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Keurig K-cup coffee maker advice...


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Initial post: Feb 9, 2012 11:09:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 10, 2012 10:22:38 AM PST
J. O. says:
I'm looking for a reliable decently priced Keurig K-cup coffee maker for a small office, and would like some advice on which ones to definitely avoid... and which model would you suggest?

I've just been browsing around and have read quite a few reviews that these have been breaking down and having to replace part after parts on some models.

If you have one, and its been fairly reliable for 6+ months or more please let me know what model it is, and how happy (or disappointed) you've been in yours.

I'd appreciate as many responses as I can get, as I'd like to purchase one within a week or so.

Thanks in advance,

Edit: The office has about around 10 employees, but only about 4-6 in at the same time of any given day.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2012 11:17:43 AM PST
joaniepony® says:
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Posted on Feb 9, 2012 11:47:17 AM PST
C. Schmidt says:
I have the Keurig "Platinum" model that I got from Costco sometime around spring 2010. I use it at home and only make 1 cup of coffee a day. So, I can't say that my use is a good comparison for office use. What I like is that it makes a good single cup of coffee. It's hard to get a single cup of coffee made well from a small coffee maker.

For office use, here are some thoughts:
- One issue is what "joaniepony" mentioned - the water carafe will need to be refilled a lot. BUT, on the plus side, if a person walks up and it says "add water" it is extremely simple to do and the machine is ready to make a cup of coffee very quickly after the water is refilled. Much better than walking up to an empty coffee pot that's been burning crud in it since the last person didn't turn it off or make a new batch of coffee. That means cleaning the pot and then waiting a while for an entire pot to brew.

- There is no comparison between k-cup coffee and instant coffee! I can't agree with that comment made by "joaniepony". K-cup coffee is actual brewed coffee. Hmmm... although, I do use Starbuck's Via coffee on occasion and that's pretty good for an instant. OK, if that's the instant "joanie" was referring to, that might be a thought, depending on the goals of your office. They do have a variety of types nowadays. You might want to look into that. I can't recall the pricing per cup for the Via flavors.

- Another issue to consider is that the various k-cups make different sized cups of coffee. The standard k-cup makes a 5 oz cup. That's tiny for office folks. Your folks could make a larger cup by popping another k-cup in to double their size, but then it's costing your office about $.80 - $1.00 a cup since two k-cups were used (depending on the price of the actual k-cups you get). If you get the "extra-bold" flavors, folks can make an 8oz cup, which is more cost effective. But, of course, there aren't as many varieties available as "extra-bold". There are very few "travel-mug" sized k-cups, which make the best sized cup for the office. So, if your goal is to have a variety of flavors, regular and decaf, you will likely be using the regular sized k-cups which make small cups of coffee.

- Reliability - I was concerned about that also, which is why I got mine from Costco. Very easy to return it if it ever breaks down. I have recently had some issues where the water wasn't pumping through. I finally took the water carafe out and spent more time poking around at the part that moves to suck water into the machine and found that there were a couple very small "fuzzies" caught in there. Once I got them out everything has been working fine. Still, compared to office use, I am not a good comparison.

Anyway, if your goal in the office is to have a machine that is easy to maintain, won't have the risk of the empty/burning pot, allows folks to make a cup of different varieties of coffee and makes a cup quickly - then this is a good idea. The cost of the k-cups means that this will likely be more expensive than buying the normal coffee you get at work in a pot (assuming you guys use the same yucky office coffee most offices do for their pots). Although, you wouldn't need two pots - one for regular and one for decaf, which is a plus.

Note that you can usually get reasonably good prices for k-cups at keurig.com as long as you meet their minimum quantity requirements for discounts (easy to do). If you see cheaper prices elsewhere, pay attention to the # of cups in the box, it's usually a smaller box. Amazon has some good deals, but not always as good as you think.

Well, that's all I can think of. Hope this helps.
c-

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 9, 2012 4:43:06 PM PST
joaniepony® says:
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Posted on Feb 10, 2012 6:28:27 AM PST
It really depends on what your office situation is like, but assuming it's not like the typical office where there is always a pot of any-coffee-will-do on a warmer for two or more hours, then a Keurig could be a great addition, if managed correctly.

Keurig does make commercial models, which use a consistent filtered water supply (and therefore require a bit of installation), but those are really made for large offices. For a simple office operation, I would recommend a Keurig Mini Plus. This is the newer version of the original Mini, with adjustable water sizes. The usage is simple and hard to mess up---you simply pour in the desired amount of water into the reservoir each time and hit the Brew button.

I have the original Mini which I use at home and bought when my original B60 Special Edition went flaky (would work only intermittently) and I've been using it ever since, which is almost two years now. A government employee of my acquaintance also has a Mini in her personal office and while I haven't talked to her about it, it seems like the perfect solution for those who like 'real' coffee in a small space.

