The Keurig K350 is the "economy" model of the new line of Keurig 2.0 brewers. As we've noted with the other 2.0 brewers, it's a real challenge to review this particular line. There's a lot of really good things going on but also some things that really puzzle us. Let's start with the facts about this brewer and then delve into the pros and cons of this particular brewer.
The first thing that you need to decide is whether the 2.0 line of brewers is right for you. There are some real pluses with this line. One thing we particularly like is the "pulse brewing" ability. The feature first appeared in the Keurig Vue and was a significant step forward for those of us who like strong coffee. By brewing in pulses, the brewer gives longer contact between the water and the coffee grounds. This means a fuller, more robust cup of coffee.
Another real positive with the 2.0 line is that these brewers can handle k cups, vue packs, as well as the new k carafes. K cups are obviously a big deal because that's the bulk of what you can find at your local supermarket. Vue packs are harder to find, but we've found that the vue packs, for some reason, consistently brew a better cup of coffee than their k cup counterparts. K carafes are essentially a jumbo version of the k cup and allow you to brew up to 4 cups of coffee at a time.
Along side these positives come two potential negatives. First, the 2.0 line of brewers give no control over the brewing temperature. All of the brewers brew at 192 degrees. This is typical for Keurig since most of their other brewers have had a maximum brew temperature of 192 degrees; however, we really wished Keurig had stuck with what they had done with the Keurig Vue and allow the consumer the ability to increase the temperature up to 197 degrees.
The other negative is more significant. The 2.0 line of brewers include "DRM," which requires that all k cups, vue packs, and k carafes be specifically designed for the new brewer. In other words, those k cups that you have lying around your house may not work with this new machine. This has led to a real outcry in the single serve coffee community. Workarounds are being developed, but this is still an issue.
As we mentioned earlier, the Keurig K350 is the "economy" model of the 2.0 line. You'll save about $20 by getting this model instead of the K450, the next model up. Here is what the K450 picks up for that extra $20:
There are some other minor cosmetic differences but it largely boils down to, "is a 70 ounce water reservoir and a programmable color display worth the extra $20 for you?"
Reliability is very important when choosing a brewer. Fortunately, the Keurig K350 appears to be a well-built machine. It has a good water pump and feels solid. We don't expect to hear many complaints on the build quality of this machine.
OK, we're talking about Keurig here. Their customer service is consistently top notch. There's little to be concerned about on this front. Keurig will make sure you're taken care of.
The Keurig K350 retails for $149.99. If you're looking for a economical Keurig brewer, the K350 should be on your short list. The chief question is whether the DRM is significant enough to outweigh the advances made in the 2.0 line.If you want to have access to the largest line of kcups, stick with one of the older brewers. If you like the option of using vue packs and k carafes (as well as some k cups), opt for one of the 2.0 brewers. Here's a direct link to the K350 on Amazon for your convenience: