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Your New Coffee Overlord
March 10, 2014 5:31 PM   Subscribe


 
Keurig is terrific, if you hate drinking coffee and having money.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:36 PM on March 10 [118 favorites]


What a glorious future I foresee, where I have to spend my weekends jailbreaking all my minor appliances!

Disgusting.
posted by boubelium at 5:36 PM on March 10 [25 favorites]


I wish Green Mountain would change their name to Greenwashing Mountain.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:39 PM on March 10 [6 favorites]


If the patent has expired, is there something now preventing a competitor from reverse-engineering the original coffee-maker and cutting Keurig out of the process entirely?

Seems like they'd have the competitive edge since they'd operate with the entire existing universe of coffee-pods.

(Although I'm going to admit knowing nothing about this space since the last time I saw a Keurig coffee-maker was about a decade ago.)
posted by chasing at 5:40 PM on March 10


I'm no longer much of a snob about many things in my life, but how I prepare my coffee produces such a simple pleasure that I don't see myself ever going back. Locally roasted beans that I hand-grind then steep for an ungodly amount of time before finally being pressed. The process involves no pods, and is so insanely strong that I drink less, so I'd guess I'm saving money. Who knows.
posted by item at 5:40 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Keurig is terrific, if you hate drinking coffee and having money.

My boss bought one for my unit and I've really enjoyed it. Hate using all that plastic, but no one reliably made a pot of coffee, and the coffee pot was always super gross because no one cleaned it, and no one wanted to buy coffee. Since she bought the Keurig, we've been informally taking turns buying the cups and sharing them. It's kind of a nice communal thing without dealing with people's shitty cleaning and poor sharing habits.

Anyway overall they're probably a net bad just for environmental reasons alone plus no Fair Trade Keurig cups but I think the coffee actually tastes fine.
posted by latkes at 5:40 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Those vile little canisters come to something like $30/pound for coffee, bad coffee.

I can see the appeal for the break room in offices, though. Since your mother doesn't work there and all.
posted by thelonius at 5:40 PM on March 10 [7 favorites]


Green Mountain plans to launch "Keurig 2.0" this fall, a new set of machines that will only interact with Green-Mountain-approved pods.

I never drank coffee. Then I bought a Keurig a few years ago to see if I REALLY didn't like coffee. I didn't want any of their shite pods packed with who knows what. So I bought a Keurig attachment that allowed me to use my own organic, shade-grown, Jamaican Blue Mountain non-blended coffee.

I ended up drinking 5 cups per day because it was actually good coffee, not that krap that is served at *$s. But unfortunately, I got nasty headaches once I stopped drinking it. So I just quit.

Can I not buy an attachment that will allow me to do that, boy-eee? Lawd have mursy.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:40 PM on March 10


They know these are still available everywhere, right?
posted by dortmunder at 5:41 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


What drotmunder did, only with a French press.
posted by NedKoppel at 5:43 PM on March 10 [9 favorites]


Yeah, Keurig cups taste worlds better than the nitrogen-packed shite my office used to buy. Still, taking a few minutes to grind up a few scoops of beans for the Aeropress is hardly more effort than navigating the breakroom.

Anyway, I doubt this will hurt Green Mountain as most customers are lazy and don't care to make DIY pods.
posted by planetesimal at 5:44 PM on March 10


Locally roasted beans that I hand-grind then steep for an ungodly amount of time before finally being pressed.
If you're going to over-extract it, rendering it bitter and ashy, why not just get whatever's cheapest at the grocery store?

Anyway, this is a shitty move by the keurig people. I hope it sinks them, but people (including myself) are very often willing to pay extra for convenience. I've been saying I should shift to safety razors for years, but I'm still using a damn cartridge razor.
posted by kavasa at 5:44 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Oooh burn!
posted by hal9k at 5:45 PM on March 10 [5 favorites]


Got a Keurig on a whim - plus an insane number of pod boxes - off some Best Buy points. It was like suburban crack house here for a weekend.
posted by hal9k at 5:46 PM on March 10 [10 favorites]


On one hand, I cannot believe that people ever buy the K-cup teas because COME ON, it's the same damn process.

On the other hand, my brother works for Green Mountain Coffee, filling little K-cups with coffee as well as apple cider and Snapple and all sorts of ridiculous things, and these idiotic K-cups keep him employed.

In conclusion, K-cups are a land of contrasts.
posted by maryr at 5:47 PM on March 10 [35 favorites]


Geez, look on the bright side - maybe they'll be bluetooth enabled and you'll be able to control them with your smartphone.
posted by carter at 5:48 PM on March 10


True story, worst job I ever had was working in a call center for a shady company that sold nothing but K-cups.
posted by threeants at 5:48 PM on March 10


When the non-profit I worked for moved from Shitty Old Office to Shiny New Office, there was a Keurig machine installed because I guess it fit the decor. But non-profits gonna non-profit so after about the week of no coffee that happened after the k-cups ran out during the first week there and no one could get clearance to order more, it was replaced with a regular old two-pot office coffee machine.
posted by griphus at 5:50 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Two Asian Palm Civets and a K-Cup®
posted by hal9k at 5:52 PM on March 10 [20 favorites]


>> Locally roasted beans that I hand-grind then steep for
>> an ungodly amount of time before finally being pressed.
> If you're going to over-extract it, rendering it bitter and ashy,
> why not just get whatever's cheapest at the grocery store?


The logical conclusion no one is willing to admit:
A tub of Costco caffeine pills.
posted by davel at 5:53 PM on March 10 [12 favorites]


If the patent has expired, is there something now preventing a competitor from reverse-engineering the original coffee-maker and cutting Keurig out of the process entirely?

There is nothing preventing this, and (it is alleged) it is exactly that sort of third-party competition that has prompted Keurig to introduce the new "2.0" pods and brewers, which use a different system -- presumably one protected by newer patents.

It's right out of a pharmaceutical company playbook, where once the drug patent expires, the original manufacturer tweaks it slightly in order to produce an "ER" version that's patent-protected, and try to convince everyone to "upgrade".

IMO, what it means is that original Keurig machines are a great deal. Buy them when they can, since the purchase price includes a sort of implied razors-and-blades subsidy on the coffee makers, and then you can go and get the generic K-pods from anyone now -- not just the license-paying Green Mountain. Bad for them, good for you.
posted by Kadin2048 at 5:54 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Also, k-cups will never cease to remind me of Fry's cookie machine.
posted by griphus at 5:55 PM on March 10 [11 favorites]


They know these are still available everywhere, right?

Percolators? Are you crazy? No, they're hardly available anywhere, because nobody wants crappy scorched coffee from a percolator.

I bought this Melita filter cone for $2.50 on sale. It takes 3 minutes 30 seconds to make a 12 oz cup of pour-over coffee (yes, I use a stopwatch).
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:58 PM on March 10 [7 favorites]


I've been saying I should shift to safety razors for years, but I'm still using a damn cartridge razor.

I tried that - way more trouble than it's worth. Send me your address and I'll send you a free safety razor kit. (I did give it a good try, and it just doesn't work for me. Even after the coffee.)
posted by sneebler at 5:59 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


My boss bought one for my unit and I've really enjoyed it.

They're good in offices where maintaining an office kitchen is no one's job and yet people still somehow want coffee. I've liked having an old Keurig with the refillable baskets (i.e. bring your own coffee) when I'm at work. The downside, as many people have noted, is that you pay for the convenience with less-good coffee and with more expensive coffee generally since the K-cups are a racket and I'm sure the pods will be more of a racket. But for any place that was previously paying a coffee "service" this saves them money and delivers what is actually a better product than that. For people who have a taste for good coffee, they weren't drinking the coffee service coffee and they won't be drinking Keurig 2.0 coffee either.

As much as it's nice to see businesses in Vermont that are locally branded and also doing well, this is disappointing. The related news is that Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. is now Keurig Green Mountain Inc. which ... bleh. This news notably uses the two words that are in both titles. From Vermont, I apologize.
posted by jessamyn at 5:59 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


A culinary device getting its marketing tips from Epson Inkjet printers. Probably its flavor as well.
posted by hal9k at 5:59 PM on March 10 [31 favorites]


What a coincidence, Coca Cola has acquired a 10 percent chunk of Green Mountain only within the last month or two.

They are doing this partly to develop a similar system for single serve cold beverages. Coke pods in the house, anyone?
posted by C.A.S. at 6:05 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Yep, printers are a perfect comparison. I used to have a passing acquaintanceship with the VP of one of the big printer companies, and he told me one time, with a "keep this between us" nudge and wink, that they would be happy to give the printers away for free, because the ink cartridges are so lucrative. But people don't think in those terms, so they happily pay for both the printer and the refills.

Razors and blades, man, razors and blades.
posted by jbickers at 6:06 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


A japanese hand grinder, well-sourced roast beans, and an aeropress, people. You don't need a pod
posted by C.A.S. at 6:07 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Coffee is holy sacrament from the Gods and should be treated as such. The idea of making proprietary coffee pods is just... man
posted by naju at 6:08 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


A japanese hand grinder, well-sourced roast beans, and an aeropress, people. You don't need a pod

Let me guess; you work from home? (As now do I ... but offices need what they need.)
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 6:08 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Or for $30 you can have a great cup of coffee and little to no waste.
posted by photoslob at 6:09 PM on March 10


" Coke pods in the house, anyone?"

My wife saw a story about that and has already asked several times when she can have fountain diet coke at home.
posted by COD at 6:09 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


I agree with Jessamyn, these are perfect for offices. Why anyone would have them at home is beyond me -- there are cheaper ways to drink bad coffee, and also cheaper ways to drink good coffee.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:09 PM on March 10


You can't DRM a French Press.
posted by Sara C. at 6:09 PM on March 10 [5 favorites]


For people who have a taste for good coffee, they weren't drinking the coffee service coffee and they won't be drinking Keurig 2.0 coffee either.

I was having this exact same conversation with a friend earlier who is always concerned that "X new lame coffee innovation is going to put you out of business!" because I work for a small craft roastery. This is basically what I repeat. (Most) People who buy coffee pod machines don't care about DRM, they don't care about quality coffee and they, ironically, don't want to spend $20 dollars a pound on coffee. The overlap between coffee-pod customers and high-quality coffee customers is remarkably small.

My favorite blog takedown of the coffee pod is over on DCILY. $20 dollars a pound will buy you some really damn fine coffee, locally roasted or not. And you'll spend the same amount that first year you buy your gear, even with a lower end, pretty good burr grinder. It only takes 4-6 minutes at most to brew up a good cup of coffee. This convenience thing is a bit overstated.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:09 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


I just ordered an Aeropress to use when I'm at work. What's the problem?
posted by naju at 6:10 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


It is likely that ink cartridge cases are going to be the precedent to deal with in this case, but before everyone assumes you can just reverse engineer and replicate a Keurig machine, consider that they have over 70 patents, many of which cover various aspects of the machine.

All this said, I give the machine a week on the market before someone finds a work-around, and given that (right now) the machines are not Internet enabled, applying a patch to kill any hack is going to be difficult.
posted by Muddler at 6:10 PM on March 10


I just bought an Aeropress on the advice of that other metafilter posting, and my typing speed has gone up considerably.
posted by sneebler at 6:10 PM on March 10 [17 favorites]


This convenience thing is a bit overstated.

Not that I'm not more in your camp taste-wise than the Keurig camp but I see this as a great exercise for people generally in the "other people have different priorities in life and aren't just bad versions of you" direction. Not you furnace.heart, just the general you. I know a lot of people for whom Keurigs solve a problem and they don't mind the downsides. I respect that. I also know a lot of people who wouldn't be caught dead with one and I respect that as well.

I know it's tough to get your head around but the goal state for people with Keurigs is generally not to just have the best cup of coffee. It's to have a coffee solution that is easy to clean up after, or that turns itself off, or that has pre-measured sizes, or that has all the brands that people like, or that makes cocoa, or that offers holiday flavors, or that you can buy at the department store, or that is easy to clean, or that can be modified to accept change, or that you can put in a place with no running water, or that descales itself, or can be put in a place without a kitchen, or that has funky modern lines, or that can make ten cups of passable coffee in five flavors (caf and decaf) in ten minutes. These things do not solve problems for me, but they solve a problem for an awful lot of people which is why these things are so popular.

I'm going to bow out since I think people (who are not me) love these coffee arguments for some reason; I find them often an indicator of larger social disconnects than just "I like good coffee a lot. This is not good coffee."
posted by jessamyn at 6:21 PM on March 10 [78 favorites]


Is Keurig really have such revolutionary technology that there won't be a bunch of competitors who can slowly scoop up disenchanted Keurig users tired of paying for the pods?

I mean Nespresso has tried to do this with their espresso machines and while I actually quite like the lattes I've had from them I'll never buy one because of the stupid pods (which even more obnoxiously you can only order and have shipped to you. I mean it's coffee for god's sake. What do they think I can just go for a week without it if I misjudge and forget to order it. Idiots. Even at the store where you buy the Nespresso machines you can't buy the damn pods that go with it even though they are sitting in a display case right there...)
posted by whoaali at 6:24 PM on March 10


Not to derail, but I've never felt comfortable using an Aeropress - boiling water and plastic (no matter what the manufacturer's assurances) seem an unhealthy combination. Even "BPA-free" seems not to provide any assurances, as discussed in this recent coverage. Back to coffee: a pour-over is fast and great.
posted by twsf at 6:25 PM on March 10


It only takes 4-6 minutes at most to brew up a good cup of coffee. This convenience thing is a bit overstated.

I don't drink very much coffee anymore, but having to spend five straight minutes paying attention to something I would rather not do if I had the chance, lest I fuck it up and have to start over is almost the definition of "inconvenience" for me, in the "ease of preparing a utilitarian beverage" context of convenience.
posted by griphus at 6:30 PM on March 10 [8 favorites]


Another issue that Keurig-style machines solve (taste aside) is that of variety. You're all probably too young too remember, but office coffee vending machines that offered a choice in hot caffeinated beverage were often the size of soda vending machines, and had crappy mechanical-push-button or touchscreen interfaces. With Keurig, all this malarkey is externalized to boxes of pods.

>boiling water and plastic
Aeropress recommends 175 F I think, which is 79.4 C. Which, coincidentally, is exactly the temperature that my $15 Black and Decker filter machine keeps a jug of water at. So I make a jug of hot water in the B+D, use some to pre-warm the coffee cup and cylinder, and then aeropress away.
posted by carter at 6:33 PM on March 10


In my house we've got a Keurig knock-off, a French press, one of those tiny stovetop espresso pots, a campsite-sized percolator, a programmable drip coffee maker, and a William-Sonoma butter warmer pot that I've used to make Turkish coffee.

I've also got a tiny jar of Italian instant espresso. And I buy those little jars pretty regular.

Now I'm thinking about buying one of those aero press things, plus I saw that video of the distinguished food writer guy making awesome coffee in that teapot looking thing on you tube. How come that didn't get posted? I thought that was what the Aeropress post was, but it wasn't!

Anyway, I guess my point is, I've searched the world over for the perfect device to make a cup of coffee, and all I've found is a lot of ways to make coffee.

Dont get me started on tobacco.
posted by valkane at 6:37 PM on March 10 [7 favorites]


I'm generally of Jessamyn's "everyone is different and that's OK" stance, but re five straight minutes paying attention to something, I don't know how other people are doing it, but my at-home coffee routine looks like:

Fill kettle and put on stove.

Wash French press and re-load with ground coffee.

Dick around on the internet for a minute or two.

Water boils. Pour into French press. Put on lid.

Dick around on the internet for 3 minutes.

Press down plunger. Pour.

Drink coffee.

It doesn't require constant attention, and the most involved part of the process is cleaning yesterday's grounds out of the press. If you're in a hurry, you can get ready for work instead of my "dick around on the internet" steps.

It's not as fast as a Kuerig, but if I'm making coffee at home anyway, the time difference isn't enough to be meaningful.

Like others have said, the real benefit of a Kuerig is offices. But my mom has a Kuerig at home and she really loves it, so who am I to judge?
posted by Sara C. at 6:42 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


There's certainly some kind of calculus of convenience, quality, price, time, and effort that informed people end up doing when they decide how they want to go about the daily coffee thing, and rational reasons to go with any of a number of options based on that. I use both drip and chemex depending on my mood/time, and grind my beans up. Some friends are perfectly aware of the coffee snob options out there, and still swear by drip and pre-ground Folger's. Whatever works for you! I used to balk at the price of k-cups when I bought them for my office, but then again some coworkers have a daily Starbucks habit.

My earlier comment about coffee being sacrament from the Gods is half-serious. I think it's worth finding the daily luxuries that you can in this life. A focused coffee ritual is like a little moment of zen in your day. Taking a little bit of time and effort to prepare a wonderful cup of coffee is a form of meditation. I feel like everyone should experience a tiny slice of divinity each day, even if everything else goes wrong. But I get the "coffee is just a caffeine delivery mechanism" viewpoint too, of course.
posted by naju at 6:55 PM on March 10 [6 favorites]


I know it's tough to get your head around but the goal state for people with Keurigs is generally not to just have the best cup of coffee.

I should have said that the time convenience angle is a bit overstated. Your other points are totally taken, and super valid. If it's just time, all other things considered, K Kups should be shown to be inferior. Your other criteria are pretty important. I wish there was a less wasteful way to solve those problems. It's something we try to do at work all the time.

I totally get this. Working in the industry there's alot of discussion about 'office coffee', and this is a really interesting perspective that I've honestly not seen things at…but that's because I live in a coffee bubble. A delicious, delicious coffee bubble.
posted by furnace.heart at 6:56 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


At home I drink my coffee black out of an Aeropress or French press, and that's easy and quick. At the office- no. Grounds are a huge mess, ground coffee can easily make a mess, hot water has to be microwaved in a suitable container (careful, don't super heat it). Grinding coffee is noisy, and that doesn't make friends. The grinder has to be kept somewhere, the beans have to be kept somewhere, and kept in stock on ones own. All of this at just the moment that I'm desperately looking for something warm, caffeinated and comforting. I don't love the Keurig, but it does solve a lot of problems.
posted by wotsac at 6:57 PM on March 10 [6 favorites]


I'm all in favor of anything that encourages people to hack the things they fucking bought and paid for.

