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Keurig system and the K-cup coffees, pros and cons

Updated on December 1, 2012

k-cup coffee

k-cups on a rack
k-cups on a rack | Source

Keurig and the K-cups

Keurig single serve brewing system and its K-cup coffees have been around for more then a decade, gaining more and more customers. What started in lthe ate 1990s as a small innovation is claiming today a large portion of the coffee market in the North American continent.

Keurig and the K-cups coffee are not the only single serve coffee brands out there, but they became popular under the administration of the Green Mountain Coffee Roaster company, that took over Keurig in 2006. Since then, several single cup coffee makers have been launched. To go along, Green Mountain Coffee Roaster developed, and continues to do so, a wide variety of flavours for its K-cups.

Some of the most popular coffee roasters in the US, as well as well known coffee shops, are already producing their best coffees in K-cup version. Along, all respected retailers are carrying one or more products of Keurig single serve coffee machine. So, they made it very easy for customers to purchase the brewing system and the coffees that go with it.

But what’s so special about this single serve, or one cup, coffee maker and why many people have chose to drink their coffee from a K-cup? And if it is so good, then why others are still using the traditional way for their morning cup? A lot it has to do with the way Americans like their coffee, which is sometimes referred as “a cup of Joe”, but it is more to it then that.

The advantages of K-cups coffees are as many and as important as the disadvantages. Bellow is a list of pros and cons of Keurig single serve brewing system and the K-cup coffees.

Keurig B60 single serve brewing system

The pros of K-cup coffees...

It is easy to make. All you have to do is add some water to the reservoir if needed - because the machine can hold more then just one cup -, insert a K-cup (that has the coffee inside) in a slot, put a cup on the plate of the machine and push a button.

It is a fast brewing. After the above steps, the coffee brews right in the cup, in under a minute. No more waiting. In a hurry, just pop a lid on the cup and hop in the car.

It is available in many flavours. Let’s say you’ve heard of a new flavour or you’d like to try something new but you don’t know if you like it or not. All you have to do is to buy a sample pack for a small amount of money. Don’t like it? at least it didn’t cost a small fortune.
Want to switch flavours tomorrow? Then chose the variety pack for something different every day.

It only makes one cup. If that’s all you need to drink, then that’s all it makes. No more left over coffee that gets wasted. If you need another cup, then you have to start it all over.

It is fresh, as fresh as the coffee inside the K-cup. The K-cups are air tight sealed, this way they are not supposed to lose any flavour. The seal is broken at the very moment of brewing, allowing steamy water to wet the grounds and extract your coffee.

What are coffee specialists saying

Experts at Coffee Review have tasted the Keurig single serve brewing system and some of the K-cups coffees and have rated the machine and the coffee brands. Among all other single cup makers, they were very happy with Keurig, which they found it makes “a style of coffee arguably closer in sensory terms to classic American filter coffee than anything produced by the competing systems”.
For the K-cup coffees, they said it offers “by far the largest selection of quality coffee choices available in any single-serve format” and they rate it between 89 and 84, which is a very decent quality coffee.

... and the cons

It is not a very strong coffee. That is, to be nice, a diluted cup. It is like a short Joe, instead of a long Joe. Even if you use My K-cup, whitch is a reusable plastic container that can hold coffee of your choice and works like a K -cup, the coffee will still be weak. If you’d like a stronger coffee you will have to go with something else then Keurig and its K-cup coffees.

It is expensive. The cost of an average cup of coffee brewed in a Keurig with a K-cup is at least 50% more expensive then a regular cup. They do not usually go on sale and the only discount offered is when you enroll in a club through an online retailer.

It is not available everywhere. That means you are, probably, not going to find it at your gas station. Even some grocery stores have only a limited range of flavours and then you have to check the expiration dates on it. Though, it is available at Costco and Sam’s Club.

It cannot make drip coffee. For a traditional coffee you will have to go somewhere else or buy another machine, that brews a filter drip coffee.

