Keurig has become well-known as the foremost producer of single-serving coffee makers. They popularized the “K-Cup” and have encouraged Americans from coast to coast to ditch their old-fashioned drip coffee maker in favor of a single-serving option.
Their latest product to hit store shelves, the Keurig K-Elite, will likely cause an influx of customers to replace their drip coffee maker (or outdated Keurig).
The Keurig K-Elite is a work of art. The team at Keurig has taken their 20 years of experience refining the single-serving coffee brewer to bring you a sleek, efficient, and elegant machine.
Overall Score: 4.2/5
The quality of this machine is on par with other recent Keurig models. It produces a quality cup of coffee in less than a minute.
While this is one of the more expensive Keurig models to date, it offers many bells and whistles that other Keurig models do not. Features such as iced coffee brewing and hot water dispensing will make this brewer the focal point of your morning routine.
We love the style of the Keurig K-Elite. It features a similar form factor to previous Keurig models, but comes in Brushed Slate and Brushed silver. This gives the brewer a very sophisticated look, allowing it to blend into even the most elegant of environments.
We aren’t unhappy with the size of the Keurig K-Elite, but it is just as big as other upper-tier Keurig models from years past. Measuring 16.5″ tall when the brewer is open, it is still capable of fitting underneath cabinets with 17″ of clearance.
- Gigantic, removable 75 oz water reservoir – This means you will only need to refill once a week at a cup per day
- Removable drip tray – Makes brewing into larger drinking vessels, like travel mugs, a breeze
- Iced coffee with one press – A dedicated iced coffee button allows you to quickly brew iced coffee for the dog days of summer. Note: Be sure to only use plastic cups when brewing under this setting
- Easy controls – As the years when on, Keurig’s displays have become more and more tech-savvy, but at the expense of usability. This machine forgoes the touch screen in favor of physical buttons. We definitely think they’ve nailed this functionality and like it better than the touch screen control panels on other Keurig models
- Integrated clock – The integrated clock on the digital display is a wonderfully useful addition. It’s kind of like a clock on your stove; you don’t think anything of it until you find yourself glancing at it whenever you pass through the kitchen
- Smart Start feature – We always have hated waiting for the Keurig to warm up before starting to brew. Now, you don’t have to. Keurig added a new functionality that allow you to insert a K-Cup and start the brew as soon as you turn the machine on. Once the machine has warmed up, it will begin brewing automatically.
- Auto On and Auto Off – If you’re not a morning person (like so many of us) sometimes, you need a little help getting your life together as the sun comes up. Keurig has answered that call with Auto On. This feature will start your Keurig at your chosen time. The Keurig also comes with Auto Off, which will shut off your brewer after 2 hours of inactivity so you can keep your electric bill low.
- Descaling – While this is an issue with any coffee brew that circulates water, we find it a bit frustrating that frequent descaling is so crucial to the longevity of your machine. That said, it’s best to take the manufacturer’s advice and descale the brewer at the recommended 3-6 month intervals.
- Choices, choices – As with any coffee maker, you need to decide what’s right for you in terms of size, frequency of use, and style. The K-Elite boasts a rather large footprint and may not be for everyone, but we’re convinced that if you’re at least a moderate coffee drinker, the machine will be a welcome addition to your kitchen counter.
- K-Cups Required – One of the biggest hesitations that consumers have with Keurig is that you’re locked into one company’s coffee offerings. Keurig has done a great job of broadening the types of K-Cups they offer, but sometimes, you still want to brew that redolent espresso roast from your corner coffee shop. Spoiler alert: There are some new gadgets on the market that let you do just that!
The Deep Dive – What Makes this Keurig K-Elite
The Keurig K-Elite is a culmination of everything Keurig has learned in their quest to dominate the single-serving coffee machine market.
It is one of their larger brewers to date, with a counter footprint of 9.9 inches by 12.7 inches. When the brewer is closed, it is 13.1 inches tall. When you open it, the height is 16.5 inches, which makes it perfect for you if your kitchen counters are less than 17 inches from your cabinets.
The large size of the brewer is not wasted; it is one of the most powerful and feature-filled Keurig machines on the market. It boasts an enormous 75 ounce water reservoir, which will only need to be refilled on a weekly basis if you only drink one cup every morning. A charcoal water filter can be installed in the bottom of the reservoir to improve taste and the longevity of the machine. If you’re in an area that has relatively soft water, you may be able to opt out of using the water filter.
The machine is wrapped in an elegant Brushed Slate or Brushed Silver finish, giving it a polished look that will make it blend into any environment. This machine will look excellent on your kitchen counter, regardless of your decor.
The machine has the standard Keurig removable drip tray, which allows the machine to accommodate even the largest of travel mugs. The brewer can brew a variety of cup sizes including 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 ounce cups.
One of the remarkable things about the Keurig is its ability to brew a cup of coffee in less than a minute. Keurig recognizes this is their competitive advantage and added a new feature called Smart Start. This feature, when enabled, allows you to turn on the machine, insert a K-Cup and start the brew even if the machine hasn’t fully warmed up yet. When the machine has reached the ideal temperature, it will automatically begin brewing. Just don’t forget to place your favorite mug on the drip tray or you may have quite a mess on your hands!
The brewer comes standard with other features that were introduced on earlier models, such as Strong mode. When enabled, this mode will slow the brewing extraction so that you can glean every bit of deliciousness from the coffee grounds. Other features include Auto On and Auto Off, which allow you to set a wake-up time for your machine and to automatically shut it off after 2 hours of inactivity. We promise this will greatly improve your Monday mornings, in particular.
