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    Published on May 17th, 2012 | by Greg

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    Keurig Vue: An Evolution In Single Cup Brewing

    We’ve been fan of K-cups for a very long time, and so it was with a mea­sure of both ex­cite­ment and sad­ness that we at­tend­ed the launch event for Keurig’s new sys­tem. A com­plete over­haul of their sin­gle-cup brew­ing line, the new mod­els are in­com­pat­i­ble with the K-cups we know and love, and the new cups are odd­ly short and stout. We had been hear­ing ru­mors for a while, and cer­tain­ly rec­og­nize the needs: the new sys­tem ad­dress­es some of our biggest com­plaints, by al­low­ing you to re­cy­cle one part of the cup and com­post the oth­er, it re­moves or great­ly re­duces the waste im­pact. And the new sizes and ma­chine of­fer ad­di­tion­al op­tions, with room for more cof­fee grounds in each of the ‘packs’ to make stronger brews, and more con­trol over tem­per­a­ture and even pres­sure.

    Changes can be scary though, and our first ex­pe­ri­ences with the new Keurig Vue sys­tem weren’t com­plete­ly re­as­sur­ing. Part of this may be our bi­as­es- we’ve grown quite fond of the cof­fee va­ri­eties avail­able in the K-cup for­mat, many of which are not yet avail­able in Vue packs. Cost is a fac­tor as well- our fa­vorite K-cup box­es are less ex­pen­sive by a sig­nif­i­cant mar­gin than Vue packs, and the ma­chines them­selves dif­fer great­ly in price (the on­ly cur­rent­ly avail­able Vue brew­er runs $225, ver­sus the in­ex­pen­sive Mr. Cof­fee per­son­al mod­el we re­viewed, with lim­it­ed op­tions but quite de­cent re­sults at around $70). There is cur­rent­ly no reusable fil­ter for the Vue sys­tem, ei­ther.

    Clear­ly, Keurig set out to make a top-of-the-line brew­er. It of­fers eight dif­fer­ent brew sizes, has a de­cent­ly-sized col­or touch­screen that works pret­ty well, and the wa­ter reser­voir is plen­ty large at 74 ounces. It looks sleek, black and met­al ac­cents, and is pret­ty sim­ple to use for those who are fa­mil­iar with sim­i­lar cof­fee mak­ers. Brew times are longer than pre­vi­ous ma­chines and seemed quite a bit nois­i­er- ap­par­ent­ly, it wets the grounds be­fore brew­ing, which can cre­ate bet­ter re­sults but does add some time to the pro­cess. We al­so no­ticed that many of our trav­el mugs would not fit where they need to go- which is a pret­ty big prob­lem for those who want to grab and head out the door. Reg­u­lar cof­fee mugs work just fine, of course.

    We al­so have mixed feel­ings about the new Vue packs. It’s great to be able to avoid trash­ing them. But you have to peel away a lay­er to sep­a­rate the com­po­nents, and it’s fid­dly even when the pack­age is cool. Right af­ter brew­ing, when you’re like­ly to ac­tu­al­ly want to dis­pose of them, they’re hot and this makes it more dif­fi­cult. In ad­di­tion, de­spite the new Trav­el Mug sized packs, it was still  not pos­si­ble to get a strong brew for an 18 ounce or larg­er cup of cof­fee. These larg­er packs do in­clude more grounds, but not enough to cre­ate good re­sults for cup sizes be­yond, say, 12 ounces.

    We al­so checked out the Vue Pack Carousel, a handy ac­ces­so­ry for any­one who gets the ma­chines (or gifts one)- it serves as a handy, at­trac­tive place to store and dis­play the cups. Un­der-unit mod­els are like­ly to come, but we haven’t seen any yet. Avail­able now for around $30. Cof­fee va­ri­eties, as men­tioned, are still lim­it­ed, but a 10-pack sam­ple is in­clud­ed in the unit’s box to get you start­ed. We’re fond of the Green Moun­tain Break­fast Blend and the Barista Pri­ma Ital­ian Roast, avail­able sep­a­rate­ly for around $11 for a 12-pack.

    In our of­fice, the Keurig K-cup Plat­inum Brew­er con­tin­ues to sit along­side the Vue, and most folks seem to pre­fer the old­er sib­ling. The re­sults are con­sis­tent­ly good, and the cof­fee se­lec­tion is wider, plus we can al­ways throw in the fil­ter bas­ket and use our own grounds. There are some great changes and up­grades in the Vue, and we def­i­nite­ly ap­pre­ci­ate the com­mit­ment to en­vi­ron­men­tal friend­li­ness and ad­di­tion­al cus­tomiza­tion in brew­ing op­tions. We’ll def­i­nite­ly give the Vue some time to find the way in­to our hearts, and in the mean­time, there’s a new and in­ter­est­ing sin­gle-cup brew­ing sys­tem on the mar­ket that is cer­tain­ly worth a care­ful look! In stores now.

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    About the Author

    Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.



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