Keurig brews consumer discontent

Nov 2015 Update: Brewer sales plummet 26% forcing Keurig to introduce 2.0 My K-Cup adapter. Owners can use any coffee they wish. Comment of Nov 8, 2015.

Feb 2015 Update: Keurig CEO, Brian Kelley, called one of our readers to discuss the 2.0 restriction. Scroll to comment of Feb 10, 2015 near the bottom of this page.

Two years ago, as the K-Cup patent expired, the leader in single-serve coffee brewers introduced Vue, a slightly larger, coffee pod. If you haven’t heard of Vue, your not alone. The newer single-serve coffee packet never caught fire like Keurig’s original K-Cup. Just as with ink jet printers, the new pod and the brewers that accommodate them were Green Mountain’s strategy to reassert control of a market that produces revenue and profit from a consumable rather than the appliance that processes it.

According to Keurig, the Vue system was introduced “in order to increase the choices users have in brewing beverages.” Now that Vue has failed to gain traction, it appears that Keurig is reaching out to owners and softening their loss.

This certainly sounds like a benevolent company; one that care about consumer preferences, and protections—Right? We’ll get to their motives in a minute…

Keurig Brewer 2.0This month, Keurig put pomp and fanfare behind the introduction of Keurig 2.0. (I think that ‘3.0’ would be a more accurate nomenclature, but who can blame them for trying to downplay the marketplace failure of Vue). And so, this week, I became the owner of a new Keurig 2.0 model 400 brewer. (The flagship model 500—or 560 if you purchase at a warehouse club—has a slightly larger water tank, a larger display screen, and the odd addition of a color changing night light).

Did you catch the omission above? I bet you missed it! I said “I became the owner” rather than “the proud owner”. You might think that unwrapping a new, 3-figure appliance with color display, operating system and lots of shiny new parts would leave me enthralled for at least a week, right?

Not really…

You see, the new Keurig brewer accepts both K-Cup and Vue coffee pods. But it also has has built a camera. The camera spies on the owner of their new 2.0 brewers. (Seriously—It really does!). It’s not trying to film the marital vows that you renewed on the kitchen floor last night. Keurig 2.0 leaves that to the NSA and Google. Rather, the camera is constantly vigilant against any attempt to use unlicensed coffee.

The camera studies the lid of each coffee pod inserted in the brewer and it looks for Taggant, a chemically-coded ink on the outer ring of the lid. It won’t accept the My K-Cup gizmo that Keurig continues to sell for use with legacy brewers, and it even rejects pre-2014 K-Cups from Green Mountain and its partners. Shocking—because they are fully licensed and are well with in the expiration date marked on the package.

For those who own a boatload of Vue pods, the new brewer comes with a comforting statement: “Call us and we will work out something”. Apparently, Keurig will placate owners with a large stash of coffee pods by exchanging them. Gee! That’s great! Just register your products, identify yourself and wait for a package, because your new machine spies on you and will not let you brew your favorite drinks. That’s just ducky.

Was every executive over 25 absent on the day that CEO, Brian Kelley, dreamed up the spy camera? Green Mountain is walking down the path of the early iTunes era. Buy all from Apple or your music won’t play on your phone, your PC or your iPod (the operative word is ‘your’). At least Apple could argue that it was trying to thwart internet piracy.

If you attempt to put a perfectly good coffee pod into a Keurig 2.0 brewer, a message is displayed across a tiny color TV screen:

“Oops! That coffee isn’t compatible with our incredibly high standards! We want you to enjoy the very best experience possible. Besides, you probably wouldn’t enjoy the flavor of coffee from any vendor that refuses to pay us for the privilege of compatibility.”

Keurig-OopsSeriously! It says something just like that. At least, to anyone who can read between the lines. A satirist couldn’t come up with better material for marketing-blunder-of-the year. And not just a blunder, but one that flips a finger to their customers.”

Who would have thunk it? Keurig put DRM into a coffee maker. For cryin’ out loud, it’s a coffee maker! What’s next? Cars that demand Ford-branded gasoline? How about a TV that only displays Sony-licensed content?

