Top positive review
726 people found this helpful
4 year review, still going strong
on November 10, 2013
I have owned this model now for about 2 years with nothing but joy to report. My unit stays stationary in my kitchen and is moved only to add distilled water about every few days. We brew roughly 2-3 cups a day out of the machine every day. It still functions as it did the day we bought it. After much trial and error we have selected our favorite brands of K-cups and order them in bulk to save on costs. They are even available at some local salvage stores for half the price or more in some cases, which is a win win for us as they really don't go bad, they are all sealed and purged.
The only 3 issues most people have with any of these systems are slow brew and or half cup brew issues, and watery blends. These are very easy to repair by the user and not an alarm to return the product. I spent about 2 minutes fixing both issues after a quick search online where you can find everything up to video to assist you in the process.
First of all, Please run distilled water in your machine. If you choose to run normal tap or filtered water suit yourself but know that you will have to descale the machine on a regular basis to prevent clogging and slower brew or long heating periods. Distilled water comes in gallons and sells for about a buck a jug around here. A jug will usually last us 2 weeks if we brew 2 cups a day. Not a huge investment there.
As for the slow brew, or light brew.. Normally water flows from 3 holes in the top needle that punctures the K-cup itself. Over time coffee grounds will sometimes remain behind in a hole and build up until they dry and seal the hole, diverting water to the other holes. If you remove the black K-cup holder gently and take a toothpick broken in about half or less and locate these holes *careful as the needle is sharp* and just slip the toothpick into each hole you will probably notice that some debris is removed. Once your sure you have it clean simply run a cup or two of water with no coffee in place to finish the clean and you should notice an increase in flow and alike flavor. The way to avoid having this at all is to remove all K-cups just after use and do not forget them in the brewer.
If your having half cup issues, this is almost always air in the system, which can be removed so simply. Just take off the water tank, drain and rinse it if necessary. Check that the screen filter doesn't contain alot of contaminant. Unplug your unit and move it over to the sink. Turn the unit upside down over the sink and give it a few light taps, 5 or 10 good taps while shaking it gently back and forth to remove the air. Then, refill your tank and set it in place, plug the unit back in and brew a couple of cups with no coffee in place, you should see full cups now. The way to avoid this problem is never to fill the tank while brewing is occurring, thus sending the occasional bubble down through the supply line.
As for those who say their blend is watered down or not strong enough, you simply need to try different blends. It's hard to compare a store bought portion to something you make yourself in an automatic drip machine. Your home brew might contain 30% more coffee the way you make it then the K-cup portion due to your personal strength level. I assure you there are plenty of very strong brews on the market if that's your preference. Shop around or buy trial packs to make your decisions! You can even buy single portions of any brew online at various places.
We have loved this system and given them as gifts with this exact set of instructions. No one we have given one to has had any reason to return one yet. I have also NEVER descaled my system, and see no reason to using distilled water. It's as good as the day we bought it 2 years later.
Hope this helps someone who's having issues or not sure about the product. I wouldn't make it very long without my system, now that I have spoiled myself!
********* 4 Year + update:
Unit still performing flawlessly. We have been running the unit with about 50% distilled water and 50% filtered tap water for the last couple of years, as the chore of remembering the distilled gallons sometimes slips our mind. We are also utilizing one of the "My K-Cup" style filter baskets as well on a regular basis without issue. This unit continues to provide at least 2 cups a day reliably. The hinges, fittings, baskets, buttons, display screen, drip tray, and handle continue to remain in great condition.
I have gotten on somewhat of a latte fix lately, and have been successfully able to produce decent 2x strength coffee utilizing my own fine ground espresso blend coffee and the personal cup filters and an 8oz cup setting. Don't be looking for any crema, but the flavor is there. It will brew very slowly if trying this however, be aware.
To highlight something mentioned in the comments below by sojumonkey, Distilled water may result in a less flavorful cup as the result of no mineral content. Because the directions indicate that filtered water is ok, and since I haven't had any issues using filtered water, I would recommend trying filtered water. Perhaps running distilled water every now and again to help clean the unit. Thanks for the added info!
Cheers coffee lovers!