Coffee. For some, it is the ‘essential’ part of their morning. For others, it is something to savor and enjoy. For most, it is just a pain to grind beans, make a full pot and invariably throw some out. So, what do we do? We look for convenience – in steps Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks to fill our ‘need.’
A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the Tassimo Coffee System, by Braun and it received a very good grade as a high tech kitchen gadget.
So, now the battle begins, we take a look at the Keurig B 70 Platinum – the top of the line home brewing system to see if it earns a permanent place on the kitchen counter. About Keurig:
Keurig Premium Coffee SystemsTM is the industry leader in single-cup coffee brewing technology in the U.S. Introduced in 1998, Keurig’s innovative single-cup brewing system lets coffee lovers brew perfect coffee, one cup at a time, in less than a minute.
Keurig was founded by coffee lovers who believed that coffee should always be served fresh, whether at home or at the office, just as in a gourmet coffee house. They noticed that people were constantly leaving the office in search of a fresh cup of coffee and asked themselves: ‘Why do we brew coffee a pot at a time when we drink it a cup at a time?’ From this question, the revolutionary concept of Keurig K-Cup(r) portion pack brewing was born.
Keurig’s patented single-cup brewing system lets people brew a perfect cup of gourmet coffee in less than a minute without the hassle of grinding beans, measuring coffee, handling filters or cleaning up. Keurig takes away all the guesswork from brewing a consistently great cup of coffee
I am a Gadget guy – we all know that. While the rest of my family appreciates a good gadget – they don’t often share my enthusiasm when things show up in huge boxes with thousand page manuals to go through. If it benefits them, they are all over it. Well, when the Keurig B 70 showed up, I opened it and plugged it in and my family members said: ‘Cool, wow and whoa.’
This thing just looks cool. When it gets plugged in, it glows a bright, high tech kind of blue. The light reflects off the water tank, the screen is illuminated and the buttons glow with the same blue hue. Keurig, you had them at ‘hello.’
But, looks are not enough here – we have to examine every aspect of this machine and, most importantly, we have to taste a lot of Coffee – so let’s get started!
The official line on the B70 comes from the Keurig web site:
Keurig Platinum B70 Brewer
Four Brew Size Choices Programmable LCD Message Center Removable 60oz. Water Reservoir Removable Drip Tray Blue Backlit LCD and Water Reservoir Chrome Accents Our Quietest Brewer Ever – Quiet BrewTM Technology
Model #: B70 Weight: 12lb empty; 15lb full Dimensions: 13’H 10’W 13.25’D Power: 1500 watts Voltage: 120VAC/60HZ UL and c-UL approved for Household use only
4 brew sizes: 5.25-oz. more intense cup 7.25-oz. regular cup 9.25-oz. mug 11.25-oz. travel mug Adjustable brew temperature Blue backlit LCD display and water reservoir Digital clock, Programmable on/off timer Ready to brew three minutes after turned on Descale indicator for long life Removable 60-oz. water reservoir Removable stainless steel drip tray Chrome handle and faceplate UL/c-UL Approved, Warranted for household use
K-Cup(r) Portion Packs are the easiest, most convenient way to enjoy a great cup of coffee, tea and more any time of day. With over 100 beverage varieties available, Keurig is sure to have the coffee tea or other beverage you love.
The Keurig gets an ‘A’ right off the bat for styling. It is tall, sleek, futuristic and Blue (when turned on.) The water reservoir is a very generous 60 oz capacity tank that is clear and loads from the top. It is also removable for easy filling or cleaning.
The machine is a very simple design, yet is has a very usefully LED control panel than allows the user to choose the size of the cup (four sizes from a small tea cup to a large travel mug are available.)
The Keurig utilizes a proprietary technology called the K-Cup for brewing coffee. A K-Cup is a small cup that is inserted into the holder and is punctured when the holder is closed. Each small K-Cup makes one cup of coffee and you can choose any size from the control panel. It is recommended to use only Extra Bold Brews for the very large travel mug size. Once you choose the size, you push the button that says ‘Brew’ and that’s it. Water is taken from the reservoir, heated up and moved through the K-cup into your mug. A perfectly brewed cup of coffee.
There is a tray (that is removable) that the cup sits on while brewing. It is a long way from where the water comes out to the mug – so, sometimes there is a little splashing – but I found splashing to be at a minimum with the Keurig.
Like the Tassimo – the Keurig machine needs to be ‘primed’ before its first operation. This was a snap with the Keurig. Just fill the tank, set it for the big mug and push ‘brew.’ I did this twice and that was all it needed.
Ease of Use:
The Keurig could not be any easier to use. I kept it on all the time (as they recommend) and after one cup is made, it takes a little water from the main tank and heats it and keeps it hot so that the next cup brews almost instantly. The control panel can be programmed to turn on and brew at a specified time, but I really never saw the point since thing thing makes only one cup at a time and it is pretty darn quick. Why would you set it to make a cup at 7:00 AM when all you need to do is push the button at 6:59?
The K-Cup mechanism worked very effortlessly – there was no need to ever be ‘gentle’ or ‘massage’ it into place like I have to do occasionally with the Tassimo. This is a very well made, sturdy and easy to use Coffee Brewing System.
So, How is the Coffee?
In a word ….fabulous. I tried seven different kinds of brews – each was distinct from the other and all were delicious. I am not a coffee connoisseur – I am a gadget guy. I could tell you about the rich, full bodied flavor, the pungent bouquet and stuff like that, but I would really just be slinging a bunch of ….well you get the idea. The coffee tastes great. Period.
What’s Not to Love?
They put the power switch in the back of the unit – if I were designing it, i would have a glowing blue light somewhere on the front so I wouldn’t have to fiddle to find the on/off switch. While I love having four brew sizes to select, I would also like to have (like the Tassimo has) the ability to just add a little more water to the cup I brew. Lastly, I would love some kind of K-Cup Cappuccino – my absolute favorite thing to make with the T-Discs on the Tassimo.
This thing is ‘Sweet.’ It looks cool, sounds cool when it brews, is easy to use and makes a great cup of Coffee. There is also a huge variety of coffees from Green Mountain, Newman’s Own , Timothy’s, Gloria Jean’s Coffees and loads of other brands to try out. The K-Cups are in some retail stores and lots are available on line. While the machine is not cheap ($199.00) the cost of a K-Cup is about $.50 or less – a whole lot cheaper than buying a cup of coffee in the morning.
The ultimate testament to this device is that it has made a coffee enthusiast out of my 14 year old son (still not sure if that is a good thing or not.) He can’t wait to wake up for school and pop in a K-Cup and have a morning cup of coffee from the shiny, cool Blue Coffee maker on the counter.
Final Grade: A
Pros: Great tasting Coffee, Great selection of K-Cups, easy to use, beautiful to look at
Cons: Expensive, awkward location of power switch, no Cappuccino brewing like competitors
The Keurig B70 is available at www.Keurig.com and from lots of retailers and on line for $199.00