How it works

Here is how a Keurig single serve brewing system works:
The machine has a tank for water. Depending on the model, the tank can hold from one to ten cups of water.
Then, there is a special slot to put the K-cups.
It also has a button for the cup size, depending on the model, ex. 4, 6, 8 or 10 oz.
When is commanded to brew, the sealed K-cup container is perforated allowing water to stream through the coffee extracting the hot beverage.

What else is left

Single cup brewing system is still a young idea and more time is needed for improvements and innovations. For example, it would be great if there was a way to make a stronger coffee, without having to buy an espresso machine for it. Or it could be added as a second choice to the filter coffee maker if the price of K-cups would be more affordable.

For now, even if more and more roasters are making their coffees available in K-cup format, so to speak, like you can get your favourite Starbucks or Caribou, the k-cups are still to penetrate the convenience shops and only then you can consider it a large success.

As for myself, I like to try a new flavour from time to time but for every mornings I make my own, custom, light roast, strong, colombian coffee.

Keurig single serve coffee makers

Some of the popular Keurig coffee makers are:
Special Edition
B 130
B 140
B 150
B 155
Office Pro
Mini Plus
and few more....

K-cups flavours

List of the most popular K-cups flavored coffees:

Raspberry chocolate truffle,
Pumpkin spice,
Cherry chip swirl,

and many more.


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    • Taranwanderer profile image

      Taranwanderer 3 years ago

      I just got a Keurig coffee maker recently! The family is loving it, and we can't wait to try different K-cups and exotic coffees on it.

    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 5 years ago

      Hi Lisa, I didn't know about that product. Thank you for leting us know.

      You can also use My K-cup that I mentioned in my article and put your on coffee on it. My K-cup is just a filter designed for Keurig coffee makers. Most Keurig has them but earlier editions don't. You can find it for sale at any stores that sells Keurigs.

    • Lisa Gronholm profile image

      Lisa Gronholm 5 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      If you have a keurig you can use the refillable filter and I have a new product I found on Amazon called the Exacta-K and you use your own special coffee and it makes excellent coffee and you don't have to spend money on the expensive K-cups.

    • profile image

      Sheryl 5 years ago

      witch should be which under "It is not very strong coffee" subtitle

      Just helping:)

    • profile image

      JackEllen 6 years ago

      We had trouble with the customer service. Keurig has not made replacement parts available so if you don't have a warranty on your machine and you need a part they just want you to buy a new machine. We needed the k cup and they would not sell us one. Their customer service kept telling us they would ship it but then would email saying "no". They need to fix this problem.

    • profile image

      Joyce in PA 6 years ago

      I really wanted one of these coffee machines.

      Never could get a cup of coffee that suited me.

      So the machine stayed in the pantry. Last Christmas Eve I took it to my daughters, along with boxes of the cups. She had a houseful of people, in and out, all evening. This coffee maker was the hit of the night. Most had never seen one, and people were having 2 or 3 cups of coffee! The machine found a good home, daughter makes her own cups so its economical. But I did go to Sam's club and got a box of 80 Folgers cups that my son-in-law likes for his Christmas gift this year.

    • texasgirlfw profile image

      texasgirlfw 6 years ago

      I know it is expensive, but I live alone and I love it. It makes GREAT coffee and it is so easy and convenient.

    • steveamy profile image

      steveamy 6 years ago from Florida

      What I really like about the system is the consistency cup to cup....

    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 6 years ago

      Yes, it is cheaper and if you get the My k-cup and your own coffee then it is a real bargain...The trick would be to find a realy good coffee....

    • steveamy profile image

      steveamy 6 years ago from Florida

      It is, however, cheaper than Starbucks or any other specialty coffee retailer...

    • cameciob profile image

      cameciob 6 years ago

      Hi Nell, I thought one day at least this keurigs machines or the single serve coffee makers and the k-cups would go down in price but so far did not happened. People still like them. Thanks for visiting.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 6 years ago from England

      Hi, this sounds really convenient but as you said it can be nearly double the price of the ordinary coffee and the way we make it, but still I would like one! lol cheers nell