I know, I know. It’s convenient. It’s easy. That’s what I hear from just about every owner of a Keurig. Stay with me here because I’m going to tell you 5 reasons to ditch your Keurig and what to use instead. This also may be an unpopular opinion, but if you follow me, you know I appreciate manual methods of brewing because it lets the coffee’s true flavors shine.
Before we talk about why you should ditch your Keurig, let’s dive into how this machine was invented. Founded in 1990 by Peter Dragone and John Sylvan, the Keurig company flourished overnight, or so it seemed. Their first consumer prototype entered the market in 2004, sparked by a demand in the commercial market for a more efficient way to brew coffee. Dragone and Sylvan realized the money was in household use, so they began working on a design that would fit consumer’s countertops instead of large, heavy industrial size machines.
By 2006, Keurig had their first countertop model on the market that was affordable, however couldn’t compete with other single serve coffee brewing manufacturers. So instead of spending loads of money on expensive marketing, Keurig pivoted and placed themselves in front of the customer; hosting brewing and tasting demos, sharing free samples. In essence, Keurig let the bigger companies do all of the expensive marketing on single serve coffee brewers while they took advantage of getting their product in front of the customer.
During the same year, both founders left Keurig, sold the company to Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, who owns the coffee brewing name and production to this day.
Pretty sweet marketing story, huh? I’d say the founders were pretty damn smart actually and they made a pretty good fortune. While the story is great, let’s take a look at why Keurig coffee machines can’t stand up to cheaper alternatives.
Hard to clean
I’ve owned two Keurig brewers in the past 10 years. Both lasted only about a year or two. The biggest reason was I couldn’t get it clean. No amount of vinegar or solution would clean out the grime that was sitting in the machine. Sure, the water reservoir comes out and you can sanitize it in the dishwasher, but actually IN the machine where the water flows out of the reservoir? Never could get it clean.
And let’s not talk about the notification on the little screen that said “ready to clean” but never went away, despite being cleaned to manufacturer requirements. The last Keurig was tossed because this notification stopped the machine from brewing all together. If there was a reason to ditch the Keurig, this is it. Bacteria is awful and can ultimately affect the flavor and consistency of your coffee.
Water to coffee ratio
No matter the setting, I either got too strong of coffee or too weak of coffee. Despite having the little refillable, environmentally friendly pod, I never could get enough grounds into the cup with the water ratio I needed. I like to use 2 tbsp per 8 oz of water and that cup never could handle it. Floaties always made their way into my cup. A water to coffee ratio is incredibly important because it dictates how much flavor is extracted from your grounds. If it’s off, it can affect the taste and flavors that you should taste in your cup.
Pods are not eco-friendly
I wouldn’t consider myself a tree-hugger by any means, however I do care about the environment, and in my opinion everyone should. The pods are not recyclable, although I’ve heard there is a company around that will take your used pods. But really, how often do people send things back? Not often.
And that reusable container? Forget it. It doesn’t hold enough coffee to get your water to coffee ratio right so you’ll have either grounds floating in your coffee OR your coffee won’t taste as it should.
It’s not THAT affordable
Okay, you can get a slim, cute pink Keurig for around $80.00. But let’s be real. That’s not THAT affordable. It really isn’t any cheaper than an automatic coffee brewer. Coupled with the price tag of the single cup brew pods that you have to use, it’s roughly the same price overall and you don’t get any better cup of coffee.
The Keurig won’t make a full pot
One of the things I missed about my automatic drip maker was making a full pot of coffee. My parents visit often and they love having a cup of coffee after dinner or with dessert. This was nearly impossible with a Keurig. By the time the third cup was done, the first person would be finished. It was more annoying that we couldn’t all enjoy our coffee together while visiting because I was busy brewing another cup. This was the main reason I ditched the Keurig and opted for one of the Ninja coffee systems.
I will say the Keurig allowed me to brew one cup of coffee which easily brewed into my thermos to take to work. I used to stop daily for coffee so this helped me get in the habit of making my coffee at home.
If I ditch the Keurig, what do I use instead?
If you’re looking for a one cup type of coffee maker, here are a couple of options. Use a French Press or a pour over.
French press coffee makers come in a wide range of sizes so you can make one up or 8. A French Press is affordable, easy to clean, and makes a great cup of coffee every time. If you like automatic drip makers, try a pour over. It’s basically a basket filter with a flat bottom to fit over the top of a mug. I use cone filters in mine and I get a great cup of coffee consistently.
A French press runs about $10-35 depending on the size, brand, and style. A pour over is the cheapest, plastic pour overs will set you back roughly $10 and can be in upwards of $20 depending on the material and the brand. I buy coffee cone filters at Trader Joe’s but you can find them at any grocery store.
I use my French press to make cold brew and my pour over has been my favorite way to brew coffee while at home. Once my water heats up in my electric kettle, I have coffee in less than 5 minutes.
So there ya have it. Purely my opinion on the reasons to ditch your Keurig. Besides affecting the flavor of your coffee, it’s hard to clean, can’t handle crowds, and really doesn’t help you when you’re learning to appreciate a great cup of coffee. I challenge you to try a French press or pour over and let me know how you like ’em in the comments!