Last month Keurig launched their new 2.0 line of coffee brewers. There are three different 2.0 brewers (K350, K450, and K550) that range in price between $149.99 and $199.99. I received the K550 for FREE and it has the biggest water reservoir (80 ounces compared to the K350’s 60 ounces and the K450’s 70 ounces), the ability to dispense hot water on demand, and offers the most customizable settings.
This is my first Keurig coffee machine so I had a lot of expectations. I’m much more used to brewing my coffee the old fashioned way with a coffee dripper, French press or cheapie multicup coffee machine. Going into this I expected the Keurig 2.0 to produce a strong, steaming cup of coffee quickly and conveniently. Did it deliver?
The main thing that sets the Keurig 2.0 apart from its predecessors is the DRM technology incorporated into the machine. To put it simply, the machine has a built-in scanner that reads the lids of K-Cups for Keurig’s official logo. Keurig wants you to use only Keurig licensed K-Cups with their new machines. Using a non-Keurig K-Cup without the Keurig logo in the Keurig 2.0 brewer will result in an error message. In other words, no Keurig logo, no dice! That really sucks for people who want to use their Keurig machine with their own preferred brand/type of coffee. More on that in a bit.
One advantage the Keurig 2.0 has over previous Keurig models is the ability to brew a pot of coffee. The 2.0 comes with an insertable drip tray for single cup brewing as well as a carafe for multi-cup brewing. When you purchase the entire system, you get a variety of K-Cup packs (single cup) and the new, larger K-Carafe packs that brew up to 4 cups of coffee at a time.
Brewing the coffee is a relatively quick and quiet process. If the machine’s been turned off for awhile, it takes about 3 minutes to preheat and an additional 3 minutes to brew a carafe, and less that if you’re making a single serving beverage.
For me, one disappointing aspect (besides the DRM) is the lack of temperature control. The default factory setting produces a lukewarm cup of coffee. To increase the temperature, go into the settings and enable High Altitude. This makes a hotter cup of coffee but it still won’t compare to the higher temperature you’d get from a cup of coffee/tea/water made using a kettle on the stove top, in a microwave on High for 3 minutes, or a cup of coffee/tea/water from a coffee shop. I live on Long Island which is pretty close to sea level, so I guess people who actually live in higher altitudes are out of luck and they’ll just have to deal with warm coffee. I wish there was a way to adjust or increase the temperature even more.
To ensure you get the hottest possible temperature out of your Keurig 2.0, always keep it plugged in (even when it’s not turned on), make sure the machine has ample time to preheat, and dispense a cup of hot water before using a K-Cup to help warm up the machine even more. Unfortunately, I noticed that while changing the setting to High Altitude brewed a hotter single cup of coffee, it didn’t affect the temperature when brewing a K-Carafe. The temperature using the multi-cup option resulted in a lukewarm pot of coffee no matter what I did. Unfortunately, the carafe that comes with the machine is made of plastic so it doesn’t insulate the coffee during the brewing process. By the time I’m ready to pour a cup from the carafe, the coffee’s already cooled off.
My Keurig 2.0 Brewing Sytem came with the following coffee flavors:
4 K-Carafe packs:
- Green Mountain Coffee Breakfast Blend
- Green Mountain Coffee French Roast
- Green Mountain Coffee French Vanilla
- The Original Donut Shop Regular
6 K-Cup packs:
- – The Original Donut Shop Regular Extra Bold
- – Green Mountain Coffee Hazelnut
- – Green Mountain Coffee Nantucket Blend
- – Barista Prima Coffeehouse Italian Roast
- – Starbucks Pike Place Roast
- – Celestial Seasonings English Breakfast Tea
And an extra 8-ct box of K-Carafe Donut Shop.
Out of all the flavors I was able to try, my favorite would have to be Nantucket Blend followed by The Original Donut Shop. My least favorite was French Vanilla and I thought the English Breakfast Tea was disappointingly weak.
I love the huge variety of coffees, teas, and specialty beverages (over 250!) that Keurig offers but I don’t think it’s really economical. If you want to save money by buying your own beans to grind or pre-packaged coffee in bulk, the Keurig 2.0’s DRM technology presents a bit of an obstacle. But no worries, it’s a cinch to get around! Simply cut the lid off of a Keurig K-Cup and tape it over a refillable K-Cup. Alternatively, you can tape the K-Cup lid underneath the Keurig’s scanner (make sure the lid is face-up towards the scanner). This will fool the Keurig 2.0 into thinking you’re using an official Keurig K-Cup. It’s such an easy hack I wonder why Keurig even bothered adding DRM to their machines. It just seems like unnecessary busy work for consumers and a huge annoyance.
Something else that’s bothersome is although the Keurig’s water reservoir comes with a water filter it doesn’t do an adequate job of removing off flavors. This may have to do more with my town’s water supply than anything else but water straight from the tap tends to taste heavily chlorinated where I live. When I fill the Keurig 2.0’s water reservoir with water directly from the tap, I can definitely taste the chlorine especially if I’m dispensing hot water to drink on its own or making a cup of tea. It’s not noticeable when I’m using a coffee K-Cup because the coffee masks the chlorine flavor but whether you plan on using the Keurig for hot water, coffee, tea, or other beverages I recommend using filtered water to fill the reservoir rather than water directly from the tap. Don’t rely on the Keurig water filter. Now I refill the reservoir using a Brita water pitcher and the hot water, coffee, tea, etc. using the Keurig 2.0 all taste much cleaner.
Below, I’ve included a video demo of the Keurig 2.0 K550. It’s my first YouTube video so I’m still trying to get the hang of filming. Huge props to vloggers! I never realized how tough it is. I had trouble filming one handed with my dslr, making sure everything was in focus (my camera doesn’t autofocus in video mode) and stayed in frame. I had to look at everything in the LCD viewfinder while demo-ing the coffee maker which kind of disoriented me. That’s why I seem to lack hand-eye coordination in the video. I’m also not brave enough to speak and film myself on camera yet so that’s why you’re being subjected to text. I blog but my skin isn’t thick enough for on-camera work. The most tedious part of filming was definitely the editing phase. I started off with 40 minutes of raw footage and at least 50 photos. After cutting here, trimming there, and piecing everything together which took about half a day, I ended up with a 7 minute video. Then I had to upload to YouTube and that took an additional 30-60 minutes to process. I’m in awe of vloggers who film and post daily videos and make 30 minute haul videos. I shudder at the thought so kudos to those who do it!
All in all, the Keurig 2.0 makes a good (not great) cup of coffee but, in my opinion, not enough to warrant the hefty price tag given the machine’s limitations.
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