Love or Hate | Keurig and the K-Cup

“Maybe we’d get some of the Keurig fans to use our methods if we weren’t so pretentious, wasteful, expensive, and inaccessible ourselves.”

Someone is talking about the problems with k-cups again. This article recently surfaced painting a less-than-spectacular picture of the Keurig one cup brewing machine. The argument hinges primarily on the basis of the negative environmental impact of all those disposable k-cups. $3.1 billion worth of k-cup waste to be exact. But this is nothing new. The truth is that since its inception, the Keurig has received more than its fair share of criticism from the Specialty Coffee world--criticism about the environmental waste as well as the quality of coffee it produces. While few in the specialty coffee industry praise Keurig for its innovation, most Specialty Coffee insiders hate the Keurig. Correction: make that HATE. And articles like the aforementioned Mother Jones piece only fuel that fire.

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But while the Mother Jones article was making the rounds in specialty coffee circles nationwide, this blog post surfaced to help bring a bit of balance to the argument and neutralize some of the artisanal finger pointing. "While throwing away a little plastic cup for each brewed cup of coffee from these systems is indeed wasteful and should be an environmental concern, let’s not rush to judge," argues Marco Arment who's asking specialty coffee enthusiasts to look in the mirror. He continues, "[W]e’re the ones who have made drip coffee, something that was cheap, easy, and available to everyone, everywhere, immediately for decades, into an ever fancier, more time-consuming, more expensive, and more exclusive obsession over gear and technique."

Marco's argument is sound. You should read his piece, because with coffee giants like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts producing K-Cups, the Keurig is not going away anytime soon. In true innovative spirit, the Keurig creatively satisfied a distinct need for the average coffee consumer. In fact, on more than one occasion Cuvee Coffee CEO, Mike McKim has mentioned that the Keurig is one of the most innovative pieces of equipment in the coffee industry. And though the coffee that the Keurig produces isn't as fresh as your favorite local coffee shop, it's certainly more convenient and far less alienating. And whose fault is that? As Marco put it, “[M]aybe we’d get some of the Keurig fans to use our methods if we weren’t so pretentious, wasteful, expensive, and inaccessible ourselves.”

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