Keurig vs coffee maker by

What Happened to Regular Everyday Coffee?

Okay, warning. I’m going to go on a huge rant of semi-epic proportions. And with this rant you’ll take one of two sides in which you’ll say:

  2. This guys an idiot.

The people in group one are the people that will, obviously, agree with this. The people in group two…won’t. And it’s not that they are stupid people, they’re just doing something stupid – at least in my humble opinion. And if you’re a home owner of a previous (or future house sit), don’t be offended. This is an observation and is in no way judging you, even though it’ll seem like I’m judging you by the condescending tone I’m about to use.

So what is this epic rant, you ask?

Keurig. Tassimo. Nespresso. All stupid.

Hey, I own a Keurig! Why do you think these are stupid? They save me so much time!

Is that all? They save you time? That’s all you’ve got? That’s you’re only argument as to why you have a $100 coffee maker that costs over $0.60 a cup thereafter?

Uhh, it tastes better too?

No. It doesn’t. And here’s a list of other problems with the Keurig (and other machines like it).

#1. Not recyclable

How is it we took a step back with something that had a very small carbon footprint? Coffee, brewed with those paper liners (biodegradable or bamboo) are so simple. Brew a pot, toss the grounds and filter in your compost. Heck, toss em in the trash, they’ll biodegrate. Keurigs and the like? Nope. Sorry, can’t even empty them out and recycle the plastic because that plastic doesn’t get recycled. Great idea.

#2. Price Per Cup

Since we’ve been house sitting we’ve stayed at a few places with Keurig/Nespresso systems. And we’ve had to buy the little brewing cups because, well, we want a cup of coffee. Now, for 12 Keurig servings it cost us $8 CAD. That’s $67 cents a cup. WHAT! Guess I’m not having a second cup! Brewing coffee in a pot will vary depending on how much you make if you use liners. If you want one cup, it’s going to cost more because of the liner, but we’re talking pennies a cup, like Kool-Aid. Unless you use one of those steel mesh filters, then you have a one-time cost. But typically, it costs about a dime per cup for your standard drip machine if you buy coffee in bulk.

#3 Quality

I’m all for grinding beans. And many coffee aficionados will say a French Press is even better than your standard drip-machine or percolator. You can grind them as coarse or as fine as you want to when it comes to the aforementioned brewing methods – although drip machines are better when grinds are more fine. Not with those Keurig machines. You’re stuck with grounds – worse – your’re stuck with grounds in a non-recyclable, expensively tiny plastic cup.

#4. Cost of Machine

A standard drip coffee maker costs about $20. A Keurig starts at $80. Nespresso at $100, and Tassimo at $90. So you could buy 4 regular coffee makers for one Keurig and gift them to 3 friends (friends who may have a Keurig)

#5. Add-ons

Standard drip-style coffee makers and percolators don’t need any add-ons. What the coffee-maker industry COULD do to make things even better is to have a standard brewing pot. They’re typically made from glass, and accidents happen resulting in broken coffee pots. If you bought a coffee-maker 5 years ago, chances are that pot ceases to exist and you’ll likely have to buy a whole new maker. Now, Keurigs have their own add-ons, too. You can buy this little device; Keurig’s Reusable K Cup ® so you  can make regular ground coffee (the kind you scoop into a regular maker). That add-on is only $10. And that’s an Amazon affiliate link there because I do hope that if you have a Keurig and are reading this that you buy something that’s a little better for the environment.

#6. Cleanliness

We wash our coffee pots with vinegar and water. Back before we house sat we would also run a cycle of vinegar-water through our machine. Yep. We douched our coffee maker. Percolators and French Presses are even easier to clean. You pretty much just rinse them out. Those other machines? Well, here’s an interesting little video about what happens when you don’t keep your Keurig clean

#7. Convenience

Most coffee makers come with timers. So, you can prepare your coffee the night before and when you wake up, your perfectly timed coffee maker has brewed a pot and the beautiful aroma of coffee fills your home. Keurig: Turn on. Let it warm. Toss in non-recyclable coffee cup. Brew. I suppose the prep-time cancels out the “day-of” brewing method here. I see how people think it’s a time saver. Quicker brewing? Easier brewing? I don’t see it, but maybe. And if there is a time savings, I don’t think saving yourself 10 seconds a day should sacrifice saving the planet with that waste created by those machines.

To be fair, these fancy new systems allow you to create a pretty strong cup, like an espresso setting. And Nespresso does brew a potent cup of java. So if espresso is your thing, then fair enough.

Sadly, the grocery stores are picking up on these trendy machines too, offering more and more products for these machines and less for regular coffee makers. This means only one thing; there’s more money to be made on these new machines. It’s all about the Benjamin’s folks.

I get the convenience factor Keurig, Nespresso, Tassimo, and the like all provide, and how easy the whole process can be. But come on people. In a day and age where we’re trying to cut BACK on our carbon footprints the western world has decided to jump on THIS of all bandwagons? Really? More expensive coffee that’s worse for the environment?

I can only hope these machines are a fad, like pet-rocks, but I have a feeling they’re only just getting started.

Now go sell all your stuff Keurigs, Tassimos, and Nespressos. 


5 thoughts on “What Happened to Regular Everyday Coffee?”

  1. Tassimo and Keurig machines provide a quicker and more convenient way to have coffee. As long as the coffee quality in the cups is good, and the water is filtered (or not, if that’s what one prefers), then the coffee is going to be good. One doesn’t need to hand grind the beans themselves, and press them in a French press to get a better cup of coffee. Sure, it’ll be a little bit fresher, but with packaging technology today, it’s hard to argue with much less time consumption versus a more “traditional” cup of coffee.

    1. Kim, thanks for commenting, even though you CLEARLY didn’t read the article and just tried to stuff your product website in for a ping-back. It’s actually quite EASY to argue less time consumption versus a traditional cup of coffee when the former causes such environmental waste…as stated in this article…that you didn’t read.

  2. I’d also add that Tassimos and the like come with a TON of extra packaging – there’s the plastic bag thing-y that the package is wrapped in, and then there are multiple boxes within (why? why must they all be in so many little boxes). Sometimes these boxes aren’t made of cardboard but this kind of plastic coated cardboard material. They’re an environmental nightmare before you take the pods into consideration.

    Obviously ground coffee or coffee beans can come in a variety of packaging but most of the coffee shops around me use a brown paper bag that, once the wire closure is torn off, is completely compost-able and/or recyclable.

    While many pod coffees advertise some kind of ‘green’ initiative, they all come from huge coffee producers who have a dodgy environmental track record. When I choose classic beans, I can have a conversation with the person at the coffee shop or farmers market and learn what they recommend in terms of flavor and taste and also where the coffee came from and how it was grown. When I purchase beans from these places, I know that a significant amount of my money is staying in my community and that my money is doing double duty – supporting sustainable farms.

    And, frankly, it’s kind of nice to actually TALK to people. If coffee isn’t about bringing people together, what is?

    However, I will give one thumbs up for pods for people who work in locations like hospitals or facilities that operate 24 hours. I imagine a pod must taste much better than a pot of sludgey coffee that’s been sitting there for 6 hours. And, as someone who worked for years in an office that insisted on only buying one kind of coffee, I always sprung for my own hot chocolate, tea, and other beverages. It would have been nice to have some variety. But I conclude that the office argument might have different parameters than the home coffee argument.

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