Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Cuisinart Keurig Review

Fast - 2 minutes from off to heat the water from cold, around 40 seconds to make a cup.  Only 15 or 20 seconds to heat up again to make a second cup.  Then I turn it off so it isn't constantly heating.
Reservoir - it has a big honking tank on the side for water.  Fill and forget for a few days.
Hot - this was for Leaf.  The coffee comes out nice and hot like it is supposed to (and unlike our old machine).
Reusable Filter - cuts down the cost per cup significantly.

Messy - the reusable filter is messy to use.  One thing about paper filters is that you scoop them out and toss them in the compost bin.  The grinds stick to the inside of the mesh filter, it needs to be scooped out then rinsed and no matter how carefully you do that there ends up being a scattering of coffee grinds.  Oh, and filter holder is shaped like a top - it won't stand by itself - so one-handed prep is needed.
Price - both per cup and for the machine.  It is the most expensive machine we looked at.  Got it on sale at Canadian Tire on a scratch and win promotion day for an extra 10% off in CT money, so not terrible.  I rationalize it as paying for itself by cutting out 100 XL Tim Horton double doubles.  I've mostly been using the filter, but the k-cups are more expensive than Tassimo discs.
Serving Size - my coffee/tea mugs are 500ml.  That is 16 oz, and the Keurig only goes up to 12.  I end up filling the reusable filter to the top and brewing two 8oz cycles through the same filter.  This doesn't work with purchased cups, which seem to be designed for 8oz.  The 12oz setting ends up with watery coffee when made from a k-cup.
Clutter - a bunch of K-cups take up a lot of volume and create clutter.  There are stands but they seem to take up an awful lot of space for how many cups they hold.  I imagine someone will produce something better eventually.


Leaf wanted a single cup coffee maker.  She's been unhappy with ours for some time because it wasn't brewing hot enough.  I was confused by the variety.  K-cups, T-discs, DG-pods...  I spent a while on the google-fu trying to figure out which to get.

A caveat:  I am not a coffee snob.  I never drank coffee, ever, before I met Leaf.  I'm more of a tea person at home and I drink creamy sweet Tim Horton's double doubles when we are out and about.  We're budget minded people, so the thought of buying not only an expensive new machine but expensive single serve coffee seemed out of whack.

Justified that by the fact that at home, the bulk of a pot of coffee was being dumped at the end of the day.  Plus, despite our ongoing battle with Tim Hortons, we were still spending a crapload of money there.  Whatever the cost of a single serve coffee cup/disc/pod, it was going to be less than my $1.80 Tims fix.

The brand decision was difficult because I didn't want to end up with the Betamax of coffee makers.  Locally available is important, because I don't want to get stuff shipped or have to drive 100km each way to get coffee.  That narrowed it down to Keurig and Tassimo.

At first, I was leaning towards Tassimo because of the cheaper cost-per-cup.  I can get Tassimo discs locally for between 35¢ and 60¢, but Keurig cups are 70¢ to 80¢.  However, we ended up going with the Cuisinart Keurig brewer for several reasons.

The first is the three year warranty.  Sorry to say that pretty much anything you buy nowadays is cheap crap from China.  Not only will it break, but it is designed to break.  Every machine I researched had complaints about problems or breakage.  Most have a 1 year warranty and will be garbage at 13 months, the Cuisinart has a three year warranty and won't need to be garbaged until 37 months.

Next was the included reusable filter.  Not an option with Tassimo, we can still use our regular coffee in the Keurig for significant savings while still getting a quick single cup with no waste.  Hard to figure out the cost per cup because coffee is bought in grams but scooped in mls, and I already have a hard  time with Coffee Math.  Depending on variables (brand/quality of coffee/size of cup), about 25¢ per cup.

Variety of coffee was the last bit.  More manufacturers and coffee brands seem to make Keurig cups than Tassimo.  One advantage of Tassimo is the fancy coffees you can make - espressos, cappuccinos and lattes.  As I said early however, I am not a coffee snob, so those have no big appeal for me.  I had also read that Starbucks and Tassimo had parted ways and was concerned that Tassimo was the Betamax.

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