Keurig K Cafe Review
Hey all….if you’ve been wondering about the demise of the Keurig Rivo, wonder no more. A new gourmet style beverage maker has come out recently that can stand toe to toe with it – and get this…no more worries about what what kinds of pods to use either or still being able to locate them at all (I elaborate a little further on this review later) Introducing the K-Cafe! Although it’s only made its debut in this past June, it’s acquiring quite a fan base.
Before I get started, no this is not an espresso machine with bars of pressure – if that’s more your thing there are other models out there. But as you’re about to find out, this new development is no small potatoes. You might find yourself joining the rest of the club that “loves it a latte”!
What's on this page?
Besides the machine, there is the milk frother which is made of stainless steel, a start guide, sampler of pods, and A limited one year warranty.
The tumbler and the glass mug you may see in pictures up close… sorry, those are not included.
The latest sales page on Amazon gives the K-Cafe dimensions as 17.3″ by 14.2″ by 14.4″ and weight of 13.6 lbs. Which sounds reasonable but the all-too important metrics of height and length are needed so I went to verify it from the manufacturer site, which presents a clearer spec list, complete with the image at a side view (and the handle raised) of the measurements of 12.5″ ht by 15.3″ w, by 11.7″ d and a weight of 10 lbs.
When the front handle is raised, that puts the height to about 16.7″. Also there is a 30″ power cord.
♥Make tasty lattes and cappuccinos as well as your own regular coffee
♥6, 8, 10, and 12 oz brew sizes
♥Includes a milk frother
♥60 – oz water reservoir
Color choices are the black or stainless steel look (I like that stainless look better; I feel it complements the frother better).
Buttons and Controls
You’ll see two different controls – one on the top front over the kcup chamber and the second is on the base of the milk frother. The milk frother base buttons are strictly three: “CAPP” (for cappucino), “LATT” (for lattes) and “cold” (for frothing milk sans warming)
Over the chamber you’ll see the power button and the necessary push-button controls. There is one dual button that you need to push as it’s got “coffee” on one side and “LATTE AND CAPP” on the other side; you will need to push the correct one before proceeding. When you choose “coffee” you;ll see all the brew size buttons blink indicating you need to choose the one you want, and in the middle is the round brew button, which shows the Keurig K logo.
If you’re wanting to make a gourmet drink you’d need to select the “LATTE and CAPP” side in which case another button alongside the brew sizes, “Shot” will blink – because you are going to be receiving a 2-oz concentrated amount that you’ll later be mixing with the frothed milk.
The buttons on the front will illuminate when frothing is in progress …which takes an average time of about 3 minutes. The Auto-off function works by default but you can disable that part too – Holding down the Strong and 10 oz buttons until the Auto-Off light goes out will do the trick. Although Auto-Off is a feature with Keurigs that is highly appreciated, in the case of the K-Cafe, however, there were a few instances in that consumers claimed that the Auto-Off feature tripped their GFCI or GFI circuit breaker – and when they disabled it this problem went away. A rather odd occurrence as no other model has ever mentioned anything like tripping circuits so no clear answer is present for me.
If you’d like to try some iced lattes, a 16 oz glass is recommended, and plastic (not glass) with ice. If you’d like to make hot cocoa, just for the kids or a much-needed choco-fix, it is best to use the 6 or 8 oz brew size setting –preferably 6 oz to get a richer taste.
There is also, finally, a “Strong” button which will give your drink a little “kick” – if you want that you’ll need to hit it before hitting the Brew button.
Lastly, there are three indicator lights next to the Power button: Add Water, Descale, and Auto-Off.
Keurig K-Cafe Milk Frother
Looking at the stainless steel milk frother (I kind of wish there were stainless steel accents more, such as the handle), it’s got a unique makeup. It also includes (also metal) a whisk and lid. It’s very important to keep these parts in place when in use. You can also wash the lid and whisk separately by hand and immerse the frother in the dishwasher (top rack only) as needed.
With the milk frother are two lines on the inside, they read, respectively, “CAPP” and “LATTE” the drink types you are striving for – these lines serve as guidelines for how far you want to pour the milk for the best results, and to avoid potential of overflow, or worse, scorching.
The frother rests in a base; a round compartment, as it is being warmed and frothed as well as being kept on standby. You will be given an indicator “beep” to let you know when the frothing action is complete. Now, here is something to point out: You can froth milk, you can warm milk, you can do both, but you cannot get frothed milk without it also being heated. Interesting huh? And different from the Lattissima Pro and Plus that strictly froths milk (amongst other bells and whistles.) With regard to the frother….if the lights are pulsing, due to attmepts to froth while brewing. According to the manual, it’s a two-step rocess.
