Keurig & Cuisinart Brew Coffee Making Solutions Quickly & Easily in a Single Serving

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Keurig_vs_Cuisinart_sm

I’m going to make an odd comparison here and hopefully people will get it. We all know how successful Apple has been with their App store and the products that “consume” the applications like the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Well let’s stretch our imagination a bit and apply this to the coffee brewer industry. Over the past few months, I have had the LUXURY of testing two single-serve coffee makers that are from different companies but that use the same “app store”…er…coffee store. I guess you can equate this pretty closely to the cell phone industry as there are numerous manufacturers of single-serve coffee makers and consequently, the pods or single serve coffee canisters abound as well, much like the Android app store, Apple App store, etc.

Keurig_vs_Cuisinart_sm

First of all, why choose a single-serve coffee making solution? Well let me tell you this, it is literally a life saver. And, they are so easy to use that your kids can brew you that first cup of coffee on the weekend without ANY type of mess. Have you ever tried to brew a full pot of coffee? I know that you have. For starters, you need to be sure that you have coffee (grounds or bean). Then you have to grind them (potentially) and get them into the coffee maker. And wait, do you use a paper filter or one of those gold filters? Which one is better? Some say that the paper ones filter out the coffee oils while others say that the gold filters are not used by the purist. So let’s move to the next part, filling up the coffee maker with water. Do you use filtered or not? How much water do you use in relation to the scoops of coffee? And what do you do if your spouse or partner or someone else wants decaf? Now, add a kid into the mix and suddenly you have a disaster waiting to happen. And let’s say you are doing this on a school morning and you simply don’t have time to wait for a full pot to brew…your options are limited, you can wait for the pot to brew, go without coffee or order an expensive coffee from a coffee shop (that will cost you $1.50 or more!).

Single serve coffee makers are truly convenient time savers. And if you use them properly, they can save you money on wasted coffee. How many times have you brewed a full pot of coffee only to leave 1/2 of it sitting in the pot only later to throw out? Sure the per cup cost is probably less expensive if you consume the full pot…but who (other than me) really drinks a full pot! Single serve coffee brewers are so insanely simple and easy to use, you definitely CAN get your kids to get you that first cup in the morning (just be sure to warn them that the liquid that comes out is VERY HOT! – not for smaller kids to do!). Since I am talking about the advantages of the single-serving solution, let’s touch on a few more. For starters, you can brew not only various types of coffees, but also teas and even hot chocolate (that is the key for kids too!). To brew a fresh cup, you only need a minute or two (depending if you have your brewer ready to go or if you have to have it heat up the coffee first). There is no mess since the coffee is contained within the pods, or in the case of Keurig and the Cuisinart that I tested, a K-Cup. At last count, Keurig had over 200 varieties of K-Cups available for coffee, tea or other beverages. Now THAT is choice! Each pod or K-Cup contains pre-measured amounts of coffee, tea or hot chocolate, for example. And there is no mess because of the innovative way that the brewer punctures the K-Cup and streams the hot water through it.

So now that I have talked about the “apps” (K-Cups), we should probably look a bit closer at the “phones” (the brewers). The two brewers that I tested were:

These two brewers are quite similar in many ways but do differ as well. Here is what they have in common:

  • Use the Keurig K-Cups
  • Can brew multiple serving sizes
  • Use “one-touch” technology to brew a single serving
  • Can use the My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter (to bring your own coffee to the mix)
  • Have a backlight LCD display with a clock and are programmable
  • Have an energy saving mode for On/Off
  • Have warning and indicator lights when you need to fill the water reservoir

Both of these single serve brewers can crank out a cup of hot coffee or tea in about a minute, all without mess and basically without thinking. Both of them from a “cold start” do need about 3-5 minutes to heat up water for brewing. Once heated, your hot beverage is a minute away. Before I go into how the Keurig and the Cuisinart differ, you should take a look at them in action in the video below:

So let’s take a look at some of the differences between these two brewers. For starters, they do have a significant price point difference. The Keurig Special Edition has an MSRP of $139.95 and the Cuisinart’s MSRP is $199.00. Do note that on Amazon, the prices are a pretty similar (Keurig is $118.95 and Cuisinart is $165.97). So what makes up this $50 difference and is it really worth paying a bit more for the Cuisinart?

