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A cup of coffee in an instant that tastes good! Keurig Elite B40 Coffee Maker

Pros Simple to use, Easy clean up, Pretty good coffee quality
Cons Plastic k-cups add to trash, Coffee isn't quite the same as traditionally brewed coffee
Recommended it? Yes
The Bottom Line:  The ease of use, simple clean up and overall quality of the machine and the coffee it makes do tend to overwhelm any of the potential negatives.
I sometimes swing back and forth between thinking that the Keurig Elite B40 Coffee Maker is my most favorite coffee maker I’ve ever had and thinking that I really should go back to a standard coffee maker. Though in all honesty, most of the time I really enjoy having the B40 in my kitchen to provide almost instant coffee that tastes good.

For ease, convenience and simplicity, the Keurig B40 really can’t be beat. You simply fill it with water, turn it on, put in a k-cup holding the coffee you want and voila, you have a cup of hot, steaming coffee ready in about 30 seconds. On the other hand you only get that cup of coffee, the k-cups are really kind of pricey and deep down I just miss putting in a filter, filling it with ground coffee and brewing a pot, even though I almost never finished the whole pot.

Keurig Elite B40 Basics

Today the Keurig B40 is pretty much the entry-level single-serving coffee maker from Keurig. The older models (like the one that I have) offered a single brew setting for a 7.25 ounce cup of coffee. The newer model features a second 9.25 ounce brew option (which I wish I had).

No matter the age of your model though, the machine is pretty much the same. It consists of a water reservoir, the coffee maker itself and then a drip pan. You fill up the reservoir which will hold enough water for several cups of coffee, turn on the machine to pre-heat the water and then open the top and drop in a k-cup. Once you’ve closed the top you press the brew button, the water is heated further and the coffee in the k-cup (think of it as a little coffee filter) is brewed under pressure and within about 30 seconds you have your cup of hot coffee.

For such a simple process you’d think that the B40 might not be that bulky. No such luck. I guess the system to heat the water quickly and get it up and then through the k-cup is fairly bulky as the B40 takes up more space then the average regular coffee maker that I have had in the past. In addition, once you’ve got the water in it, it’s really not that light and you can’t move it too much or you’ll get water splashing out.

You’re best bet is to find an open area of your kitchen counter and make that the resting spot of your B40.

You have the option of leaving the B40 turned on when you aren’t brewing coffee. This has the benefit of keeping the water preheated, but it does use electricity. If you don’t mind waiting an extra minute or two, you can turn it off and then turn it back on when you are ready to brew another cup of coffee.

The 7.25 ounce brew option is about enough coffee to fill my mugs about three quarters of the way. It takes just under two of these cups to fill my travel mugs. To fill those, I brew the coffee into a cup and then pour it into the mug so I don’t overfill it. The 9.25 ounce option will probably fill good sized mugs and might be enough for smaller travel mugs.

How does it work?

Instead of having to set up my coffee maker the night before with a filter and ground coffee, with the B40 I can just come into the kitchen in the morning before work and press the brew button and I’ve got a cup of coffee. It takes a bit more effort to brew a travel mug, but not as much as it would take with a standard coffee maker.

Once you’ve done brewing the coffee, just open up the top, pick up the k-cup and dispose of it. That’s about all the cleanup that you will need to do with the B40.

What about the coffee?

This is where I have something of a problem with the B40. It doesn’t make bad coffee, but it’s not the same as you get from a traditional coffee maker and I’m just not as fond of the coffee from the B40. Does that mean it’s bad? No, I still drink it and enjoy it, I just find it different from regularly brewed coffee.

On the other hand my partner loves the coffee as do some other people that I know. Thus I guess it really depends on your taste, but it is just best to know that the coffee the B40 makes isn’t quite the same as what you would get out of a traditional coffee maker.

