The Keurig Rivo Cappuccino and Latte System
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- Automatic On/Off Function; Energy-Saving Mode
- 15 bars of pressure; Brews under 1 minute
- Convenient design allows you to brew espresso on one side and froth milk on the other side
- Three frothing modes: Cappuccino, Latte, and Cold Froth
- Two espresso size options: Short (1.4 oz.) and Lungo (2.8 oz.)
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The Keurig Rivo System is named after the Italian word for revolutionary. The simplicity of Keurig technology enables you to brew espresso and froth any type of fresh milk at the touch of a button at home. Add Lavazza espresso — with over a century of roasting experience — and you have the perfect cappuccinos, lattes and more. Simple. Quick. Easy. That’s revolutionary! Durable Product.
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Let me explain a bit. I was prepared to plunk down a couple grand more than this machine costs for a "gourmet home espresso machine" I love espresso. I travel quite a bit. Been to Italy many, many times. Naples, Venice, Palermo, I lived on Sicily for a time, etc... In addition, I have lived in the Seattle area for 4 years. So, with that bit of background, I have grown tired of having to leave the house every time I want a good espresso or cappuccino. So, I began to research home systems. I was at a mall that featured Nespresso systems and was impressed by the quality of their mid level systems. Specifically, the Lattissima systems. I also tried the Citiz and Milk. And, truthfully, if I was on a budget I would choose that over Lattissima.
Then, as I said, my wife saw the Rivo infomercial. Told me about the partnership with Lavazza, whose coffee we both Love. And, I went to their YouTube video to watch their infomercial. We both decided to give the 30 days no questions asked money back guarantee a shot. At $229.00 with all the Lavazza coffee samples they include we thought what do we have to lose. So, we took Keurig / Lavazza up on their offer.
The thing about capsule systems is the consistency of coffee or espresso from batch to batch. The Rivo is not the best espresso you can possibly get from a talented barista. But, even from the best espresso cafe's you get variance in each serving. You go there one day and "wow", another day and it's very good, not "wow". From the Rivo you get consistently very good espresso. The espresso I tasted from the Nespresso cafe at the malls we visited were good. But, not the same as the Lavazza. As I said, the wife and I grew to love Lavazza while in Italy. So, we are prejudiced in this area.
The Rivo produces a consistently very good espresso. The milk frother works exceptionally well when you take the time to experiment with milk levels. If you like a lot of foam, we have found that you need to fill to just a hair under the min fill line. If you like a bit less froth just a hair over is best. The milk and espresso temps are good. Preheating the cup is best for those that want a real hot cup. I like my coffee hot. The wife likes the temp as is from the machine without pre-heating the cup.
Lastly, aesthetics. The Rivo is not going to impress anyone aesthetically. If this is an important aspect for your machine you will not even consider the Rivo. If you are an espresso control freak, ditto. But, if you want an authentic tasting, consistently good cup of espresso or cappuccino in your home at a very ,very affordable price, give the Rivo a chance. 30 day money back trial gives you that chance. Oh, do absolutely bypass the Keurig, flavored syrups. They suck. Buy Monin from Amazon in the 750ml sizes with add-on pumps. Fantastic flavor. Bargain price. I hopes this helps a bit in your search for an espresso machine for your home. Sorry Starbucks. I don't need you anymore. Unless I'm on a business trip in the USA and can't make my own that is.
Update: I have read some other posts stating that the espresso is not hot enough or it's too weak in flavor. If you're used to drinking very strong American coffee roasts which are really very over roasted beans, and you like that, then the Italian roasts from Lavazza won't satisfy you. This over roasted beans thing is an American thing and IS NOT Italian in any way. Lavazza is an Italian roaster in business since 1895 and, The Most Popular roaster in the country. As for the temperature, it is hot enough right out of the brewer. As I state above if you pre-heat your cup this is not an issue. Pre-heating is common practice in Italy. One thing I have discovered is, Bodum dual walled insulated glass cups. These things do a fantastic job of maintaining the espresso / cappuccino temps for those who like it Hot and who also like to sip the drink instead of drinking it down in short order. They are not inexpensive. If you don't want to spend the money for the Bodum glass simply put some water in your cup, heat it in your microwave, pour it out and use it for your espresso / cappuccino. I have also started drinking brewed coffee with hot frothed milk from the Rivo frother. This is a major improvement over drinking brewed coffee with cold milk from the refrigerator. I brew a smaller and stronger cup and then pour the heated and frothed milk into a regular brewed coffee. So much better. As you can guess we did not return the Rivo after the 30 days expired. For the money nothing else comes close to giving you a consistently good quality espresso / cappuccino in your home. If you're a very, very, picky person with very specific tastes and needs you'll have to spend far more than 229.00 American dollars to get what you want. I almost did just that. I'm glad my wife saw that infomercial and told me about this machine developed in partnership with our favorite roaster, Lavazza. Hope this helps people in their research for a home espresso / cappuccino machine. One last tip. The frothing pitcher must be clean for the best frothing experience. So, rinse very well and dry it with a paper towel between each froth. We purchased a second frothing pitcher to make this more convenient for us. Wish you all well in your research and decision making.