Thank you, Keurig.
posted by codswallop at 6:58 PM on March 10


I own an Aeropress, and I own a K-cup machine, although it was a cheaper Mr. Coffee version that got even cheaper because I got a warehouse unit from Amazon. I really totally love my Aeropress, and I really have nowhere near enough brain to actually do it properly for my first cup of coffee in the morning. When I just want something tolerable to help me wake up, 'insert cup, push brew' is roughly my actual skill level. Of course it doesn't make the best coffee. It doesn't need to make the best coffee. I don't appreciate the best coffee first thing in the morning anyhow.
posted by Sequence at 7:03 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I don't drink coffee.

ENJOY YOUR SHITTY BROWN CORPORATE SLUDGE DRINK SUCKAS

(downs another Coke Zero)
posted by jscalzi at 7:18 PM on March 10 [29 favorites]


Smash the "Internet Of Things You Paid For But Do Not Control" with the pay-per-swing hammer.
posted by adipocere at 7:49 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


I've got to agree with the fact that some people like the convenience of having multiple options. Both my brother and friends who live down the street have K-Cup makers, and they love the fact that they can offer you 17 different blends when you come over. Personally I think it's 17 different shades of mediocre, but to each his own.

I generally stick with my French Press or use the Bialetti when I want an espresso.
posted by sauril at 7:58 PM on March 10


If it's just time, all other things considered, K Kups should be shown to be inferior.

But they aren't. I haven't tried everything, but anything that requires fresh grinding already takes the same amount of time, and "it takes 10 minutes of work but only brief effort every few minutes" is more aggravating and time-consuming than a cup.

They make perfectly adequate coffee. It isn't great coffee. But most of the time, I'm looking for a cup of perfectly adequate coffee to wake me up or warm me up or go with my breakfast. I don't have a Keurig at home, I have one at work. I often skip making coffee at home -- and I make good coffee, freshly ground beans, etc -- because it's just so much easier and faster to press a button and it's done. Also I like flavoured coffee, and I have nice options for that with a Keurig.

It's really convenient for my parents -- they wake up hours apart and like different kinds of coffee, so they can each have their own easily.

The DRM thing really intrigues me because I'm trying to figure out what they are going to do to the cups in order to add DRM.
posted by jeather at 8:02 PM on March 10


I'll continue to swear by my vac pot, or the espresso machine if I'm feeling fancy.

(As an aside, it's weird that the Aeropress brewing temperature is 175 F. For almost every other method you aim for 195 to 205 F.)
posted by sfred at 8:03 PM on March 10


Nth'ing the "good for offices" thing. At home, I grind my fresh-roasted coffee in a burr grinder, and then do a manual pour-over in a clever dripper using a timer and a scale, so I feel like I understand what "good" coffee tastes like. That is how I start my day, and I make a small thermos to take to work - another 16 oz. Yet. I still often end up having a K-cup in the afternoon. Every day, I'm doing a "taste off" between manual pour-over and K-cup. No question that my fresh-roasted pour-over coffee is better. But not *that* much better. The thing about the K-cup is that it makes a decent cup of coffee with no thought. None of my co-workers have the least interest in making their coffee on top of a digital scale or grinding beans on the spot in a burr grinder that costs more than their phone. For those folks, a K-cup will be the best cup of coffee they are going to have all day. That is Green Mountain's demographic, not me or the other coffee geeks in this thread.
posted by kovacs at 8:08 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


According to their FAQ Aeropress did extensive taste testing of brews at different temps. FWIW, I also put a bit of raw cane sugar in with the mix, and make it very strong, it tastes pretty good.
posted by carter at 8:09 PM on March 10


If Keurig wants to sell these with DRM, then fine. Free market and all that jazz. But they should have to--yes, Libertarians, the government will force them to if need be--put a very visible label on the machine that says "This machine will function ONLY with Keurig-approved coffee pods." And on the box. And on online ads, etc.

If that is done, I don't really have a problem with it. If people buy them and don't like them, they'll just have to chalk it up to buyer's remorse and move on.
posted by zardoz at 8:14 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


K-cups: ready before your hot pocket get cold ©®™
posted by oceanjesse at 8:15 PM on March 10


"Why anyone would have them at home is beyond me "

My wife bought me one for Christmas. It's ok. I use the reusable cups and once in a while she buys me some non Green Mountain K-Cups if she finds them on-sale somewhere. The biggest downside is that none of my travel mugs will fit.
posted by MikeMc at 8:17 PM on March 10


We have Keurig in our office kitchenette for all of these reasons of convenience. For the morning jump-start cup, it's fine. But me, I have a Nespresso in my own personal office, partly because it's better, but mostly because the smell makes my coworkers stuck on K-cups jealous. My triumph in petty office jealousies justifies Nespresso's extra cost.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:26 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I love my Keurig, mainly because my five-year-olds have learned how to use it to make their own cocoa. I can make my regular coffee or tea, my husband can make his mocha, and visiting family can make their decaf or half-caff or whatever.
posted by candyland at 8:29 PM on March 10


I find the K-Cups undrinkable. But. We have had a Keurig for over a year; we use our preferred freshly-ground beans in the reusable coffee filter (what other than the "My K-Cup® Reusable Coffee Filter"). It gets us around the fact that my beloved partner likes coffee that's undrinkably strong, while I like it more on the strong side of normal. Beyond that, our coffee bean consumption dropped greatly when we stopped wasting a half pot or so a day because neither of us was happy with the compromise product or willing to mess around doing an individual pot/press/batch when there's always so much good new stuff to read on the internet in the morning.

I can't wait to see the hacks people come up with if Green Mountain actually goes through with this.
posted by christinenewkirk at 8:31 PM on March 10


I use a French Press if I want a good cup. If I just want bitter caffeinated water, I just drink instant. I don't think Keurig coffee is worth it for the slight increase in quality over instant.
posted by FJT at 8:35 PM on March 10


My pet theory about Kuerig is that it's for the generation of people who grew up on drip coffee makers and can't entirely wrap their brains around a more analog way of doing it.

I mentioned upthread that my mom has a Kuerig and loves it. It replaced her countertop drip machine, which has two obvious downsides: 1. it takes fucking forever to make a pot of coffee, and 2. you can only make a whole pot of coffee, which is wasteful if you're just one person.

Of course it's true that a French Press (or pour-over, or aeropress, or moka pot, or... or... or...) makes coffee much faster than a drip machine, and you have much more control over how much coffee you make.

But my mom has always made coffee by putting the water in the machine, and putting the coffee in the machine, and pressing a button on the machine. The Kuerig is comforting in exactly the same way, but faster and better and perfect in every way as far as she's concerned.

People don't alter their coffee ritual easily. So the Kuerig is like a natural extension of the way that a certain generation of coffee drinkers is used to dealing with coffee.
posted by Sara C. at 8:38 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Wash French press and re-load with ground coffee.

I'm glad that I'm not the only person whose second step is washing yesterday's grinds out.

hot water has to be microwaved in a suitable container

In the commonwealth, we have electric kettles that plug into any socket. They are more common in offices than microwaves, and take a lot less energy. I know they are widely available in the US, but for some reason still not universally used.

When I went away to grad school, I took a kettle for my room. I was happy to travel four floors to use a microwave, but I couldn't possibly live without a kettle. When I stayed for 4 weeks in an odd rooming house in Kew, I didn't have kitchen access, but I was happy because the landlady provided me with a kettle and a two burner hot-top.
posted by jb at 8:38 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


My mom has a drip machine that is ultra fast. It's a tiny 4-cup (aka 2 mug) machine, so it goes through about as fast as a Tassimo. (Don't know if Keurig is faster again). But it's as fast as my French press.
posted by jb at 8:43 PM on March 10


Water in mug. Microwave on high for 1:22. Add instant coffee. Drink. Pee. Repeat.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:45 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I liked it when we had a Keurig machine at one job I was at; everyone could brew their favorite kind of coffee, and not be subjected to the standard office coffee.

And no one else drank the decaf, which meant more pods for me!

Yes, I drink decaf. I'm a monster.
posted by spinifex23 at 8:45 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


When I was a kid, my grandfather's auto garage had one of those old school vending machines that for a quarter would dispense coffee, hot chocolate or chicken soup. All at tongue searing reactor-core temperatures.

If the Keurig makes chicken soup, I'll buy one tomorrow.

Also, I realized much later that grandpa letting us kids drink coffee out of the machine was probably some sort of revenge against our parents.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:46 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


The DRM thing really intrigues me because I'm trying to figure out what they are going to do to the cups in order to add DRM.

From CNN:
"Each Keurig 2.0 brewer will have a camera that can 'read' a proprietary taggant material," Binette says, adding that it's similar to current anti-counterfeiting technology and will be "embedded on the lid of each Keurig brand pack."
posted by unliteral at 9:01 PM on March 10


If the Keurig makes chicken soup, I'll buy one tomorrow.

