Celebrate Your Coffee Independence: Keurig Vue 500

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, and in the most recent article, we looked at their new Rivo line offering espresso results that compare favorably with those from your local cafe. Now, we'll look at the latest update to their Vue line, for those who prefer coffee over cappuccinos and lattes.

The Keurig Vue V500 is the third update to their newer Vue line, which offers a completely different system than the original K-cups. We checked out the first Vue model around a year ago, and liked that it addressed many of the issues that were (and continue to be) present with K-cups. The Vue cups can be separated, with part of the pack compostable and the other part recyclable. There are a greater number of brew strength options, and the overall performance of the Vue machines is superior- hotter temperatures and more pressure. In addition, the Vue system has come a long way in the past year, with more and more types of beverages available, including tea, iced coffee packs, as well as drinks like hot chocolate and chai lattes.

The Vue 500 is fairly similar to the previous model, with a few differences. For starters, the water reservoir is a bit smaller, at 60 ounces instead of 74. This touchscreen is monochrome, while the elder sibling offers a color touchscreen. One brew option has been removed, the one for 18-ounce travel mugs, but we never used it as results were fairly weak. The brew times appear to be pretty much the same between the machines, which is one downside of Vue over K-cup. Both machines can also get fairly loud, but we never found them as noisy as many espresso machines.

In terms of aesthetics, the Vue V500 looks a bit like the Rivo R500 that we just reviewed, though skinnier. It's definitely a bit more svelte than the other Vue brewers, taking up less space on a counter, with a more compact design that shaves two inches off of the depth and more than an inch off the width versus the V700. Travel mugs won't fit under the brewing spout, but that's not a major issue. Also, there is now a third-party version of a refillable filter that allows you to use your own coffee grounds, which addresses one of the downsides we faced last year. We did miss access to specialty blends like the Africana, Bali Samsara, Kenya AAA, and other K-cups that currently aren't available for Vue- but they continue to add new ones regularly! If solid, quick coffee is what you need, and you're looking for convenience and a future-ready system, then Keurig's Vue is a good deal and the V500 their smallest machine yet. Available now, online and in stores, for around $160.

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