A little over a year ago — October 2014 to be specific — I was invited by Influenster to test and review a complimentary Keurig 2.0 K550 coffee machine. It was, and still is, the highest value VoxBox I’ve ever received. A K550 retails for approximately $150-$200, so of course I was thrilled to get one for free; however, I had several issues with the machine which I pointed out in my review.
One of the main issues I had with the Keurig 2.0 machines is the use of DRM technology which prevented you from using non-Keurig cups or pods, especially reusable coffee filters like Solofill and Ekobrew. The 2.0 machines have built-in scanners, so pods without the proprietary Keurig logo on the lids produced an error response and simply wouldn’t work. There was a way to get around that but, for me, the problem shouldn’t have existed in the first place because it just made the machine less user friendly than it needed to be.
Fast forward 1+ year and Keurig has finally come out with their own 2.0-compatible reusable coffee filter, the My K-Cup ($14.99). I had the pleasure of receiving a complimentary My K-Cup to test and review along with a 12 oz package of Green Mountain Coffee in the Nantucket Blend flavor.
When I opened up my VoxBox and first laid eyes on the My K-Cup I was seriously excited. Unlike most reusable coffee filters which are short and squat, the My K-Cup is visibly taller (6.5 cm versus the standard 4.5 cm). Outwardly, the shape of the My K-Cup resembles Keurig’s K-Carafe pods which are able to produce 4 cups of coffee. Naturally, I assumed the My K-Cup would be able to brew an entire carafe of coffee, especially after glancing at the picture on the box that shows the My K-Cup being filled to the top with ground coffee. (By the way, that’s one of the features that sets the Keurig 2.0 coffee machine apart from its predecessors: the ability to brew multiple cups of coffee. The 2.0 actually comes with a carafe so you can brew more than one serving at at time.)
Unfortunately, that’s a bit of false advertising because the max fill line that’s marked by a green tab on the interior of the My K-Cup only comes up 4.5 cm of the way making it virtually the same as other reusable coffee filters in terms of the volume of ground coffee it can hold (approximately 1 heaping tablespoon). I couldn’t find the information anywhere on the box or instructions but according to Keurig’s website the My K-Cup can only brew 4 oz, 8 oz or 12 oz of coffee at any given time, basically only small, medium or large single serving size cups of coffee. Overfilling a reusable coffee filter, you run the risk of the the lid popping off and the coffee coming up through the top of the filter during the brewing process and causing a mess everywhere, so it’s best to stick to the guideline.
On the one hand I appreciate Keurig addressing an issue many people had with the 2.0 machines, mainly the inability to customize the machine by using one’s own choice of coffees and reusable filters which have the potential of being more economical in the long run, especially for those that like to buy or grind their own coffee in bulk instead of buying pre-packaged pods.
On the other hand the My K-Cup is hugely disappointing because it can only make single cups of coffee.
In the year since the Keurig 2.0 machines were launched, other brands have already come out with their own Keurig 2.0-compatible reusable single serving size coffee filters. I just checked online and Solofill actually already has a 2.0-compatible reusable filter called the SoloPod 2.0 that can brew both an entire carafe of coffee (up to 4 cups of coffee like the pre-packaged Keurig K-Carafe pods) as well as single cups of coffee. There are also hundreds of sellers on eBay selling generic, Keurig 2.0-compatible reusable carafe coffee filters that do the same thing.
In the time it took for Keurig to catch up to everyone else by releasing a 2.0-compatible single cup filter, other brands are already leaping ahead by giving us 2.0-compatible multi-cup filters. It’s disappointing. If anyone was going to be the first to release a reusable carafe filter for the 2.0, it should’ve been Keurig. That they weren’t is a shame.
As far as construction goes, the main body of the My K-Cup is composed of a lightweight plastic and metal mesh strainer. The lid component has a turn and lock mechanism and also a silicone stopper that I imagine prevents the lid from popping off during the brewing process. That’s something I’ve experienced with other reusable filters when I’ve accidentally overfilled them.
On the top of the lid there’s a conspicuous red dot which I assume is what the Keurig 2.0 machine scans to pass the DRM check.
As I hope you can see from the above photo of the cap, even if you wanted to get a carafe amount of coffee out of the My K-Cup by filling it past the max fill line you couldn’t because the silicone stopper is quite thick and goes about 1/3 of the way down the inside of the filter.
When I use the Keurig 2.0 K550 to brew coffee, I generally stick to the 8 oz setting which is the perfect amount for a standard sized mug of coffee.
Pulling out the 2.0 to use again made me remember that there’s a lot of splash back with this machine. Not only does the area of the machine directly behind the mug get splashed as the freshly brewed coffee is dispensed from the top of the machine but also the area directly in front of the machine. I constantly have to wipe coffee droplets off of the counter whenever I make a cup of coffee with the Keurig. I always mean to raise my mug slightly higher when I use the Keurig (in the hope of avoiding splash back) by placing something underneath the mug but I always forget.
It seems that one thing that can’t be avoided with all reusable filters regardless of brand is the bit of coffee sludge that always sinks to the bottom of the cup. I suppose that the mesh strainers on reusable coffee filters can’t be too fine or else they would clog and slow down the flow of coffee liquid through the machines too much. It’s one of the things I still like about traditional coffee makers that use paper filters; they do a better job of straining and result in cleaner cups of coffee and it’s fine if you don’t wash your mug out immediately after drinking. With a reusable filter brewed cup of coffee, if you drink all of the liquid and don’t rinse the cup out immediately you run the risk of the sludge drying up and hardening on the bottom of the cup and then you have to soak and let it sit until you can wash it out properly.
All in all, I appreciate that Keurig came out with a product that customers have been asking for for awhile. It’s nicely constructed and works well but unfortunately it’s not as innovative as it could have been. In the time it took for Keurig to release the My K-Cup, other brands have already come out with products that not only look really similar but perform even better.