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Expert Guidance: Review, Comparison and How to Use (been using these for 2 years)
on September 25, 2012
I've used Keurigs for about 7 years (before home models were being made) and reusable filter for 2 years). Here's what you need to know:
These are better than disposables for a few reasons:
1. can get the coffee and/or blend of your choice - not limited to what comes in k-cups
2. costs much less per cup
3. less waste created / environmentally friendly
4. downside is inconvenience, but see HOW TO USE below for lessons learned from a veteran
WHICH ONE TO GET
Ekobrew is the best design. I've used solofill, Keurig's my k-cup, and ekobrew. All work ok but:
1. My Kcup has more parts to clean, leaked more grinds into the coffee too.
2. Solofill is good but not quite as good as ekobrew. Side walls and water distributor on ekobrew is better. And with the flat bottom, the ekobrew is easier to clean. Coffee grinds get annoyingly stuck in the bottom of the solofill, whereas the Ekobrew can be rinsed out in one shot. Solofill is probably fine if you make one cup a day and put it in the dishwasher. But I make a bunch and the inconvenience of the solofill cleaning was enough to make me prefer the disposables over it.
3. Ekobrew got the whole thing right. Side walls allow you to fill 2/3 with coffee and make an ideal brew - water has room to mix with the coffee. The water distributes very well through the perforated funnel on top. And cleaning is easy (see how to clean #5).
HOW TO USE - FOR CONVENIENCE AND GOOD COFFEE
This is actually really important. Until I got it down to a system by trial and error to have it (1) not take much extra time compared to a disposable and (2) tasting good (not weak), I kept going back and forth on using these vs. disposables for the convenience factor. But with these steps I am fully converted to using the reusables.
1. Put your ground coffee in a Tupperware container. I like something that will hold about a bag of coffee and is relatively deep (not wide and short) so it's easy to scoop out of it. This make it very convenient to scoop 2/3 of a container full of coffee, shake the extra back into the container. Keep it air tight in the cabinet with your mugs (or in the refrigerator). Much more convenient than trying to scoop from a bag or than using a spoon to scoop into the cup.
2. Blend your coffee if you like. If you're like me and drink lots of cups a day, using the tupperware method (1 above) allows very easy mixing. I pour half a bag of decaf and caffeinated each into the container and shake well. Use a somewhat stronger blend than you might otherwise get since Keurig brews fast I do find the final flavor is less strong than if you got the same at Starbucks for instance.
3. Scoop 2/3 of the ekobrew with coffee. You want the coffee just above the bottom of the sidewall so water won't seep out without going through the coffee, but not too high that there's no room for the coffee to push thru (it will leak out and around the sides then). Make sure your ekobrew is completely dry, and then you can scoop with it directly and not try to spoon it in). Wipe off the sides back into the tupperware and close.
4. Brew like a normal k-cup.
5. Cleaning. This is really important to keep it from being inconvenient and took a while to work out.
a. Do this right after brewing - do not let the grinds sit in the ekobrew or they will harden and be more difficult to clean out
b. Pick the ekobrew up by the top sides (not hot there) and you can walk it over to the sink over your brewed coffee so it doesn't drip on the counter / floor
c. Open the top and hold it upside down directly over the drain and low (so the grinds don't spread all over the place)
d. Rinse through the bottom with cold water, with the cup upside down. All the grinds should come out in one quick shot and go right down the drain
e. Shake and set to dry.
6. Have more than one of these if you like several cups a day. You have to wait until they are completely dry to reuse or else the scooping method (#3) won't work.
Using these steps above, I've completely replaced the disposables without it being materially less convenient. I get the coffee of my choice and its much less expensive, and there's no waste.