Listen to this short episode to experience a high-fidelity binaural demonstration of this best in class Keurig coffeemaker: My original review from the summer 2020 WCB Newsline appears below.
Listen to experience a high-fidelity stereo demonstration of this best in class Keurig coffeemaker. Purchasing information may be found at the following link:
Coffee Magic at a Price
by Reginald George
Let’s start with this little-known fact: Seattle is the official coffee capitol of the universe. Everett and Vancouver are right behind.
In case you doubt, Wikipedia says “Seattle is regarded as a world center for coffee roasting and coffee supply-chain management. People in Seattle consume more coffee than in any other American city, one study stated.”
So how far are you willing to go for a good cup of Joe that is easy to make and pour? For myself, I’m finding it’s pretty far. The $15 coffeemakers out there are not cutting it anymore for my exacting requirements. My Keurig is eight years old and, besides, it’s sadly stuck waiting for me at my office. I needed something at home to help me stay alert while working.
I had spent about six months obsessing over finding just the right coffeemaker, when one day my co-editor, Heather, walked into a Bed Bath and Beyond in Walla Walla and walked out with what must be one of the most stand-alone, accessible, blind-friendly units available. It’s not perfect, but it’s close.
I have always been a fan of one device to rule them all. My iPhone reads me my books, takes me on walks, wakes me up and puts me to sleep, and if I could get it to make coffee, I would.
I was originally fascinated by what are called grind and brew coffeemakers. What I really wanted was a machine that would sing sweetly to me in the morning; accept whole beans, ground coffee and K-cups of any brand; give me hot water on demand for a cup of soup, tea, mulled wine, or cider; make a pot or cup of the size I specify; and do it all automatically. I don’t ask for much, do I?
The Keurig K-Duo Plus is an incredibly well-designed, compact machine for around $220 before discounts, which, with the exception of singing and grinding whole beans, checks all those boxes for me.
There is a version of this coffeemaker called the Keurig K-Duo Essential at Walmart for around $100, but it lacks many of the best features. More on that later.
The Keurig K-Duo Plus comes with a removable 60-oz. reservoir, or tank, that is supposed to make a 12-cup coffeepot. If you believe, as they do, that a cup holds five ounces, you might even buy this ridiculous claim. The big, round, insulated, stainless-steel pot that comes with the machine is easy to pour from, and it keeps the coffee hot for up to two hours without burning it. This replaces the typical heating plate underneath your coffee, which tends to make it too hot and causes bitterness over time. Life can be bitter enough without bad coffee.
The water reservoir has the unique ability to be rotated on a platform to either side of the machine or behind it. This lets you adapt the Duo Plus to your environment, and it should fit nicely under most cabinets.
The K-Duo Plus takes standard paper filters, and comes with a reusable gold filter and a long, disposable charcoal filter that slips into the tank to keep the water tasting sweet and pure. This also keeps minerals out of the machine and will extend its life, so it’s a good idea to change this every three months or so.
The main controls are individual push-buttons that circle around the brew button in the center with a large raised letter K on it.
Starting at the bottom of the dial between five and seven o’clock, you have two buttons that specify either carafe or cup. Then, moving clockwise around the dial are the buttons for choosing your sizes, which are 6, 8, 10 and 12 oz. or cups, depending on if you are making one cup with a pod, or brewing a pot of coffee.
The differences with the less-expensive Walmart version include:
• Only three sizes: 8, 10 and 12.
• Not programmable.
• You can’t move the tank, as it’s in a fixed position behind the machine.
• No button for a stronger brew.
• It comes with a glass carafe that must be heated on the plate underneath.
Still, if this meets your needs, it’s well worth the price.
There is much more I could say about these models. One downside is that there is no beep or signal built in, so singing is out of the question. However, if you are listening, you can hear when the machine turns on and when the coffee has finished brewing. A beep would have been helpful to know if it’s low on water or if some error has occurred. But as long as you follow the steps in order, you will have excellent results.
My old Keurig stayed on all the time to keep the water hot, so coffee was ready very quickly. To save energy, this machine automatically powers down after five minutes, so it takes a little longer to boil the water, but you don’t have to wait to start the process. You can put in your pod, hit the power, choose your size, press the strong button if desired, then press brew and walk away. In a few minutes, you come back to a perfect cup or pot of coffee. You can also operate the machine with no pod and have just straight hot water.
When you first plug it in, you are asked to set the time and, of course, this isn’t very accessible. It can be done if you know you are starting at midnight, and count the taps to the correct time. The timer remembers the last time it was set, and this makes it difficult to set without sight, but this feature was not important to me.
If anyone has any thoughts on the best grinder to go with this, or anything coffee-related, you can write to TheWCBNewsline at GMail, and we can all enjoy your comments together, over the hot beverage of our choice, in the next issue.