Is Keurig worth it? To help you figure out the right answer for you, here are 6 things you should know before you buy a Keurig coffee maker.
Keurig coffee makers have been the thing for the past few years. They require little effort if any. You insert the pod, press the brew button, and discard the pod once you finish brewing. The only thing easier than using a Keurig is ordering coffee at Starbucks.
But like any appliance, Keurig has its pros and cons. The cost per cup is higher and there’s a lot of plastic and waste.
Ultimately, is Keurig worth it? The answer, of course, depends on who you are. What’s right for one person may not be right for someone else. To help you figure out the right answer for you, here are a few things to know before you buy.
1. Keurig is super quick, but only if you leave it on
If you drink several cups throughout the day and you keep your machine on, Keurig will save you so much time. The machine needs 60 seconds to brew an 8 ounce cup, and only 30 – 60 seconds to reheat the water for the next cup. Plus, you don’t need to deal with ground coffee or cleaning.
But, like any drip coffee maker, Keurig needs to heat the water first and this usually takes 3 to 4 minutes
So, that first cup will be ready in 4 to 5 minutes after you turn it on. If you keep your machine on, it will make each cup of coffee really quick. If not, you will need to wait for the machine to heat up again.
If everyone in your household has different tastes, Keurig will be a game-changer. It’s perfect for brewing quick single cups whenever you need it. But, if you usually make coffee for two or three people, or you like to refill your cup, you may be better off with a regular drip machine.
2. Keurig is not a lifetime investment
If I would need to pick one reason for not recommending a Keurig, it’s the quality. In the last couple of years, their quality dropped so much.
Some models feel cheap and flimsy, and they don’t last. Brewing partial cups or not brewing at all, leaking – there are so many complaints from customers.
Even the two latest models K-Elite and K-Cafe have issues. Both seem to have problems with GFCI outlets, while K-Cafe also has issues with the milk frother.
Of course, I’m not saying that all Keurig units are bad. But if you expect to get a top-quality machine for the price, Keurig is not the best choice. In terms of quality or longevity, Keurig is hard to recommend.
3. The taste
Keurig makes an average cup of coffee. If you’re not a coffee snob and you want a regular home brewer, Keurig is completely fine. It’s not the best cup of coffee in the world, but it’s not as bad as some claim.
What I don’t like is that you can’t control the process very much. You can choose k cups that fit your taste preferences, or brew at a smaller cup size for stronger coffee. But that’s it. Here are a couple of ways to make Keurig coffee taste better.
Also, Keurig brews the coffee at 192°F which is lower than optimal brewing temperature (195°–205°F). If you love your coffee really hot, you probably won’t like Keurig. The $130 Bonavita is a much better choice for the price. The coffee is always hot and it’s delicious.
The biggest concern with Keurig is how wasteful the system is. Most Keurig k cup pods are not recyclable. You can get a reusable k cup and use ground coffee. It’s also a cheaper way to make coffee with a Keurig. But, it’s less convenient than using store-bought k cups.
Others are more worried that chemicals from plastic may leak into the coffee. Single cup machines are made out of plastic and the pods are also plastic. While everything is BPA free and these products are safe, some people prefer to avoid plastic completely.
If you’re concerned about this, and you’re trying to reduce exposure to chemicals in plastic, then you don’t need a Keurig – or any automatic drip coffee maker. They all have plastic parts.
I recommend getting a French press or Chemex instead. Here are my favorite plastic-free brewing options.
Keurig is one of the easiest coffee makers to keep clean on a daily basis. You don’t have to wash anything – you take out the pod and throw it in the trash.
Actually somewhat inaccurate.
The coffee oils and grounds will build up over time. So you need to get out the k cup holder and clean everything. Here’s how often you need to clean a Keurig if you want your coffee to always taste good.
The bigger issue: Keurig has an inner tank that you can’t reach and clean. While daily cleaning is painless, it’s impossible to deep clean this machine.
I would recommend choosing a unit with lots of removable parts. You want to be able to clean every part that comes in contact with water or coffee grounds. Look for a removable brew basket, filter holder, and spray arm. These coffee makers offer just that.
6. Pods cost more
Depending on the brand, one k-cup cost from $0.40 – $0.60. When you use ground coffee the price per cup is usually around $0.20 – $0.30. That’s 50% less per cup of coffee. Even if you use high-quality coffee beans from specialty roasters, a cup of coffee at home will cost $0.65 per cup, which is almost the price of one regular Keurig k-cup.
Of course, there are some ways to save on k cup coffee. When you buy k cups in bulk they are 30 – 40 cents each.
What are good alternatives
If money is no object: Techivorm Moccamaster
The $300 Technivorm Moccamaster is expensive but it makes the best cup of coffee. All parts that come in contact with coffee are removable and they are easy to clean.
The machine preheats super fast and needs 6 minutes to brew a full pot.
Moccamaster is made in the Netherlands, it’s handbuilt, has a copper boiler, and comes with a 5-year warranty.
As far as coffee taste, it’s one of SCAA certified home brewers which means it brews at the right water temperature, brewing time, right volume, and water flow. Plus, it comes in almost 20 different colors!
If you’re looking for quality, ease of use, and a great-tasting cup of coffee, you will absolutely love this machine. I absolutely love mine!
Ninja Hot & Cold Brewed System
For those who’d rather own one coffee appliance that’s ready for anything, you should check this Ninja’s super versatile coffee maker.
The Ninja gives you so many brewing options. There are 6 different cup sizes: single cup, XL cup, travel mug, XL multi-serve, full carafe, and a half carafe. You can control the strength and style of your coffee by choosing standard brew, rich brew, over ice, cold brew, or specialty brew.
Ninja is one of the main Keurig competitors and the features they are offering for the price are really amazing.
If you know you want a single serve machine and nothing else, check out the Nespresso VertuoLine.
Nespresso pods are more expensive than k cups ($1.10 per coffee capsule, $0.85 per espresso capsule) and you’ll need to order pods online. But Nespresso Vertuoline can make regular coffee and also espresso shots.
Volume options are also perfect. By default, brewed coffee capsule makes 7.7 oz, while espresso makes 1.35 oz. You can also adjust the volume manually from 0.3 ounces up to 17 ounces! You can also set the default volume for your coffee and espresso.
Nespresso has a recycling program for their pods so you can recycle them and generally, the coffee tastes better. The machine and frother bundle normally costs $249, but they are often on sale on Amazon.
So many of my readers use Keurig machines and they are perfectly satisfied with them. The huge choice of k cups and ease of use is one of the main advantages of the Keurig system. These machines are a breeze to use and you can use them to make hot and iced coffee at home quickly.
I know it’s hard to sort out all the different models, so I created this guide to help you pick out the best one for you. Here’s what’s different from model to model.
If quality is a must for you, or you don’t like the idea of plastic coffee pods, you might want to consider other options as well.