As for my new brewer, I have found work-arounds that defeat the Gestapo agent within. Several YouTube mavens describe tricks for keeping Keurig in its place. But make no mistake: It is a pain! I don’t relish the idea of taping a forged software license across a camera and changing it whenever a family member wants to brew a different beverage. I don’t want to search local stores for a licensed K-Cup that is sufficiently close to the each beverage that I already own?                                                 Continue below photo »

Keurig 2.0 brewers look for data hidden in the outer ring

Keurig 2.0 brewers look for data hidden in the outer ring

Keurig has turned their brand into the butt of a joke faster than you can say ARccOS. They must be guided by lawyers with no concept of market dynamics. In the blink of an eye, they will become an anachronism. In a few years, the Keurig 2.0 will be a unit in market training seminars alongside the ‘New Coke’, Andy Grove’s slow recall of the Pentium that exhibited math errors, and Ken Olsen’s conviction that consumers would never buy ‘personal’ computers for use at home.

But unlike Coke and Intel, Keurig doesn’t have a 10 billion dollar cushion. Even worse, they have fooled their fans once before. They may not be able to recover from screwing them over with malicious intent and an extended middle finger.

Green Mountain Coffee has a limited time to recover from the Keurig 2.0 fiasco. Here, then, is our humble WildDuck marketing advice:

  • Change the heartless restriction into an on-screen sales pitch. Be a good guy!
  • Accept all the existing K-Cups that your consumers already own. I have dozens.
  • Offer an adapter that allows owners of your new brewers the same privilege of occasionally scooping in the grounds of their favorite store-bought coffee.

And for G-d’s sake, stop spying on your customers! With a downward-facing camera mounted 10 inches above my kitchen counter, I wonder if your next software update will activate a microphone. Get off my back. Please Keurig; respect your customers!


Afterword 2.0

A guest lecturer at Cornell University asked his students to suggest a shareholder letter from Green Mountain Coffee. I haven’t been a college student in years. But if I were in that class, this would be my letter…

Dear Shareholder,

These are exciting times for your company. As you know, we are introducing a series of Keurig branded coffee brewers that are not quite compatible with both of our previous single-serve coffee pods, the ubiquitous K-Cup and Vue.

Keurig Brian Kelley-a

Brian Kelley; genius behind cameras in coffee pots. But, hey! it’s for your own good. A safer, more enjoyable beverage experience.

As a former Coca-Cola executive, I know a thing or two about tinkering with a successful brand in an effort to teach consumers what is in their best interest. That’s why we pushed New Coke onto the market back then, and it’s no different with the Keurig 2.0 product launch.

Of course, it is critical that we at Green Mountain Coffee convince consumers that our use of digital rights management is a benevolent and beneficial act—one that protects them from unsafe coffee, electrical failure and night terror. We must avoid any perception of ulterior motive or hidden agenda. Fortunately, consumers have a very poor memory. With clever marketing, they will buy our products with an assurance that they cannot accidentally harm themselves (or their Keurig 2.0 appliance) by brewing inferior coffee.

Of course, we could have used the very same coffee pod detection technology to simply display a message that the K-cup a user has inserted is not licensed, and may not taste as wonderful as coffee that comes from a company that pays us for the privilege of compatibility. But that wouldn’t be sufficient. We are concerned that our customers may be too busy enjoying coffee from 10,000 competing brands to heed our urgent warning.

Brian Kelley, CEO
Green Mountain Coffee

Ellery is editor at AWildDuck and owner of a new Keurig 2.0 brewer

42 thoughts on “Keurig brews consumer discontent

  1. What a shame! Can you purchase the old one still? I have some of those San Francisco coffee pods left… Can you write a new OS for it?

  2. Five days after my initial review and criticism of Keurig 2.0 brewers, it appeared at Amazon.com. The popular consumer site receives more reader comments than my humble Blog, and so I have pasted Amazon feedback below. These comments were posted as replies to my review and not to the product listing itself.

    [Scroll Down for Amazon reader feedback]…

  3. I was seriously considering purchasing one of these because you could make a carafe of coffee. But, if they are excluding every other coffee maker K-cups, I will not buy one. I do not want just a one cup brewer, so will keep my current one until Keurig changes its policies.

  4. I bought one and it took me all of about 30 seconds to beat the system. It is a much better brewer so far and why should Keurig be chastised for trying to make money? All of my ez cup, ekobrew etc work in the machine. Come on people it just a digital reader not a micro chip. Be smarter than a machine.

  5. You are certainly tolerant and accepting, Steelheader. Consumers are upset because Keurig’s design for the 2.0 brewer takes bundling to an entirely new and frustrating level. It’s one thing for a mobile phone service to discount a smartphone in exchange for a service contract, or the manufacturer of an inkjet printer to design a proprietary ink cartridge and warn off copycats.

