If you’re about to buy a Keurig, then you’re that kind of person who wants coffee fast and easy. No song and dance, just java. That’s totally cool – I’m the same. I like a quick hit, but I also like something that tastes good. Lucky Keurig has our back uniting convenience and customization to bring us “the perfect coffee maker,”…or so they say.
Look, I’m not a fan of Keurig, nor are most “coffee people.” But today, I’m going to set that aside, and review two of Keurig’s 2.0 models, K460 and K560, to see which one can bring us closest to the coffee-maker triad of taste, convenience, and style.
Will I discover that one of these is the holy grail of coffee makers? Probably not, but I’ll do it anyway!
Keurig is not the gold standard of coffee machines, but it’s a household name because it serves a specific purpose. Fast and easy! The single-serve machines have a two-step process. One, pop your choice of pod into the machine. Two, push a button.
The brand states their machines are high quality, combining sleek designs with premium materials. On average, Keurig’s are designed to last for an impressive average of 5-10 years.
Released in 2014, the Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ introduces several improvements where the Keurig 1.0 lineup fell short. The most important of all, superior flavor and upgraded brew sizes.
The newer models use larger K-Cup pods which give you a stronger brew. The 2.0 technology also comes with additional functionalities such as touch-activated control on different strengths, flavors, and temperatures.
The Keurig 2.0 K460 and 2.0 K560 are two very similar machines on the surface. Let’s dig deep to discover how these two compare:
- Size of the machine: It’s an even match in size, as they both come in at 16″H x 12.7″W x 18.3″D. Both have a plastic casing and the same power usage. The only difference is weight, with K460 is being marginally lighter (13.7 lbs VS 13.9 lbs).
- Mug size: The K460 has one less brewing size than the K560, with nine developing sizes. If you like getting your coffee in a mug, this means you are only afforded with 12 oz and 14 oz sizes. The K560 has 10 developing sizes, which also means brewing K-Mug can be set at12 oz, 14 oz, and 16 oz sizes.
- Hot Water dispenser: The K460 lacks hot water on demand feature, so you’ll have to remember to preheat your machine for about 3 minutes…sort of spoiling the convenience of having a Keurig! In comparison, you don’t need to preheat the water to start brewing another carafe with the K560.
- Water reservoir size: The Keurig K560 has a very decent 80 oz water reservoir, giving you over 5 cups when full. The K460 holds 10 oz less, which is surprising considering the machines are the same size.
- Screen size: Not totally a deal-breaker unless you have thick fingers that make interaction with the screen feel restrictive. The K560 has a 2.8″ color touch screen, while the K460 has a smaller 2.4″ color touch screen.
- Nightlight function: Don’t want to wake the house with your early morning coffee habit? With the K560, you can customize the nightlight with different colors and glow depending on your mood. This is not a feature on the K460.
- Maintenance: The K560 may last longer than the K460, thanks to the maintenance feature that alerts you to change the filter and clean the unit’s inside to avoid clogging.
- Price: If you have set a bigger budget, then splurge a little more on the K560, which comes in more expensive than the K460.
Both models have an auto-brew function and are upgraded with fully programmable brewing settings and a touch screen to keep you happy for many years. As both are compatible with all pod sizes, you get a choice of about 500 flavors from 75 different brands. As in other things in life, giving yourself some wiggle room when deciding on which Keurig 2.0 model to buy can spare you from minor troubles in the future.
The somewhat insignificant upgrades found in the K560 model might be the better choice for your longer-term convenience and happiness. But in my opinion, the more basic features in the K460 – extra preheating time, one less brewing size, and smaller water tank capacity aren’t a big issue. If you have longer patience than a 3-year-old, then you won’t mind getting the K460 that delivers all the Keurig 2.0 convenience you would need at an affordable price.
I didn’t touch on taste in my review because both produce a similar tasting cup, which is the issue, and also the reason I’m not a fan of Keurig.
Unfortunately, Keurig’s machines’ most appealing thing – fast, easy experience, is also their biggest downfall. Single-serve coffee makers produce a lesser tasting coffee because of the processes involved in creating a convenient experience. Here’s why:
- Stale grinds: Any exposure to oxygen during roasting and grinding triggers a reaction that destroys aroma and flavor. Before vacuum sealing coffee in those convenient little pods, the roasted beans must cool fully to avoid trapping carbon dioxide. Add in the length of time between grinding and packing; your pod contains less than fresh beans.
- Warm water: Keurig machines don’t heat water high enough to release optimal taste. The optimal temperature for brewing is 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. Keurig is pre-set to only 192. This leaves your coffee flat, under-extracted, and kind of sour.
- Fast brewing: Ideal extraction can take 2-4 minutes; Keurig takes just seconds. This, combined with the water and bean problems, you’ll likely be sipping on weak brown water instead of rich espresso.
It’s not the machines themselves – they are absolutely fit for purpose. But it’s what they create where it falls short.
So, at the end of the day, to answer the question, “which Keurig is worth your investment”? Well, that depends on how much of a coffee snob you are. If you simply worship at the altar of convenience, then go for a Keurig that has all the bells and whistles for a long and happy partnership.