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Keurig Vue Vs. Keurig K-Cup: Which Single Serve Coffee Brewer is Better?

Keurig Vue Vs. Keurig K-Cup: Which Single Serve Coffee Brewer is Better?

Keurig Vue is essentially an advanced version of the earlier K-Cup brewers. This HomeQuicks article gives the comparison between Keurig Vue vs. K-Cup brewers, to help you decide which one is better.
Akshay Chavan
Did You Know?
Despite the fact that it predominantly manufactures coffee brewers, Keurig makes most of its profit by selling K-Cups. In the year 2010, it made $800 million from K-Cup sales alone.

The name Keurig has become synonymous with high-quality coffee. Ever since the company came out with its own pods, called K-Cups, brewing coffee has never been so simple. All one needs to do is insert a K-Cup into the base, press a button, and voila! The brewer produces a cupful of delicious, hot coffee in less than a minute. This made the K-Cups so popular, that in no time millions of houses, offices, and stores around the world began stocking them. A number of companies also made a beeline for Keurig, hoping to become licensed manufacturers of K-Cups, and make huge profits.

However, Keurig's patent for K-Cups was to expire in September 2012. Its competitors waited in anticipation for this, so they could make their own low-cost versions of K-Cups, and capture the market. But, the coffee giant had other plans. Towards the end of 2012, it launched its Vue series of brewers. Though being a later version, these brewers had many similarities with the earlier brewers. To start with, both are single serve coffee brewers. Both can brew a range of beverages like coffee, tea, hot chocolate, besides other specialties. Finally, both can be customized to the user's preferences. Let's review Keurig Vue vs. K-Cup brewers, to understand the differences between them.

♨ The Basics
Keurig Vue is an advanced version of the earlier K-Cup brewers, which boasts of more advanced features, besides using a different type of pod. Keurig K-Cup brewers use disposable pods, called K-Cups. These brewers not only use pods manufactured by Keurig, but also those made by other companies. The Keurig Vue brewer only works with Vue pods, which are made specifically for it. Thus, neither the K-Cup brewer nor the Vue brewer can work with pods other than their own, though the former can use generic K-Cups as well.

♨ Pods
The newer Vue pods are twice the volume of the K-Cups, and also contain more coffee grounds. While the K-Cups must be disposed in the trash after use, Vue pods are more environmentally friendly, as their seal and coffee filter can be removed after use, allowing the plastic cup to be recycled anywhere that #5 plastic is accepted.

Another difference between the two types of pods is how the respective brewer uses them. The K-Cup brewer makes one hole in the top metal foil to pump hot water into it, and another at the base from where the coffee comes out. This presents the problem of coffee dripping out of the pods when they are being removed from the base. The Vue brewer instead makes two holes, one in the lid and one at the spout, thus leaving the cup undamaged. Besides, there is free space between the filter and the cup in Vue pods, which plays a role in the final taste of the coffee.

♨ Cup Size
When it comes to the cup sizes, the Vue brewer offers more choice, by providing 8 cup sizes of 4 oz, 6 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz, 14 oz, 16 oz, and 18 oz, depending on the model in question. K-Cup brewers, on the other hand, offer a final cup size of 12 oz, beginning from 4 oz. These machines are capable of brewing only a standard cup size of coffee at a time. So, when filling a travel mug of 18 oz, the Vue brewer can make this possible in under a minute, in a single operation, while, the K-Cup brewer requires two operations, using an 8 or 10 oz cup. Considering that each brew takes between 45 seconds to a minute, the longer wait can be a minor inconvenience.

♨ Flavor
Considering that K-Cup brewers have been around for long, their pods, or K-Cups, are available in more than 200 flavors. These brewers can be used to brew coffee, tea, hot chocolate, along with other specialized beverages like hot apple cider, iced teas, and the like. Vue brewers can use pods available in up to 70 flavors. Sure, this is lesser than the K-Cups, but with time, manufacturers are expected to come out with more flavors. Vue brewers offer a beverage choice of coffee, tea, iced tea, hot chocolate, along with other 'cafe beverages', as the company calls them, which include lattes, mochas, and cappuccinos. To make these beverages, you need to brew two pods; one for the coffee, and the other for the dairy. The brewer uses air-infusion technology to create a frothy effect, by pumping air in the space between filter and cup.

♨ Brewer Features
Since Vue brewers are newer, they come with certain added features. They allow the user to select the brew strength and temperature range from 187 to 197ºF, aside from a variety of cup sizes. This makes brewing hotter, and stronger coffee possible, for those who like it that way, or milder and colder drinks for others. The brewer has been appreciated for its user-friendly touchscreen display, which allows you to set an auto on/off feature, so that the coffee is ready even before you are on your feet in the morning.

Users of Vue brewers report a much stronger coffee, thanks to the option of choosing the brewing time, along with the extra coffee-content of pods. In contrast, K-Cup brewers produce mild beverages, especially if the cup size being used is large, as K-Cups contain less coffee grounds. Besides, larger Vue pods are available when travel mugs are to be filled, ensuring that the strength of brew is not compromised. Moreover, Vue brewers have a larger water reservoir, thus enabling you to brew multiple cups without the need for constant refilling. However, the Vue has drawn criticism for its high noise levels, which isn't a problem in K-Cup machines.

♨ Cost and Convenience
Since Vue brewers use advanced technology, and have not been in the market for long, a higher cost is obvious. The average Vue is at least $30 costlier than a K-Cup brewer. Obtaining replacements for damaged parts is not easy; even Keurig doesn't sell them. Talking of the pods, Vue pods can only be purchased online, as most stores don't keep them. On the other hand, K-Cups are easily available. Vue pods are priced around $10 - $12 for a pack of 16, making them costlier than K-Cups, which have a price of around $15 - $17 for a pack of 24.

The verdict of which brewer is better depends on one's individual tastes. While the Vue is newer, its features of customizing the brew strength and temperature don't stack up much to the K-Cup brewer's superior flavor-variety, cost-effectiveness, and high pod availability. Moreover, since its introduction, the Vue hasn't really been able to gain a foothold in the market, raising a question mark over its future. On the contrary, the popularity of traditional K-Cup brewers shows no signs of fading anytime soon.