I LOVE getting stuff in the mail. A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from a PR company on behalf of Keurig, saying that they'd like to send me a "special gift". The email said "Keurig wants to share their coffee experience with bloggers like you and households across the country!" Well, I love coffee even more than I love getting stuff in the mail, so I was excited. I kind of figured that they'd maybe send me something small but nice, like a mug or a tumbler and some coupons. Imagine how excited I was when I got home on Monday and there was a big box on my doorstep with a FULL brewing system and FOUR boxes of K-Cups in it! Seriously, it's a $150 machine. That's crazy.
Apparently they mailed out 15,000 of these to households in Miami, New York, and L.A. as part of this "Brew The Love" campaign. Wow. Thanks, Keurig! I know you're more inclined to like something if you get it for free, but I wanted to share my honest review of this brewing system here anyway. This was the first time I had ever tried one, and I was really skeptical of them going in.
By the way, they also sent me a little coupon book with 50% off coupons for select brewers. I think the cheapest one they have is around 100 bucks, so you could use one of the coupons and get it for $50 with free shipping. That's not bad. If you want a coupon, just send me an email and let me know. Now, on to the review...
I think I've mentioned this before, but I spent a few years working at Starbucks. I never really became a coffee connoisseur, but I did gain an appreciation for good coffee. I liked coffee before that, but only super sweet Cuban coffee. Starbucks really cemented my love for coffee, and my need to have it every single day without fail. Since then, I've always wanted to have a fancy semi-professional espresso machine in my own home. That's expensive, though, and I'm cheap, so what we have at home is just a standard coffee maker. My parents have the kind that doesn't use a carafe, which is great, but Alex and I have a more standard one, with a glass carafe. I've shattered the glass carafe twice since we got married and moved in to our apartment in March. You should know that, prior to moving in to our apartment, I had never brewed a single pot of coffee at home in my life. My dad would always brew the coffee at home and bring me my mug. Now, I brew it myself and sometimes Alex doesn't even drink any before heading to work. Crazy, I know. I had actually shattered the second carafe just a couple of days before the new Keurig arrived.
I always had a few objections to these kinds of machines, but mostly I just didn't understand the point of them. Like, I understand a cappuccino machine maybe.. but not a machine that just gives you black drip coffee like a standard coffee pot. But since it was free and I was excited, I plugged it in and gave it a go. My first impression was that the machine is kind of loud. Not LOUD, but louder than I was expecting, especially since it says it has "quiet brew technology" right on the box. Setting it up was so easy, though, and I had my first cup of coffee in no time at all. No coffee filter, no grinds, no carafe to wash later, nothing. Just throw out the little K-Cup pod and drink my coffee. The water reservoir holds 60 ounces, so you can come back for another few cups without having to refill. The coffee tasted like coffee, which is to say that the coffee tasted GOOD. I was blown away. I guess I was expecting a weird, instant-coffee kind of taste. Something okay, but definitely not a replacement for my normal morning cup. I was so wrong. It's not THE BEST coffee I've ever had in my life, but it's definitely on-par with the coffee I've been drinking every day at home from my standard coffee maker. I'm really happy with that. If you're the kind of person buying fair-trade organic coffee and grinding your beans at home daily, you might not be that into it. I don't take my coffee that seriously, especially in the mornings, so I think it's pretty awesome. The brand of K-Cup you buy does matter, but so far the Green Mountain and Newman's Own brands have been really good.
The machine also does tea and hot chocolate, which is neat. I got a box of Swiss Miss, which tastes just the same as Swiss Miss out of the microwave, and some Bigelow green tea. I'm not as convinced with K-Cup tea, but I'll give it another try. Regardless, tea bags are easy and the variety is so much better, so I probably won't be regularly using the Keurig for tea at home. You could use it to pour out just hot water over a tea bag, though. As far as the price, it's not actually as expensive as I thought. It's like 68 cents per K-Cup, but that's assuming you don't find it on sale or use a coupon. Odds are, you probably won't be paying full price. If you're like me, and some mornings you'll just brew one cup, it's fine. If I was still living with my parents, it wouldn't really work out. We'd go through a huge pot every day. It would be great at night, though, when you might just want one cup after dinner.
My aunt is a big Keurig fan and she sometimes uses a refillable K-Cup that you can use with your own regular ground coffee. Speaking of refillable, there's also some concern out there about the amount of non-recyclable waste that all these K-Cups produce. I get it, but ultimately I'm really, really happy with my Keurig, and I don't think I'll be replacing my broken carafe any time soon. Using it this morning was a breeze, the coffee tasted great, and Alex and I were each able to have a different brew. I'm definitely excited about it. Knowing what I know now, would I have bought it had I not gotten it for free? Maybe, especially if I had a great coupon. There are definitely pros and cons, and it's not the perfect coffee solution for everyone, but I like it and I definitely will continue to use it and buy K-Cups for it.