Review: Keurig 2.0 Is Even Less Eco-Friendly Than The Original

Last week, I received a Keurig 2.0 brewing system to review. I hadn’t signed up for it and have been pretty vocal about my opposition to the Kcup mentality in the past. But I decided to try it myself and see if the loyalty and hype really offset the environmental concerns. Unfortunately, I think the Keurig 2.0 is actually a step backward for the company.

The Keurig 2.0 differs in that it offers users the choice of either a traditional Kcup or a larger carafe brew. The carafe is made from a flimsy plastic, lacking any insulation and there is no hot plate. I was also only able to choose to brew 3-4 cups or 4-5 cups. While I drank my first cup, the carafe grew cold and I had to reheat the second cup in the microwave. So the only advantage is brewing several cups to serve immediately rather than people having to wait. Because I am the sole coffee drinker and work from home, this is useless for me.

My main concern with the Keurig concept is the environmental impact. And my fears prove to be warranted as the Keurig 2.0 is actually worse than previous incarnations, mainly due to the lack of reusable filters.

Keurig 2.0
The Keurig on my counter.

When it arrived, the packaging took me aback. I understand needing to pack for shipping purposes, but the 107+ page instruction manual came wrapped in tissue paper. Inside a paper sleeve. Encased in plastic. That’s a lot of packaging for an instruction manual.

I received 6 Kcups of various flavors and 20 carafe size cups of “Hawaiian Blend” which is billed as a mildly sweet coffee with a simplicity reminiscent of a beach escape. It is not a blend I personally found appealing, but fair enough for a product review. 

I made several individual cups and brewed 3 pots in the carafe on different days. I also purchased a carton of chai spice latte individual cups so Ledcat could try it with me (she doesn’t drink coffee.) I was unable to find the carafe size pods at the local grocery store. The pack of 12 chai pods was more than $9.00 so we immediately knew this was not an affordable option over the long haul. Cheaper than chai out, but we can brew it ourselves from the concentrate or the tea itself much more affordably. Don’t get me started on paying that much for a pod of Earl Gray tea.

The machine was just so-so in terms of ease of use. Because I have some hand mobility issues, I found the touch screen options a bit more challenging than my regular coffeemaker which has actual buttons. I made a few mistakes which were also likely due to my lack of familiarity with the process. But after a while I caught on. I don’t think it is really much of a time saver at all. The amount of time to check the water level, put in the pod, and wait for the brew for one cup isn’t significantly less than the time it takes to add water to my regular machine, measure out coffee and wait. When I used the carafe, I had to take a few extra steps to remove the drip tray and line up the carafe. So that certainly is no time saver. Factor in the time I spent waiting to reheat my second and third cups in the microwave and it is definitely a lose/lose proposition.

Other significant environmental concerns

  • using 6 ounces of water to “clean” the machine when switching between beverages. The water isn’t clean so I can’t just reuse it for something else (like a plant.)
  • the wasted packaging. I compost my usual coffee grounds with the unbleached filter. The Kcups are not recyclable in my City (I confirmed with the City recycling manager.) The amount of water I used to wash out the cup if it were recyclable is absurd. The foil lids required super human strength to remove and rinse for recycling.  The carafe pods are just larger wastes.
  • energy usage. It took me awhile to figure out how to find the energy-saving mode, otherwise a large amount of water was sitting and reheating far too often for no purpose. The lack of a thermal carafe sent that energy out the window and forced me to use a microwave anyway.
  • water filtration. It is amusing that the Keurig told me my water wasn’t filtered enough to use (it is) but spews boiling hot water through unknown plastics before landing in my cup. I did not even try this device.
Keurig 2.0
Keurig with carafe

But I was actually shocked when I learned that Keurig does not offer reusable filters for this machine, either on the Kcup size or the carafe size. The existing “My Kcup” does not fit on the machine, per the website. I’m glad I learned that before I spent $9 on the thing.

Question  Back to top
Will there be anything similar to the My K-Cup® reusable filter for the Keurig® 2.0 Brewer?

AnswerThe Keurig® 2.0 brewer is the first Keurig® brewer to feature Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ to brew a cup and a carafe. Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ enables the brewer to recognize the inserted Keurig® pack and optimize to the recommended, customized setting for that particular beverage.

The My K-Cup® accessory, due to the nature of its design, cannot be made with Keurig 2.0 Brewing Technology™ and will therefore not operate with the new Keurig® 2.0 system.

We will continue to ensure our beverage pack portfolio is priced competitively in the marketplace and offers a wide range of options for more cost-conscious consumers.

Not only does this mean I’d have to create tremendous waste with each cup, but it impacts the bottom line.  According to Mother Jones,

The New York Times did a more comprehensive analysis of the actual price of single-brew coffee, and determined that it ends up costing more than $50 a pound, even for standard brands like Folgers, compared to the less than $20 you can expect to pay for a bag of roasted beans.”

Now, I don’t pay anywhere near $20 for a bag of roasted beans – I spend around $10 if that. So I can actually spend more money on higher quality coffee for my regular coffeemaker and still come out far, far ahead in terms of investment. I’ll probably continue to spend under $10 and be able to afford my luxury cups at Starbucks and other coffeehouses.

But Keurig’s assurances about the cost-conscious customer doesn’t address the environmentally-conscious customer.  Again, Mother Jones:

Keurig just released a sustainability report announcing that the company plans to make all coffee pods recyclable by 2020, among other ecofriendly efforts.

This was released before the Keurig 2.0 so I’m puzzled why they didn’t figure out the reusable filter issue before going to the market with the product if they are truly focused on being ecofriendly. Now, after all, those old filters are also going to hit the landfill. I’m not really puzzled because Keurig isn’t worried about the environmentally-conscious consumer. They hit on a huge selling point – convenience.

The Keurig’s sole selling point is instant gratification. If you can turn a blind eye to the environmental waste and costs, you get a decent cup of coffee in a new-fangled machine. One cup. I can’t begin to imagine how this works in a family with more than one coffee drinker. I’m barely patient with Ledcat being in the kitchen doing her own thing while I’m trying to make coffee – if we were in line for our turn with the pod? Probably a lot more morning tension.

But how did the coffee taste? It tasted fine. I like dark, hearty roasts so I used the “strong” setting with the pods I received – they were all medium roast. It wasn’t “great” coffee, but it wasn’t unpleasant. The chai is pretty good. But it doesn’t taste any better than what I brew with my regular coffeemaker.

The coffee was fine. But not enough to turn a blind eye to the environmental impact of the machine itself.
The coffee was fine. But not enough to turn a blind eye to the environmental impact of the machine itself.

I will finish up my stash of Kcups and then move back to my regular Mr. Coffee. It brews the same or better coffee just as quickly and allows me to enjoy the pot over the course of an hour or so without having to reheat. Plus, I can compost the grounds and the filter. I even reuse the bags from the coffee itself – I use them for pet waste and small messes. Keurig is probably never going to meet my environmental needs for a coffee machine because I don’t prioritize convenience.

I do not recommend this device. If you have a Keurig, keep it and use a reusable filter. The carafe option has no real benefit and the lack of availability of the larger pods at the store left me unable to calculate the price per cup. You’d have to buy a second thermal carafe to make it worthwhile and that’s just adding to the already outrageous costs.

The Keurig 2.0 was given to me free for review by Influenster. The opinions are my own.