I just purchased the Keurig 2.0 Model k560 (which is same as Model k550) at Costco for $129 ($149 – $20 special). The 560 included 48 Keurig K-cups, 4 Carafe size K-cups, and a 4 cup Carafe. Reviews have been poor but Costco has a great return policy so I thought I would take a chance. I’ve had the Keurig B31 (B30) Mini brewer for over a year now and love the convenience. We use our Cuisinart to brew a pot of coffee in the morning and the Keurig for the occasional cup during the day.
I work from home and wanted a single cup coffee brewer in my office. The Keurig B31 (read my review here) doesn’t have a water reserve so the new Keurig 2.0 560 looked great, sporting an 80 oz. water reserve.
Here’s where it gets interesting
I got it home, unpacked it, and like a kid, wanted to use it right away. I grabbed a “pre 2.0” Peets Coffee Major Dickason’s Blend K-cup (my favorite) put it in and got an “Opps!” warning. Can’t use that cup. What the H#~~! I pulled out the manual and read that it only can take Keurig 2.0 brand K-cups. Evidently, Keurig didn’t like the competition taking market share away. I was ready to pack it up and return it and get an older model. Did a quick online search and found the older Platinum model was more than this newer model (about $238).
The Keurig 2.0 Hack
During my search, I found some YouTube videos showing workarounds or “Hacks” to the 2.0 K-cup dilemma. I have over 75 older K-cups. See video below. At first I thought this was going to be a hassle. But I thought I would give it a try. Keurig 2.0 has a laser light that reads the edge of the K cup to verify it is a Keurig authorized cup. The Keurig hack tricks the Keurig 2.0 coffee maker into believing the inserted K-cup is authentic. I brewed a cup using one of the new provided K cups, then carefully cut the top off. Then put the top on an older K-cup (non 2.0), used a rubberband to hold in place (saw that on another video)… an voila! It worked! I’ve since cut 2 tops off just to have handy. Rubber banding onto my Peet’s Coffee K-cup takes about 3-4 seconds. I’m a happy camper.
I plan to do the permanent fix – taping the partial top to the laser light area. I’ll post back how that goes. For now, the cutout top works like a charm. You can also use the workaround on many of the reusable cups that allow you to use your own coffee. Some don’t work. Make sure the bottom of the reusable cups are flat. If they look like a K-cup they should work. Here is one on Amazon that works without a hack click here. It is expensive, but I have a feeling as more machines are sold, more 3rd party products will pop up for the 2.0. I already saw a stainless steel carafe that fits the Keurig 2.0. Reviews say it keeps coffee hotter longer (and looks nice).
UPDATE 12/18/2014: I applied the Keurig 2.0 permanent hack (taped a portion of the foil label top to the inside laser light area). Took about 3-4 minutes. I already had the foil top peeled and ready to go. IT WORKED! Now the Keurig 2.0 will brew any K-cup – old & new!
There is a good video on YouTube showing an easy way to peel the foil top off one of the new 2.0 K cups… basically, just after brewing a cup with the new K cup, you remove it while it is hot, run it under cool water so it isn’t too hot to hold. Make a slit from the center hole to the edge. Carefully start peeling off from the edge. Work your way around, slowly until you get it off. By doing this while still hot, the glue holding the top foil is gummier and peeling is easier. I cut a piece of packing tape about 4″ long. Place the foil – face up (printed side up) about 2″ in from the edge. Make a double sided tape with scotch tape or whatever (fold the tape onto itself so both sides are sticky). Put tape under the taped foil top. Carefully position the taped foil over a used K cup (you can use a new one if you want). The double sided tape will hold it in position. Carefully put cup in brewer. Close the lid. Carefully open the lid. The packing tape should be sticking to the top of the lid. Press and smooth the packing tape on the left side of the lid to hold it in place. Remove the double stick tape and discard. Carefully trim the right side of the foil to the edge of the plastic. You will be left with about 1/3rd of the foil taped to the lid. Trim any excess tape. Make sure it is securely taped… you can add a small piece of tape to the right side and wrap over the plastic if you want. Shut lid and make sure none of the tape is interfering with open/close. THAT’S IT! Your Keurig 2.0 should now brew any K cup – old K cups and new 2.0 K cups!
Here is a short 2 minute video I shot of me making a cup of coffee using the fix. Excuse the mess… the Keurig 2.0 k550 is in my office. Note: the top you cut from the new K cup can be used over and over. You don’t have to cut a new top every time. In the video you will also see one top I cut out where I removed the inter foil. Either cut top works… all you need is for the Keurig 2 to see the outer ring on the left side of the cup. Also, for the permanent fix, you need to cut the foil top in half so it doesn’t overlap into the area you place the K cup.
Get a free fix from San Francisco Coffee
I found this online… San Francisco Coffee has developed a fix (hack) to Keurig 2.0 and offers it free with every online order. It is a clip that you clip on to your Keurig 2.0 and allows your Keurig 2.0 to read non 2.0 certified k-cups. San Francisco Coffee makes pretty good coffee and probably the least expensive k-cups… they save money by not using the typical plastic cup on their k-cups. Their cups just have a fine mesh filter with a top. Check their website out – and if you buy from them you get the free Freedom Clip that you can use for all your non-compliant k-cups.