The Elite has the added benefit of allowing you to select your brewing temperature, so that you can dial in the perfect temperature to yield the best tasting coffee. The temperature can be adjusted between 187 and 192 degrees Fahrenheit, giving you plenty of room to tinker.
What’s In The Box
When unboxing the Keurig K-Elite, you will find the brewer, a water filter, water filter handle, and a 6-count K-Cup variety pack.
The water filter can be easily installed in your brewer to improve the flavor of your coffee and the life of your machine. Unless you have abnormally soft and delicious-tasting water, we would recommend using these filters regularly in your new Keurig K-Elite. Filters should be changed every 2 months or 60 water reservoir refills.
The water filter handle is used to assist you in securing the water filter to the bottom of the tank. Simply place the filter into the handle, then press the filter into the bottom of the water tank using the handle. When it’s time to remove the filter, just pull the handle up and away from the bottom of the tank and the filter will come with it. Changing the water filter in the Keurig K-Elite is a breeze.
The 6-count K-Cup variety pack is an excellent inclusion in the Keurig K-Elite box. You’ll be able to begin brewing before you know it!
The Keurig K-Elite is a high-end brewer capable of sustaining even the most avid of coffee drinkers. We feel the Elite looks sophisticated enough to blend in with even the classiest of environments. The Brushed Silver and Brushed Slate styles are a welcome departure from the boring and expected black plastic look.
Its Quiet Brew Technology helps to reduce the noise while brewing to a very low level, making it perfect for offices or reception areas.
The capability of the machine to turn on and off when you want it to is a great feature for those who always seem to be running from one place to the next. The Elite makes it so that your morning coffee is one less thing to fuss with.
The various brew sizes available in the Elite make it the perfect tool for entertaining. After-dinner coffees are no longer a challenge. You can custom brew a coffee for each of your guests in less than a minute per cup.
Overall, we absolutely love the latest addition to the Keurig lineup: the Keurig K-Elite.
Most products out there can be drastically improved with a few after-market accessories. The Keurig K-Elite is no exception. While the product itself is an exception value, we’ve outlined a few accessories below that will take your morning coffee routine to the next level.
Customizing Your Brew
K-Cup Coffee Lover’s Variety Sampler (40 Count)
If you’re new to the Keurig family of systems, we highly recommend picking up a sampler of K-Cups. There are countless coffee brands out there in a dozen different coffee styles, so it’s hard to know what to try first. The Coffee Lover’s Variety Sampler comes with 40 K-Cups from 20 popular brands. It’s our choice for best sampler for a Keurig newbie.
Keurig My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter
Sometimes, countless brands and types of coffee aren’t enough. With the seemingly endless supply of amazing coffee roasters cropping up every year, being locked into K-Cups seems like a disservice to your taste buds. Luckily, Keurig agrees and developed the My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter. The device can be filled with ground coffee of your choosing and inserted into your Keurig K-Elite, just as you would an ordinary K-Cup. The filter has two fill lines that are optimized for cup and travel mug sizes, so you never end up with a coffee that is too strong or too weak. It is super easy to clean and is top rack dishwasher safe.
One minor concern in Keurig ownership is where to store all of your favorite K-Cups. While the pantry works, it’s not nearly as accessible as having the coffee sitting on your counter right next to your brand new Keurig K-Elite. Thankfully, some savvy entrepreneurs recognized this problem and created a variety of ways to store your K-Cups close to your brewer. Our favorite two storage solutions are broken out below.
The K-Cup Carousel is a new twist on the iconic carousel spice rack. This carousel is designed for K-Cups, specifically. It comes in chrome or powder-coated black, so you’ll be able to perfectly fit it into your kitchen decor. The carousel can hold up to 35 K-Cups and fluidly rotates so you can quickly select your desired K-Cup in the morning. We find the K-Cup Carousel to be our favorite carousel K-Cup storage solution.
Mind Reader Triple Drawer K-Cup Holder
If you don’t want yet another counter-top container, like the carousel, then we recommend the Mind Reader Triple Drawer K-Cup Holder. The device is essentially a set of drawers that doubles as a stand for your new Keurig K-Elite. We enjoy this K-Cup holder because it has three independent drawers, which allows you to get creative in replenishing your stash. Perhaps one drawer could be for decaf, one drawer for regular, and one drawer for your highly-caffeinated Death Wish Coffee. Overall, we think the Mind Reader Triple Drawer K-Cup Holder solves our K-Cup storage problem, hands down.
The quality of the water going into your Keurig greatly affects the life and maintenance on your machine. We’ve picked our top two favorite products to improve the longevity of your brand new Keurig K-Elite.
Keurig Charcoal Filters (12 count)
Water has a surprisingly huge impact on the flavor of the final cup of coffee coming out of your brewer. It shouldn’t be too surprising, since coffee is largely made up of water, but if you have nasty tasting water, your coffee isn’t going to taste much better. Keurig wants all of their customers to experience the joy of a delicious morning coffee, so they designed their Keurig K-Elite with an optional carbon filter location. We recommend using the filter, regardless of your water quality, as it will yield the best tasting cup of coffee. There are several carbon filter manufacturers out there, but our pick is the perfect blend of price and total count.
Keurig Descaling Solution
Even with high-quality, filtered water it is recommended that you descale your machine regularly with Keurig’s own descaling solution. This will drastically increase the life of your machine. By using the Keurig Descaling Solution instead of a vinegar-based concoction, you won’t have the terrible lingering vinegar smell or flavor in your coffee. Plus, Keurig bundles the solution with two extra carbon filters. We highly recommend the Keurig Descaling Solution for your Elite; your coffee maker is an investment and you should take every measure to protect it.