    But, we become a Big Brother society when an appliance manufacturer pushes their enforcement mechanism into the appliance itself. Why should I blithely accept a product into my home that is a snitch – and one with a snarky attitude!… “Ooops! You used a competitor’s coffee pod. Naughty, naughty. Your brewer will now be disabled while you sit in a corner and think about what you have done!”

  6. Ellery, I applaud you!!! What a great answer…Big Brother is truly out there, and I am doing all that is within my power to keep him at bay. I am not a criminal, nor am I doing anything illegal with my Keurig …but by George…if I have spent money to buy their highly overpriced k-cups…I want to be able to use what I have already purchased! I was going to get this as a gift for one of our kids, but will no longer be doing so. Thank you for your most informative review…I shall look for your reviews from now on.

    Thank you, Ellery. I answered your Blog. 🙂

  7. Thanks for the info, Ellery. I will not buy this product. It was a close call.
    In reply to the comment by “MM”: Amen!

  8. You do realize that Keurig [has been] owned by the Green Mountain Coffee people since 2006, don’t you? Funny Review! Keurig is the 30 somethings’ answer to a new cup of coffee. The IN thing to have sitting on the counter. Oh, yes, I have a Keurig! The right amount of my own fresh ground coffee and filtered water make the best cup of coffee for me and a good female friend to share it with, and no one cares if I have a Keurig on my counter.

  9. Hi, can you enlighten me on how to beat it please. I was going to try to figure this out myself but I’d prefer to know how before purchasing. Thanks in advance!

  10. Hi Luis,
    There are quite a few work-arounds on YouTube. Unfortunately, the current hacks have a downside…

    1. They require reconfiguration when choosing a different brewing cycle or pod.
    2. So far, their is no work-around for using your own coffee grounds. The K-cup adapters don’t fit. (The few that do, cannot pressurize the pod, which is required to get a decent brew).
    3. One individual posting on YouTube boasts “The Ultimate Hack”. He claims that by using a small magnet, you can unlock an on-screen menu with ALL brewing modes. In my tests
      it simply doesn’t work.
    • I have tried this magnet hack and I have gotten it to work without issue. A feature that I believe they should have turned on in the first place…

  11. Keurig sent us a replacement coffee maker because of all the problems with the one I purchased less than a month ago. I thought that it was great customer service when I received the new and improved 2.0 with the carafe capability. Then I found that all of the k cups I had in my cabinet wouldn’t work in the new one. It says Keurig on all of mine but it gives me the snarky “Oops” message.

    The cup to put my own ground coffee into will not work in the new one and neither will any of the other use your own coffee k cups. People buy a coffee maker to make coffee, we have the freedom to choose which brand, flavor, grind etc. Good Ole Mr Coffee knew what he was doing. I like a local grown and roasted coffee and drink others but it’s my favorite. I am now forced to buy a cup of coffee outside of my home if it’s not what Keurig is offering.

    Shame on you Keurig! I understand companies want to make a profit. You would have sold more coffee makers and also k cups if you would have remembered the customers that made you who you are. I am returning mine and so is my whole family. We have at least eight that I know of that are being returned. We will tell everybody we know—and they to will pass it on—that your attempt to use Apple as a business model has lowered our opinion of you.

    I pulled out my old Mr Coffee and it works great, no pump problems, no size problems, no k cups I can have a cup of coffee or a whole pot and I can use whatever coffee I choose to use.

    Valentina Fernandez
    Canandaigua, NY

  12. Hello William,

    Kudos to you! This is the first commercial gizmo that claims to bypass Keurig’s obscene insult to faithful users.

    From the little bit of information in the product packaging, I cannot discern how the pod ejects coffee. I wonder if it facilitates a pressurized brew by aligning a fixed hole with the exit needle? I also cannot tell how it fools the DRM sensor in the upper part of the pod chamber. Is it possible that they simply copied the foil inks and pattern on the top lid? Hello manufacturers…This is a market that is ripe for the picking.

    I will look for more information on Perfect Pod EZ-Cup. In the future, I hope to review a more diverse and mature array of aftermarket devices for brewing ground coffee.

  13. Fail from Keurig 2.0…

    Ellery – great points… love the reference to DRM / itunes/sony/dvds! Look under machine – there is a modem data behind an access panel. Pretty expensive method to upload SW to machine during manufacturing. As a geek – I totally enjoyed bypassing the DRM check… but as you pointed out so well… we shouldn’t have to! Keurig has built a loyal following and just made an error of the Coke/Coke Classic size.

