“Open the pod bay door HAL” Dave asked the insane computer. “I’m sorry Dave, I am afraid I can’t do that.” HAL responded. Up until a few years ago, the only thing I associated pods with was science fiction and green peas.
Then came Apple and its iPod. Overnight the world became “pod” crazed and we saw the emergence of various other pod-isms. The coffee would soon find itself drawn into the pod world, and coffee as we knew it changed forever.
Single-serve coffee systems came onto the market with amazing speed. Sadly, quality suffered greatly. And in no time, the single-serve coffee dream was relegated to nothing better than SANKA or any of the other instant coffees (at least in my opinion).
Tassimo, Flavia, Senseo, all struck out in previous reviews. Of the three, Flavia fared the best, at least being palatable. Barely.
As you can guess, I came to view all single serve coffee makers with a certain disdain, if not contempt. The simple bean, the glorious French Press, the dignified espresso was so much better, even contemplating single serve seem ludicrous. Yes, my coffee snob-o-meter was at an all time high.
Then, something happened. This summer we visited friends in Vermont, and among other tourist activities (Ben & Jerry’s Tour), we visited the Green Mountain Coffee store just outside of their factory.
This alone was an impressive experience, between the multi-media room coffee display and the heady aroma of coffee that permeated the air like a rich caffeine perfume, I was in heaven.
Before I knew it, I had several bags of coffee in my hands. How could I pass up such an opportunity after all, I could see the factory in the distance where the coffee was freshly roasted.
As I turned to my son who just had to show me something of life or death importance (in this case, a doodad of some sort) I found myself staring at three Keurig single serve pod coffee makers.
I quickly came to realize that Green Mountain had quite the variety of pods they offered for the Keurig. Wheee! I thought, another single serve coffee maker destined to disappoint.
“Would you like to try a cup?” a friendly faced employee asked me with a smile on her face. “Sure!” I replied.
As she started to show me the inner workings and relative ease of operation, I learned that Green Mountain recently bought Keurig. They found its quality to be of the highest standard and decided to buy the company outright.
By now the coffee was ready and as she handed me the cup. The aroma was fresh, and the taste was… pretty damn good! I made a note to give the Keurig a more in depth review at a later date.
Fast forward a few months, and an email to Green Mountain, pretty much regaling what you have just read and I was informed that a Keurig B60 Special Edition and some pods were on their way to the Bean for review.
Before we get to talking about the pods and coffee, let me touch upon a few of the more unique features of the Keurig.
Brews at 192 - Degrees that is. It is largely held that 191-192 degrees is the optimum temperature to brew coffee at. Make no mistakes, at this temperature the coffee is piping hot and burn inducing, but it makes sense that it brews at this temperature to get the most out the coffee pods.
Easy to Operate Pod Chamber - Lift the handle and a compartment for the coffee pods tilts toward you and waits patiently for the pod to be dropped in. There is an added bonus here in that since the pods are plastic they can be easily lifted out immediately after brewing, care should always be taken of course, but in all the cups I have brewed I have never had any discomfort.
Three Sizes, No Wait - The idea is simple, put a pod in, press a button and coffee comes out. The Keurig model I tested keeps it simple with three coffee cup size buttons, small, medium and large. So simple, yet so effective.
I found myself using the medium button the majority of the time. It seemed to be the right amount, and I suspect, but can’t confirm that the coffee pods are designed to give the best results at the medium setting.
Speed - Power the Keurig on and it starts heating its internal water, think of the Bunn and Mr. Coffee units our parents used that you essentially always had water in the chamber ready to rock. Its no wait coffee once you press the button, which is nice when you are in a hurry.
Timer - Well it won’t make a cup for you on its own, but it will power on so that you can groggily throw a cup under the brew chamber and press a button. A minor detail, but very welcome.
That’s enough about the unit, lets switch gears and talk about the coffee pods. I mentioned earlier that they are small plastic cups that have a foil seal on top. When a pod is placed in the unit and it is closed holes are pierced in the top and bottom of the pod.
Each pod has its own mini-filter that prevents the grounds from coming out during the brewing process. For those who want to use their own coffee, Keurig offers a refillable K-Cup. While I did not personally test one, at least one person I spoke with indicated that it was somewhat of a pain to use. Regardless of mess, its a nice option to have available.
Coffee — Any good?
Surprisingly enough… Yes! Looking at the pods I found myself wondering how they could possibly produce decent coffee. But they do. Keep in mind I still think traditional brewing methods are far superior, but in a pinch the coffee is not that bad.
My wife for instance, loves that she can just brew one cup at a time. When I took the unit to some associates to try, she was more upset than I have ever seen her over loss of coffee. Not one, but two of my friends have gone out and bought a Keurig after having coffee from the review unit.
From my experience the medium and dark roasts seem to give the richest results, the light roasts tend to be very light. This could be a result of the cup brewing or it could just be a very light roast. Not unpleasant, but not as good as the darker roasts in my opinion.
Variety is something that the Keurig has going for it, jump on their website and a cavalcade of pod choices jump out at you - Green Mountain, Caribou, Gloria Jean’s to name a few. I have no problem ordering coffee online, but what I like is that Keurig coffee pods are available at local stores such as Kohls and Bed Bath & Beyond.
In closing, I have to say I was very impressed with the Keurig B60 Special edition. If you are in the market for a single serve coffee maker, I would look no further. For the coffee aficionado it would makes a nice “addition” to your coffee bar for times when you need it a fix quick.comments powered by Disqus