The K-cup brewing system does take some experimentation to get down right, though. It is pressure-brewed coffee, not drip, so I feel there are some taste differences right off the bat. And while they may suggest that a 5 ounce cup is the optimal brewing strength, I would find that to be way too strong; I use 9.25 ounces with the regular K-cups and the large cup setting on the selectable brewers (about 10.7 ounces) for the Extra Bold K-cups. Not sure how you plan on managing the supply issue, but I would start by buying several varieties in bulk (both Sam's Club & Costco have 2-3 varieties per club at around $0.50/unit) and then let each individual buy their own if they wanted something different. Many of the GMCR blends are pretty strong, but even Folgers has K-cups, along with their sister brand Millstone, so everyone who does do coffee should find something they like. The licensing agreement Starbucks signed with Keurig has recently produced their own line of K-cups, but they are rather expensive, from around $0.75/unit at the warehouse clubs to 80-90 cents each elsewhere.

I would suggest that use of a shared machine be limited to coffee and perhaps tea varieties only (though I think if you use a Keurig to make tea, you are wasting your money, especially when tea should be steeped, not pressure-brewed). Aside from the dismal reviews of the hot chocolate varieties, anything with a milk component will end up clogging the needles in the unit and any subsequent brew cycle flushing--as recommended in the owner's manual--only increases the time when a descaling needs to be done. And on that note, I would recommend the use of only filtered water, either at tap or via a water service. (I would recommend this for any shared water-use appliance unless yearly replacement was in the budget.)

Oh, and that B60 that went flaky? A call to Keurig's customer service line about possible repair solutions resulted in the shipment of a brand new B60 shipped free to me with only the return of the K-cup holder from the old machine requested. I was very impressed with the customer service, which is why where you purchase it may not really matter. Plus, if you sign up for GMCR's Cafe Express delivery service, your warranty on registered machines is extended throughout the life of your membership in the program (limitations and exclusions do apply, as usual).

As long as some basic rules are followed and your coffee break/kitchen area doesn't resemble that of an average auto body shop (where I wouldn't drink a cup of coffee if I was dying of thirst), you should have no problem incorporating the consumer models into a workplace environment.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2012 7:26:58 AM PST
To add to this post- I LOVE my Keurig! I get the Costco San Francisco Bay coffee K cups @ .33 cents each. The great thing about it is the ease of use, the quickness, and the variety. For those in the office that don't drink coffee, you can get tea and hot chocolate too. I wouldn't be surprised if someone came up with a broth too. I highly recommend the Keurig. I got mine as a gift for Christmas, the high end one. LOVE IT!

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 10:07:14 AM PST
(though I think if you use a Keurig to make tea, you are wasting your money, especially when tea should be steeped, not pressure-brewed)

you can just use the Keurig for the hot water

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2012 10:37:01 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 10, 2012 10:38:12 AM PST
C. Schmidt says:
Red State: I learned something from your post, so thanks. Even those of us who have had the machine for a while can still learn something new.

Also, I agree w Red State - you do have to experiment on which size cup you want for each k-cup. I use larger sized cups for some because they are too strong otherwise. So folks will need to experiment per type of k-cup.

Also, regarding tea, I agree ... We use ours to make hot water for the tea bag. It works great that way. Buying the tea k-cups seems like a real waste of money.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2012 10:55:58 AM PST
Lori Stegle says:
CheaperCoffee.com.

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 2:13:47 PM PST
SHOP!! says:
I've had mine from Sam's for about 1 year.......we use for at least 5 - 7 cups a day.....some of us use the instant packs of coffee (yes my working teens have to pay for the coffee) and put those in the cup and the machine gives them the hot water. when not used with the k-cups its great for a quick cup of hot water for: cocoa, tea from bags and instant coffee (i think the tasters choice is one of the favs). No problems with it what so ever just put the cup under and press the button.....instant hot water or coffee in your cup! since we are making just a cup here and there like maybe 2/3 cups in the morning one at noon, a couple cups for tea when the girls come home from work and maybe a few cups of cocoa or tea or coffee in the dinner hour. We just don't need the 6 or more cups at one time that the other machine make.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2012 3:08:37 PM PST
----->you can just use the Keurig for the hot water

Which is what I would recommend for tea, hot chocolate, instant soup, Postum---anything other than coffee.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 10, 2012 5:33:46 PM PST
-----> I get the Costco San Francisco Bay coffee K cups @ .33 cents each. For those in the office that don't drink coffee, you can get tea and hot chocolate too. I wouldn't be surprised if someone came up with a broth too.<-----

IIRC from the occasional coffee sales Amazon has had, the San Francisco Bay coffee cups are not true K-cups (which, until later this year, is a patented manufacturing process licensed by Keurig/GMCR to other coffee producers), but rather ground coffee packaged in plastic cups which will fit the Keurig brewer. What you are essentially getting are disposable Solofil or My K-cup units filled with pre-packaged coffee instead of your own. This is why they are significantly cheaper than true K-cups. I'm surprised Costco is selling these in some locations (though not any clubs I've been in), since they also sell the Keurig brewers and GMCR would not want anyone confusing non-licensed coffee cups with K-cups.

As for the non-coffee options in K-cups, any time you put a mixture which has particulate designed to flow into the cup and not remain behind, yet is not immediately soluble, you're asking for problems. This is why the hot chocolate K-cups get generally universal thumbs down (along with the special brewing instructions) and why, if someone does come up with broth or soup options, the use of same will invariably void any future brewer warranty.