    Several other drawbacks to this once you get past the pod fiasco, 2) many pump failures (mine failed after 2weeks- clearly a manufacturing problem they need to jump on, 3) cup size max 10oz when the old machines had 12oz, 4) height of dispenser is lower to accommodate carafe my 7.5″ cup will no longer fit (haven’t seen this mentioned by anyone)

    I have gone out and purchased back up old models while they are still available….mmmmm perhaps this was the plan?? muahahaha!!

  14. Well put, Barb.

    It amazes me how a company with such a loyal following has the brass to turn around and defeat what we love about their product. We who preach to others how fantastic the product is have been betrayed and taken for granted. “Muahahaha”, indeed!

  15. Ellery, this thread and the feedback under your Amazon review of the K450 brewer seem to be popular. Have you heard anything back from Keurig. Have they even acknowledged your spotlight on the compatibility issue?

  16. Here’s how I got mine to work. I got a very small magnet from Walmart. It says on the package [that] it’s super strong and it is only about the size of the end of a pencil eraser. (Watch the YouTube video to see where the magnet goes).In addition to the mag, I learned from a YouTube video to use a piece of masking tape to tape the big green dot from a Vue-cup over the hole where the reader is.

    Doing both of these things (the Vue-cup dot and the magnet) completely opened up my machine. When I close the lid, I get the full menu to brew any strength or size, including a full carafe. I can even use my reusable K-cup for making my own ground coffee. Hope this helps.

  17. Hello Barnum, and thank you for clarifying the magnet method!

    Your corroboration of the YouTube tip, and especially your suggestion to combine it with the Vue-cup hack, are valuable. Your feedback may help the community of Keurig owners unlock the full potential of their brewers.

    I will look for the same magnet at Walmart and try to locate an inventory/SKU number. When I do this, I plan to update the original article and give you credit for your research.

    Although Brian Armstrong has yet to learn, I suspect that unlocking this platform and restoring user rights will lead Keurig/Green Mountain to a stronger and more profitable future. It’s unfortunate that it will be too late to restore trust. That would only have occurred if the manufacturer had retrenched before users felt the need to reverse engineer a punitive restriction.

  18. Here is yet another odd marketing maneuver by Green Mountain. On Dec 9, during the height of the holiday shopping season, the company began promoting a direct, online offer for this model (K450) at a considerable discount below their largest authorized dealers.

    I fully appreciate the direct sales model. For established brands, and for certain product categories, it makes a lot of sense. In the late 1990s and early ’00s, it propelled Dell to dominate the market for personal computers.

    But for a company that thrives on the “channel” (i.e. a retail distribution model), it seems awfully short-sighted to shaft your retail outlets. I bet that Amazon sells 10 times the volume of Keurig brewers than Keurig’s online store. So why on earth would Keurig entice customers to purchase from their store during the biggest shopping frenzy of the year?

    In the sum of things, a coffee brewer is a kitchen appliance in a sea of competitive options. Keurig is still the standard in single-serve brewers—but even a standard benefits from side-by-side store-shelf comparison. By undercutting their distribution chain, Keurig is telling Amazon, Williams Sanoma, Kohl’s and others that they are superfluous. Is their product so ubiquitous and so unique, that it can thrive without the retail distribution chain?

    In the end, college marketing classes will add this brainy decision to CEO Brian Kelley’s legacy.

  19. Keurig is really alienating their customer base with this illegal experiment, which they will lose in the courts. Fortunately, there is an easy way to defeat the illegal 2.0 DRM technology. Rogersfamily Coffee (no affiliation) will give you a “Freedom Clip” with the order of some of their quality coffee, allowing you to use any coffee in your 2.0. http://www.rogersfamilyco.com/index.php/revolution-begun-starts-now-fight-keurig/ If you recently brought home a 2.0 model, I encourage you to support Rogers in their fight to break this monopoly, as well as promote their environmentally sound K-Cup brewing technology — something Green Mountain seems wholly unconcerned with.

  20. Hi ML,

    While I am frustrated by Keurig’s decision to cripple their equipment and thwart attempts by a likely majority of their customers, I suspect that their upcommance will be in the court of public opinion and in less stellar sales. By reporting on their grossly insulting conduct, I hope to nudge them toward more consumer friendly behavior.

    But, I disagree that they their actions are illegal or that they will be admonished by courts. In the end, we live in a free country. It’s hard to accept that the legislature or courts would dictate the design of a consumer appliance, especially in a crowded and highly competitive market.