Get your wallet ready: Campbell's K-cups.
posted by FJT at 9:04 PM on March 10 [2 favorites]


I use a French Press if I want a good cup. If I just want bitter caffeinated water, I just drink instant. I don't think Keurig coffee is worth it for the slight increase in quality over instant.

There's actually some fairly decent instant out there, too. Not going to challenge a really good cup of well-brewed quality beans by any means, but well above office coffee and at least as good as any of the k-cup stuff I've had. Nescafe Clasico (produced for the Mexican market, you can find it in your friendly neighborhood supermercado) is my office go-to these days. Instant is weird in America, all over the world it's a pantry staple in places well known for quality coffee and the instants available in those markets are way better than most of the stuff produced for the American market.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:07 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


Each Keurig 2.0 brewer will have a camera that can 'read' a proprietary taggant material," Binette says, adding that it's similar to current anti-counterfeiting technology and will be "embedded on the lid of each Keurig brand pack.

Won't that massively increase the cost? What are they going to pretend is the upside for consumers?

I wonder what will happen to current Keurig machines, will they continue to make the DRM-free cups?
posted by jeather at 9:10 PM on March 10


I've had Lipton Instant Soup at my old office. It's basically the ramen flavor packet, with much less noodles. Hopefully Campbell's puts out a better product.
posted by FJT at 9:12 PM on March 10


I know it's tough to get your head around but the goal state for people with Keurigs is generally not to just have the best cup of coffee.

That's simply not true for many people. I have several family members that have Keurigs and when they describe them to me it comes out something like "it's so easy and it makes great coffee". Sure, there's some people that understand it's mediocre coffee, but for reason X they don't care. But plenty of others believe, no doubt, the Keurig makes great coffee.

I use an AeroPress. From grinding the beans to heating the water to drinking takes 4 minutes. The clean up about 10 seconds. I don't find it difficult because it's 6 am, and if there's any time I want good coffee, it's the first thing in the morning. The plastic pieces just get thrown back in the cabinet, and I have my counter back. I love the hands on experience. I love that I can control everything. I love everything about my AeroPress, with my French Press a distant second and only used when I'm making coffee for multiple people.

But I'd never try to convince anyone to use an AeroPress if they're using a Keurig. Most of my family would go back to their Keurig the second I pulled out what looks like a chemistry set. The AeroPress isn't for everyone. If they're happy, great. I'm a snob about my own coffee, not anyone else's.
posted by justgary at 9:19 PM on March 10 [5 favorites]


Lots of people like even McDonalds/Tim Hortons coffee which I heard are considered pretty horrible by coffee snobs. Some of this is what you are used to for sure.

latkes: "Anyway overall they're probably a net bad just for environmental reasons alone plus no Fair Trade Keurig cups but I think the coffee actually tastes fine."

You can get a reusable K-Cup which allows you to use what ever kind of coffee you want. We have one and it works pretty good for those rare times when we are making a lot of coffee (my game nights mostly).

Dip Flash: "I agree with Jessamyn, these are perfect for offices. Why anyone would have them at home is beyond me -- there are cheaper ways to drink bad coffee, and also cheaper ways to drink good coffee."

We (well my wife) make about 3-4 cups of coffee a week. The Keurig is perfect for us because K-cups don't go bad at the rate we use them (unlike say a pound of coffee) and the annual cost is low. Plus like others have said my daughter can make her own hot chocolate/apple cider.

jb: "In the commonwealth, we have electric kettles that plug into any socket. They are more common in offices than microwaves, and take a lot less energy. I know they are widely available in the US, but for some reason still not universally used. "

North American kettles are only half as powerful as commonweath kettles which reduce their immediate usefullness.

jeather: "I wonder what will happen to current Keurig machines, will they continue to make the DRM-free cups?"

I could see it going either way but the key thing is they'll stop making the non DRM machines so the userbase for drm-free cups will slowly go away.

And if the DRM really is a camera readable image this seems like a plan destined to fail.
posted by Mitheral at 9:23 PM on March 10


That this is being attributed to DRM's precedent is making me grind my teeth. Vacuum cleaner bags. Razor blades. Spongemop heads. Shimano bicycle parts. The software industry did not invent every kind of terrible rip-off, dammit - we've been being ripped off this way since shortly after industrial-scale manufacturing provided a distinction between proprietary and standardized parts. The excuse here is digital - oh, no, we can't possibly let you use our competitors' pods, because computerized coffee interface fancy special custom magic technoyum - but DRM is just a special case of a much older consumer trap.
posted by gingerest at 9:26 PM on March 10 [5 favorites]


I swear by my ca phe phin. Virtually indestructible (though the little plunger thing had a disagreement with a garbage disposal once...and came out only a little dented), dead simple to use, stupidly easy to clean...makes one cup for one man at the cost of nearly nothing.

The lid to mine has gone missing, though.
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 9:29 PM on March 10 [5 favorites]


I wonder what will happen to current Keurig machines, will they continue to make the DRM-free cups?

Of course not. They'll start with simple amino acid upgrades. Then, before you realize it, you'll be needing the added lysene. Thanks Michael Crichton!
posted by valkane at 9:32 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


Even with my fevered googling, I still managed to misspell it: Lysine.
posted by valkane at 9:46 PM on March 10


So Nespresso isn't big in the US? Because if Keurig annoys its customers, it seems like there are non-restrictive, similar alternatives.

What would you even call this? Coffee Rights Management? Cupsorship?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:59 PM on March 10


So Nespresso isn't big in the US?

The commercials are all over Hulu, but I've yet to see it in the wild.
posted by valkane at 10:03 PM on March 10


I've seen a few in small offices in New York, and looked into getting one for offices I've worked in.

The upshot, as someone said upthread, is that you have to order the pods online. When I stocked the office coffee, it was much more convenient to have an account with a local coffee company that provided a plumbed in Kuerig (no need to ever refill the water) basically for free as long as we ordered a certain number of k-cups per month. With a nescafe machine, they don't offer any machines that can handle large office volume and there's the proprietary pod problem. You can't just run out and pick up a box of k-cups if there's an ordering emergency.
posted by Sara C. at 10:08 PM on March 10


The only good thing I have to say about K-cups is being able to have decaf at an office if I forget my travel tea kit (complete with powdered whole milk). But my perfect all-steel/all recyclable travel mug doesn't fit in the damn K-machine.
posted by Dreidl at 10:15 PM on March 10


I find them often an indicator of larger social disconnects

Well yeah. You have people wasting stupid amounts of money on their single-serving-friend coffee/tea where the product is by weight 50% plastic, which goes straight into a landfill. The hell with coffee snobbery - Keurig is a perfect emblem of modern-day Ameica: let's trade a bunch of money for a couple minutes of convenience at the small expense of the planet we're destroying with lazy thoughtless consumerism.
posted by crayz at 10:28 PM on March 10 [15 favorites]


Oh you glorious coffee snobs - I just finished my first cup of instant for the day: it was good.
posted by Dr Dracator at 10:49 PM on March 10 [3 favorites]


One of the organizations that I consult for has a Keurig in their break room. I shunned it at first, but after they got rid of their old coffee maker I started using it from time to time and the darn thing won me over. It's true that the time it saves is fairly negligible in the long-run, but dammit, when I want coffee I want it now, and it's great for that. It's also nice that I don't have to choke down something wretched like cheap artificial hazelnut flavored coffee if that's what someone elected to brew a pot of. And there is a certain amount of novelty and self-indulgence involved in using a Keurig that I find oddly pleasurable (which... may or may not be all that healthy, granted).

My awesome boyfriend surprised me with a Keurig a few weeks back, and we've been in heavily-caffeinated heaven ever since. Most of the time I use the reusable mesh cup with my go-to coffee brand, but we keep a small variety of the k-cups around and it's nice to be able to easily switch things up if the fancy takes me.

Maybe I'm not as discerning about coffee As I thought I was, but I drink close to a pot of coffee over the course of any given weekday and I think the Keurig brews a perfectly fine cup of joe. There's undoubtedly superior brewing methods, but it's just as good if not better than a normal coffee pot, and for grabbing a quick cup of coffee between projects, that's all it needs to be for me.
posted by kryptondog at 10:53 PM on March 10


(I should add that the whole DRM business with the new Keurig models leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Just like cheap artificial hazelnut flavored coffee. )
posted by kryptondog at 11:02 PM on March 10


His thoughts were red thoughts: "So Nespresso isn't big in the US? Because if Keurig annoys its customers, it seems like there are non-restrictive, similar alternatives."

I love my Nespresso machine, but I also live in a city with a Nespresso cafe/boutique where I can and do buy single tubes retail, and where I can drop off used pods for recycling. And try all their new blends for free...

It also makes better espresso than the two coffeeshops on my block. Not better than my favorite coffeeshops in the city, but definitely the best in my neighborhood. Plus, if it's good enough for Heston Blumenthal, it's good enough for me.
posted by danny the boy at 11:09 PM on March 10 [1 favorite]


I have a Tassimo machine at home. My flatmate and I rarely drink coffee at home so if we were to buy grounds or beans they would certainly go stale before we drank even a tiny portion of it. It's mostly there for friends when they come over or the rare occasion that one of us feels the need for a cup. It's perfectly suited for that.

