No need for formal introductions – since you’re here you’re obviously a K-Cup fan, which is understandable. Making coffee has never been easier, all thanks to the pods. However, not all Keurig machines are the same and this is exactly what this is about: an in-depth look at some of the most popular models Mini, Classic, Cafe, and Elite, to help you decide which one is best for you.
All Keurig K-Cup models operate similarly, so the main differences between them are the capacity of their water reservoirs, how many cups sizes there are, and, of course, the special features. Let’s have a look at each model.
As the name says, this is a small version, suitable for personal use.
There is also a Keurig K-Cup Mini Plus model, which is equally small and compact but comes with a detachable water reservoir and pod storage unit that fits in the machine and can hold up to 9 pods. This model is a bit more expensive at $99.
The best known Keurig model and the one you will find in many American kitchens.
The Keurig K-Cafe was created with the coffee-shop addict in mind, as this is one of the few Keurig models that also allows you to make cappuccino or latte.
The Keurig K-Cafe is for cappuccino and latte lovers. Now, Keurig is not an espresso maker, so you might be a bit confused about this feature. This model has a button that allows you to make a 2oz shot of concentrated coffee, which is the closest to an espresso a Keurig machine brew can get. Not quite as smooth as the espresso at your coffee shop and you won’t see the distinctive espresso crema on top of a Keurig shot, but it is concentrated enough to make a decent cappuccino.
How to make cappuccino with Keurig K-Cafe
The coffee maker comes with a frother which can be used to foam whatever milk you prefer, including skim, almond, and soy milk. However, not all types of milk are suitable for making foam so it is pretty much a trial and error process. It works with either hot or cold milk. The frother is dishwasher safe so cleaning it won’t be a bother. To prepare cappuccino or latte is quite easy:
A stylish coffee maker with more features than the K-Mini or the K-Classic.
The Keurig K-Elite comes with some very interesting and useful features. For instance, this model has a strong brew button which allows you to increase the strength of your brew.
Even more impressive than that is the iced coffee feature which allows you to brew your coffee over ice, perfect for a hot summer day.
And, if you’d rather have tea the machine has a hot water on demand button.
Another useful feature of the K-Elite model is the water filter which removes strange tastes and impurities from your regular tap water. On all the other models it is recommended to use filtered or spring water for best results. Stay away from soft-water, with reduced mineral content which is not the best choice when it comes to making coffee.
All the Keurig coffee makers listed above are single-cup models, therefore they are suitable for home use, rather than an office environment where you are better off with carafe model.
Like all Keurig machines, all the above-mentioned models are simple to use and reliable and they’re pretty low maintenance. One of the features you will like about them is the removable drip tray, which allows for easier clean-up and extra space for your mug if needed.
They are perfect for novices as well as expert coffee lovers. You don’t have to know anything about coffee machines to simply place a pod in, press the button and wait for your drink.
And you won’t have to wait much, as your coffee will be ready in roughly one minute. However, people who are not happy with pre-packed grounds and want to experiment are free to do so using the reusable coffee filter that comes with every model.
What makes Keurig machines so attractive is the travel mug friendly feature, which will save you a lot of money since you can easily prepare your coffee-to-go and won’t’ be tempted to buy your coffee on the road. Even using K-pods, the price per cup is around $0.50, not to mention how cheap it is to make a brew using store-bought coffee grounds.
The K-Mini has basically a single cup water tank, which means you will have to fill it every time you want to make coffee. Also, the water reservoir is not removable, which might be a bit complicated when you have to clean it.
On the other hand, the Mini won’t alert you when it’s time to do some descaling, whereas the K-Classic model has a bright red light button to warn you when you need to clean the machine. This is very important because all coffee makers tend to function poorly when they get scale deposits.
The K-Elite model is the only one that allows you to adjust the strength of your brew.
A true coffee enthusiast always has a few tricks up his sleeve and here are a few tips to improve your K-Cup.
All the models listed above are good at their job, they give you a single cup of coffee in less than a minute, what more can you ask for? The choice between them depends on your needs and preference.
The Keurig K-Mini is the perfect choice for a single person or for college students who don’t have much space in their room. The K-Mini is barely 5 inches wide, it can fit anywhere. Since you can fill your travel mug in 60 seconds it’s great when you want coffee you can take with you to classes or at work. At the same time, since it’s so compact, you can also take the Mini with you when you travel and save a lot of money on shop-bought coffee.
The Keurig K-Classic works better for a couple as it has a larger water tank than a Mini. And it looks fancier on the kitchen counter. Other than that, it doesn’t offer any advantages over a Mini.
If you’re interested in cold drinks, then the Keurig K-Elite is the best model for you, since it brews directly over ice. And, of course, the water filter will come in handy if you don’t have one in your house. Certainly beats buying bottled water specifically for your coffee.
The Keurig K-Cafe obviously appeals to cappuccino fans and, indeed, this model will provide a decent beverage. On the other hand, if you’re really into cappuccino and lattes why not invest in a real espresso maker. The K-Cafe gives you a concentrated brew, but the machine lacks the pressure needed to extract a real espresso. If you’ll be making cappuccino only occasionally, then you don’t have a problem and the K-Cafe can still be used for regular black coffee and you can make a lot of it in a single brewing.