  21. January 2015 update: Which “ultimate hack” actually works?

    Keurig 2.0 hacks are all over the web. Many owners have posted YouTube videos explaining how they bypass the lock out for unauthorized k-cups, pre-2.0 k-cups, or even when used with their own coffee grounds.

    1. The most common tip advises the owner to tape the lid from an authorized k-cup onto the unauthorized pod or even to the downward facing sensor itself (it is above the pod, pointing to the left edge.

    2. Another hack places a small bar magnet in the front depression of the sliding mechanism at the front of the pod.

    3. Finally, other users advise that the owner disassemble the spring loaded arm that swings away to accommodate the larger carafe pod —OR— alternatively jam a toothpick into the hole to the right of the shift lever, thus holding the armature into the larger position.

    By forcing the arm to swing away the exit needle (this also enlarges the pod opening), a magnet built into the push lever lines up under a sensor at the very front of the top housing, thus enabling the brewer’s full menu system.

    Unfortunately, these hacks each have problems that make them cumbersome or altogether worthless…

    The problem with method #1, is that it requires changing the lid label for different types of beverage.

    The problem with method #2 is that the magnet is very likely to fall into the carafe holder. Even worse, very few magnets will work. I tried four varieties, and none of them worked. That’s because the Keurig sensor requires a magnet with a peculiar orientation of magnetic poles. They do not use a conventional end-pole magnet.

    The problem with disassembling the pod container and rigging the swing-away needle is that you can no longer switch back and forth between small K-cups and larger carafe pods.

    And the toothpick method is just terrible. By forcing the mechanism open, k-cups just don’t fit right. Eventually, I filled my K-cup chamber with wood splinters and caused the top section to become misaligned.

    But there is a perfect solution. One that does not require extensive disassemble and one that lets you brew anything. One YouTube video nails it! It’s an ideal solution—but only if you follow up with my humble remarks below.

    a) The guy who made this video is obnoxious. He calls every other blogger an “idiot”. He even calls one a liar for claiming that he only makes single servings and not the larger carafe portions. If you can get past his people issue, he really does show a very clever fix.

    b) I recommend that you rough the plastic break-away tab with some sandpaper before applying super glue. And work very quickly. Super glue dries very fast.

    c) Before you get a fully unlocked brew menu, you still need to tape something over the camera/sensor. But, don’t use the lid from from a K-cup. Instead, tape the green dot from 4-cup carafe pod over the sensor.

    The combination of the original Keurig magnet (snapped off and relocated) plus the green dot from a carafe pod causes the brewer to unlock *ALL* menus.

    Total time invested: About 15 minutes — after spending about 4 hours dicking around with all the other hacks!

    Now, I await a legal summons from Keurig for either interfering with commerce or perhaps a wacky interpretation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. But it is all worth it, because I get to close this update with one terrific piece of advice…

    Enjoy coffee on your own terms! Just sit back and enjoy.

    ~Ellery

  22. This was by far the most fun I have had with a kitchen appliance. After I got it home and found out about the DRM issue of course I had to figure out a fix. Of course I googled it.

    I immediately tried a single coffee sample which came with the machine. Saw the YouTube video to cut the top off and place it on top of a coffee pod. I tried it for one day and said too much of a pain. I love to research and figured there had to be a better way. When I bought the machine I also bought 4 refillable K-cups for about $16. I was even more frenzied when I found out they would not fit because of a convex tab on each side. The cutting board came out and a butchers knife and I cut them off. They work perfectly.

    Then, I saw on YouTube about the dot from a carafe pod taped under the sensor. Needed a small magnet, so I used an earth magnet off of my fridge. It unlocks everything including carafes on the menu and you can run water for tea with no pod in it.

    Yippee. Now I am working on the carafe pods. I used a sample ran it through then took it apart to see how it is engineered. I have not figured it out yet. I will update if I get a work around. Thanks for your article love the letter to the company. They should have learned like you mentioned Coke, Sony, IBM with proprietary hardware. Big mistake.

    Signed: Having fun with a coffee maker!

  23. i was going to buy one of these, but any company who requires licensing of coffee to work in their machines is a joke. Coffee has been around since the start of time. Don’t mess with our alcohol and coffee.

    I will not buy a Keurig until this is removed and any and all persons at Keurig are fired. This goes to the core and principals of the company and sends a clear message. Consumers are sheep to be sheared and Keurig is the only one who matters.

