pry the Keurig from my cold, dead hands. We love it!
Tony Lawrence 2009-07-08 Rating:
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More Articles by Anthony Lawrence © 2010-05-31 Anthony Lawrence
Computers have been taught to distrust each other and will reject attempted connections most of the time. Nowadays, most computers and firewalls are utterly rude about it: it would be like asking someone to dance and having them ignore you as though you were invisible and inaudible. (Tony Lawrence)
Wed Jul 8 20:10:32 2009: 6625 TonyLawrence
We've also found that you have to try different things for different K-Cups. For example. he Hazelnut Decaf is still too weak at 7.5 oz - we need to try that at the small cup size and perhaps with the "brewitus interruptus". We don't know yet what will work out best with the Kona or the Breakfast Blend.
Thu Jul 9 11:01:14 2009: 6628 TonyLawrence
I forgot to add this link that talks more about the "pre-wet" (brewitus interruptus) method: (link)
The important thing is not to lift the handle very much - just enough to stop it. You could end up with a mess if you open it too much.
Thu Jul 9 13:48:58 2009: 6629 BigDumbDinosaur
Sounds like way too much trouble for some coffee. We have a Black & Decker eight cup coffee maker that has a thermal carafe and a clock. Since my wife gets up with the goats and chickens during the weekdays, the timer on the coffee maker is set to start 10 minutes before her alarm goes off. When she gets up she make a high speed run to the kitchen (after the obligatory high speed run to the bathroom), pulls the carafe out of the coffee maker and immediately pours a cup. Before she leaves for work, she pours and drinks a second cup. Later when I get up (which is definitely not when the chickens and goats get up) I pour most of the rest of the coffee into a large mug that I use in my office and what little is left goes down the drain.
The nice thing about the thermal carafe design is that (if one is worried about power consumption) the coffee maker consumes no power other than for the clock once brewing has finished. The carafe keeps the coffee hot for four hours or more, depending on how much is in the carafe and whether my wife remembers to close the lid after pouring a cup. <Grin> I wouldn't trade it for a single cup maker under any circumstances.
Sat Jul 18 20:15:22 2009: 6647 TonyLawrence
I was just thinking that another way to control the strength would be to restrict the water flow at the bottom of the (removable) K-Cup holder. I haven't experimented with this yet, but something as simple as a small wad of cloth or cotton might slow the flow down. You wouldn't want it so much that it would back up, of course.
The bottom of this is a cross-hatch that creates 4 exit holes - plugging up one or two of those holes might work also - an artfully trimmed piece of cork might work well.
Mon Jul 27 15:15:01 2009: 6702 TonyLawrence
One thing we've noticed is that sometimes you get a different taste with the same brand.
I suspect it's this: one "off" bean in a whole pot can't change the flavor enough to be noticed, but in the K-Cup, it can affect the flavor of that cup.
Tue Aug 11 19:24:29 2009: 6740 TonyLawrence
Over time, we got used to the coffee without interrupting the brewing. We don't bother with that now.
Wed Aug 26 14:53:58 2009: 6791 TonyLawrence
We were just talking yesterday about how much we enjoy this. The convenience factor is wonderful, but also getting to choose our own favorite coffees is great. Having regular in the morning and decaf later is also convenient.
It's great for guests. They can have exactly what they want, when they want it.
Definitely a good purchase for us.
Tue Dec 29 02:10:03 2009: 7830 anonymous
Hi: I've been demonstrating the B60 for a couple of months now in various places around the area. I was reading your concern about not finding a good cup of coffee. Yes, it is the different brands that make the coffee. What you should do, though, is buy a filter. The filter will take whatever your favourite coffee is. They are sold separately. Your holder where the K cup sits in comes straight out and you can put the filter with your favourite coffee blend right in it's place. Than use the machine as you normally would.
Mon May 31 17:27:21 2010: 8646 TonyLawrence
I have put an updated review at (link)
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