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Old 06-07-2011, 02:34 PM
 
2,186 posts, read 7,544,519 times

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This compact coffee maker brews an individual cup of gourmet coffee, tea or cocoa in under a minute. The pre-measured beverage inserts are called K-Cups, and they come in 70 different varieties. There are three brew sizes available, depending on the size of your coffee mug. There are also two different temperatures to choose from. The water reservoir is removable for easy refilling and holds up to eight cups at a time.

The advantage over standard appliances that make coffee by the pot is that each cup is brewed fresh - so there will never be a stale or burnt taste. Also, there is no clean-up, aside from the occasional de-scaling necessary for any coffee maker. For anyone who has had to deal with filters, cleaning the coffee pot, measuring out coffee, and wiping up spilled coffee grounds, the Keurig is a revelation in simplicity.

After each cup is brewed, the machine makes a loud grinding noise as the water is heated for the next cup. This makes it inappropriate for certain types of gatherings, such as meetings or lectures, where quiet is needed. However, in a public area such as a bank, it's a perfect way to prevent the waste of large pots of coffee.

Another disadvantage is that you can only use the K-Cups, which are not readily available everywhere. However, it's easy to order them online if you plan in advance. There are also plain filters called 'My K-Cups' that allow you to add your own ground coffee. This also allows what the ordinary K-Cups don't - that is, to brew a stronger cup of coffee. Additionally, there is the option to dispense plain hot water by simply lifting the bar and then lowering it again, to trick the machine into thinking a K-Cup has been added. And, although the company doesn't advocate this, it's no problem to place a plain tea bag in the K-Cup chamber.

For those who are coffee connoisseurs, the taste cannot match fresh ground gourmet beans. However, for most people, the Keurig makes a better-than-average cup of coffee, and certainly better tasting than most of the generic coffees found in the supermarket. It can offer a distinct advantage when coffee drinkers in the same household drink different types, for instance caffeinated or decaf; or breakfast blend vs. extra bold.

For people concerned about the environment, the K-Cups are not recyclable or biodegradable, although the company is working on that feature. With ordinary filtered coffees, it's possible to toss the entire paper filter with used coffee grounds into the compost buckets. Conversely, the K-Cups have an aluminum top (which IS recyclable) that has to be removed, and then the inner paper filter and used coffee grounds must be dug out with your index finger to add to the compost.

The customer service on this product is excellent. It's easy to have questions answered by email or by a live service agent via telephone. The coffee maker retails for $139.95, which is expensive compared to regular coffee makers. However, it is estimated that a K-Cup of coffee costs about 40 cents each. Compared to the price of a cup of coffee purchased each day at a retail outlet like Starbucks, the Keurig will pay for itself rather quickly.
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