With the introduction of Keurig’s K-Cup in 1998, the company became the unrivaled superstar of convenience specialty beverages. The K-Cup brewers became instantaneous hit, because prior to their introduction, not a single coffee maker existed which could deliver a single cup of high quality coffee in under a minute.
Each K-Cup is a self-contained unit with integrated filter and measured coffee grinds sufficient for a single serving. The real bonus of K-Cups lies with the large variety of drinks that are available. Everything from iced drinks like lemonade to numerous types of teas, hot chocolates, and coffees, can be made with the simple click of a few buttons without any fuss or mess. In addition to the parent company Green Mountain Coffee, beverages of other brands like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Tully’s, Maxwell House and others are also available in K-Cups; there are roughly 250 flavors to choose from.
Special Edition B60
A mid-tier model, the Special Edition B60 is a single serve home use brewer capable of making drinks in three sizes-namely about five, seven and nine ounce sized drinks. When the drip tray is removed, it can accommodate the large sized travel mugs. The control panel is illuminated with blue colored LCD back lights. The user has control over brewing temperature. This means that while the temperature for hot beverages will be between 187°F and 192°F, you have the option of choosing a lower temperature for making cold drinks. Unfortunately, the brew temperature is just below the ideal for the most flavorful coffee possible. For pod machines lovers, the brew temperature is adequate with no noticeable difference from 200° F.
The digital clock is programmable, which means you can turn the brewer on or off according to personal requirements. While the machine will not start the brewing process, it will turn the machine on, so the four minutes the machine needs to warm up before it can start brewing can be eliminated. If several drinks are required successively, then there is a fifteen second wait period between each. Typically this translates to the time required to remove the used cup and insert the next one in, before hitting the brew button again. The automatic off feature will be operational if the machine is not programmed to turn off at a certain time. It turns the unit off if it is not used for two hours continuously.
The whole purpose of the Keurig B60 is to offer convenience and speed. However, if you choose to grind your own beans and brew them instead of using the pre-packaged K-Cups, it is possible to purchase the reusable K-Cup filter kit which works perfectly with this model.
The water tank is a nice 48 ounce capacity. It is conveniently situated on the left side of the brewer for easy removal and refilling. While primarily a coffee maker, the B60 can also provide hot water in as little as twenty seconds, thus making the electric kettle a redundant item.
The Keurig B60’s one year warranty for standard home use kicks in from the date of purchase. Additionally, the company offers a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not happy with the unit. Keurig can afford to make this offer because it has a reputation for standing behind its products. There are countless reviews all over the net that vouch for this fact. Interestingly enough, one customer wrote “I’m on my third replacement and paid for only one”! Notice the customer did not return the brewer, just keeps getting them replaced and Keurig continues to oblige.
In general consumers are happy with the quality of the coffee the B60 makes, in addition to the convenience, speed and flexibility of single cups the brewer offers. The sleek compact design is also highly appreciated. The more finicky coffee drinkers feel that the flavor of the coffee made with single serve technology is not as rich as it can be. Majority agree that the K-Cups hold products of high quality but brew time and perhaps temperature contribute to the minor difference in taste. However, most are willing to overlook the minor flaw in lieu of the convenience the B60 provides.
Another factor that is a cause for concern for most consumers is the cost of the K-Cups. While it is possible to use the refillable K-Cups, it defies the purpose of the unit. According to a New York Times article one pound of coffee in K-Cups sets you back by around $50, whereas high class gourmet coffee costs less than half this amount. This off-course does not take into account any brewed coffee that goes to waste because it was not consumed, whereas with a single serve unit, only the actual amount the will get used is brewed. On a final note, convenience and ease also come at a cost.