With all the models, reviews, and machines you see around modern offices, I pose the question. Who has not heard of Keurig yet? It is often difficult to decide on one machine over another. For most people, the process is simplified without research. Price guides their decision once conviction takes place. People decide they want a Keurig coffee machine and set out to get the best deal they can find. Traditionally, this leads people to a market store, like Target® or WalMart®, and their choices are limited to what they have in stock. More and more, however, are looking online in desperate attempts to save money.
New TechnologyWhen Keurig 2.0 Technology made its debut in December 2014, the biggest difference that disappointed the public was their restrictive DRM technology—Digital Rights Management. The Keurig K350 is a 2.0 machine. Natively, you are restricted in the use of the device by Keurig’s brand of coffee pods.
Keurig claims the reason behind this was consistency. The machine would read the “Keurig-Brewed” K-Cup and automatically adjust the settings on your machine to brew the highest quality cup of coffee possible.
But is that all? There have to be more improvements than proprietary technology. In fact, if that is all you hear about it, most people would not buy the 2.0 machines. Keurig’s 2.0 coffee makers are the best-selling machines on the market. What else has changed? How has Keurig improved its 2.0 technology over its 2.0 machines?
To answer this question, we need grounds for comparison. It is not enough to say that a light is bright. It is far more descriptive to say the light is “brighter than” and then finish it off by comparing apples to apples.
One of the best-selling Keurig 1.0 machines on the market today is the Keurig K45 Elite Brewing SystemKeurig K45 Elite Brewing System. This machine introduced a water filter, but if you are anything like us, you negate this feature by only using filtered water regardless. The function would bring you a consistent cup of coffee if you filled your reservoir straight from the tap, where water quality varies from cup to cup. It is convenient and brews great coffee. As with any single-serve coffee brewed you will never taste that “burnt coffee” flavor from old coffee when you expect fresh coffee.
So how as Keurig improved?
The K300 series feature two pod sizes, for one. Some people benefit from carafes rather than single cups. The Keurig K350 offers the classic coffee pod size perfect for that one cup of coffee quickly in the morning.
The new feature is the bigger pod size for brewing a 4-cup carafe of coffee for when you need more than one cup at any given time. Definitely a time-saving feature over waiting in line to use the Keurig machine. Not that you would wait that long ~ each cup brews in under one minute flat.
Customizable settings, a touch screen with a programmable clock, and a new “auto-brew” are all features that come brand new with this machine. One of these “customizing features” is the ability to brew a bolder cup of coffee. Some people like it darker, and that cool.
The reservoir is made larger for this one—by 12 ounces. It may not seem like much, it makes a difference in the morning. The K350 features a 60-ounce reservoir, which is a little less than half a gallon of water. Previous models, like the K45, could only hold 48 ounces of water, with good reason. With the K45, if the water reservoir were any larger, it would a lopsided machine. The entire design had to go back to the drawing board if they were going to offer a larger water reservoir and keep a small footprint on your available counter space.
This machine may have the ability to brew a carafe of coffee from a correctly sized pod, but you need to pay extra for it. The machine does not come with one, as you might expect from a traditional coffee maker. You need to buy it separately. Keurig does offer more than one design of carafe if you care about aesthetics.
One of the nicest features of any Keurig is the ability to brew other types of drinks. Hot chocolate and tea come to mind, and the Keurig handles them exquisitely. The K350 has individual settings to make your cup of hot chocolate this winter ideal. And c’mon…the touch screen is not only new and nifty—it is actually fun. When was the last time you made coffee and thought how fun it might be?
Perhaps the biggest change is the DRM technology. There is a small optical sensor in the ‘lid’ of the K350 that will ‘read’ the lids of officially branded Keurig coffee K-Cups. Natively, without any workaround, you may feel forced to abandon your favorite coffee and buy Keurig brand K-Cups. Hold on…not so fast.
The DRM technology sparked a public outcry against Keurig. Indeed, many of the reviews warn you to stay away from Keurig 2.0 and how they would not touch it with a ten-foot pole. Don’t’ be alarmed by this. There are many excellent options out there for those who want to continue brewing their own cup of joe.
As stated, there are several solutions. The Rogers Family Freedom Clip installs directly on your machine and over the sensor and “fools” the machine into passing the test every time. Freedom Stickers are little labels you place over the rim of the pod—the sensors read this label as a legitimate Keurig K-Cup. Others still have created reusable cups with the ability to fool the sensor built-in. These are the most convenient, don’t require hacks or workarounds, and work flawlessly.
Of course, the option to use the official K-Cups will always be an option. Who knows? Perhaps your favorite flavor of coffee already was an official Keurig brand.
The K350 has significant improvements over the K45 Elite. Customizable settings, the carafe, and another clock in the kitchen! Even if you are not using the coffee maker, it is nice to have yet another device glaring at you for sleeping in late. And if you are running a little late in the morning, you will not be leaving without a good cup of coffee in your hands.