That said we obviously aren't a profitable piece of the market :)

And the Tassimo's already have the functionality that the Kurig 2.0 are introducing. Each T-cup has a bar code so that they can have different brew times and temperatures. But since they don't call it DRM it wouldn't break the same laws if someone were to want to make third party cups I imagine.
posted by cirhosis at 11:17 PM on March 10


I'm pretty sure I'm incapable of having less sympathy than I do for the buyers and users of these enormously wasteful rip-off machines.

On the bright side, there's a decent chance the manufacturers are shooting themselves in the foot with this move. So, yay?
posted by dry white toast at 11:22 PM on March 10 [4 favorites]


Wellington, New Zealand, is a coffee-obsessed city. Starbucks is a failure in Wellington and it looks like they're going to pull out. I walked past the new Nespresso showroom/store today. They launched with great fanfare a couple of months ago. It was deserted.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:13 AM on March 11


Hot water has to be microwaved? Do US offices not have kettles ?
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:27 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Ah, the combination of state-sanctioned drug addiction with capitalism. How else would we get up in the morning?
posted by Earthtopus at 1:37 AM on March 11


If you don't have a Bunn commercial airpot brewer hooked up to the water lines, you ain't even hardly officing.
posted by Devils Rancher at 1:42 AM on March 11 [7 favorites]


Hot water has to be microwaved? Do US offices not have kettles?

Not only that, but we have nowhere to heat the kettles we don't have. Most offices in which I've worked have a couple of break/snack rooms with a counter, a fridge, a microwave, and a Keurig.
posted by pineappleheart at 2:01 AM on March 11


That this is being attributed to DRM's precedent is making me grind my teeth. Vacuum cleaner bags. Razor blades. Spongemop heads. Shimano bicycle parts.

The difference between those things and the Keurig machines that makes people call it DRM is that it's not a case of Green Mountain being the only ones who can make coffee pods that "fit" the machine. It's that they have to add additional technology to the machine to make it reject pods that physically would work just fine.

(And I suspect, as with most other DRM, a tweak to defeat the system would be pretty trivial. At some point the DRM computer has to be connected to a dumb "on" switch to start the brewing.)

When they start selling vacuum cleaners with computer chips whose only function is to reject off-brand bags that would otherwise fit the machine, I'll call that DRM as well.
posted by straight at 2:45 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


I have one at home for my wife, since I don't drink coffee. I haven't bought K-cups for it since the inital purpose because we bought a reusable filter cup. Since it is only my wife who drinks it, it is easier to make just what she needs in the morning, and don't waste half a pot of coffee. Plus, we can put whatever coffee we want into it. No plans to upgrade in this household.
posted by Badgermann at 4:25 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


You can't DRM a French

Yeah, but the good stuff is paywalled.
posted by ShutterBun at 4:37 AM on March 11


Hot water has to be microwaved? Do US offices not have kettles?

Generally, no. There is often a hot water spigot on the coffee machine, though -- however, when it comes to making tea, it's not hot enough.

Electric kettles are uncommon here. Part of it is we typically have less power available at an outlet (120V/15A=1800W, vs. 240V/13A=3120W) so they're slower. I have one at home, but most people wouldn't.
posted by eriko at 5:03 AM on March 11


Sara C.: "You can't DRM a French Press."

©offeeright?
posted by chavenet at 5:08 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


Hot water has to be microwaved? Do US offices not have kettles?

Most places that I've worked have them but generally only used for tea, not coffee. Any office that I've worked in would freak if you tried to use a french press since they make such a mess.
posted by octothorpe at 5:22 AM on March 11


The only people I've known who drank instant coffee would be over 100 year old if they were still alive. My ex's grandfather drank it using just water from the hot water side of the kitchen sink.
posted by octothorpe at 5:28 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


My wife loves her Keurig, as it's pop in a pod, hit a button, and nothing to clean beyond a simple wipe. I love this too, buuuut...

I like A LOT of coffee. A local potter added a new "grandfather mug" to their dinnerware line after I told him I used the standard large mug (the "father mug") he gave me on his birthday(long story) to hold pens, because it doesn't hold enough coffee. I have to burn thru 2 K-cups to fill it, and you do NOT want to re-use a K-cup, even if it's been only a minute, unless you like the taste of mud and old coffee grounds. The refillable metal K-cups are a hassle, as you need to empty, rinse, refill and run another cycle. K-cups are pricey as hell for what you get, and for two or three K-cups, you might as well stop by Dunkin' Donuts for a large.

So, I'm investigating an Aeropress, which I understand makes a strong concentrate I then dilute with hot water in the mug, and a 9-cup Moka Pot (9 espresso cups, not SAE cup, maybe to normal mug's worth). The Aeropress seems like a lot less hassle to operate and clean, but the Moka pot looks cooler - they both apparently make a darn fine grandfather-mug o' joe.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:31 AM on March 11


I bought my wife a Keurig machine for Christmas, because our beloved 10-year-old Capresso with the integrated Swiss burr grinder can't handle flavored beans (gums up the works) and we don't use decaf often enough to justify buying it pre-ground, and there's no practical way to switch out the caffeinated beans in the grinder for decaf when desired. Capresso still makes my morning coffee, but the Keurig has been making flavored things on weekends or an additional cup on the way out the door. We have been using some non-Keurig pods I found at Costco, shade-grown organic coffee in a biodegradable package, works out to something like 30 cents per pod even though it wasn't on sale. Best we had done prior to that was 40¢ per pod using Trader Joe's knock-off pods. Still, even the TJs pods are half the cost of the Keurig-branded ones.

Now for the fun part: for my birthday, my wife picked up one of the Keurig use-your-own-beans refillable things. And it will not work in our Keurig machine. I bought the "office" version, not the home version, because it is made of higher-grade materials, has a longer effective shelf-life, and has features to automatically empty the internal water reservoir among other things. But it also has a weird little plastic ridge at the back end of the pod holder. The entire purpose of that ridge seems to be intentionally making the My K-Cup cartridge not fit. There is no other reason, mechanical or otherwise, for that ridge to exist. Why? Who knows. The Keurig guys are assholes I guess.

My Aeropress arrived yesterday. Take that, Keurig.

We would have gotten a Nespresso machine instead except she isn't into espresso, and that's all it makes. But the coffee in the Nespresso pods is actually damn good, we have one in my office.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:38 AM on March 11


Hot water has to be microwaved? Do US offices not have kettles?

My US office has nothing. No, scratch that, there's one biohazard of a microwave. No kettles, no fridges, no water fountains. Yup, if you want water that didn't come from the bathroom sink you have to pay for it.

I had a kettle in my cubicle but I was told it was a fire hazard if it was plugged into the cube wall. Apparently these outlets are only for decoration. I make a French press at home and bring a Thermos to work, like some kind of longshoreman.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:48 AM on March 11


I guess I'm the only person here who doesn't like Nespresso.
posted by jeather at 6:13 AM on March 11


I'm surprised that 100 comments in, no one has mentioned (unless I missed it) these things. It's a refillable k-cup. You buy or grind your own coffee, fill the cup (there are several different brands out there (this is the one I use because it comes with a removable mesh filter,) and voila. It probably takes about between 1 and 2 teaspoons of grounds per cup.

We only buy K-Cups when we want to make instant hot chocolate for the kids.
posted by zarq at 6:39 AM on March 11


I know a lot of people for whom Keurigs solve a problem and they don't mind the downsides.

I've started thinking of these things as perpetual motion and consumption devices. Not the Keurig specifically but the plethora of modern conveniences. We need these things to save us precious time because we need that precious time to earn money to buy more things to save us more time.

That it makes coffee instead of being a transportation device or a computer only makes it more bittersweet depending on how you take it.
posted by srboisvert at 6:42 AM on March 11 [3 favorites]


I rarely drink coffee anymore, and would never buy one of these wasteful bits of nonsense. I totally get why some people find them useful, and they certainly make sense in many office settings, but I'm hoping someone comes along and disrupts the market by offering the same convenience and variety with a) better quality, and b) less or no waste.

If morning convenience is what you want, though, do what my better half's family did: they got one of those all-in-one machines that grinds, foams milk for cappuccino or latte if you want, etc etc etc. All you have to do is keep it filled, and give it a small glass of milk to drink for fancy espresso-based things. Really is just as easy, you can fill it with whatever kinds of beans you prefer, and coffee's ready with your toast.

It's fantastic. The only real quality limitation is the beans you use. Add mug, push button, fresh coffee in a couple of minutes. No waste from making too much.. it's just great, and more and more often I find myself having a lazy Saturday or Sunday morning cappuccino with our pancakes. Yet I don't even have a coffee maker of any sort at home.

At an office I used to work in, we had that machine's granddaddy--plumbed into the water line, refrigerated compartments for milk and cream, two hoppers for beans (so you could do caf/decaf, coffee/espresso, flavoured garbage/drinkable, whatever). Only thing missing, really, was somewhere you could attach a bottle of Bushmill's for Irish coffee. Obviously the thing cost as much as a small car, but fuck did it make great coffee.

