A nice hot cup of coffee is a great way to wake up in the morning. It's also a great sign for guests to start packing at the end of a dinner party. The problem is that with so many one-cup brewers making it on kitchen counters at home, brewing enough coffee for everyone sometimes feels like it takes as long as dinner.
Keurig Green Mountain, the company that arguably started the single-serve coffeemaker boom, found itself in an interesting position with its K-Cupexpired patent(opens in a new window)in 2012 when that gave way to a ton of inexpensive third-party mugs to flood the market. So the company went back to the drawing board and finally introduced the Keurig 2.0. The $189.99 K500 is the first brewer in the new Keurig 2.0 series and it does what no other Keurig can: it brews enough coffee for more than one person at a time. It might not seem like a huge innovation, but it could make a world of difference the next time you're serving dessert. The K500 has a few issues, mainly because it won't work with any of your old K-Cups, but it's a good coffee maker for those who like to entertain.
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Prices, models and compatibility with K-Cup
I tested the K500, Keurig's most advanced Keurig 2.0 model. The company also offers the K300 ($139.99) and the K400 ($159.99). The K300 has a smaller 60-ounce water tank, no programmable clock, on-demand hot water, and a monochrome touchscreen. The K400, on the other hand, has a smaller 70-ounce water tank and doesn't have hot water on demand. Keurig also sells these models in K350, K450, and K550 variants, each of which includes a variety of K-Cup and K-Carafe packages for an additional $10.
One very important thing to note: the Keurig 2.0 will not work with your old K-Cups. So if you like to conjure up exotic baked goods in reusable cups or hoard boxes of Costco cups, you don't want to get rid of your old coffee machine just yet. New compatible cups are marked at the top with a circle around the brand logo indicating the cup type. The brewer reads this information and lets you start brewing. If you put an old mug in the machine, you'll get an error saying the pack isn't designed for the coffee maker and try "one of hundreds of Keurig logo packs". However, the company says the coffee maker will work with existing Vue packages.
project and configuration
The K500's design doesn't stray too far from the usual Keurig formula. It looks very similar to the Platinum Plus Brewing System, the main difference being a 2.75 inch color touch screen on the outside of the pack holder. The screen itself doesn't feel particularly high-resolution and colors are less vibrant but responsive to touch. I'll focus more on the display in the performance section below.
The coffee maker is made from various shades of black and gray plastic, with some silver accents on top. On the left is a removable 80-ounce water reservoir with a flip-top lid for easy filling at the sink. The removable base doubles as a drip tray that can hold up to 8 ounces of overflow. I didn't get much of it, but the K500 tends to splatter when brewing, especially in individual cups. The rim of my mug is usually splattered with coffee and there is about a 2 inch splash zone around the drip tray, so be careful where you place the coffee pot. Also keep in mind that the K500 takes up a decent amount of counter space at just over 12 inches tall and about the same depth and width.
To set up the K500, all you have to do is plug it in and enter the time. You need to fill the reservoir and pour in a hot water cleaning drink, which the machine will prompt you to do. After that, all you have to do is place a K-Cup or K-Carafe in the bag holder, close the lid and select the desired preparation.
Performance and Conclusions
If you've ever used a Keurig coffee maker, using the K500 is basically the same process. After placing a supported bundle and closing the bundle holder, the screen will automatically populate with staging options. For example, for K-Cups, you can select the number of ounces you want to brew (in 2-ounce increments from 4 to 10) if you want the drink strong, and a setting if you want Hot Cocoa/Other brew.
Keurig claims its new 2.0 technology allows the brewer to recognize the pack inserted and optimize recommended custom settings for that particular beverage. That would be a great way for the Keurig to differentiate itself from the competition, but in practice it didn't make a noticeable difference. For example, I have used the K500 to make coffee, tea, iced tea, iced coffee and hot chocolate. But regardless of the K-Cup, the machine always offers the same brewing options. If it can tell what cup I'm making, why do I have to press a button that says Hot Cocoa/Other?
The machine automatically adjusts the temperature from 192 degrees Fahrenheit to 197 degrees when brewing a bottle. However, there's no manual temperature control here like you'll find on some of the earlier Keurig coffeemakers.
To test the K500, I prepared several different K-Cup and K-Carafe packs. For a regular 8-ounce K-Cup, the K500 took 43 seconds to brew. For a strong cup, this number increased to 1 minute and 15 seconds. K-Carafe brewing options are measured in cups. For a standard 3-4 cup drink, it took 2 minutes and 22 seconds (no Strong option for jugs).
The K500 isn't quiet during fermentation, but it's certainly quieter than older machines, which is a good thing. And the carafe function is a very welcome addition. The K500 comes with a black plastic pitcher with a silver handle. To brew a carafe, you must remove the drip tray and snap the carafe into place, which fits the coffee maker like a glove. The carafe lid is designed to stay closed during brewing, meaning minimal heat loss. The lid felt secure when pouring, and coffee brewed in the carafe generally tasted comparable to a single cup. However, PCMag's taste testers didn't like the taste when the jug was set for 4-5 cups, as it felt noticeably watery. But stick to the default setting of 3-4 cups and you'll be happy.
The K500 also allows you to brew hot water either by selecting the setting on the screen or by opening and closing the packet holder. It can brew up to 6 ounces of hot water at a time, although I've found that after you've brewed a cup of coffee, you have to discard the first few ounces of water as it gets pretty cloudy with coffee grounds.
Overall, though, the K500 is great if you want a quick cup (or pot) of coffee with minimal fuss. The drinks made from it taste very similar to previous models, which is good or bad depending on how you like your coffee.
The K500 offers several additional features such as B. the ability to set the machine to brew at high altitude or provide reminders to clean the water filter. You can also set the reserve tank's light color and change the screen background. And there's an auto on/off option, as well as a power save option so the device turns off automatically when not in use. They all performed well in my tests, but they don't add much value.
The Keurig 2.0 seems like a logical step in the evolution of single-serve coffeemakers. However, if you're already happy with your current machine and don't need to brew a bottle, there's little reason to upgrade to the K500. But if you like the controlled simplicity of single-serve brewing and want just as easy brewing of a cup of coffee, the Keurig 2.0 K500 will likely make you happy. You can also save some money on one of the cheaper new models, particularly the K400, which costs $30 less and doesn't sacrifice many features.
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