  24. A great article. Here’s the letter I wrote, and actually received a phone conversation with Brian Kelley in response:

    Mr. Kelley,

    I have been a fiercely loyal Keurig customer for almost ten years. I have purchased several brewers during that time, and racked up well over 6,000 points from purchasing coffee at Keurig.com for my small family of two (account: [email]). When my brewer water tank shattered during a move, it took one five-minute phone call and Keurig replaced it for free, within days. During my years stationed in Okinawa, Japan, my Keurig allowed me to have a small but important comfort from back home. I cherish the variety of coffee and other drinks that I am able to so easily brew, and would constantly tout the wonder that is Keurig.

    That is why it pains me to write this letter. I love my original-generation machine. However, when it finally passes as machines are apt to do, I will *NOT* replace it with a machine that does not allow me to choose which coffee and drinks I will be able to brew. I am sad to turn away from a company that has always been wonderful to me, but this latest “DRM” debacle is an unacceptable offense. I don’t question the wide variety of offerings, and have never had a problem finding acceptable coffees on your site. In fact, I might never want to brew any “non-approved” drinks.

    However, the core principle of the matter is that the one single purpose in limiting which K-cups may be used is to restrict the consumer from their choice. All the stories about “optimized settings” for each beverage are a sham and an insult to intelligent consumers. You can offer this feature on any K-cup while still allowing other brands and/or refillable cups to be brewed. “Optimized brewing” should be an incentive for users to get specifically labeled drinks, and not a requirement.

    I am very disappointed in something that has been such a wonderful perk to my daily routine for the last decade turning into a textbook money grab, which is poorly executed and without regard to one of the most loyal fan bases I’ve ever seen.

    As a staunch capitalist, I cannot imply that you should be required to change your ways, but I will respond in kind, with my wallet. As of this day, I will no longer be purchasing “Keurig-approved” K-cups from Keurig.com or any retailer, but will instead purchase from small-volume after-market companies. When it comes time to replace my brewer, it will not be a Keurig model. Additionally, I am actively making my opinion known via word of mouth and social media.

    You have lost a customer as long as this situation persists. I will be delighted to return if you come to your senses and again show respect for your consumers.
    Sincerely…

    • That’s a great letter, Sara! I especially like your suggestion that “optimized brewing” become a Keurig carrot instead of a stick.” That’s inspired thinking!

      Won’t you please share with us a summary of your conversation with Mr. Kelley? I am sure that many visitors to AWildDuck would love to hear his side of the story.

      ~Ellery

  25. to Brian Kelley’s credit, not only did he reach out in response to my letter, but he made no attempts to placate me with free coffee or business platitudes.

    We spoke for almost 30 minutes, and had a good back-and-forth. Ultimately, it came down to a difference in fiscal philosophy. I highlighted my opinion of market price being driven by the quality of the item –vs– the forced purchase model that Keurig is now promoting, and he highlighted his obligation to maintain a profit level for the stockholders.

    There was some conversation about rogue third-party k-compatible cups causing safety issues and Keurig being held liable, but even he wasn’t really selling that point with much conviction.

    In the end, I told him that I can only speak for myself, but as a loyal customer I truly want Keurig to realize that they’re alienating long-term repeat customers through this tactic. I also provided an alternative that would bring me back, and that would be some sort of firmware update or even a 3.0 model that would allow for reusable and third-party cup brewing (and hot water). I suggested some sort of caveat, i.e. the carrot and the stick… “Use unlicensed coffees at your own risk. For optimum brewing, use only Keurig-approved k-cups.” Let the customer decide to brew their own coffee, their own way.

    The conversation ended with him asking me to watch over the next few months, hinted that I would be amenable to some sort of change that was in the works, and he asked me to call him back if I was swayed to return to the Keurig brand. I’m still watching, and I still have his number.

  26. You can get the refillable EZ-Cup 2.0 for $15.00 at BB&B and put your own coffee in it. It works perfectly. I don’t know why all these negative responses but maybe Keurig has made this change recently. We bought our K450 two days ago and are using our own ground coffee.

  27. Hi Elizabeth,

    I use an EZ-Cup 2.0 myself. It comes in two styles:

    • one takes a disposable paper filter——It has a bit spring that pushes up from the bottom
    • The other has a permanent stainless steel basket

    My only beef with the permanent model is that the plastic lid-hinge breaks off in the first few weeks of use. When this happens, you have to carefully align top and bottom each time you fill the basket, and you must be very careful when removing the pod from the brewer, because the lid is not attached.