If there's a newer version of the above machine, with the ability to add alcohol (for Happy Coffee) or use chocolate syrup (fresh hot chocolate yes), I wants it, precioussssss.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:57 AM on March 11


If morning convenience is what you want, though, do what my better half's family did: they got one of those all-in-one machines that grinds, foams milk for cappuccino or latte if you want, etc etc etc.

You need to go through a lot of coffee to work off the price of one of those things, though. (Covet, covet, covet.) Keurigs give convenience at an affordable price.
posted by jeather at 7:10 AM on March 11


Hot water has to be microwaved? Do US offices not have kettles ?

In my American office, tea was made with hot water created by running tap water through a second hand drip coffee maker. Mmmmmmmmm.
I always bring my caffeine from home, so I never attempted to fix their mistake.
It wasn't until they hired someone married to a South African that a kettle was secured for office use.

It turns out that a kettle maintained to the same level as an office drip pot is equally revolting.
posted by Seamus at 7:29 AM on March 11


The hell with coffee snobbery - Keurig is a perfect emblem of modern-day Ameica: let's trade a bunch of money for a couple minutes of convenience at the small expense of the planet we're destroying with lazy thoughtless consumerism.

I hate to break it to you, but coffee period is not really great for the environment.
posted by Ham Snadwich at 7:29 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


A lot of people blaming Keurig for this when it's Green Mountain who purchased Keurig in 2006 and clearly stands to benefit from the licensing program they sell for K-Cups.

We have a Keurig at the office, but I long ago bought myself a second Aeropress and use it at work. It's just better coffee, although I do get a small Prius-buzz about not dumping hundreds of those non-recyclable cups into our landfills, especially since better options are just as easy.

I brew with mine flipped over - or as fancy people call it "inverted brewing" - which just means I can fill my Aeropress up right at the Keurig station or using the hot water valve on the bubbler, and then walking back to my desk to finish the process. It's honestly easier than digging through all the leftover Blueberry K-Cups for the one that is flavored like coffee.

For those with an Aeropress, I heartily recommend Kaffeologie's reusable S Filter for the Aeropress. $18 to basically never have to replace a filter again. It's awesome.
posted by iheijoushin at 7:40 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


You need to go through a lot of coffee to work off the price of one of those things, though. (Covet, covet, covet.)

That's true, but AFAIK price has been coming down, features going up on these things. I'd imagine from this thread alone that there are enough people who want convenient+good coffee, and are affluent enough, that they represent a market for all-in-one machines as soon as someone hits a reasonable price point.

Don't get me wrong, theirs isn't perfect; I think it over-foams the milk, so you get this sort of really airy foam. But it's still pretty damn awesome, and I think there's probably someone pretty smart out there who can figure out how to mass-market such a thing without being wasteful, proprietary tech dickheads about it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:42 AM on March 11


I'm another Keurig in the office person (drinking right now). The coffee situation here was becoming disgusting and I finally just broke down and bought one with AmEx points. Now, there is no more burnt, mouldy leftover coffee waiting for someone's mom to clean up.
posted by Sophie1 at 7:44 AM on March 11


That's true, but AFAIK price has been coming down, features going up on these things. I'd imagine from this thread alone that there are enough people who want convenient+good coffee, and are affluent enough, that they represent a market for all-in-one machines as soon as someone hits a reasonable price point.

I'm on that waiting list. Though I'm about to go get a cup of coffee from the Keurig now.

But honestly, my parents aren't. They don't want convenient espresso, they want convenient coffee that makes single servings.
posted by jeather at 7:45 AM on March 11


*eats Nescafe Clasico straight out of the jar with a spoon while reading thread*
posted by loquacious at 8:09 AM on March 11 [8 favorites]


*eats Nescafe Clasico straight out of the jar with a spoon while reading thread*

You write that as if there is another way to consume it?

I... I don't think there is another way?
posted by winna at 8:26 AM on March 11


Man, all this talk of coffee reminds me I should probably get up and go make myself a cup of tea. BRB.
posted by Kitteh at 8:28 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


planetesimal: "Still, taking a few minutes to grind up a few scoops of beans for the Aeropress is hardly more effort than navigating the breakroom."

You... have a much more mazelike breakroom than the one 30 feet from me.

(Actually, that's kinda cool - does it have hedges, or just walls too high to step over?)
posted by IAmBroom at 8:59 AM on March 11 [1 favorite]


They make perfectly adequate coffee. It isn't great coffee. But most of the time, I'm looking for a cup of perfectly adequate coffee to wake me up or warm me up or go with my breakfast.

Same here, plus one. I bought ours when my wife lost her vision a few years ago. Now she can make her own coffee, tea, and cocoa during the day without worries about measuring/scalding/spilling, and so on.

It's independence.
posted by Mogur at 9:12 AM on March 11 [4 favorites]


The deal with the all-in-one things is that they break CONSTANTLY.

And, you know, it's coffee.

Do you want to wake up in the morning to discover that the coffee maker is jammed again? I don't.
posted by Sara C. at 9:17 AM on March 11


You write that as if there is another way to consume it?

Yes, there is. Pair it with a jar of nutella and use the same spoon.
posted by loquacious at 9:24 AM on March 11 [9 favorites]


loquacious: You're evil incarnate.

{{makes plans for a grocery store run after work, and for never sleeping again}}
posted by seyirci at 9:28 AM on March 11


The new office suite where I work has a Keurig, primarily because we have water for the cooler but not a full sink. The plastic cup waste bugs me, but I'm not certain I'm doing any better going french press if I'm using a towel to dry stuff off.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 9:32 AM on March 11


The deal with the all-in-one things is that they break CONSTANTLY.

That has not, at all, been my experience. However since they live in offices, often, where no one's responsible for taking actual care of them, they are more poorly maintained than they should be and, like more poorly maintained stuff, they break. There are a lot of libraries in this neck of the woods that use them either as freebie/donation things or as coffee/tea vending machines. And yeah, they offend my sensibilities with their waste and meh coffee, but I also haven't gotten over the post office switching ti plastic stamps so my opinions are suspect.

And I should mention that even though I have an office with one and my dad's place has one that we use sometimes, at home I'm a "What sort of coffee do you like?" person where I'm making stuff in the Mr. Coffee espresso maker (shut up) and have drip and french press options for people. I also got an electric kettle last year which has been great. They're definitely not as prevalent in the US as they are in Canada and the UK but man are they good to have.
posted by jessamyn at 9:34 AM on March 11 [2 favorites]


By "all in one things" I'm referring to those spendy Breville machines that grind the beans, brew the coffee, steam the milk, fry up bacon, scrub your toilet, etc.

Not Kuerigs, where, you're right, the best thing about them is that they just work, and it's consistent, and you can basically forget about them.
posted by Sara C. at 9:49 AM on March 11


When I say aero, you say press!

AERO!

press!

AERO!

press!
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:22 AM on March 11


I should probably get up and go make myself a cup of tea.

Now that I think about it, since I've been using the French Press, there should be nothing holding me back to get a Matcha tea set, since one of the original reasons I didn't get one was it was too much work. If I'm willing to grind beans, heat water, steep, and plunge, then it shouldn't be a big deal to heat water and whisk.

I've hear the caffeine hit is the same level as a coffee or espresso, but it's a less jittery hit that coffee.
posted by FJT at 11:24 AM on March 11


*eats Nescafe Clasico straight out of the jar with a spoon while reading thread*

Nescafé No Es Café
posted by straight at 12:01 PM on March 11


Since I've stopped working in an corporate office, the only place I use a Kuerig anymore is at my bank and the car dealership. They're everywhere in these kinds of places, I assume, because this is New England and as a whole we are way more into coffee than we are into good coffee. See Dunkin' Donuts.

It seems like a lot of people on the "Kuerig is dumb" side of things conflate convenience with time, which I think misses the point for a lot of people who use them. As some others have mentioned, they are convenient in that they are easy. You don't have to learn a process, you don't have to babysit anything, you don't have to clean up afterwards. Put the pod in, press the button, coffee.
posted by rollbiz at 12:14 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


I'm generally of Jessamyn's "everyone is different and that's OK" stance, but re five straight minutes paying attention to something, I don't know how other people are doing it, but my at-home coffee routine looks like:

Fill kettle and put on stove.

Wash French press and re-load with ground coffee.

Dick around on the internet for a minute or two.

Water boils. Pour into French press. Put on lid.

Dick around on the internet for 3 minutes.

Press down plunger. Pour.

Drink coffee.


