Reviewed by: Jennifer
Rating: 4.5 Stars
There’s a new Keurig on the block and this one is definitely different – Different in that you’ll be able to have a similar experience if you enjoyed the more “classic” Keurigs of the past; but this time with some new additions and options. Different in that with this model you can brew a little stronger, a little hotter with the temperature control, and over ice if that’s your pleasure.
Are you looking for a more “back to the basics” kind of Keurig brewer with a few additional niceties? If so we encourage you to take a good look at the Keurig K Elite with this comprehensive review. I realize it’s had less time on the market – but I can tell you this one covers a lot of bases.
Table of Contents
In addition to your maker, you will also receive a sampler bonus pack of 6 k-cup pods, a start guide, water filter assembly, and a limited 1-year warranty.
The water filter is included in the same design as that used for the 2.0 series with a clear plastic design and tabs on the sides that snap together.
There is also a manual included, but if you don’t see it, it’s available here.
For the dimensions, the K Elite is in the moderate size range with a 9.9″ in width, 13.1″ in height, and 16.5″ when the chamber is fully opened – if you’re checking your cabinet space – according to the Amazon sales page pictogram.
In the description, it reads “10.5” by 7.5″ by 11.1″ which I kind of had to take with a grain of salt as it seemed pretty off.
A weight of 6.1 pounds (by itself-not shipping weight) indicated telling me this guy is something of a lightweight as the average brewer weighs a little more than that. The manufacturer site provides a measurement of 13.1″ height, 9.9″ width, and 12.7″ depth.
Wait, there’s more – a weight of 8 pounds. That is a whole lot more realistic.
(And better than 6, too!)
Keurig K-Elite Colors
With a nice, contemporary modern look to it, the K-Elite comes in three different brushed metallic color finishes – Silver, Slate, and Gold. I think I like the Brushed Gold color the best. What can I say; I’m a sucker for anything shiny and chrome finished.
The Slate is more like a gun-metal darker type of silver. I saw the Slate version on display when I went to check it out at Krogers as I conducted my research.
The K-Elite is also known as the K90 (its predecessor is the K-Select which I reviewed previously)
Model no. 5000197490
The Keurig K-Elite combines its classic look and design with some enhanced features. They include:
- A 75-oz water tank
- Brew Sizes 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12
- Strong Brew Setting
- High Altitude setting
- Iced Brew setting
- Hot Water on Demand Button
- Programmable Auto-On/Off
The K Elite’s reservoir has a 75 oz capacity -which on average will produce about 8 cups before refilling is necessary. This is pretty much in line with the mid-size brewer range – would be great for a somewhat busy household and a propensity to entertain others and meet diverse beverage needs.
The front is also the brushed metal color but from the side and back view you can see the water level well and the max fill line. The lid comes off entirely for easy refilling, it is not hinged. If you look at the slot on the inner right side this is where the water filter is inserted.
By far the best thing about the reservoir is that it is illuminated in blue LED – It not only looks good but it really helps in a poorly lit kitchen especially with the brushed metal side in the front which partially obscures the water level view. The illuminated light will blink if the water level is getting low. It stays continuously lit until the Auto-Off feature is enabled or you power it down entirely.
As per the user manual, you are strongly discouraged from putting the reservoir in the dishwasher – Why this is the case is not stated, but I suspect the brushed metal side could be potentially damaged.
Drip Tray and Plate
The K Elite has a sturdy-looking drip tray – and it’s forgiving in that there is a max overflow of 8 oz. The metal plate can be removed easily via the round hole in the center, and when it and the drip tray is removed, the drip tray base has a round depression in it to hold the cups secure.
As far as the accommodation of taller cups, when both the tray and plate are removed, a cup up to 7.2″ in height will be easily permitted. This is good news if it is important for you to have generous space for on-the-go tumblers.
Keurig K Elite Buttons and Controls
I will go as far to say that the front control panel is designed well and is user-friendly. The most unique attribute of the control panel on the K Elite is its location – it is centered right over the pod chamber area -unlike most brewer models that have the controls on the right side (with a slight exception with the 2.0 series -the touchscreen window is located over the pod chamber too)
There is a power button near the top which is green-illuminated when pushed. The other buttons illuminate in blue when in operation mode. When you look at it you’ll see two buttons flanking the window -a gear shift, which controls the various settings, and up/down arrow keys for changing the settings.
Two small indicator lights go into effect “Add Water” and “Descale” when triggered appropriately.
The other function buttons below are the Hot Water and Strong Brew options. Below are buttons for all the various brew sizes (4,6,8,10, and 12, respectively), shown with icons that represent them along with the Iced Brew option.
“Strong” will work more slowly and produce a more condensed extraction to get that richer flavor if you enjoy coffee with a little more “kick”.
“Hot Water” is the button to hit if you are making something like ramen noodles, instant soup, oatmeal, etc., it always comes in handy.
Yes, You Can Brew Over Ice!
The Iced coffee setting which I’m sure you are going to love for summertime java, uses a smaller amount of water so you will not have to worry about getting a watered-down drink. You’d simply choose the Iced button above in the lineup and select a plastic tumbler for this with your ice (glass is never recommended.)
Programming and Settings
The settings that you have leeway to alter on the K-Elite include Temperature (a range of 187 to 192 degrees, ) Time, Auto-On and Off, and High Altitude. You can set the Auto-Off or On in 15-minute increments (provided you have set the clock first.) This can be a real treat to have if you are looking for something that you can program to have your coffee ready in a jiff on those rushed mornings.
As a note to add, though, when Auto-On is enabled, it will preheat the water at the time you set…but it will not start brewing until you step in. On average, preheat time is about 3 minutes.