    You aksed “I don’t know why all these negative responses but maybe Keurig has made this change recently.” My response…

    1. The EZ-cup 2.0 is a hack. A special dye in the purple lid fools the electric eye in the Keurig brewer and puts it into the licensed-pod mode, enabling it to operate as if you had inserted an authorized K-cup. The EZ-Cup and other hacks from Solo and Rogers Family (San Francisco Bay Roasters) became available about half-way between my original review and your comment this morning.
    2. But the real issue here is intent, respect and greed. If Keurig/Green Mountain can be forgiven for flipping a finger at their own customers, it is because they are *finally* signaling a contrite stance and offering to change their methods. Recently, the company has stated that they will introduce their own My K-Cup adapter for 2.0 brewers.

    Why would they suddenly get religion? The answer is, of course, that it is not a sudden decision. It is a marketing response to poor reviews and a significant hit to growth in the bottom line. Either way, I welcome the change.

  28. Are all the new Keurig machines like this or only this model? I need a replacement, but I want one I don’t need to hack!

    **Edit: Never mind. I use San Francisco Bay coffee and they provided their “freedom clip” for free to me a long time ago. As I had a Keurig 1.0 machine, I just threw it in a drawer. NOW I realize what it is for! No hacks needed, I’ll just clip that lovely baby in my Keurig 2.0 and keep happily brewing.

  29. [John updated this feedback with the addendum shown at bottom]

    Did ‘Big Brother’ Brian Kelly actually write that letter to shareholders? If so, he must believe that all consumers are fools! I was thinking about purchasing the K450 2.0, but your report has made me adamant against it. Someone stating that he is concerned about consumers ‘accidentally harming themselves by brewing inferior coffee’ is an insult to the intelligence of each of those consumers. I guess he is saying that the act of hot water passing through a pod of premium (but unlicensed) coffee mysteriously transforms it into a toxic mixture unfit for human consumption.
    _____________

    I see now that that letter was your interpretation of what he might say if asked to write to the shareholders explaining his position. I missed that in my quick read. But it does seem likely your interpretation is the substance of Big Brother’s beliefs.

  30. Hi John. Thank you for your feedback.

    Yes, as you observed in a follow-up comment, the “shareholder letter” was intended as an illustration of an arrogant corporation, tinged with a heavy dose of Wild Duck sarcasm. Brian Kelly had no part in the letter. It is a spoof.

    Incidentally, after a year of marketing 2.0 brewers, Keurig reports that brewers sales have plunged 26% year over year due to lower sales of Keurig 2.0 brewers.

    Perhaps in response to the strong consumer outcry, Keurig has just introduced their own refillable My K-Cup converter at $15 (less occasional 15% discounts). Introduced last week (November 2015), the device allows owners to use the coffee of their choosing and it supports both individual portions as well as the 4-cup carafe brews.

    Of course, the Taggant ink protection system was a complete failure—both technically and from a marketing perspective: The technology is easy to defeat and its use to enforce DRM is an insult to Keurig’s customers.

  31. Thank you for your honesty and for taking the time to write this review. I had just purchased this Keurig brewer on QVC and then thought to check the reviews on it here on http://amazon.com. After seeing yours, I canceled my order.

    This is just like HP has done with its printers. TWO of my printers in the past suddenly refused to “recognize” the ink cartridge installed and after informing me via the screen of this, the printer stopped working. Just as you said with your Keurig review, the screen said it was not a “genuine HP cartridge” — even though I had purchased it FROM HP. After that notice, both printers stopped working permanently and I had to replace them. It seems to be a trend among companies to demand that you use their proprietary refills — whether coffee or ink cartridges — or the machine itself will retaliate.

    I love Barnies’ coffee and Bigelow teas, and this machine will not accept them. So I hope my old Keurig holds out until they change their policies. Again, I am grateful for your comments. It would have cost me $28 in postage and return fees to return it.

  32. Can u give some simple advice to a person not smarter than the machine? Well I have not purchased one yet. I have saved pennies to be able to buy the this fancy Keurig machine. It seemed like it would be a very nice addition to my one cup here or there habits (and also give variety choices for visitors) …kind of coffee maker. Then I read about the spy ware and how I may HAVE to spend the big bucks just to brew the coffee. I would not be pleased at all to be forced to buy a brand..which is usually overpriced…its coffee beans/water!!!

    i have not purchased one yet. If I can get simple assistance to stop the spyware, I may still get one. I’m 60yrs old…not old, very active, but not bound to have the fancy coffee maker or else!! The old ways may leave a cup or two in the pot if I make too much, but its still cheaper (and tastes good) than HAVING to buy specific pods.

