27
May
12

Keurig- a quick consistent cup of coffee- one cup at a time

quick look: Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition Gourmet Single Cup Home Brewing System

+pluses

  • brews quickly
  • no need to measure*
  • consistence results
  • no coffee filters needed

* if you use prepackaged K cups

-minuses

  • brews small amounts, only one (coffee) cup at a time
  • large countertop footprint
  • expensive way to brew individual cups of coffee

IMG_2964IMG_2967 IMG_2974  IMG_2962

 Now the details

If you gauge your first morning cup of coffee as a precursor as how your day will go, you’ll probably be bored with the Keurig coffee brewer. Without any measuring of coffee and water, little is left to chance  of  the results if you use the prepackaged K-Cup coffee.

At first glance the Keurig looks like some kind of high tech espresso machine. The fact is you don’t pack and tamp coffee for this machine, as it brews by drip or more correctly, if you please, infusion method, similar to any other type drip  coffee machine with the exception that it only brews a limited amount of coffee or hot beverage per use. This model is limited to only 3 brew sizes, 5.25, 7.25 or 9.25 ounces. As for the coffee, Keurig relies on prepackaged coffee know as K-Cup portions. 

A “My K-Cup”, that’s included with the  Special Edition Signature B6o Keurig Brewer is a reusable coffee filter assembly, which is essentially a miniature mesh basket that allows you to “roll your own” and use your own coffee if it’s not available as a prepackaged K-Cup. Given the fact that the Keurig has a My K-Cup option will save you from purchasing prepackaged K-cups and permit you to use your own favorite coffee, one of my first questions answered when wondering whether the Keurig locks you into purchasing only prepackaged K-Cup portions paks from different coffee brands. 

IMG_2972 IMG_2973 IMG_2968 My K-Cup cartridge assembly in Brewer

 

Let’s look at the prepackaged K-Cups.

They look like the small coffee creamers that are served  with coffee in restaurants. The K-Cups are sealed amounts of ground coffee encased in a plastic container, each on has it’s own miniature paper filter pouch that hold the ground coffee slightly away from the bottom of the plastic container. There’s no reason to remove or puncture the foil lid of the K-Cup portion pack. The coffee stays sealed until it’s placed in the breech of the brewer. Hence the problem of portion control is solved, and the freshness of the coffee, assumed it’s packaged right after roasting and grinding, is uniform for each cup. When the K-Cup is inserted into the brewer and the lever placed onto the operating position,  hollow needles punctures the K-Cup both at the top and bottom of the K-Cup, the bottom orifice being off center so it  does not puncture the internal filter of each K-Cup.

 

IMG_2960 IMG_2978 IMG_2961IMG_2979  IMG_2985 IMG_2980

Operation:

The volume of water used for brewing has also been idiot proofed, as in other machines where you would fill the machine to a graduated marking for a particular sized pot of coffee, you just keep the tank full of water. Keurig limits your choice to 3 cup size amounts,  5.25, 7.25, 9.25 ounce. You select the size from the display menu when the machine is ready to brew. The working internals of the the Keurig automatically dispenses the chosen amount of hot water to the brewing chamber via the hollow needle at the top of the K-Cup. The water passes through the coffee and filter and out the bottom hollow needle and into a short funnel and out to your cup. Having the water amount limited, and each coffee brew amount portion controlled, if you use the K-Cup portion packs, limits the variables that allows the user to screw up a cup of coffee. And just as I wondered and found out by reading the instruction manual, the brewing  water temp is only variable from a high of 192 degrees F (default value) to a low of 187 degrees F.  by 1 degree increments, this choice available through a menu option.

IMG_2966

Due to the small brewing amount of the Keurig and the use of prepackaged coffee, the Keurig is an easy sell if you like speed and convenience, albeit one cup at a time brewing. Even after the brew is complete, cleanup and reloading of the Keurig is easy. The spent K-Cup is removed and disposed of without having to mess with coffee grounds and filters.  Now maybe Keurig will have to produce or indicate that it’s K-cups are environmentally friendly, as old school drip coffee grounds and filters could be sent to the compost pile and/or used in the garden .  Load a new K-Cup into the machine, pull down on the handle and the ready to brew message appears if the water has reached the proper temp.

