Keurig has a new coffee maker with a built-in milk frother. The $179.99 Keurig K-Cafe makes regular coffee, lattes, and cappuccinos on your kitchen counter.
Instead of sticking to the same tired look, Keurig opted for a very attractive, modern design. One the machine’s left side is a 60 ounces removable water reservoir, with the heating system and controls in the middle. The machine is 12.5″ tall and 15.3″ wide. Like most of the Keurig machines, this model is mostly plastic.
Controls sit on top and they are large and easy to access. There are 4 coffee sizes – 6, 8, 10 and 12, plus the Shot button (2 oz) for lattes. The machine also has a strong brew option.
Resting on the base on the right is the milk frother. The milk frother has 3 different frothing modes: latte, cappuccino, and cold froth. The frother uses fresh milk and allows you to use any of your favorite milk options like cow’s, almond or coconut milk.
The Keurig K-Cafe retails for $179.99 and is available in black and silver.
EASE OF USE
When you turn on the machine, it will take about 3 minutes to heat the water.
To make a regular cup of coffee, insert one regular k-cup, push the coffee button, choose desired cup size and press the K button to brew. It’s just like using any other k-cup brewer. You also have the option for a stronger brew by pushing the “strong” button.
Once it starts dispensing the coffee, it needs around 30 seconds for 6 oz cup and slightly less than 40 seconds for 8 oz at regular coffee setting. The Shot button needs 40 seconds to finish brewing, and it makes 2 fl. ounces.
What you should know is that the K-Cafe doesn’t make real espresso since it doesn’t use pressure to make the coffee. What the Shot button does, it brews strong concentrated coffee very similar to espresso so you can make tasty cappuccinos and lattes at home. So, it’s pretty much like having their old espresso Rivo machine, but with the convenience of using any regular k-cup pod.
To make a latte or a cappuccino, add fresh milk up to the cappuccino/latte line and select frothing mode. Then, insert the k-cup and choose the latte&capp option and press the large K button to brew.
For an iced latte, fill a pitcher with fresh milk and press cold froth. Brew one k-cup at latte&capp setting directly over ice and add frothed milk.
Unfortunately, you can’t control the drink temperature and there’s no auto brew option.
The brewer uses all standard Keurig k-cups – Keurig branded and non-branded. You can use any of your favorite k-cups (use dark roasted k-cups for the best result), plus they now offer a few espresso roast k-cups.
The K-Cafe is compatible with universal Keurig reusable k-cup, so you can brew your own coffee. The machine is not compatible with Rivo pods, Vue cups, k-carafe pods, Nespresso or Verismo pods.
the milk frother
As mentioned, the K-cafe is the only k-cup machine on the market with the built-in frother. The milk frother uses fresh milk, which is so much better than powdered milk pods. You can use any of your favorite milk options.
The frothing result will vary depending on what milk you use. The dairy-free milk options don’t froth as nicely as cow’s milk – but that’s normal. Depending on the frothing mode, the frother takes 2-3 minutes to froth the milk. I think it works best with cold, skim milk if you want rich foam. I do like the taste more when using 2% or whole milk.
You’ll have hot froth (latte and cappuccino setting) and cold froth for iced drinks. Adding a few drops of your favorite syrup or creamer to your milk is fine, but don’t put ice directly in the frother.
If I need to compare it with similar frothers like Nespresso Aeroccino for example, Aeroccino makes much better froth. But, for a nice cafe-style drink at home, it’s not bad.
Keurig k-Cafe vs K-Elite
The K-cafe doesn’t have as many options as K-Elite – you can’t control the temperature, there’s no auto on and there’s no dedicated iced coffee button. That’s not to say that you can’t make iced coffee in K-cafe. While the iced coffee button on the K-Elite brews hot concentrated coffee directly over ice, you will use the Shot button to do the same with K-cafe. Plus, the built-in frother has cold froth option so you can make iced lattes with ease. Both models use any regular k-cup and work with reusable k-cups.
Keurig K-cafe vs Rivo
Like it’s predecessor, The K-cafe has a built-in milk frother with cold and hot froth option, and uses fresh milk. The main difference between the K-cafe and the Rivo are the pods. While Rivo used special Lavazza espresso pods and wasn’t compatible with regular k-cups, K-cafe works with any regular k-cup. However, the K-cafe makes regular coffee and concentrated brew similar to espresso, but not real espresso shots like the old Rivo machine. The Rivo machine has been discontinued two years ago.
keurig k-cafe vs ninja hot and cold brew
Even though K-cafe also has a built-in frother, Ninja features are hard to beat. The K-Cafe retails for $179.00 but for an extra $20, you will have so many additional options and you’ll morning cup of coffee will cost a lot less. One k-cup cost from $0.40 – $0.60, compared to $0.20 per cup when using ground coffee. Of course, Ninja is also better for the environment unless you’re using reusable k-cups, since it uses ground coffee. In my opinion, Ninja also makes better tasting coffee.
Keurig K-cafe vs Nespresso
The Nespresso Vertuoline pods are more expensive than Keurig k-cups and there are not as many different pod options. You will also need to order them online. Nespresso has a recycling program for their pods so you can recycle them, while Keurig still offers only a few recyclable pod options.
While Keurig makes a concentrated brew using regular k-cup, Vertuoline makes real espresso. Nespresso frother also makes better froth. Vertuoline does cost more ($249 machine and frother bundle), but you can often score a good price on Amazon.
MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT
The Keurig K-Cafe includes a limited one-year warranty for normal home use. To keep your machine in good shape, it’s recommended to clean the external parts or the brewer regularly and descaling it every three to six months. The machine has the maintenance reminder and will let you know when it is time to descale.
Quickly rinse the frother with water and a mild detergent after each use. The frother is dishwasher safe.
keurig k-cafe water filter
The K-Café is compatible with the Keurig Side Reservoir Water Filter (the one that works with 2.0 brewers), but it’s not included with the brewer so you will need to buy it separately.
Important: According to some reviews, it appears that Keurig K-cafe machine trips GFCI outlets. If you have an updated kitchen, you might have a problem with this model.
Making your own cappuccinos and lattes at home will definitely save you money. The Keurig K-Cafe is super easy to use and it’s much more convenient than frothing milk with a whisk. The fact it uses regular k-cups and makes regular coffee is great since that’s the reason why some didn’t like the Rivo machine.
But, don’t expect amazing crema or velvety froth, because this isn’t an espresso machine. If you’re looking for a perfect foam, programmable options or temperature control, a real espresso machine like Breville Infuser or Breville Barista Express would probably be a better choice.