Monday, February 02, 2009

Wow: Keurig Coffee Maker

It's pretty rare that I talk about specific products on Money Musings. In fact, I can't see where I've ever done it. But I'm going to do it now, simply because I purchased something I swore I never would, and I've loved it to death so far.

In fact, this product will apparently turn out to be one of those expensive purchases that were truly worth it.

(Actually, it was a Christmas gift from my wife, but since our household doesn't yet have the ability to print money, it was, effectively, purchased by me.)

Single-Cup Coffee Makers? Pricey!

Single-cup coffee makers have become popular recently. Being something of a coffee junkie, I've definitely noticed. And up until this past Christmas, I'd always glanced at those $100+ price tags and cringed. I swore I'd never fork over that kind of cash for a coffee maker. Our 12-cup drip coffee maker made pretty good coffee already, thank you very much. And it didn't cost a hundred bucks.

However, in the weeks before Christmas 2008, as Lisa and I were wandering through our local Sam's Club, I happened to step over for a free sample cup of coffee. The Sam's employee was using a Keurig single-cup maker to brew the stuff. I was, admittedly, curious.

The flavor I tried? Newman's Own Extra Bold Special Blend.

It was really fast.

Really hot.

And most importantly, really yummy.

This cup of coffee had taken less than a minute to brew, and it came out steaming hot, as opposed to the only-mildly-warm stuff that our drip maker typically produced. I had just one question for the Sam's employee: Would I be able to use my own beans in the Keurig? I didn't want to be limited to some company's pricey single-cup pods for my daily java fix.

"Yes! You'll just need to buy the special filter accessory," she told me. "We don't have any, but someone said Bed Bath and Beyond usually keeps them in stock."

As it turns out, according to what I've seen, Keurig's coffee maker is the only single-cup setup which offers this feature.

As you might guess, I was sold.

Single-Cup Prices: Ouch

We paid a nudge under $130 for the Keurig coffee maker (Model: Ultimate - B66) bundle. The coffee maker itself was grouped with a special charcoal water-filter attachment (normally $20-$25) and an assortment of 72 K-Cups (value of maybe $36 or so). Our model B66 isn't on Keurig's website, but it's pretty similar to the B60.

Since I wanted to be able to use my own coffee beans as well as the prepackaged K-Cups, we also purchased the "My K-Cup" reusable filter (roughly $15) from a local retailer.

In our area, prepackaged K-Cup coffees are available at places like Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. However, buying them online from places like Amazon, as well as directly from the coffee roasters themselves (Green Mountain, Timothy's, and so on) seems to be more cost-effective. (If, that is, paying anywhere from $.40 to $.60 per K-Cup cup of coffee can ever be considered "cost-effective.")

(NOTE: Amazon carries the Keurig accessories, too, but they seem to be wildly overpriced. Amazon's prices on boxes of K-Cup coffees, though, are the lowest I've yet seen, especially if you're an Amazon Prime member and get "free" 2-day shipping as we do.)

Why Pay That Much for a Coffee Maker?

Yeah, see, I swore I'd never pay a hundred bucks for a coffee maker. But that first cup was so tasty and so fast, and so perfectly hot, that I had to rethink my stance. And with the added accessories included in the Sam's Club bundle, I felt somewhat better about the expense.

Look: My wife rarely drinks coffee. And I typically don't drink more than a cup at a time. So fixing a six-cup pot of coffee each morning isn't exactly efficient. And whenever I found myself yearning for nice yummy flavored decaf after dinner, I'd almost always talk myself out of it: Who'd drink the other five cups?

Nobody. That's who.

So no evening coffee for me.


And have I mentioned how much I want my coffee to be hot? Sure, when your drip maker throws you a lukewarm cup, you could just nuke it in the microwave. But I'm lazy when it comes to coffee. I want it hot and I want it quickly. And, obviously, I want a good coffee flavor. No mess would be nice, too.

The Keurig gives me all these things. If you're using the K-Cups, cleanup is stupid-easy: You toss the used K-Cup in the trash. (The environmental impact is less than optimal, however.)

If you're using the "My K-Cup" filter — it's just a very small metal-mesh oval filter — then cleanup is a little more involved. But no environmental snags here.

Personally, I'm rapidly getting hooked on the K-Cups. There are TONS of brands and flavors available. And you simply cannot beat the ease of use.

Flavors, Flavors Everywhere

Thus far, I've been most impressed with the coffees from Green Mountain and Timothy's. Green Mountain's "Nantucket Blend" was an early winner with me, and I've liked their other blends so much that I ordered a handful of K-Cup boxes and enrolled myself in their Cafe Express recurring-buyer club.

In my area, Bed Bath & Beyond carries a nice selection of K-Cups. We routinely receive 20%-off coupons from Bed Bath & Beyond, so their higher-than-online prices become more agreeable with coupons in hand.

Again: The selection of coffees available in K-Cup form is immense. If this is as big a deal to you as it is to me, then the Keurig brewer will be your friend.

Summary: Keurig Wins

I've always enjoyed my morning coffee. But now I'm actually looking forward to my Keurig brews as soon as I get out of bed. Coming from a guy who hates early mornings as much as I do ... well, that's saying something.

And being able to have a hot cup o' "coffee snob" java anytime? A cup that's ready in less than a minute?

In my opinion, that's heaven.

A hundred bucks worth of heaven.

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— Posted by Michael @ 8:55 AM


That is SO funny. I bought my husband a single-serve coffee machine for Christmas (except we went with Tassimo). And same thing...we LOVE it. No question, it is a splurge item, and is in no way, shape, or form cheaper than good old drip coffee machines. But we just love the immediacy and not throwing out a bunch of cold coffee after someone made too much (always). Tassimo even has a service that keeps us stocked with coffee - not sure if Keurig has the same.

If you love your coffee, don't mind splurging a bit, and love being able to get a quick cup, you will adore single serve coffee machines (except the environmental impact - which I agree is less than ideal).


As someone who currently nukes her coffee to get it to the correct temperature, that does sound like heaven!


Michael, this is your wife. :-)

I would add that you can use the Keurig for a cup of plain old hot water. If you're looking to make one cup of instant cocoa, this is more convenient than getting out the tea kettle, and faster than microwaving a cup of water.

And in addition to the vast selection of coffees, there are tea (and cocoa) k-cups available, too. Something for everyone . . .

Anonymous The Battleaxe
, at 1:17 PM, February 02, 2009  

The office I used to work at had one of these machines and they are great. You just pop in whatever type of coffee or tea you would like an instantly you have yourself a good quality cup. Expensive but worth it if you want quality and don't want to wait.


I love the Keurig coffee makers too! I convinced my workplace to purchase one (for our customers) and it has been a hit. It is not very wasteful as you only brew as you need a cup avoiding tossing the rest that sits and burns.

Keurig is owned by Green Mountain Coffee (symbol: GMCR). Great company.


Another happy Keurig customer here. Might be the best kitchen goodie I've bought in over 5 years.

Also a fan of the Timothy's coffee. Very very good for a brand I'd never heard of.

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Thoughts on my personal finances, goals, experiences, motivations, and accomplishments (or lack thereof).

My financial life began turning around when I took responsibility for it.
— Dave Ramsey


Start (2005-12): ~$21,900
Currently: $0
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Savings Goal: $15,000
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