Using the B40…

I do like the ease of the brewing process and the easy cleanup. Within a minute I can have a hot cup of coffee ready and have already cleaned up the machine. The k-cups are an ingenious way to quickly brew a cup of coffee and offer the added benefit of being very easy to store beforehand and cleanup afterwards.

The k-cups are sealed before they are used so you can keep them in the box that they come in without worrying about the coffee getting old. I tend to not use the box though as it takes extra space on my countertop. Instead I have a small bowl with a handful of k-cups that I use and I refill it from a bag where I keep the rest of them in the pantry.

The biggest mess I’ve had from the B40 is some spilled water when I’ve slid it around the countertop. As for after making coffee, you really don’t need to do much - you take out the k-cup and throw it away. The only other thing you might need to do is wipe off the drip pan if you accidentally overfilled your cup or missed it.

Getting K-Cups?

Today I am seeing boxes of k-cups available most anywhere including most grocery stores I visit. There are a number of different coffee varieties available from different companies. Green Mountain Coffee is one of the largest, producing almost a rainbow of different flavors. There are also k-cups with tea and hot chocolate available.

We lucked out with our k-cup supply. My partner managed to win a contest where we got a year’s worth of k-cups from Green Mountain Coffee. Thus I’ve been able to try out almost all of their flavors and I have quite the stack of boxes (we got 2 per month for a year) piled up in the back of my kitchen pantry.

I have however branched out a bit just to explore what’s out there – getting some sample packs and getting some boxes of k-cups from other manufacturers. What I’ve discovered is that there’s pretty much something for everyone. Here in New England you mostly find the Green Mountain Coffee k-cups in stores, but on the Keurig website, you can order any of the k-cups from any manufacturer in packs of 5 or 24. On the site they are about $3 for the 5-pack and $14 for the 24-pack. In stores you’ll find them for about the same, though I’ve only run across the 24-packs.

My issues with the B40

There really aren’t many. The difference in taste between the B40 and a regular coffee maker is really pretty minor. I know it’s there, but it isn’t something that really bothers me and doesn’t stop me from drinking the coffee. In all actuality, after about a year of using the Keurig, I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t even notice it all that much anymore.

The power use is a bit of a drag if you leave the machine turned on to keep the water pre-heated. We usually do and I’m sure this adds something to my electricity bill. On the other hand if you turn it off after each use, you have to wait longer for it to get going and this is a big pain in the morning when I just want to make my coffee and be off to work.

The only real negative I see about the B40 is the disposal of the k-cups. I hate the fact that I’m throwing out one to two plastic k-cups each day. I know, Mr. Green Conscious, but think about it – add up all those cups for a year and think about how much plastic we are putting into a landfill or otherwise adding to the waste stream. With a standard coffee maker you can take the filter and the coffee grounds and compost them or even if you did throw them away, at least you knew they would eventually decompose. I doubt the k-cups will be decomposing anytime soon and they keep their grounds sealed inside so they can’t even decompose.

However, I still use the B40 but I feel awfully guilty about that trash and my compost pile misses the coffee grounds and filters.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a quick and easy way to brew a good cup of coffee, the Keurig Elite B40 Coffee Maker might be just what you are looking for. It offers a freshly brewed cup of coffee in about 30 seconds and a brewing system that makes it quick and easy to brew practically any kind of coffee and takes only seconds to clean up.

While the coffee might be a bit different in taste from traditionally brewed coffee, and the k-cups do add to waste in our landfills, the ease of use, simple clean up and overall quality of the machine and the coffee it makes do tend to overwhelm any of the negatives.

I really like my Keurig Elite B40, I can have good coffee whenever I want it without much effort.

Some Keurig K-Cup Coffee Blends...
Caribou Coffee
Green Mountain Hazelnut Cream
Green Mountain Nantucket Blend
Green Mountain French Vanilla
Green Mountain Breakfast Blend
Green Mountain Sumatran Reserve Extra Bold
Green Mountain Lake & Lodge

Green Mountain Nantucket Blend Iced Coffee

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