Update 2: After 6 months of continuous use the Rivo stopped making espresso quality froth. That said, Keurig replaced it immediately with a new Rivo machine. They sent it Fedex Express. The replacement machine froths better than the first unit ever did and I am very satisfied with this companies customer service. There was no attempt to tell me that I don't understand my machine or that I am mistaken in my assessment. Just a we're so sorry that your machine no longer meets your expectations and, a new machine will be sent out immediately. The replacement was processed and sent the same day I contacted Keurig with my problem. Most companies could learn from this customer oriented attitude. I for one appreciate it very much and will continue to be a customer of Keurig for quite sometime. Stuff happens. It's how a company deals with that stuff that let's you know what kind of a company they are.
Update 3: Well folks this update is about manufacturing / Assembly quality control or design robustness. In 8 months I've had 5 RIVO's. Our first Rivo which was the subject of the first two updates lasted 6 months. Then it stopped making cappuccino quality froth. Keurig quickly replaced it. Within 3 days the replacement was on the doorstep. The second lasted 1.5 months. It also stopped making a quality froth. Machines 3 & 4 never made a quality froth. Malfunctioned right out of the box. I received number 5 last Friday and so far it is making a good quality froth. But, now every time I get up to make a cappuccino I am always wondering will it make froth or won't it. It is not a great feeling. Keurig has a problem with the RIVO of that there is little doubt. That said, their customer service is top notch. They are working the issue and ask that each malfunctioning machine be returned for investigation. I write this so readers of my review will be aware of this.
Update 4: This will be my last update on the Rivo. The problem was not with the Rivo. Nor was it with a specific brand of milk. The problem is milk, period. After returning several Rivo's and the company sending replacements with no questions asked I decided to do my own research. Actually, what triggered my research was reading all the reviews by people who purchased separate frother's from other companies such as Nespresso. I was going to do this myself thinking the built-in frother of the Rivo was a problem. Upon doing this I discovered that there were many complaints about those as well about frothing milk. So, I set out to find our why by Googling on various related terms and that's when I cam across an excellent article by a chef who had the same problem and he contacted a milk company and they explained in detail what the issue is. It's milk itself. All milk slowly degrades. So, as your milk gets closer to it's use by date, even if it doesn't smell at all like it's going bad it will at some point before that deteriorate to the point where it will not foam up adequately. Also, whole milk reaches this point sooner than 2%. And 2% faster than 1%, etc... If you're interested in knowing more Google, "why won't my milk foam up, Dammit!" which is the title of the chef's article on this subject. He goes into quite some detail as provided to him by the Milk folks. So, after discovering this I contacted Keurig HQ in MA and informed them of what I found and forwarded the article to them. I received in my in-box several gift certificates from Keurig after this. And, to date with my new knowledge, I have been perfectly happy with my last Rivo sent to me by Keurig. So, there you have it. Problem solved.
I also own a Kuerig K-Cup machine for over 5 years and use that daily, along with a vac-pot and Cappresso drip machine. My point being, you need to put each method of making coffee into it's proper perspective. For me, what I use to make my morning coffee has mostly to do with how much time I have. If I'm out very early, I grab a travel mug and put in 2 k-cups worth of coffee. If I have more time, French press. When I entertain, I grind up some beans and make a pot of drip or fire up the Faema to make espresso & cappuccinos, etc. Again, my point being, have the proper expectations of each way of making coffee and base your opinions on the taste of that method.
I've had the Rivo for about 2 weeks now and I think I have a handle on it's strong & weak points.
