As most specialty coffee roasters have done and still do, we at The Roasterie dismissed Green Mountain coffee (GMCR), their Keurig machine and their Kcups as producing an inferior coffee that would not measure up to our standards. But by doing so we completely discounted the fact that Americans value their time– especially in the mornings– more than anything.
So it begs the question: would we as Americans (note that I am Colombian, but as Americanized as one can be) be willing to sacrifice a great deal of taste and quality in our morning coffee for the convenience of having it brewed and in our cup in less than a minute? The coffee-buyer and self-proclaimed “coffee dork” inside me would scream “NO!! I will not give up any taste or quality in my coffee for even an hour of time in my morning.”
It would appear that I’m in the minority with this sentiment, though, because millions and millions of Keurig brewers are sold each year, and it seems like everyone and their mother has one on their kitchen counter anymore.
I do think that the Keurig brewing technology developed in the newer models is getting closer to Specialty Coffee Association specs, thus giving us the possibility of a good cup of coffee. But the coffee that was and still is being sold in the Kcups is still far inferior in quality. You still have the problem of running hot water through plastic, which not only imparts bad flavors in the coffee, but also creates all of the waste associated with the use of the Kcups. This is why we as coffee roasters have struggled to find or even develop something that would let our customers use local freshly roasted coffee in the Keurig brewers they already owned. In theory, we want them to be able to brew coffee with their right hand while holding a baby in their left arm, but we couldn’t get past the loss of flavor or the waste.
Of course, Keurig had an answer for this when they came out with their refillable filter. However, in my eyes it seems like they intentionally made it ridiculously hard and impractical to use and clean that filter. It also only holds the same amount of coffee that is in the Kcups, approximately 6-7grams, which is not enough to make a decent cup of coffee or get a proper extraction.
During our long search we came across one little gem: the Ekobrew, a reusable filter that fits inside the Keurig brewers. What excited us about this little cup was that it holds more than 10 grams of ground coffee– more than any of the others we tested. It also has a very fine metal mesh screen, which slows the water flow through the filter and increases the contact time that the water has with the coffee grounds, thus giving us a better extraction when compared to Kcups. Instead of brewing a cup in 40 seconds, this refillable cup more than doubles the brew time, thereby producing a much better cup of coffee.
It is also much cheaper to brew a cup of coffee using the Ekobrew. Depending on the type of Kcup purchased, the user is paying 50-80cents per cup. By filling the Ekobrew with freshly ground locally roasted coffee (from us, naturally) the cost of each cup would be around the range of 25-35 cents. We also have the huge environmental benefit of this cup to consider, as nothing goes in the landfill– just compost your grounds and rinse the Ekobrew in between uses.