Whether you're a coffee fanatic or an espresso connoisseur, it's likely that a lot of your caffeine intake comes from (and a bit of your paycheck goes) to a coffee shop. But you don't have to stick with the status quo- why not do it yourself? We've looked at plenty of machines and methods for brewing at home or at the office, but Keurig continues to offer one of the most convenient options. They have a pair of new machines that handle each side of the equation, with their new Rivo line offering espresso results that compare favorably with those from your local cafe. Next up, we'll look at the latest update to their Vue line, for those who prefer coffee over cappuccinos and lattes.
The Rivo 500 is a very different Keurig machine. Moving away from the single-cup coffee that has made Green Mountain famous, they instead selected Lavazza as a partner. This means that you'll need a new type of "pod" for this machine, and can't use either Vue or K-cups. Much like other single-serving espresso machines, like those from Nespresso that we've seen or the illy solution, you'll need specific capsules for the Rivo, and they can be a bit difficult to find. Also, the selection is limited to four varieties at the moment- a decaf blend, as well as a bold 'Intenso', the 'Classico', and the lighter 'Delicato'. All of them are from the excellent Italian brand, and the results were quite good in our taste tests. We wouldn't pick a Rivo espresso over a shot from the recently-reviewed Rancilio Silvia, but this machine is a fraction of the price and takes essentially no work. Crema was good, color lovely, and the best part of such brewers is that they are consistent. Always ready at the touch of a button, it takes only a few seconds for a quick espresso.
The Rivo 500 looks good on a counter too, continuing the black and metallic accents of the Keurig line. It's fairly large, though, so make sure that you have room in your kitchen! The top of the machine gives you the five essential options, ranging from your basic short or lungo espresso shots at the bottom to your three frothing options at the top. Oh, we almost forgot: the best part of this machine is a built-in milk frother that works similar to the stand-alone Keurig Cafe One-Touch and combines steam and stir-style frothing. Unlike traditional steam wands, you can get consistent results, and can do cold drinks as well. We loved the system for this reason alone, as you can choose a cappuccino froth that is quite foamy, also perfect for a macchiato, or select the latte setting for hot milk with a bit of foam, or press the button and get a cold froth without using steam for an iced latte. The integrated frother allows you to use whatever type of milk you wish, and is fairly snappy, plus reasonably easy to clean.
We've seen plenty of Keurig machines over the years, from their smallest to some of their biggest brewers. The Rivo system is an interesting departure, and a great introduction for a brand new style- a true espresso machine that takes a great brand partner in Lavazza and combines it with a frothing system that is among the best on the market. Drip coffee fans might want to wait for a machine that combines the Rivo and Vue systems, but if you only want espresso-based drinks, this is a great pod espresso maker that is perfect for quick cappuccinos. Available online and in stores now, for around $250.