Shame on Keurig
I almost returned the unit because of Keurigs arrogance. But now, everytime I use the workaround (hack) I feel a certain satisfaction that Keurig didn’t get their way. I know… childish… 🙂
On with the Keurig 2.0 Reviews of the k550 & k560
The unit is attractive. As I mentioned, the Keurig 2.0 k560 is the same unit as the Keurig 2.0 k550 – it just has more extras to go with it. The 550 (560) will take K-cups and Vue cups (I don’t use the Vue so haven’t tried it). The Vue cups are a little larger than K-cups and was Keurig’s failed attempt to get people to buy a new machine that required more expensive cups. If using a Vue cup, you are presented with more brewing options… but again, I haven’t tried it.
The 80 oz. water tank is large. The nice thing, opposed to the older Platinum model, is you do not have to remove the water tank to refill it. The front top lifts up and you can fill by pouring in the water. Works great for me. My office is upstairs and I prefer to use the filtered water from downstairs. I just fill up a pitcher and fill it up.
I have to be honest, all I use is 8oz and Strong. I like strong coffee. You do have options. When you put in the Keurig K cup the display window will say Ready. Then on the top right side you can pick 4 – 6 – 8 – 10 oz.. 8 oz. is default. If you want more and don’t mind if it isn’t strong, you can use the 6 oz. then re-brew again with same K-cup to get 12 oz..
There is a Strong setting under the Ready icon, lower left. It slows the water down to maximize flavor. Takes slightly longer to brew a cup. There is also a Hot Chocolate setting bottom center. I haven’t used it, but read on another blog that it didn’t make any difference between regular brew or hot chocolate brew setting.
You can set a timer to turn it on and off at selected time. This may be nice if you want the water heated and ready to go first thing in the morning. I use mine mainly in late morning, early afternoon. I hit the On button (screen) and doesn’t take long to heat up. Brew time is about the same as my Keurig B31. Coffee is hot. I like hot coffee.
Speaking of Hot Water, it also has a Hot Water setting. If you open and close the lid without a K-cup a Hot Water icon comes on the screen and says to push & hold button. If you don’t want hot water, just hit the Cancel on the screen. You do have to hold the button down the whole time water is coming out. I believe you get 6 oz of hot water… if you want more you need to repeat the process. This is a nice feature if you or a guest wants tea.
I need to find out how many watts of electricity it uses in Standby Mode and in Off Mode. At the end of the day, I push the Off screen but there is still a slight glow to the screen so some power is being used. I should probably set the timer to turn the machine off at 4:00 PM everyday. I don’t like to drink coffee after 4, keeps me up.
You can set the background color of the screen with corresponding water tank light. Keurig calls it wallpaper. You have about 12-15 selections. The water tank has a small light that shines up from bottom to give it a color glow. So if you want a red background, or blue background or silver background you have those options.
There may be more settings (beside setting the time & language). I think you can set Favorites when using Vue cups.
I haven’t used it yet. I will update this post when I do. The larger 4-cup carafe K-cups are expensive ($2+ ea) and I read that the plastic carafe that comes with the Keurig 2.0 560 model does not keep the coffee hot for long. I’ll let you know my experience after I try it out. Follow this post to stay updated. Check out the Stainless Steel carafe available for Keurig 2.0 on Amazon.
The Costco package included a water filter that goes into the water tank. It is good for a month or so. I doubt I will replace mine. It is basically charcoal wrapped in porous paper. I don’t want to contribute to Keurig’s product line any more than I have to… but at least it is there for those of you that would like a filter. In the lower Keurig 2.0 models 350, 450 you won’t get the filter, carafe, hot water feature or extra K-cups.
Keurig 2.0 Bad Reviews
If you read most of the bad reviews, they are more about Keurig’s restrictions on which K-cups it will recognize, not about the machine itself. Read some of the reviews here. If you don’t mind the workaround/hack – which is very easy to do – the machine itself is not bad. Many complain that the carafe that comes with the Keurig 2 doesn’t keep the coffee hot for very long. One person did say the pump failed after a month, and a few other complaints, but overall, I think most complaints are with Keurig’s policy and not the actual machine.
So far I am glad I did not return the Keurig 2.0 k550 (k560). I’m still upset with Keurig for implementing the 2.0 K-cup only policy. They should know that Open Source is what makes a business successful. The more K-cups manufacturers you have the more people will buy the brewers. For awhile, Keurig had a patent on the K-cup but since it expired in 2012, Keurig Green Mountain has lost market share. Now they are trying to get it back. I think the backlash will push people to other brands that can use all K-cups and not just Green Mountain k-cups. Not everyone wants to fool with the hack, even though it is very easy to do.
The machine is good. The coffee is good. The ease of use is good (aside from needing a hack). The machine looks nice, hightech. I like the ability to select Strong and the variety of size selections are nice. If this is your first Keurig machine, you will love it. You won’t have any older K-cups around to gripe about. If you have a Platinum older model or any older model that is working, no need to upgrade. The 2.0 doesn’t offer any advantages. Coffee tastes the same.
Below are links to the various Keurig 2.0 models. (they may not be visible if you have ad blocker turned on)