The Keurig Special Edition

Keurig_prod_shot

Let me first sing the praise of the Keurig Special Edition. It has all of the elements of a successful single serve brewing system and performs exactly as I would expect an appliance of this price. I used the Keurig for about a month longer than the Cuisinart. We blew through, I mean drank through the included sampler pack as well as a variety of other K-Cups that we purchased later. Just so that you know, you can get additional K-Cups in a variety of locations. My wife looks for sales of the coffee packs at Target, but you can also order them from Amazon or Costco. From my back-of-envelope calculations, you typically buy a 50-pack for about $20-25 which means that each cup of coffee or tea comes to about $0.40-$0.50 per serving. We actually found ourselves brewing a lot of cups of coffee, simply because of the novelty of it all. I usually never drink coffee in the evening but I found myself brewing a quick cup (mainly of decaf) just because it was so easy to do. And, out kids were always begging for hot chocolate (note, the hot chocolate does seem to be a bit more expensive).

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The Keurig has 3 serving sizes: 5.25 oz, 7.25 oz and 9.25 oz. If you want a bit stronger coffee, you should select a smaller size cup when you are brewing (and I typically choose the Extra-Bold K-Cups because I love robust coffee). There is a removable drip tray but I really didn’t run into any issues with dripping. You can hear the brewer when the coffee is being made. The pump is a bit noisy (when compared against the Cuisinart) but it is definitely not bothersome. The 48 oz reservoir can brew about 8 cups of the 5.25 oz serving which is sufficient. You can set the brew temperature for a range between 187 and 192 degree Fahrenheit. The bright blue LCD display clearly indicates the serving size, whether the brewer is ready to brew or not and the time, among other things. Over all, it is a solid single-serving brewing solution.

The Cuisinart Single Serve Brewing System

cuisinart_prod_shot

Let’s move on to the Cuisinart Single Serve Brewing System. While initially I couldn’t really find any negatives with the Keurig, that was because I really didn’t have anything to compare it against. If you can afford the $50-60 price difference, I would recommend the Cuisinart. For starters, while the design is similar where you lift up a handle to put in the K-Cup, the Cuisinart in my opinion looks a bit more elegant. The aluminum body, at least in my kitchen, seemed to fit in a bit better. The Cuisinart is a bit boxier as well while occupying about the same amount of space, it is a bit larger actually. But what you get with the additional counter space footprint is a larger water reservoir.

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The Cuisinart has an 80 oz water reservoir, compared to the Keurig’s 48 oz reservoir and has a water filter that you can use with it. Trust me, the extra 32 oz is really great. Also, compared to the 3 cup sizes of the Keurig, the Cuisinart has 5: 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 oz settings (I always use the 12 oz setting – just remember though that the coffee will be a bit weaker than with lesser quantities). Also, I found that the pump noise on the Cuisinart is a lot quieter than the Keurig. I’m not sure if this is because of a different pump being used or if the pump itself is better insulated. Also, there is a handy side storage compartment for the My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter which is a nice value-add and use of the extra space.

If you haven’t watched the comparison video above, I encourage you to do so as it does show both products in action.

To bring this all back to my original analogy of cell phones, I would like to think of the Keurig as an iPod Touch and the Cuisinart as more like an iPhone 4. You get a bit more functionality with the iPhone 4 and the specs are a bit better but both let you do almost exactly the same thing with the “app” you use. Regardless, with either “device” you get a pretty nice cup of coffee pretty quickly (in about a minute).

HighTechDad Ratings

Both of these single-serve coffee brewers are extremely easy to use and get up and running. In fact, my kids are now brewing us coffee fairly regularly, as well as making hot cocoa for themselves. However, if I were to make a choice between these two brewers, I would elect to paying slightly more and get the Cuisinart for a few reasons: the look, the fact that the water reservoir holds more water, the fact that it stores the personal K-Cup, and that it actually brews larger cups of coffee. However, if you are a bit budget constrained, there are other versions of the Keurig maker that are even less expensive than the Keurig Special Edition. And given the deep discounts available on Amazon, it’s hard to go wrong!

Keurig Special Edition

EASY TO GEEK FACTOR – is the device easy to get up and running
HTD_4_star
FAMILY FRIENDLY – does the device fit well into family environments
HTD_4_star
RECOMMENDABILITY– would I recommend it to others (more means “yes”)
HTD_3_half_star
PRICE POINT – does the price reflect the product function
HTD_3_half_star
OVERALL – my general rating
HTD_3_half_star

Cuisinart SS-700

EASY TO GEEK FACTOR – is the device easy to get up and running
HTD_4_star
FAMILY FRIENDLY – does the device fit well into family environments
HTD_4_star
RECOMMENDABILITY– would I recommend it to others (more means “yes”)
HTD_4_star
PRICE POINT – does the price reflect the product function
HTD_3_half_star
OVERALL – my general rating
HTD_4_star

Disclosure Text : I have a material connection because I received a gift or sample of a product for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was/am not expected to return this item or gift after my review period. More information can be found in my About page as well as here.

HTD says: While it may seem like a luxury, being able to quickly and easily brew single serve coffees, teas or hot chocolate to me now seems like a necessity!

