28 October 2016

Keurig 2.0 K450 < Hot

As a coffee-lover, gadget geek and slave to convenience, I'd been keeping tabs on Keurig since its brewers first debuted, but had initially shied away from purchasing one because I didn't like the flagrant waste the K-Cups generated. However, once reusable filters were developed for the machines, which would allow me to compost my coffee grounds and not generate tons of trash that couldn't be easily recycled, I became more excited and started to seriously consider getting a Keurig.

Mind you, I still thought the ~$200 price point was a bit steep for such a gadget — considering I can use a single-cup pour-over filter for cents on the dollar — but I figured I'd find a good deal and eventually score a discounted one. Around Black Friday of last year, I got a Keurig 2.0 K450 single-serve + carafe coffee brewing machine using a gift card I earned writing some online knowledge-base guides. (I'm all about thrift and economy.)

I enjoy coffee. I'm big on beverages in general. And the thought of being able to quickly brew a cup of coffee with the "touch of a button" made me long for frosty mornings and the simple beauty of holding a hot mug in my hands while watching the steam rise over the rim.

So to the Keurig: it's quasi-modular (the H2O reservoir snaps easily onto its side) and black so it fits well with my plethora of other small kitchen appliances. It's a snap to operate. Simply touch the [ON] button, wait for the machine to pre-heat the water, lift the arm and insert a pod in the chamber, place a cup under the spout, select a brew size and/or type, and press the brew button — all of which takes roughly two minutes. It's so simple that my technology-inept siblings can operate it with ease.

I could customize everything quickly. Choose to brew a (4, 6, 8 or 10 oz) cup or a 3-4 cup carafe, choose to make it strong, or use various prefab K-cups to try a variety of coffee, tea and other beverages (or soups/broths). In spite of the DRM, I could brew what I wanted, how I wanted it. (The DRM is so ridiculously easy to defeat, if need be, I won't bother detailing how-to do it.) I thought I was in love.

Then I tried to drink a cup … and was disappointed. The coffee was lukewarm.

Yes, for all its convenience factor, for all its tech promise, the Keurig 2.0 K450 failed at the most basic tenant of coffee-making: producing a piping hot cup of coffee.

Despite being a gadget geek, I thought perhaps I was at fault. (I wanted it to be my error.) Did I miss a temperature setting? Had I not touched an unseen "hot" setting onscreen? I'd been snookered by the promise of one-touch brew heaven. I took to the internet. I did a little research and tried all the suggestions for "making a perfect cup in a Keurig". I warmed the mug, etc., etc.. but all the suggestions still resulted in lukewarm coffee.

Keurig literature states that this model does not have a temp change setting but that it is supposed to brew coffee to 190 degrees, presumably determined to be the perfect cup temperature by its coffee gurus, but my brewer doesn't produce anything near this. I measured it time and time again, and the best temperature I could get it to produce is 158 degrees, quite a bit off the 190 degree standard.

Was it a fluke? A defect? Back to the internet, this time to read reviews and complaints. I found consistent reports of people saying their machine did not heat the water well enough to make hot coffee. (There was even one fellow who stated this as the reason why he returned his purchase.) And while no-one quoted the actual brew temperatures their machines were producing, it seemed a common enough issue.

I considered returning the machine, but didn't. (It was basically a freebie anyway; the deal I scored when I bought it was that good.) Besides, one of my tech inept sisters loves it, even though she needs to microwave the cup of coffee to achieve a piping hot serving. She likes coffee but was too lazy to use a traditional brewer. Plopping a K-Cup into the chamber and pushing brew is about the most she can do. I think she considers walking to the microwave afterward some form of exercise. So I kept the machine for her benefit. She's excited by it. The dweeb.

But I am a gadget geek and I say, "Keurig, you can do better." This should be easy to correct.
My Rating: 2.5 stars (out of 5). The machine would be nearly perfect if it actually produced hot coffee. It doesn't and that's a pretty important thing for a coffee maker.

NOTICE: This post is a reblog from (the now defunct) castlemodern.tumblr.com. It was originally published 17-Feb-2016. Post may have been edited or updated from its original text.

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