taste and convenience
ease of use, taste of coffee or tea, convenience, dual cup sizes
refilable filter assembly is an added cost accessory
The Bottom Line:
Worth the price if you appreciate above average coffee or tea flavor.
I resisted getting a Keurig for several years even though I had an indirect association with one of the product designers through a past employer. (yes, real engineers are involved in making these things) This holiday season I finally broke down and got it with one of my gift certificates, and I realy do like it more than any prior coffee maker.
Keurig units seem to use the right water temperature and pressure to get better tasting coffee with a very short brew cycle.
The first generation commercial units have been a fixture in my office buildings for more than 10 years now, but having the home unit is even better. Good spring or bottled water makes a difference and the home model seems to hit the proper temperature even better.
A promotional sample pack of coffees came with the unit, but the must have accessory is the refilable user filter assembly for using your own coffee or loose tea. This is an extra cost accessory available in some stores with the brewers, but it makes it easy to use your own coffee with the brewer and loose herbal teas brewed this way are wonderful.
At home, I am the only one drinking coffee, and the Keurig single serve method is a great fit. However, the brew cycle is fast enough that making up to 4 or 5 cups is not any more time consuming than brewing a traditional full size pot. (unless you have a large selection of flavors for your guests to choose from...)
The Elite unit with the dual cup sizes, and refillable side resevoir is a more practical brewer than some of the smaller brewers, particularly on a weekend on other time when you might have more than 1 cup or wish to have teas or other hot beverages later in the day.
The refilable filter assembly does reduce some of the concern about waste with the K-cup system, but some people have already taken to pulling apart their used K-cups by hand and composting the grounds and recycling the aluminum foil lids. The plastic cup bottoms are largely an unknown for recycling although there are rumors of more environmentally friendly cups being worked on.
It may be some time before you see a K-cup that is certified to self decompose in a landfill however. The materials used have to be food grade and stand up to automated production processes without decomposing until after you have brewed your desired beverage with it.