First off, the method by which they have designed the capsules to create the pressure is just short of genius. Piercing the top to inject the hot water into the capsule, to build up pressure, and then have it expand in size to then pierce the bottom prongs to then release that pressure to start the brewing process and create the crema is really something. Look at a spent capsule to see all the holes on the top and bottom. Numerous holes on top to make sure all the grinds are utilized and then releasing that pressure evenly from the bottom with a similar pattern of holes is an engineering marvel. This process is very efficient in extracting as much flavor as possible from the amount of coffee inside the capsule. The only short coming in their brewing process is the water temperature. The best temp I had come out was around 175-180 degrees...and this is why the espresso shots are slightly bitter. Espresso needs to be brewed at between 195-205 degrees...and if you could taste a cup brewed at these two different temps, you'd be amazed at the difference in taste.
BUT, this machine can make an espresso in 3 minutes, including the warm-up time! With my Faema?...20 minutes to heat up and the routine of running water through the brew group to get everything hot for brewing...grinding, tamping, temp surfing, extracting, flushing, and then cleanup! To me, the savings in time is worth the trade-off in taste. Most coffee snobs would string me up for such a statement, but frankly I don't care..LOL. I'm not willing to go through that long ordeal of the big machine just to get 2ozs of Heaven! Don't get me wrong, the espresso out of that Italian beast is simply incredible...but at what cost in time?
Which brings me to my second point. This brewer only uses Lavazza coffee and some folks are complaining about that. Well, I looked into the Nespresso line of machines and they have umpteen different varieties. To that I say..."How many choices do you really need?" I roast my own green beans and after all is set and done, I'm probably down to 4 or 5 varieties that I really like...out of the 100's coffee beans available...I don't need 15 choices of espresso. Then when you factor in that Lavazza supplies 50% of all the espresso coffee in Italy...need I say more? The 3 versions of their caffeinated coffee are more than enough for most folks. And who would need more than one decaffeinated capsule? Now to the other folks that are complaining about the fact that they got it home only to discover that this machine doesn't utilize K-Cups...COME ON FOLKS, DO A TINY BIT OF READING BEFORE YOU BUY SOMETHING! I can't help but shake my head over those whiners.
Third point, and the most important. Your expectations on this machine have to be realistic. You must ask yourself..."Do I want top of the line tasting espresso that can achieve the illusive 'God Shot'?" If the answer to that question is YES...this machine is not for you. Period.
So what is this brewer good for? The Rivo makes a decent, drinkable shot of espresso in 4 varieties VERY quickly and makes a fantastic tasting cappuccino or latte within a few minutes that will rival ANY coffee house! The truth of the matter is, you don't NEED a fantastic espresso to make a very good latte or cappuccino. The simplicity of the frother is awesome. Put in some low fat milk (the lower the fat content, the better the froth!) up to the line marked on the container, place the frothing mechanism on top of the cup, slide it into the machine and push a button. In under 2 minutes you have coffee house style streamed milk without hardly lifting a finger. You don't have to hold a stainless steel cup under a steam wand for 10 minutes until your wrist gets tired! The toughest part of the process is lightly (and delicately as not to snap anything) rinsing the froth cup and frother under hot water for 30 seconds to get it ready for the the next time you use it. Another complaint from a good many people. ALWAYS rinse the milk from the plastic cup ASAP and hand wash it. Two things to stay away from. Letting the milk stay in the cup after brewing for a long period of time and too much heat in a dishwasher. Both will make the plastic turn prematurely cloudy! Just plain common sense folks.
From the time you turn on the machine until you're drinking a cappuccino is under 5 minutes...not bad! As for the temperature of the completed cappuccino or latte, let's just say it is hot enough that you have to give it time to cool off a bit before drinking it. Those that complain that the drink isn't hot enough, I think they're just so used to getting a cup of coffee and then having it sit for 5 minutes as to not burn their tongue...that's what they're used to and any anything cooler than that is not acceptable. In no way is it 'cold', anyone who writes that in a review must have a defective unit! This has been a common issue with a good number of people reviewing the Rivo. Because of this, I have asked EVERY person I have made a cappuccino for "is it hot enough for you" and EVERYONE has said it was just perfect. The finished product is in the 165 to 175 degree range...yes, I put a lab quality temperature probe in it. Nutty espresso people own these things and talk brew temps all the time when referring to boiler temps, group head temps, and being able to determine if there is a heating element malfunction.
