Keurig K550

The Keurig K550 is the "top of the line" in Keurig's new "2.0" line of brewers. It has a lot of bells and whistles, so the main question is whether all of the added perks are worth the additional cost. Let's start with the specs and then compare this brewer with the other options that are available for brewing k cups.

Features

  • 9 brew sizes ranging from 4 oz. to 30 oz.
  • Fully programmable color 2.8" touchscreen
  • Water filter and cartridge (included)
  • Strength control
  • Starter carafe (included)
  • Removable 80 oz. water reservoir with customizable light
  • Removable drip tray

Specs

  • 10.43" wide, 13.63" deep, 13.45" tall
  • 13.9 lbs empty
  • 1470 watts
  • 120VAC/60hz
  • UL approved for household use only
  • Brewing time: from 30 seconds to 90 seconds depending on desired strength

Keurig K550 Review

Let's start by looking at the pros and cons of choosing one of Keurig's newer 2.0 brewers (K350, K450, K550) over the ones that have been on the market for a while and then look at how the K550 compares with the other 2.0 brewers.

Pros of 2.0

The new line of brewers have a "strong" coffee setting that is a significant plus for those who prefer stronger coffee. This feature use pulse brewing that allows the water to have longer contact with the coffee grounds. This feature was first introduced with the Keurig Vue and the 2.0 line was wise to keep this feature.

The 2.0 brewers also have introduced the concept of a k carafe, which allows you to brew up to 4 cups of coffee at a time. These new k carafes work only with the 2.0 brewers.

Finally, the 2.0 line of brewers have a flexibility that hasn't been present in the one cup coffee world before. The machine can handle k cups, vue packs, and k carafes. In addition the machine has the technology in place to customize its settings to the beverage being brewed. This could be a nice plus for teas, hot chocolate, and specialty coffee drinks.

Cons of 2.0

The new line of brewers has one chief negative and that is that Keurig has instituted a "DRM" that allows only certain k cups, k carafes, and vue packs to be brewed in the brewer. You must use one of the newer k cups that have a white ring (with the text "Keurig brewed") around the foil seal. If you try to use an "incompatible" cup, an error message pops up and you can't go any further. In other words, if you have piles of k cups around your house, they will likely not work with the new brewers. While workarounds will be developed to side-step this limitation, they will add complications to brewing your cup of coffee.

One other negative in the 2.0 line is that Keurig has removed any user control over the brewing temperature. This will not be a big deal for most folks, but one of the problems that we've had in the past with Keurig is that the brewing temperature is just a bit too low for optimal coffee extraction (Keurig brews at 192 degrees and optimal brewing occurs around 200 degreees). We were really hoping the new line would give the option to raise the temperature a bit.

So, Do I Choose a 1.0 Brewer or a 2.0?

This is honestly a tough question to answer since it largely involves looking 6-12 months down the road to see which technology is embraced by people.

Here's our take. If you already have a 1.0 brewer and are happy with it, don't switch to 2.0 just yet. Right now, the older brewers have more k cup options since there is no "DRM" restriction involved.

If you're looking to purchase a brewer, weigh the pros and cons listed above. It really comes down to whether stronger coffee and k carafes outweigh the DRM restrictions. We think that most folks will decide the 2.0 line is the way to go.

K550 vs. the other Brewers in the 2.0 Lineup

First, let's make sure that everyone's on the same page by saying that all three brewers use the same brewing technology. The $149 K350 and the $199 K550 brew the same quality of coffee. So, why might you want to go with the Keurig K550 over of one of the cheaper options?

  • Color Touch Display: Most folks we talk with have found this a significant upgrade from the black and white touch display on the K350. The K450 has a color touch display, though it comes in slightly smaller at 2.4".
  • Larger Water Reservoir: The Keurig K550 has an 80 oz. reservoir in comparison to the 70 oz. K450 and the 60 oz. K350. This difference isn't a big deal if only one person is using the machine; however, the reservoir size becomes more important if two or more people will be using the machine.
  • Automatic brewing: The K550 allows you to program your machine to brew a carafe of coffee at a certain time, which is nice if you want to wake up to a pot of already brewed coffee. This feature is also available on the K450 (but not the K350).
  • Auto off/on: The K550 also allows you to program your brewer to power down during a specific period of the day so that the brewer isn't running when you know you won't be drinking coffee.
  • Customizable wallpaper and water reservoir light: Unlike the other 2.0 brewers, the K550 does allow you to modify the background on the color display and change the color of the light shining in the water reservoir. For some people, this may not be a crucial reason for choosing a brewer, but it is a nice touch.

Reliability

The Keurig K550 feels solid and we have heard very few complaints about problems with this machine. In the past, Keurig machines tended to have water pump problems; however, this machine seems to have a similar water pump as the Keurig Vue, which was quite reliable. We expect to continue to hear positive reports in terms of the machine's reliability.

Customer Service

There are no concerns on this front. Keurig has excellent customer service.

Bottom Line

The Keurig K550 retails for $199.99. If you're in the market for a k cup brewer, this machine is definitely worthy of your consideration. The 2.0 line of brewers has made some nice improvements while not deviating too much from the formula that has made Keurig the dominate force in one cup coffee brewing. The brewers are simple, convenient, and have a wealth of coffee options. As we mentioned earlier, the one significant downside of opting for 2.0 is the restrictions on what k cups you can brew. This will be a huge issue for some, but likely a non-issue for most. If you don't need all the bells and whistles, we'd recommend saving a few bucks and looking at the Keurig K450, which is very similar.

However, if you value customization and a larger water reservoir, go ahead and go with the K550. Here's a link to the Keurig K550 on Amazon for your convenience: Keurig K550 2.0 Brewer

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