Let’s face it: mornings are hard. No matter what excitement may lay ahead, waking at the crack of dawn and leaving the comfort of your bed to tackle another day can feel impossible.
Few things make mornings a little more manageable than fresh coffee. The aroma alone is enough to erase memories of that warm bed, and instead jumpstart your motivation to conquer the new day.
Thanks to Keurig and their K-Cups, achieving the first cup of coffee has become easier than ever. Millions around the world have become converts to this sleek, convenient machine since its creation in 1998.
If you’re one of those converts, or considering becoming one, you might be curious about the various K-Cup machine options on the market. Is there really a difference between all those machines and systems? Which ones allow me to use my own coffee in reusable pods? Do I need the most expensive one?
That’s what we’re here to clear up.
What is a K-Cup Machine?
Though commonly called a Keurig or K-Cup machine, technically these are the brand names for the machine that brews the single-use plastic pods filled with coffee grounds (not to be confused with cheap, paper pods) typically called K-Cups. These pods come pre-filled or you can use reusable pods that you can fill with whatever coffee you would like, thus keeping the convenience, while enjoying your favorite coffee brands.
Today, many companies like Black + Decker, Cuisinart, and Starbucks all have their own versions of these systems. However, it was Keurig that initially created and popularized this uber-convenient method of making coffee.
Here’s a brief rundown of the how the K-Cup system works:
- Insert the K-Cup (and water if needed) into the machine
- Water is heated to a proper temperate
- Heated water is poured and filtered through the K-Cup
- Fresh coffee is delivered into a mug or carafe below
After Keurig’s original patent expired 2012, a plethora of companies jumped on the coffee pod bandwagon, allowing consumers the opportunity to choose from a massive amount of options.
In addition to all of the pre-made options, you can also buy reusable pods to put your own coffee into.
So how do you choose the right K-Cup machine? From price, to size, to style, it all really comes down to what’s most important. With plenty of choices currently on the market the perfect machine for you is out there! Let’s find it.
What Do K-Cup Machines Cost?
Like many things in life, it’s smart to start with a budget. When it comes to coffee pod machines, the price range is significant.
Though you can always expect a hot cup of coffee no matter the cost, expect more speed, more features, and more coffee as the machines get more expensive.
Expect to pay as little as $30 for the most affordable models, like this basic yet functional Chefman Coffee Maker, to over $700 for top-of-the-line machines like the Keurig K75 which boasts a 72 oz. reservoir, LCD display, 5 cup size options, temperature control, and more.
On average though, expect to spend between about $75–$150 for a reliable machine with just the right amount of bells and whistles. For a great machine right in this sweet spot, check out the sleek, programmable, and highly rated Keurig K55, currently selling for just under $100.
What Features Should I Expect?
As you can likely guess, with a higher price comes more frills and features. What should you expect at every price point?
The lower in price the machine, the longer it will take to get your cup of Joe. Not only does it take a minute or so longer for the coffee itself to brew, cheap machines also tend to lack a larger water reservoir. This creates an extra step of filling the machine for each cup.
If you’re looking for the ultimate in speed, for just over $110,try the Cuisinart SS-10. Boasting a 72oz water reservoir and fresh coffee in under a minute, this is true coffee convenience at the touch of a button.
Typically, the higher the price, the bigger the machine. Larger machines tend to be designed for large families and office spaces. They are also built extra sturdy in anticipation of very regular use.
However, if you’re only expecting a few cups a day, or live in a small space a smaller, more affordable machine is likely perfect for you.
Many people look down on K-Cup machines because of the perceived lack of coffee creation customization. However, K-Cup machines have greatly matured and evolved, allowing users to greatly adjust their coffee drinking experience.
If you’re one of those coffee control freaks, you’ll likely want to dive into the more expensive K-Cup machine models. Often using LED or touch screens, expect to adjust things likes:
- Brew temperature
- Cup sizes
- Automatic brew times
- Coffee strength
- Ground coffee options
The Keurig K250 is a fantastic option if you’re looking to completely customize your drinking experience with ease.
Keurig Brand vs. Other Brands
Despite the added competition of other brands crowding the space, Keurig still reigns as the coffee pod king. However, does being there first make it the best?
Yes and no.
There’s no denying that Keurig has the greatest variety of high-quality machines and coffee pods with partner brands including Folgers, Dunkin Donuts, Caribou Coffee and so much more. If you want to invest in the undisputed leader of the pack, this is it.
However, there are drawbacks. The majority of new Keurig machines, dubbed Keurig 2.0, will ONLY accept officially branded K-Cups. This understandably upset many users. Some call it greed. Others say it’s a way to control their brand, and with over 60 brands and 400 varieties K-Cups to choose from, a huge consumer overreaction.
In addition, this new regulation restricts which reusable pods can be used with the Keurig 2.0 machine. For many sustainably conscious users, this is massive problem as there’s little denying that tossing each plastic container is wasteful.
Either way, when it comes to brewing the coffee itself, Keurig far and away has the largest variety of machines allowing for more choice in finding the perfect machine for your price and preferences. You have to decide if that’s worth the coffee pod limitations.
For true coffee aficionados, making the decision in choosing the perfect machine to brew your favorite beverage is challenging. However, with a little research, expect a lot of convenience and a delicious, hot coffee in no time.
Looking for exceptional, world-class coffee to fill your new K-Cup machine with? Perfect for refillable coffee pods, Carta Coffee is proudly grown in beautiful Kona, Hawaii. We pride ourselves in cultivating only the best beans from one of the greatest coffee growing regions on Earth.[image courtesy of yourbestdigs.com]