Let’s start out by saying we understand the allure of single-cup brewers. Any system that hastens the delivery of psychoactive substances to our central nervous system has a special place in our rapidly beating hearts. What we can’t seem to grok is why anyone would choose a machine the size of a normal coffee maker to produce a solitary cuppa joe.
Which brings us to Keurig’s Elite Brewer. Not only is this thing a counter-space hog (13 x 10 x 13 inches!), but its main function can be replicated in a much simpler fashion: Take one $15 ceramic coffee dripper and a box of filters — or a French press for that matter — and in about the same time amount of time, you’ll get a far better cup of liquid wake-me-up. Yes, you will have to heat your own water and do some rudimentary measuring for the latter alternatives, but it’ll cost you a good $75 less.
Still, if you’re a slave to automation or don’t mind being locked into a proprietary-pod brewing system, the Keurig Elite will do the job. As with most other single-cup beverage makers, operating the Elite is dead simple: Simply pour water into the unit’s 48-oz. tank, insert a K-Cup cartridge, and push a button. Voila! In a little over 45 seconds, you’ve got yourself a steaming hot cup of coffee or tea of questionable quality. In addition to the standard 8-oz. cup, you can also choose to brew a larger 10-oz. travel mug size should you wish to take your insipid beverage with you.
Keurig offers over 200 flavors of coffee and we sampled about twenty of them in our tests. More often than not the brew tastes like it was filtered through a homeless man’s underpants. But if your primary goal is to get caffeinated as quickly as possible, the Elite will do just fine. On the other hand, if you care about the quality of your coffee or tea (even in the slightest), there are far better ways of quickly getting your morning fix without sacrificing quality.