    Can you tell me how to cover? deactivate? this camera device so I may purchase the little pods that I CAN afford?
    Thanks for any help. Ive learned the reviews on items can be very helpful at times.

    Lin

  33. OK. That’s a fair question. Keurig’s policy has changed since I wrote the original article. it’s time for a quick update:

    First, you can avoid the camera-license-check hassle altogether by avoiding the new 2.0 series coffee brewers from Keurig. Keurig and other companies sell cheaper K-cup brewers. A mini brewer from Keurig discounts to $59. Licensed brewers from Cuisinart and Mr. Coffee do not employ the 2.0 camera. There’s even a model from Proctor-Silex for only $29.99. Typically, the ones that retail for less than $90 do not have an internal heated reservoir (in addition to the external tank), and so they cannot brew instantly. Instead, they must first heat a small amount of water. And so, these very inexpensive machines may take 45 seconds instead of 25 seconds to brew a cup of Joe.

    But beware: When buying a pre-2.0 adapter for use with your own coffee grounds, make certain that it is compatible with the brewer brand & model that you buy. These adapters are designed for genuine Keurig machines, but some of them list the alternative brewers have been tested for compatibility.

    Second, you can now brew any coffee you like-even the store brand-and without hacking the machine. Keurig has stopped insisting that you brew their licensed coffee. But because the nanny-cam cannot be disabled, you will have to do one of these things. The first solution is free. The others involve a very small added cost to bypass it.

    1. To bypass the camera, you can snap or tape an orange dot over the camera opening in the top half of the brewer. One very popular device, the Freedom Clip, is offered for free from San Francisco Bay Coffee (Rogers Family Company).

    2. You can purchase the new My K-Cup 2.0 adapter direct from Keurig. It is $15, but you may be able to find a promotion which gives you a 15% discount. This device can be filled with grounds (for either 1 cup or a 4-cup carafe) and drops directly into the brewing chamber, just as the original My K-Cup adapter does with earlier models.

    3. You can by the Eco Fill 2.0 from Perfect Pod or a similar device from Solo. Just be sure that you are buying a model labeled for use with 2.0 brewers. I prefer Perfect Pod, which comes in two compatible models for the 2.0 brewers. One uses disposable paper filters and the other has a permanent filter made from a high quality stainless mesh screen. Both are available here at Amazon for about $15.

    Personally, I prefer the Perfect Pod devices to the genuine Keurig adapter. The cover of the metal screen model has a wand that distributes the water deep within the coffee grounds. I find that it produces a better cup of coffee than other models.

    But the Perfect Pod is not “perfect”… The plastic hinge on the top cover breaks off after fewer than a dozen brews. Even the new improved hinge is cheap and useless. Fortunately, the top needn’t be connected to the bottom, as long as you orient it correctly after filling with coffee. Just be careful when lifting the pod out of the brewer after making a cup of coffee. It’s tempting to lift from the top lid, but without the hings, you will need to get a better grip when removing it from the chamber.

    So there you have it. Many solutions. All of them bypass the camera by presenting the color shifting ink to the Gestapo within.

    Ellery Davies
    Boston

  34. Hi Ellery – I went to San Francisco Bay Coffee and while they show the Freedom Clip, when I click on it, it just takes me to a 3 pod sample for $1.99 – is the Freedom Clip included in that, do you know?

    • Hello Robin,

      The answer to your question is “I’m not sure but…”

      When SFB Cofee first announced the freedom clip, they said it would be included with samples and selected coffee varieties for a “limited time”. (i.e. until the original production batch ran out). But since then, they have made more clips and I have sometimes found one shipped with my coffee orders.

      And so, I don’t know if the redirected web page is the best place to acquire one of these Freedom Clips, but I believe that the Rogers family will send you one if you simply write to their customer service address, or place your request on their web site form.

      • Thank you Ellery – I did as you suggested and they told me that one is included in the samples. Have been enjoying my new Keurig that replaces my old one all weekend and look forward to not only getting the clip, but sampling their coffee!

  35. Thank you for updating your response to include the hack! I just got this machine as a gift today. I was skeptical and was going to give it back until I read your review and your response in the comments. I own a tiny 4 cup Mr. Coffee machine which I have been perfectly happy with so I don’t know why someone would want me to have a Keurig. But I will try it and see how it goes. Thanks again.

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