Adding a tip for Sara C. : Skim the top before you plunge. Why push all of those grounds through if you don't have to?
posted by NedKoppel at 12:24 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


Because then I can get rid of the grounds in one quick slam of the grounds-puck out of the press and into the trash, as opposed to wasting a minute and dirtying an extra spoon.
posted by Sara C. at 12:28 PM on March 11


The Keurig, it turns out, is the perfect habitat for ant colonies. Gross. Never again.
posted by vitabellosi at 1:24 PM on March 11


You should be able to pour your coffee grounds directly from your french dress into your sink drain as you wash it. I also used to empty mine into the trash first because I was worried about clogging the sink, but it turns out coffee grounds can actually help reduce sink clogs so into the drain they've been going for several years now with no ill effect. Saved me, literally, seconds a day :)
posted by word_virus at 2:12 PM on March 11


Is there a Keurig Blind Test Challenge yet?
posted by fantodstic at 3:08 PM on March 11


North American kettles are only half as powerful as commonweath kettles which reduce their immediate usefullness.

When I mentioned electric kettles I. the Commonwealth, I was including Canada, which is where I was live - my apologies for not being clearer. Canadian electric kettles are exactly as powerful (or not) as other North American kettles, and they work perfectly well.

Not only that, but we have nowhere to heat the kettles we don't have. Most offices in which I've worked have a couple of break/snack rooms with a counter, a fridge, a microwave, and a Keurig.

There aren't any wall sockets in the break room? You can unplug the microwave or Keurig if necessary.

I had an electric kettle in my locker in high school (in Toronto). We would run it off the socket nearby and have tea or instant oatmeal or cupasoup.
posted by jb at 3:27 PM on March 11


(We did have to live with powdered milk in our tea, what with not being able to fit a fridge in a high school locker as easily as a kettle. But still the best tea for $0.00 (tea, milk powder & sugar being taken from mom's cupboards), which was exactly the money I had for tea/lunch in those days.
posted by jb at 3:29 PM on March 11


This news is a little confusing because Keurig already introduced a Keurig-2.0 system, the Vue, which uses a different incompatible pod (albeit with no DRM). It was introduced last year, just about when the K-cup patents expired. I don't think it's really caught on and you can still buy new K-cup makers.

I like the tradeoffs of the K-cup system myself. The coffee is pretty good and the fact that every cup is fresh brewed overcomes any argument about local roasted beans for me. (Seriously, it replaced me microwaving yesterday's drip leftovers, so upgrade!). At $0.60/pod a cup costs just about double what making it from $10/pound local roasted beans costs. I can afford to pay for that convenience, so it works for me.

This current DRM plan is sheer idiocy. I'm sure it will work just as well as the way DRM in Blu-Ray players ended up killing off that whole format. Then again the patent expiration hasn't really brought a torrent of cheaper K-cup alternatives, so maybe the market is less competitive than I'd hope.
posted by Nelson at 3:35 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


At $0.60/pod a cup costs just about double what making it from $10/pound local roasted beans costs.
$0.37 at Aldi here in Australia.
posted by unliteral at 4:40 PM on March 11


Then again the patent expiration hasn't really brought a torrent of cheaper K-cup alternatives

Cheaper ones? No. But unlicensed, non-tithing ones? Definitely yes. Lots of companies are selling K-Cup compatible pods now. You can generally tell which because the licensed ones typically seem to have the Keurig logo on the foil on top; unlicensed ones don't.*

They're charging about the same price as the Green Mountain, Starbucks, etc. pods, but presumably are making more margin because they're not kicking any back to Keurig. One can only assume that annoys Green Mountain, and if Keurig didn't do anything, even GM (and certainly SBUX) might eventually start to question why they're paying Keurig whatever it is they're paying. From there, the whole razors-and-blades model falls apart.

My guess is that Keurig figures they can keep making the K-Cup 1.0 pods indefinitely, as long as there's demand, but they're going to eventually stop selling the machines and push people to the new 2.0 format as the machines wear out. The low-end K-Cup machines are engineered for a minimum of one year's life or so of regular household use, with many failing around 2 or 3 years (the office models, however, are designed for a much higher usage level, so if you want a machine spend the few extra bucks for one of those; you also get a pump drain feature) so they don't have to really convince people to switch, eventually they'll be forced to if they just cease production.

Maybe someone else will make a K-Cup 1.0 compatible machine, but either Keurig has better patent protection on the machines than on the cups, or nobody is interested in competing with them on the machines because of the artificially low price they sell them at. (Or both.) It'll be interesting to see whether, if they really do tighten the screws and stop producing K-Cup 1.0 machines, if someone else steps in to sell a generic machine compatible with the old cups, meaning you could have a Keurig-free K-Cup system.

* E.g. I'm pretty sure these Barrie House fair trade, organic, decaf pods are unlicensed. Note how they say they're "for owners of Keurig K-Cup machines", not that they're actually "K-Cups", and the lack of any Keurig branding. They're only a little cheaper than Green Mountain, though.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:10 PM on March 11 [1 favorite]


$10 a pound locally roasted beans? I wish.
posted by smackfu at 5:18 AM on March 12


everyone should experience a tiny slice of divinity each day, even if everything else goes wrong.

Vietnamese coffee scratches this itch. One small aromatic glass at a time.

I'm shocked people pour grounds from a French press down the sink. Is that with one of those waste-disposal grinder things? Not standard here (UK). I worked at a place the sink was always clogging up and I'm sure it was the coffee grounds.
posted by glasseyes at 7:17 AM on March 12


Then again the patent expiration hasn't really brought a torrent of cheaper K-cup alternatives

It also brought a lot of aftermarket baskets on the market so that you can put your own coffee in the normal Keurig machine and make coffee with the beans you want. Small comfort, but it was a useful development.
posted by jessamyn at 9:11 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


jessamyn: " It also brought a lot of aftermarket baskets on the market so that you can put your own coffee in the normal Keurig machine and make coffee with the beans you want. Small comfort, but it was a useful development."

The first company to do so, way before the patent(s) expired, was Keurig itself. The basket I linked to above, the "MY K-CUP® Reusable Coffee Filter" has been available to the public for at least two years. (I know because I've owned one at least that long.)
posted by zarq at 9:29 AM on March 12


The Motley Fool discusses whether Keurig's attempt to corner the market through DRM is legal, and notes:
"TreeHouse foods, which makes unlicensed K-Cups that generally sell for less than the ones from Keurig and its partners, has filed a lawsuit to stop the inclusion of the lockout technology in the new machines. In the lawsuit, TreeHouse acknowledges that until 2012, Keurig had patents that allowed it to keep competitors out. Since those patents have expired, the company alleges Keurig is using technology to improperly keep competitors from making K-Cup alternatives."

posted by zarq at 9:33 AM on March 12


The first company to do so, way before the patent(s) expired, was Keurig itself.

Right, but that requires dismantling the thing that holds the K-cups. Post-patent you could get a basket which would just go into the regular machine without taking part of it apart. Like this. They are cheaper and easier to use.
posted by jessamyn at 9:39 AM on March 12 [1 favorite]


Ah! I actually didn't even realize that other refillables don't require you to remove that plastic part from the machine. Fascinating. We hardly ever put actual pre-filled one-use k-cups through ours anymore, so it's not really an inconvenience.

It's funny... we go through CoffeeAM for bags of grounds, yet I never thought to look at the Accessories section for reusable/refillable K-Cup options. But lo and behold, they have a couple including this one.
posted by zarq at 9:49 AM on March 12


FWIW, I bought that refillable K-Cup from Ekobrew back in February 2012 but the K-Cup patent didn't expire until September 2012. I don't know if they licensed the patent from Keurig, worked around the patent, or just said YOLO and sold it without a license. (It works but I don't use it because I'm a monster and don't want to have to clean it.)

I stand by saying I haven't seen pricing or availability change much since the patent expired. I'm still paying the same $0.60/K-Cup for Dark Magic and Tully's French Roast I have since February 2012. Maybe I'm buying my K-Cups in the wrong place (Amazon)? They do have some alternates but not really any cheaper. There are definitely alternates but they're not competing on price: Barrie House look to be $0.55/cup, these Brooklyn Beans work out to about $0.65/cup. I'm pretty happy with my Green Mountain roasts, so price is about all that would get me to switch.

(I know, $10/pound for beans seems crazy cheap. But that's what my SF Noe Valley coffee shop charged. They're up to $12 now. And it's an actual 16 ounce pound, too, not that 10oz bullshit in grocery stores.)
posted by Nelson at 10:26 AM on March 12


Kadin2048: "Maybe someone else will make a K-Cup 1.0 compatible machine, but either Keurig has better patent protection on the machines than on the cups, or nobody is interested in competing with them on the machines because of the artificially low price they sell them at."

You can buy conventional automatic drip machines with timer function for $20; a knock off machine manufacturer shouldn't have any trouble making one that retails for $100. Hopefully they'll include a 4L reservoir.
posted by Mitheral at 11:18 AM on March 12


a knock off machine manufacturer shouldn't have any trouble making one that retails for $100.