One thing that’s apparent is that there’s no pot of coffee left to refresh your cup after it reaches 3/4 empty or if you have to readjust the amount of milk/coffee ratio after an initial swig.  Now when entertaining company with just a Keurig, you’ll either have to make each guest his\her own coffee or ask if they know how to use Keurig and leave out a selection of K-cups. You could of course brew a series of cups and pour them into a insulated coffee container.

Other notes:

The Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition requires minimal set up. There are no upgrades to install, apps to download or networks to configure, yet.  A simple run  through of the machine without a K-Cup Portion Pak is recommended before your first brew. Some other items like the installation of the water filter screen may be required.

With the Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition, the in tank water filter assembly contains two screens assembled with an upper filter holder. This assembly sits inside the water tank and contains a replacement date dial that is set by rotating the dial to indicate by  number, 2 months ahead to remind the user when to change the water filter upper cartridge screen. It’s visible thru the tank.

As reading the enclosed owner’s manual about de-scaling, that’s required if the LCD Control Center reads “DE-SCALE”, I wondered why the LCD Control Center wouldn’t indicate “change filter” rather than the hideous replacement date dial visible through the water tank. ( I supposed it could but would add additional cost to the brewer). Also when the water in the tank nears the bottom of the tank, the “add water” text will display on the LCD control center and lock out the operation of the brewer till the tank is replenished.

There is some programmability to the the Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition. The On and Off time can be preset after setting the clock time, but the programmed “ON” time  feature only causes the coffee maker to turn on, heat the water, and indicate “ready to brew”  at the preset time , it won’t automatically brew your coffee and the fact that it doesn’t take the Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition long to heat up a small amount of water, ~ 4 minutes, the set “ON” time really doesn’t add any convenience to the brewer. One function the Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition has is to set the “Auto Off time”. The brewer will shut down after the last cup is brewed any set time between 1 and 9 hours that’s selected by the menu selected. 

Coffee, Tea and More:

The Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition also is supplied with a selection of K-Cup Portion Paks and many coffee varieties are included. K-Cup Portion Paks are available for tea and hot chocolate and for iced drinks Keurig recommends brewing over ice. Though tea is available in K-Cup Portion Paks, according to the manual it is not recommended to use the My K-Cup cartridge for tea. Why ? I don’t know. One option would be to use an tea infuser and without a cartridge use the   Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition to provide hot water to steep your favorite tea as most teas recommended steeping times of 4 minutes or greater .

Another option to make larger quantities of coffee would be to use a drip cone setup or a French Press and again without a  K-Cup Portion Pak, cycle the brewer just for hot water multiple times till the cone or press pot  is full by selecting various combinations of brew sizes (ounces) to fill your filter pot,  press pot, or tea infuser. I noticed that after the initial heat up time and first cup made, the recovery time for the next cup is quite short. Just pull the handle up and down, after  several seconds the “ready to brew” appears and repeat the cycle till you have enough hot water.

  IMG_2977   IMG_2976

Note that the bottom base drip tray of the Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition is removable to accommodate tall receptacles and allow emptying of the drip tray.

Using my own fresh roast coffees, I found that the best cups, using the my K-Cups, were produced by grinding the coffee fine. I’m used to French press method, often having the coffee infuse for anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes with a course grind. Due to the speed at which the Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition passes water over the ground coffee, the fine grind gives the good flavor though I still prefer French press for the quantity produced.

IMG_3009c

Utilizing a French press receptacle

Literature

The  Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition  comes with the Owner’s Manual, Shopping Guide, Starbucks K-Cup Portion Pak Guide, Set up Guide (Quick Start), Water Filter Starter Kit Instruction and a My K-Cup reusable Coffee Filter Instructions.               

Construction

Most of the construction of the Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition is plastic. Only exposed metal is the drip tray. The main operating handle for opening and closing the lid is chrome plated plastic. The internal component construction is not know but by the sounds of the operation there may be two pumps, one for water and another for air as the instruction manual states that the brew cycle ends with a burst of air to remove all liquid from the K-Cup. The Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition has a 1 year warranty. 

The Keurig Signature B6o Brewer Special Edition was gifted to my wife, so cost was not a consideration.


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