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5/16/12 UPDATE: Keurig Vue may not function properly in higher altitude areas!
on April 20, 2012
I purchased my original Vue from BB&B online and immediately had a problem with the "two streams" from the brew head (see this video posted by another purchaser: go to YouTube and search for "Keurig Vue Problem"). Each time I got the second stream of clear water in addition to the coffee stream, the coffee produced was very weak. (I should note that I have never used a powdered or milk style V-cup in the machine. I only use the standard ground coffee V-cups.) As this problem was causing me to waste a lot of coffee, I contacted Keurig for assistance. They had me run three water-only cycles through the system to "calibrate it" and the next cup I produced was perfect (only a single coffee stream from the front hole in the brew head). Unfortunately, the problem returned almost immediately and, once again, more than half of my subsequent brewing attempts were plagued by the "two streams" problem. I tried rinsing the brew head before each cup and running more water-only cycles, but nothing helped. I finally called Keurig again and they sent me a brand new replacement brewer. This one was only slightly better. I frequently still experienced the "two streams" problem. I believe the second hole (where the clear water exits) is not only designed for water-only cycles, but also to catch any owerflow from a standard brewing cycle. I think what is happening is that the upper (center) piercing unit is not sealing properly and the leakage from the poor seal is what is causing the second stream of clear water. In looking at a used V-cup, I can see a deep indentation in the foil lid between the center piercing and the lower piercing. My hunch is that the foil is not stiff enough to make a good seal between the piercing units at least part of the time. After using the replacement brewer for about two weeks with little success, I contacted Keurig support again and informed them of my continuing problem. I did note to them that I was in a high-altitude area (around 6000 ft) and that I had tried pre-piercing the center of the V-cup and it didn't help. Keurig support did state that they are aware of the "two streams" issue and that replacing the brewer has usually solved the problem. They recommended that I lower the brew temp to 187 degrees and try again. I did so without success. So I called Keurig support back and the rep stated that she would consult with their engineering department and call me back. I heard back from Keurig the next day and was told, per their Engineering Department, the "two streams" problem will occur at high altitudes (6000+ feet) due to low ambient pressure. Further, there is NO FIX for this issue. As such, I had to return my Vue brewer.
I have posted my experiences here, at BB&B and on another message board to inform prospective purchasers who live in higher altitude areas NOT to purchase the Vue so they can avoid the problems I have experienced.
I am giving the Vue two stars because of Keurig's excellent customer service (even though they could not resolve my issue). Also, on the occasions when the Vue worked properly for me, it produced great coffee.
After reading posts here and elsewhere from people with similar problems, I decided to purchase another V700 (my third) and give it one more try. I set up the new unit and immediately started pre-piercing the V-packs in the center with a push-pin and flattening the foil prior to brewing. Using this technique, I have not experienced a single "two stream" problem with the new unit! I did try to brew a V-pack without piercing it and it worked much better than my earlier units, but did leak a few drops of clear water through the second hole in the brew head.
I tried pre-piercing the V-packs with my earlier units, but I used a pocket knife to make a small slit in the center rather than the pinpoint hole made by the push-pin. I also did not flatten out the foil.
With or without pre-piercing, this new machine functions much better than my earlier ones. I still believe that my altitude is a factor, but it pertains to the pressurized V-packs and not the "low ambient pressure" not allowing the machine to function properly as told to me by Keurig Engineering.
To sum it up, I believe Keurig does have a hardware problem with some new V700 units - my current unit brews much better than my first two which were returned. That, combined with the pre-piercing technique described above, has allowed me to enjoy the latest Keuring technology despite my altitude and I will be keeping my new V700. I am not changing my original rating at this time due to the difficulties I experienced prior to getting a working setup. (I will provide another update if anything changes.)
To those in high-altitude areas: I would now recommend that you try the new Vue, but be sure to purchase it from a vendor with a good return policy. If you are fortunate enough to get a good unit on the first try and use the technique described above, you will enjoy an excellent machine that produces quality beverages.