If you’re someone who doesn’t use dairy products, you’ll enjoy this – the K-Cafe frother will happily work on your other milk types, like soy, almond, coconut – even heavy cream if you just want to experiment every now and then. I drink coconut and almond milk exclusively, and I’d love that!
Manufacturer remarks indicate that lower fat content milks tend to froth with better foam, and keep it cold and fresh. The type of milk is a variable that’s not always easy to predict the outcome of but it is great to know that you won’t have problems if you decide to throw in some whipping cream and see what happens.
Keurig K-Cafe Water Reservoir
The water tank that comes with the K-Cafe has the very nice bonus of a handle at the top, making it easier for you to handle when refilling. It has a max capacity of 60 oz. which is a little larger than some models and should get you a fair amount of drinks before needing to refill.
It has a semi-circular shape and the max-fill line is located on the inside side that faces the unit; above the notch for attachment to the machine. This reservoir does not include a water filter – something I think would have been a nice added bonus.
The water reservoir is top rack dishwasher safe and it can be rinsed according to the manual. You can also do a tank drain, which doesn’t sound exactly like a purge but can help keep optimum water quality going.
The drip tray, like all Keurigs, has a plate that goes over the tray that pulls out if you want to use a taller tumbler; revealing the base underneath. The tray will hold up to 8 oz of overflow. With the tray in place, there is about a 6″ clearance between the dispensing spout and the tray/plate.
Suffice it to say you’ll have a pretty easy time accommodating different height cups. Removal of the drip tray will allow for a tumbler up to 7.2″ in height.
Compatible Accessories For the K-Cafe
I’m thrilled to mention that this is an open-platform brewer slash latte and cappuccino maker…Let me add, however, all pod types and brands with these exceptions below, according to manufacturer notes:
Vue, Rivo, K-Mug, and K-Carafe….DON’T use any of these. It may be moot about the K-Mug, though, anyway as I haven’t seen those lately.
Yes, you can use your own grounds…trouble here is that the Universal My-K-Cup is mentioned all around as the only acceptable model. If I find some more evidence of other brands that are compatible I will update and mention it here.
There is a little cautionary information in the manual – a vinegar and h20 descale is encouraged , very much like comparable models. Second thing – the use of distilled water is discouraged.
Keurig K-Cafe Consumer Reviews and Ratings
Lots of great reviews present, and most with plenty of validity in them despite the K-Cafe not being on the market for very long. A lot of satisfied and delighted consumers are going forth to present their findings – I’m starting to wonder about how well traditional coffee shops are surviving, hehehe….now that people are saving money and turning their kitchens into a one-stop deluxe coffee bar. Comments included praise for the coffee taste, temperature, and process as well as that of the frother’s function.
Every now and then there’s trouble in paradise and I do want to call attention to my findings there too. This unit is a little bit wider so you really can’t use one of those K-cup storage drawers easily, some people mentioned. You may have to give up on that idea (the under the brewer storage drawer) due to the brewer width.
Second…a couple of people said the water tank handle seemed delicate….I agreed and felt that was one area that the design could be improved upon; as I like the look of the reservoir overall. The water reservoir lid handle broke on one consumer as it is held on with a “pin”…I think you can just as easily refill it with it seated and lessen the stress on it. Since it has a lid you can remove it if needed to refill the tank.
OK…one last thing…the performance of the frother. So many opinions that can be conflicting at times….Some people say certain kinds of milk froth well and another says it doesn’t. Everything from coconut to half and half. What I’m thinking it comes down to is not so much the type of milk used but know-how with the tool itself. Seating the frother correctly, making sure the little whisk is centered right, and making sure to use cold and fresh milk seem to play a role in its function.
One user said that if you set up the coffee FIRST and then the frother it will pretty much function at the same time.
- Attractive overall design
- Included milk frother also heats as well as froths
- All kinds of milk (almond, soy, etc.) can be frothed
- Accommodates taller tumblers easily
- Accepts all types of K-cup pods (with the exception of the four I mentioned!)
- High altitude setting
- Brew sizes 6, 8,10, and 12
- Strong setting
- Does not have temperature control
- Best results from the frother may involve a little guesswork
- Water tank handle could be improved on
- Auto-off not programmable other than 2 hours of inactivity
Wow, I do like the price! At the time of writing it was under $200 which is great. It looked to be a couple of options; one in which you could get an extra pod collection for about $20 more.
Considering your other potential expenses, one of them would be that of the proprietary Universal My K-Cup reusable pod, if you are interested in using your own grounds.
Although the K-Cafe has a brushed nickel version – I’m only seeing black (out of stock? no answer there, sorry)
I’m not sure if six months is long enough to shower praises on a new coffee maker, but….objectively, I’m seeing the K-Cafe as a great choice and definitely worthy of your time if you enjoy coffee and gourmet style lattes. This machine looks like a home run, I do see the possibility for a few workarounds (and let me know if you see that other color too.)