The gear icon to the left of the clock window, controls the various settings, along with the arrow buttons on the right. When you “finalize” those settings, a symbol, like a sun as you can see here, will show up in the window.
One thing that the user manual doesn’t go into much depth about (it’s only about 6 pages) and I wish it did, is changing the settings. I think this must be a case of the more modern Keurigs in general; I can recall going through older model manuals and they are a lot more in-depth and will walk you through the nuances of them better.
One minor nitpick is the ambiguity of the setting symbols…
Some people (and rightly so) might assume the sun indicates the AM time, and the moon indicates PM or night time. You set the Auto-Off function so the brewer will go off at 3 in the afternoon, you might see that moon and be like “huh”? (Tell me I’m not the only one thinking this….) I mean, that’s how we universally think when it comes to suns and moons. Obviously not a deal-breaker, but it is a tad quirky. After all, you have the wherewithal to conserve energy which is always a good thing.
Ease of Use
I’m pleased to report that the information and research I did revealed a highly user-friendly experience. You’ll be glad to know that you won’t have to worry about proprietary K-cups – although the FAQs have some note that “this machine brews all Keurig branded k-cup pods” Now the way that statement is phrased, it sounds on the contrary – however everyone who provided personal input reported that no Kcup brands of theirs were rejected.
Although I like the design and function of the buttons a great deal, there may be one slight caveat and that is with the location of the control panel; if it is going into under-cabinet space, it could be a little inhibitive – unless you are also in the market for a pod storage drawer – some have a slide-out feature which could help with the problem of the buttons being in a hard to reach spots under the cabinet. Of course, if your kitchen has an island this should not be an issue.
Descaling and Cleaning
You’ll be pleased to know this is the kind of brewer that has the periodic Maintenance Reminder built in; the “Descale” light may come on to let you know when the time comes. As per the manual and the comments from others, diluted water/vinegar is recommended, or a citric-acid-based cleansing solution.
The exterior parts, like the drip tray and k-cup holder, can be easily hand washed.
Is the K-Elite C a Different Model?
Have you also run across a “K -Elite C” lately and wondered if that was the same as a different model? Yep, that’s just another one of Keurig’s quirks that I’ve gotten accustomed to a brewer that looks identical but with a slightly different model number, and upon closer inspection, it’s just the mainstream model with a few more goodies in the bag (a win-win scenario since the price is about the same, if not a little less!)
So if you find a brewer labeled “K Elite C”, this is the same brewer with a few additional bonuses included: a 15 K-Cup bonus and a My K-Cup refillable cup.
Keurig K Elite Consumer Ratings and Reviews
Well, the news continues to be good…The K-Elite has received a lot of positive and satisfactory consumer reviews. Most of them seem to be fair and justified. Comments cited included “love the lighted water tank” “nice looking and sturdy despite being lightweight” and “enjoying the extra iced and bold settings” These types of remarks rebounded a great deal throughout the mix.
There were one or two comments in which the position of the control panel made under-cabinet use rather hindered as I stated earlier. Not a total deal-breaker as there are ways for this to be overcome. (like the Handy Slider) Probably the most encouraging thing I have heard is so few complaints about the resulting brew temperature.
It tells me that the addition of temperature control was a very good thing, people really like that feature and I’m glad to see Keurig is continuing to employ it in current models.
Out of many highly satisfied users, I did come across a few performance complaints (which I know is unavoidable) but these were so few that they did not affect the overall score at all.
A few consumers had a few minor nitpicks which included difficulty seeing how much water was in the tank from the front view, the max fill line or the blinking light due to the metal finish, no hinge on the reservoir lid, and weird position of the buttons, but as of the time of this update, I did (3/20) the Keurig K-Elite continues to enjoy high, above-average ratings. And this is from several thousand reviews that I had to comb through, not bad for a model that’s only been out for about a year and a half!
- Open platform with regard to K-cups
- Power-saving Auto-On/Off function
- Offers a 12 oz brew size
- Attractive looking metallic color finish
- You can program the time, Auto On or Off, High Altitude, and the temperature
- Accommodates taller travel mugs easily
- Extra settings for iced coffee, strong brew, and hot water on demand
- Control panel location may be a little prohibitive if the brewer will be sitting under a cabinet
- You’ll need to check the water level from the side rather than the front due to the color
- A little bit more expensive than similar models
- The settings function is a little bit quirky
A few consumers felt the price of this machine could be a little lower -at the time of writing it’s going for under $200 with various options including some different accessories. I think what makes the price fair is the features and the minimal hassles involved as well as the bonus accessory additions.
UPDATE: I’m happy to report (7/2/21) that the price has come down a little since I first began this review – at the time I checked again, and that goes for all of the colors. However, the K Elite C which carries more “goodies”, looked like the price had increased on that one.
There are a fair amount of renewed/refurbished versions – the latter which may be going for at least $10 less., which might save you a little. It did look like reviews were mostly positive but there were much fewer reviews overall so it becomes harder to gauge how well it performs over the new one. Anyway, it looked like it was still going for under $200 which is great:
Any additional expenses would be limited to pods, and cartridges if you make use of the water filter, and since you can make and fill your own with this model, you wouldn’t be stepping outside your usual coffee budget, to be totally honest.
The Verdict So Far: Excellent
I realize the day is young and this is one of the youngest Keurigs on the market – but I can honestly say you’d have a lot to gain and a lot to be pleased with. It appears to be pretty popular and gifted a lot, too. Being able to brew into taller travel mugs and with the 12 oz size, dispense hot water on demand, brew over ice, and best of all able to change the temperature, not having to deal with the annoyance of figuring out if this or that K-cup is “acceptable” – makes this a very attractive single cup brewer and a “winner” in my book.