Posted on Feb 10, 2012 9:07:53 PM PST
Ma B. says:
The problems with the high end Keurig machines arise not from the coffee they brew, but from the water you put into them! After about a year, even if you de-scale every time the prompt appears (or before), it will die-UNLESS you ONLY use filtered water in it. We use a Zero Water pitcher and and the Keurig filters in the machine and we keep both filters fresh. You could buy a brand of bottled water that is guaranteed to be well-filtered. Tap water is too mineralized. Now on our fourth machine (between two households), we have a rule, that, after you brew a cup, #1 take the k-cup out of the machine and throw it away (do not "double-punch" it) and #2 force plain water out into an empty cup using the second to the smallest brew size. This is the larger of the two espresso sizes and water is pushed through it more forcefully than the other settings, thereby rinsing the needle bores! This was recommended to me by a Keurig customer service representative over the phone as I tried desperately to save my blue (discontinued) B70 brewer (alas, to no avail.) I believe the newest version of the B70 has a water rinse setting that is just for this purpose. For an office, you could ask everyone to bring a box of their favorite and share it, "feed the coffee kitty", or to just bring their own. If it's a really big office, I would definitely look into that commercial model with the filtered water line another reviewer mentioned! The fun thing about k-cup coffee is trying all the different varieties. There are many companies out there (online) that sell them, and some companies give commercial or bulk discounts, especially if you join their programs. If you can find boxes with an average per cup cost of .35-.40 each, you are doing pretty well. Hope that helps.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2012 10:02:19 AM PST
Hi, Jarod,

I got my Keurig from BJS in 2006. I love it and it works perfectly. I like the versatility and the fact that there is no wastage. If you get one, check out 11th street coffee and cheaper coffee.com for deals on K cups. a couple of things to keep in mind however. If you use the hot water (or tea Kcups) be sure to run water through at least once or your tea will taste like coffee. also if you use the hot cocoa K cups, you have to run water through once toavoid milky residue. This is not a big deal but something to consider.

I have had no problems with my Keurig. Another advantage is no one has toclean a grungy coffee pot and you dont have to mess with filters and the like. You can adjust the amount and it is a snap to use. Moreover if you use it it probably can be deducted as an office expense. Good luck.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2012 11:18:02 AM PST
Morgaine says:
I recently spoiled myself and got the B70 from CostCo. It advertised that it could brew over ice and since I've been drinking instant on ice for ages, this sounded awesome to me. Yet, you have to buy the specific k-cups to brew over ice...I learned. For me, when I brew x tra strong and add ice then the ice melts, it's too weak for me. The k-cup system is a glorified and finnicky instant water heater, I do love how quickly it brews but I fear most of us are being beta-tested with various machines and suddenly k-cup prices go through the roof. It's easy enough to fill the reusable filter and rinse it out with each new cup. Better than the bottom of the pot coffee.

In the end, I think a better value would be in a different unit altogether; in college I had a little one-cup dealy that lasted me until I moved out and lost it. Plus, imagine the amount of plastic waste these little k-cups are creating ecologically. I am all about economy, and I don't think self-brewing for 50 cents/cup is a deal.

And PS, it's like the Starbuck's of coffee machines: overpriced, over-hyped...and maybe a little burnt :)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2012 3:40:03 PM PST
akpg says:
I just put 2 tea bags into the place where the k-cup would go select the size (amount of water) cup and brew. The tea comes out great and only the cost of the tea bags. Faster than steeping and just as good for me anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2012 4:40:55 PM PST
joaniepony® says:
I just want to order a full bodied coffee, Whatever that means,

What is the best flavor, I have Folgers, it's OK but if I"m gonna order a full box want a coffee flavor

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2012 6:40:32 PM PST
Morgaine says:
I think Green Mountain Coffee is extra bold. Tastes good, too :)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 26, 2012 8:34:20 PM PST
joaniepony® says:
Morgaine,

I'm gonna order that Thank you so much. I'm sure happy you were able to understand what I wanted!!

Posted on Feb 27, 2012 8:21:36 AM PST
Green Mountain is a brand, with a whole array of coffees of different types

Posted on Feb 27, 2012 2:38:21 PM PST
Country Girl says:
The Primo Italian is a great classic strong but sweet cup. The Emeril's Jazz Decaf is a very good dark decaf. I make both at the medium size setting.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2012 4:26:13 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Feb 27, 2012 4:27:00 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 27, 2012 6:45:08 PM PST
joaniepony® says:
CG,
No decaf for the joanie. I'm one of those people that need a morning jolt, I good cup of java and I'm set for the day.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 29, 2012 10:22:09 AM PST
The Bear says:
Keurigs are all somewhat reliable . . . for about 15 to 18 months at which point they WILL crap out on you. If you know this ahead of time, you can be prepared to replace it around that time.

Posted on Feb 29, 2012 1:41:54 PM PST
I have had one for over 3 years w/no problems
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Discussion in:  Cooking forum
Participants:  52
Total posts:  97
Initial post:  Feb 9, 2012
Latest post:  Apr 8, 2013

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