A Guide to Buying a Keurig Coffee Machine
Some cultures have developed an entire ritual around preparing and enjoying coffee together. But it certainly can be time-consuming to grind your own beans and run water through them in a drip percolator. And maybe you’re not interested in making a lot of coffee at once–just a single cup to start the day. If you’re just interested in a good cup of coffee prepared quickly, a Keurig coffee machine may be the right thing for you.
Keurig has been making its distinctive K-cup pods and Keurig machines since 1998. (The founders, John Sylvan and Peter Dragone, were motivated to make a single-serving coffee maker when they saw how much coffee goes to waste when you make too much.) The great thing about a Keurig coffee machine is that making coffee can never get boring: Keurig presently makes K-cups for around 500 different varieties of coffee, tea, and specialty beverages. We’ll also see Keurig coffee machines that offer you different cup sizes and strengths, as well as a milk frother for milk-based drinks! And all by just pressing a few buttons!
We’ll see some of the things Keurig coffee machines are capable of doing. You’ll be surprised how they’re fast, quiet, and convenient!
If I buy a Keurig coffee machine, am I limited to using only K-cups to make coffee?
There are Keuring coffee machines that are also compatible with the “My K-Cup” reusable coffee filter. If you buy a model that accepts it, then you have the choice of using your own freshly-ground coffee as well. Models such as the K-Duo have a carafe for preparing coffee from coffee beans. And many models accept the My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter, which allows you to enjoy freshly-ground coffee beans as well!
Types of Keurig Coffee Machines
Keurig makes a wide variety of single-serving coffee machines, each with its own particular distinctive feature:
K-Elite: The appeal of this machine is its sleek appearance. It has settings to make coffee in 5 different sizes (4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 ounces), as well as a special setting for iced coffee. For iced coffee, you fill up a cup with ice cubes and press the “iced coffee” button. It will produce a more concentrated cup of coffee over the ice so that the melted ice won’t dilute it.
K-Mini: This coffee maker is notable for its slim size: it’s only 5 inches wide, so it hardly takes up any space on your countertop! But, the downside is that the water reservoir is also very small. You essentially have to fill up the reservoir every time you want to make a cup of coffee. There is also the K-Mini Plus, with a few more features such as a storage compartment for K-pods, and a “strong brew” button option.
K-Classic: This is a large appliance that features a large 48-oz reservoir that you can remove in order to fill it up. It has 3 cup size options and has an auto-off energy-saving feature, to shut down after 90 seconds of no activity.
K-Slim: This has a slim form factor, being only 5” wide, like the K-Mini. But, it has a 46-ounce water reservoir (unlike the K-mini, which is really only single-serve), and lets you brew cups of either 8, 10, or 12-ounce sizes. It also accepts ground coffee that you can use with the My K-Cup reusable coffee filter.
K-Supreme Series: This includes the K-Supreme, K-Supreme Plus, and the K-Supreme Plus Smart. The K-Supreme has a very large, 66-oz. Reservoir, and can produce 4 different cup sizes as well as iced coffee.
The K-Supreme Plus has a “programmable” function, where it will remember the exact settings of how you like your coffee. The K-Supreme Plus Smart includes programmable “smart” functions. It is smart enough to recognize the type of K-cup you just inserted, and it will customize the settings to fit that particular brew. You can also choose one of six temperature settings, 5 strength settings, and 5 brew sizes. You can also schedule when to make coffee, using your smartphone! (But, for now, you’ll still have to insert the K-cup yourself.)
K-Duo: The K-Duo allows you to prepare two types of coffee: Besides using K-cup pods, this version accepts also ground coffee, so you can brew a single cup or an entire 12-ounce carafe.
K-Cafe: This also has a built-in milk frother, so that you can make milk-based coffee drinks like lattes and cappuccinos.
K-Express: This model is made for people who want to fill up a 7.4”-tall travel cup with coffee. It has a 42-ounce removable water reservoir and accommodates 3 cup sizes of 8, 10, and 12 ounces.
K-155 Office Pro: This is primarily for use in an office setting, where it will be ready for a lot of use. It has a 90 oz reservoir, so you don’t have to refill it so often. It cannot be hooked up to a water line. It is able to brew coffee, tea, cocoa, or prepare an iced beverage in less than one minute. It has an interactive touchscreen, and you can program the brew temperature.
K-155 Office Pro
What reviewers say
Here are some impressions of people who bought a Keurig coffee machine:
Larger machines have a longer lifespan: Customers who bought the Keurig K-Mini noticed that it started giving problems after a few months. On the other hand, the larger Keurig machines could hold out for 5-6 years or more!
Minimum and maximum on the reservoir: It’s important to make sure that you fill the reservoir with more than the minimum amount of water. For example, the K-Mini requires at least 6 ounces of water. Regardless of the amount of water that you put in, the same amount is what will end up in your cup.
Turn the machine on before inserting a K-cup: One customer noticed that you should turn on the machine first before inserting a K-cup. If you insert the K-cup first and then turn on the machine, the buttons will not light up and you won’t be able to press any of the options!
Here are some features and pieces of advice when choosing a Keurig coffee machine:
Hot water for other purposes: If you’d like to prepare instant oatmeal or soup, that’s also an option. You can run hot water through your Keurig machine, without inserting a Keurig cup first. Just let the water pour through the machine, into your cup. It boils the water in one minute!
Reusable K-cups: Even if you buy a Keurig coffee maker that only uses K-cups, there's still an option to use your own coffee: There are reusable K-cups, that you can fill up with the coffee of your choice. No more concern about having to recycle used K-cups!
Maxrona Reusable K-cups
Detachable reservoir: Note that some Keurig coffee machines have a detachable reservoir, so you can take it to the sink to fill it with water. Other models have a fixed reservoir, so you’ll have to pour cup after cup of water into it to fill it up.
Water filter in reservoir: There are some models that have a water filter in the reservoir. That can be convenient because it can remove any sediments or limescale in the water before they enter into the Keurig coffee maker’s heating element. For example, the K-Classic and K-Elite both allow you to insert a filter. The filter also improves the taste of your coffee as well!
Inserting the white water filter into the reservoir’s cone.
Inserting the filter cone into the reservoir
Descaling: If you live in an area with “hard water”, with a lot of limestone deposits, there is a risk of limescale accumulating in your Keurig coffee machine. You should descale your machine every 250 brews, or every 3 months. If you’ll forget, many Keurig models will have a reminder to descale the machine. (There is a special Brewer Care Kit to run through the machine to remove limescale.)
Keurig Brewer Care Kit
We briefly went through most of the Keurig coffee machines. With so many different types of pods, you’ll have lots of options for different types of beverages. And if you’re concerned about the waste from all the used-up K-cups, there are options for recycling them. All told, you’re sure to be able to find a Keurig coffee machine that will jump-start your day!