About the construction of the Rivo that some are complaining about. YES, it's all plastic....not stainless steel. But for gosh sakes, what do you expect from a brewer that does all this for just over $200.00?? Remember, it's all about expectations! You can't expect an all metal or partial metal design at this price point. Now, do I wish the top of the drip tray was metal? YES, because that will get scraped up...and I hope Keurig is listening to us about that. I would hope they make a metal one that will be a direct replacement for the painted plastic one that is now utilized.
To recap...the Rivo is a GREAT machine for daily home use (not an office setting) that will give you fantastic results to the point that it will keep you away from that burnt tasting coffee they serve at Starbucks. With the proper routine of brewing and cleaning, this thing will last for years.
*Sorry about the long diatribe, but I did my homework on this unit and read a ton of reviews...so I wanted to touch on some of the important points people were discussing and questions that were asked about the Rivo. Hope this helps a few people out there.
UPDATE 3/18/2014: This machine is still pumping out good espressos and great cappuccinos on a daily basis. I've had no clouding issues within the plastic frothing pitcher at all. All I do is rinse it in hot water after each use and it looks like the day I got it. From all the issues with the pitcher leaking or not producing nicely foamed milk, that truly has to do with how gently you rinse out the frothing mechanism. I'm not saying to have to treat it with 'kid gloves'...just don't manhandle it and rub a sponge or washcloth over it aggressively so as to move that rubber washer on the foaming shaft of the lid. If you own one, take a good look at where that rubber washer is located and remember it's positioning on the shaft. If you have any issues with it's performance, make sure it didn't slide up or down on the shaft after a cleaning. Also, I have eliminated the idea of EVER putting this in the dishwasher. Plastic really isn't made for the dishwasher...even on the top rack. If you think about it, if you do put it in the dishwasher, you're leaving the milk film on the pitcher and the foam on the lid mechanism while waiting to run a wash cycle...both of which are harmful to this plastic unit. The milk will harden and block the steam port that heats the milk and the milk will cause the plastic pitcher to cloud over. Folks, I know some of you will scream that hand washing is too time consuming, but not EVERYTHING is dishwasher safe. Take the 60 seconds to clean it out and it will last many years.
As for the performance of the machine, I ALWAYS run warm-up water through the unit on both the espresso maker side and the milk frother side before making a drink...just like a commercial or expensive home unit requires. With no coffee capsule in the machine, I run a single dose cycle into a clean cup to get it up to temp and clean out any espresso grinds in the system...same with the frother. I fill the pitcher up with water to the MAX line and run a cappuccino cycle through that. Two things are accomplished here. One is it brings the machine up to the proper milk frothing temps, but it also cleans any residual milk out of the frother before adding the milk to make a cappuccino or latte.
If you use some plain common sense in it's operating procedures and cleaning, the Rivo will reward you with a very consistent beverage!
UPDATE 4/24/2014: Well, even with all my babying of the frother cup and mechanism, I had a reduction in the foam created during the frothing process. I never roughed it up and only hand washed it. The rubber 'cone like' washer seemed like it was in the right spot, the distance between the top of the washer and the lid was the same and it looked like it never moved, so I couldn't figure out what was causing this. With no obvious damage to the unit head, I gently slid the rubber washer out of the groove it is in and down the shaft and then gently slid it back up the shaft (pushing up from the bottom with my thumb & index finger) until it seated back into the groove. Honestly, it looked exactly the same as before I did the whole slide down & up thing...but lo and behold...I'm back to thick foam in the cappuccino mode once again! Go figure? That seems to be one sensitive little bugger! Hope this helps. :-)
UPDATE 2/25/2015: My original unit is still going strong. The weird things is, sometimes the frother gave me outstanding foam and sometimes it doesn't. I have to say, my refrigerator gave out on me late last Summer and I bought a new one...one that obviously gets my milk colder and my frother sprang back to life! I've always known that the colder the milk, the better the froth...so I'm not sure if it's that the milk is colder or something changed within the frothing cup that makes it consistently better every time I use it. I used to take a cup of milk and pop it in the freezer for a few minutes to get it nice and cold...and still I had hot, flat milk. But now, it's back to like the day I bought it. BTW: Bed. Bath, and Beyond is still the best place to buy the espresso pods, especially when you use the 20% off coupon. They'll even ship them to your house for free if they are out of stock in the store. I also find that I use the Intenso pod 90% of the time for shots of espresso, cappuccinos & lattes.