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[amazonproduct=B0034J6QIY]

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12 Responses

  1. I found this post very interesting and informative. I did my research and opted for the Cuisinart as you could brew your own ground coffee, the Keurig did not have this option. I did not want to be stuck always buying pods. The cuisinart looked allot more sturdy and not so plastic looking. I would definatly recommend spending the extra $50.00 for the Cuisinart brew system. My husband grumbled at the price but after I explained all the features he was quite pleased.

  2. Question about the Cuisinart, if I may? I’m wondering how long I have to wait in between cups of coffee, say, in the event I have guests, and 2 or 3 would like a cup of coffee before they depart for the evening… in short, how long does it take for the water tank to fill to be ready to dispense the next cup? Thanks in advance :)

  3. With a full tank, you can get quite a few cups of coffee back to back actually. And if you compare the timing to brewing a full pot, you will be serving coffee faster and sooner with the Cuisinart. Just have the machine one and sighing about 5 minutes, all your guests will have coffee. The longest wait is the initial water warm up and that is only a few minutes.

  4. Would you mind terribly telling me the width of the Cuisinart? The Keurig site has it at 17 inches and the Cusinart site has it at 13 inches. Makes a huge difference in our home, the counter it will be stored on is only 16.5 inches wide!! Maybe you should tell me the height as well?

    It took me weeks to decide on this one and then I read the dimensions on keurig.com!! Thank you so much!!

  5. Unfortunately I don’t have the Cuisinart in front of me. I would simply call up a store that sells them and ask them to measure it.

  6. I’m leaning towards getting the Cuisinart . . . every morning, I go to Burger King and get a large coffee (20 oz) to start off the day . . . I want to be able to skip this routine of going through the drive thru everyday . . . Will I be able to do this (20oz) with the Cuisinart?

  7. You can set it to 8, 10 or 12 oz. If you want 20 oz and you like it strong, I would use 2 of the Kcups (pods) and the 10 oz setting. It will only take you a couple of minutes to brew. I do the 12 oz setting. Remember that it is the same amount of coffee being used for the various sizes.

  8. Question… I am trying to find out about which one to choose and I think I like the Cuisinart but kept hearing about broken pump problems when I came to this:

    How to fix
    “It took me three product returns to finally figure out why the pump would always quit working. Here’s the problem and the solution. The K-cups have too much air in them. Think about the pressure in a can of pringles chips and how it “pops” when you open it. I live in the mountains of Colorado, so the little K-cups always seem like they are ready to burst.The problem is that when you put the K-cup in the machine, it pokes a hole in the top first, then the bottom. Why? Because The machine has needles that poke both the top and bottom of the K-cup. However, since the top is easier to penetrate than the harder plastic bottom, the top is pierced first and that is where the air gets released. The “puff” of air released from the top, along with some dry coffee is sent up through the pump hose. This causes the pump to lose its ‘prime’ or get plugged by the still dry coffee grounds.
    Solution: I have a tack from a wallboard that I use to simply poke a tiny hole in the bottom of the K-cup before placing it in the machine. This will release the air pressure which is the source of the problem. I don’t understand why cuisinart doesn’t advise this, as it seems like it would eliminate 99% of the product returns. You’re welcome. Now go enjoy your first trouble-free cup of coffee. Cheers.”Does this sound right? Just thought I would add this to your helpful discussion. Everyone keeps telling me that they had to take back the machines a couple of times with both Cuisinart and Keurig. I really want a new coffee maker though. Thanks, Ana Marie

  9. Be advised that 
    Cuisinart has an awful customer service dept.I bought this last week and was shorted the 12 k cups and now after 3 emails and 3 and 333 3 FORM letters from

  10. Thanks for the info. On the Cuisinart SS-700, does the k-cup support the necessary strength of brew for the 12 oz size or is the 12 oz cup a bit diluted?

  11. I do the 12 oz all of the time. The only way that I like it is with “Dark” or “extra bold” flavors. It’s not as strong as the 10 oz but its still ok.

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Global Product Review Disclosure

Disclosure: This is a global disclosure for product review articles on HighTechDad. It does not apply to Automobile reviews and there are other exceptions. Therefore, it may or may not be applicable to this particular article. I may have a material connection because I may have received a sample of a product for consideration in preparing to review the product and write this or other content. I was/am not expected to return the item after my review period. All opinions within this and other articles are my own and are typically not subject to the editorial review from any 3rd party. Also, some of the links in the post above may be “affiliate” or “advertising” links. These may be automatically created or placed by me manually. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item (sometimes but not necessarily the product or service being reviewed), I will receive a small affiliate or advertising commission. More information can be found on my About page.

About HighTechDad

Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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