I found this Hamilton Beach Flex Brew that can use ground coffee, K-Cups, and pods. It retails for $50 at most shops. I'm not very familiar with Keurig machines, so is this a piece of crap knockoff that shouldn't even be considered?
posted by FJT at 11:25 PM on March 12


Apparently 30% of Michelin-starred restaurants serve Nespresso
posted by AceRock at 8:00 PM on March 13


> Apparently 30% of Michelin-starred restaurants serve Nespresso

I think there was already a thread here about that, but it's probably not a big deal. People ordering coffee at the end of a big meal with drinks aren't really the most discerning coffee snobs at that point, and just want a predictably pleasant cup of cappuccino or whatever. Otherwise, the restaurant would probably have to keep a dedicated barista on to pull shots and do pours, etc, and would probably get backlogged. I'm a bit of a coffee snob myself but if I just want a perk-up after a big meal (usually during a night out) I'm content with the robot coffee.
posted by planetesimal at 9:06 AM on March 14


The San Francisco Bay off-license K-Cups cost about $0.37 per cup, use a lot less plastic, and generally contain much better coffee than the cups that Keurig sell.
posted by schmod at 11:49 AM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Mitheral: "Lots of people like even McDonalds/Tim Hortons coffee which I heard are considered pretty horrible by coffee snobs. Some of this is what you are used to for sure."

Still better than Starbucks.
posted by schmod at 11:49 AM on March 14


now you're just being bitter (not unlike pike roast). Starbucks might not be brilliant, but at least the coffee tastes like cofee; McDonald's and Tim Horton's taste like bilge water.
posted by jb at 12:04 PM on March 14


False, Starbucks' drip coffee tastes like liquid ashtray. Their espresso is tolerable.
posted by entropicamericana at 1:05 PM on March 14


I've said it before and I'll say it again:

Tim Hortons is good bad coffee.

Starbucks is bad good coffee.

They should be evaluated on totally different criteria; Timmy Hobags is a reasonably neutral-to-pleasant-tasting caffeine delivery system, and scores highly on those metrics. (And I quite like it, for what it is, the same way I sometimes want a Taco Hell taco despite the plethora of taquerias in Kensington Market).

Starbucks is (supposed to be) high end coffee, carefully made from good beans. It fails poorly on those metrics.

A better way to compare coffees (or other consumables) is to measure the distance between what it aims for and what it achieves, I think. Timmy aims low and beats the bar, Starbucks aims high and fails miserably.

Although honestly if you're drinking coffee merely as a caffeine delivery system just buy soe caffeine pills and save yourself the bother.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:20 PM on March 14 [2 favorites]


Starbucks is burned to shit so that customers can have a vague coffee taste with their dessert drinks. A lighter roast is easily overpowered by all the cream and syrup. Everyone already knows this.
posted by planetesimal at 1:39 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


Am I alone in my admiration for McDonald's coffee from before they tried to compete with Starbucks? No, it's not an artisanal slow pour-over, etc. But McDonald's used to have a distinctive and consistent flavor to their coffee that fell somewhere in the upper echelons of "American diner coffee," with the advantage of being prepared constantly, brewed with a sufficient amount of beans (i.e., not watery), kept very hot, and thrown out before it went bad. And it had a distinctive flavor profile that said, "This is McDonald's coffee and nobody else's." I remember someone telling me in the mid-1980s that when visiting (pre-Starbucks) Ireland, they had to hit up McDonald's to get a decent cup of coffee, and it was always exactly as they would have had in the U.S. That made and makes perfect sense to me. My dad, who now and always has hated all food served at McDonald's, was a fan of their coffee and would drink a cup whenever my brother and I whined our way into a visit there as kids. Anyway, I think McDonald's took a significant step backward when it tried to replace its upstanding diner-inspired brew with pseudo-Starbucks "coffee drinks" and burnt drip coffee that tastes to me like the cup it's served in.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 7:36 PM on March 14


My main problem with McDonald's coffee is that their iced coffee comes sweetened by default, which, no.
posted by Sara C. at 7:39 PM on March 14


Yeah, McD's is making its "Premium Roast Iced Coffee" with a built-in dose of "liquid sugar." Probably injected into plastic bags on an assembly line in Glen Ellyn. Not hand crafted by a McDonald's Crew Member. McDonald's also pumps sugar and/or HFCS into its hamburger buns, because people like sugar.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 7:51 PM on March 14


I don't care where the sugar comes from. I just don't like sugar in my coffee and hate that McDonald's offers twenty kinds of caramel macchiato things but can't fucking ask if I want sugar or not.
posted by Sara C. at 7:53 PM on March 14


You are not alone in your hatred for McDonald's.
posted by JimInLoganSquare at 8:15 PM on March 14 [1 favorite]


To me, the regular McD's coffee tastes far better than Starbucks drip, which always tastes burnt -- less now than before, but still with a distinct flavor of ashtray. I've never tried any of the sweet drinks at either so can't compare.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:30 PM on March 14


I got some Starbucks free drink coupons, one with every 12 oz bag of whole beans. That makes the whole beans more affordable, and I think their pure Colombian is adequate. So I took a coupon into the local Starbucks that has a Clover machine. They said the coupon was good for anything, even their best beans on the Clover, they'd even fill my 20oz flask. Try the Reserve Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, it costs triple what their Columbian costs. Yum. Well the Clover machine is certainly capable of making a very good cup of coffee, even if it doesn't always deliver one. But at least the machine seems incapable of making bad coffee.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:34 PM on March 14


My main problem with McDonald's coffee is that their iced coffee comes sweetened by default, which, no.

I usually ask for no syrup when I get McD's iced coffee and have gotten it unsweetened every time except once. And when that happened I went back and they gave me a new one, with no sweetener.
posted by FJT at 2:09 AM on March 15


So where I work, we do have some super expensive, high end coffees that we brew by the cup -- so I taste very good coffee a lot. And I also work on my thesis at a local Starbucks, drinking their drip coffee (yay big tables and lots of outlets). I can't help but think that people just have a bias against Starbucks because their drip is MUCH better than Tim's or McDonald's (I'm Canadian, of course I've had Tim's). It's not as good as the French Press stuff I get at my favourite indie place - unless it's the new Tribute roast which is robust enough to give a good cup of coffee even drip.

Now, I could see an honest, unbiased preference for Tim's over Starbucks from someone who actively prefers a lighter roast to a darker roast. That is just a preference, and lighter coffee is no more "better" coffee than white wine is inherently better than red wine. I happen to prefer strong, and often dark and earthy coffees. I drink them with milk, no sugar, and I find a light drip coffee (like Tim's or McDonald's) just goes flavourless. And there are a few dark roasts at Starbucks like French which are too smoky for me - that's when I'll drink the medium.
posted by jb at 7:14 AM on March 15


I usually ask for no syrup when I get McD's iced coffee and have gotten it unsweetened every time except once. And when that happened I went back and they gave me a new one, with no sweetener.

But why should I have to do any of that? Coffee is coffee, not sugar water.

I'll get coffee from McDonald's in an emergency, but I'll choose Starbucks over them because at least at Starbucks they grasp the concept of what coffee even is.
posted by Sara C. at 7:46 AM on March 15


But why should I have to do any of that? Coffee is coffee, not sugar water.

I think the savings are about a buck if you buy McDonald's Iced Coffee vs. Starbucks. But I agree. Unfortunately, I think the majority of people like sugar water. For example, Starbucks has a bottled iced coffee line, which only comes in either sugar or no-sugar sweetener varieties.

And I admit, sometimes I want sweet coffee. Sometimes I put Int'l Delight or want some Vietnamese Coffee or salty coffee. But those are dessert drinks, like a milkshake or pearl milk tea. It's not a daily drink.

I think probably the best easy fix for iced coffee is to buy a bottle of it at the Japanese market (usually for about $5 or $6, not the amount Rakuten is charging). It's unusually smooth, and it's not sweetened.
posted by FJT at 9:35 AM on March 15


You make me wish for a good canned coffee. I used to drink a lot of Georgia Black coffee, but only because it was the only unsweetened hot canned coffee in the vending machines. It was a good switch from the sugary canned coffees that were usually served cold. But still I'd love a cold sweetened can coffee.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:23 PM on March 15


I don't generally prefer a lighter roast to a darker roast, but with not very good drip coffee, a dark roast is often undrinkably bitter (Starbucks) where a light roast is just sort of boring (Tim's).
posted by jeather at 12:50 PM on March 15


Oddly enough, the cold sweetened canned/bottled coffee sold in Taiwan is really tasty, and super cheap. Like around $0.75 a pop when I was last there. My favorite.
posted by planetesimal at 12:51 PM on March 15


That can't possibly compare to Suntory Coffee Boss. He's the boss of them all! ALL OF THEM. And has been for decades.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 5:25 PM on March 20


I went to the local Starbucks with the Clover machine and ordered an Ethiopia Yirgacheffe again. I asked the barista about the Clover settings, water temperature and duration of brewing can be customized, so does someone calibrate this, and do they use the best settings for each different coffee? The barista said, of course, the Clover is connected to the Internet and the settings for every type of coffee they sell are updated every night. You just press the button for the type of bean and it uses the predetermined brewing settings.

I gave a taste of the Ethiopian to a friend, she said it tastes like cherries. Yes it definitely has a berry taste. A very good cup of coffee.

Now I will make you all a cup of coffee. I made an iPhone video of my pourover. It's my usual 14oz cup-and-a-half in 4min30sec.
posted by charlie don't surf at 2:49 AM on March 22 [2 favorites]


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