There’s a good reason why Keurig has become commonplace in home kitchens of offices everywhere. As much as some coffee aficionados might cringe at the thought, even they must admit Keurig serves up a decent cup of coffee in a flash. Plus, they look cute doing it.
Now, when considering the Keurig K-Café, your local barista’s eyebrow might start to rise. After all, this model dares to suggest it can quickly whip up Lattes and Cappuccinos. (The Keurig Rivo, which also made Lattes and Cappuccinos, is no longer available)
So, is it true? Can the Keurig K-Café do what it claims, and would you want it, even at the risk of light-hearted ridicule from hipster friends?
Why Choose a Keurig K-Café?
With all the Keurig models available, the main reason to choose the Keurig K-Café is the side option to make frothy milk. Does that mean it can compete with your local coffeehouse in terms of quality? Well, no, but it promises to make specialty coffees with ease that are pretty darn good!
Still, for high-quality specialty coffees, you might consider upgrading to a more expensive semi-auto or super-auto espresso brewer. However, if you love Keurig machines in general, you may be inclined to value convenience and ease of use rather than the finer points of professional coffee-making.
Thus, you might leave it to your local barista to create the highest-quality coffee for you on special occasions. They won’t mind!
The Overall Perks
For those who love Keurigs, the convenience of brewing a single cup of coffee in a minute is too hard to pass up. Rather than brew up a whole pot, you can use the K-cups to get a satisfying cup every time. Plus, with four cup sizes and four brew settings, there is some variety for varying tastes and appetites.
- The cups sizes are 6,8,10, and 12 ounces.
- Brew settings include Latte/Cappuccino, Coffee, Strong, and Shot
As for price, the Keurig K-Café Special Edition might deter some who could use that money to buy a higher-end specialty coffee-maker. However, the appeal of single-use automatic brewing with the added features in this model could be worth it for many people. Suddenly, making a Cappuccino is within almost anybody’s skill-set.
Additionally, it must be said; the Keurig K-Café is very attractive. The metallic finish of the Special Edition model looks smart, but costs significantly more. Meanwhile, the regular version is almost as pleasing to the eye, with a charcoal gray color. Would you spend more for the metal finish? That’s up to you. Otherwise, you get the same features.
With a 12.5″ height (16.7″ high when open), this machine will fit neatly underneath kitchen cabinets, but as always, make sure to get measurements to be sure.
When you aren’t making Cappuccinos or Lattes, you can fill up a 7.2″ travel mug by temporarily removing the drip tray. Thus, the coffeemaker is versatile for everyday use. As with all Keurigs, it’s low maintenance, with an easy-to-remove water reservoir with a handle for easy cleaning. Plus, the frother is dishwasher safe.
Occasionally, the unit alerts you to descale the brewer and has an auto-off feature that turns off the unit after two hours. There is a way to override this safety feature for those who use the product all day. (See the video below)
Overall, this Keurig will please those wanting coffee fast with minimal clean-up and convenience. However, for the best-quality brews, you’ll need to look at other methods, like espresso machines and drip brewers.
Keep in mind, the overall width of 15.3″ might be something to consider. So, be sure you have the counter space for this coffeemaker. If so, it takes the place of a separate coffee maker and espresso machine.
- The 60-oz water reservoir makes 6 cups
- Attractive, simple design
- Works with Keurig’s reusable coffee filter
- Options for hot or cold
- Easy milk frother
- Fairly expensive
- Shots are not espresso
- Quality of coffee
- No option to make a full pot
- Easily lost whisk inside the frother
One of the best qualities of any Keurig is the ease of use. Essentially: Pop in a pod and push a button, and coffee is served. With the Keurig K-Café, the process is streamlined with big, bold, easy-to-read, and understand buttons.
There is no touchscreen. Instead, you have bold, curved buttons that are self-explanatory. One might wonder what the difference between “Shot” and “Strong” is. Both result in concentrated coffee without pressure like you would get from an Espresso machine.
- The difference: When you push, “Shot” you get two ounces of coffee meant for making Lattes and Cappuccinos.
- If you push “Strong,” you also get concentrated coffee. However, this button is for when you want a large, robust cup of coffee.
As with most Keurigs, there is a convenient drip tray that slides out when you want to clean it. This try holds up to eight ounces of overflow. It’s easy to clean by hand but is also top-rack dishwasher safe. With the drip tray in place, a 6.2″ mug will fit nicely but can slide out for more room.
When you aren’t making Cappuccinos or Lattes, you can fill up a 7.2″ travel mug by temporarily removing the drip tray. Thus, the coffee maker is versatile for everyday use. As with all Keurigs, it’s low maintenance, with an easy-to-remove water reservoir with a handle for easy cleaning.
Water reservoir with handle
The 60-ounce water reservoir holds enough water for about six cups of coffee. For a home with a few people, this could take you through the week, but if you are avid coffee fans like us, you’ll be filling up the container frequently. Unlike many Keurigs, this one has a handle, which could be a plus for those who find the process of filling it up awkward.
If filling the tank seems like a hassle, you might consider a Keurig that allows you to brew a whole pot at a time like the Keurig 2.0. Or, try a model like the Keurig K155, which has a larger water reservoir at 90 ounces. Of course, the big drawback is these models don’t have the milk frother.
For those who find it limiting to use only K-Cups, you can buy the Reusable Filter separately. Although there are many generic brands offered for this purpose, it might work out better to stay with the Keurig brand. These little gadgets aren’t too expensive and are a lifesaver if you want to use your own grounds.
Not to mention, the cost you can save by using your grounds can really add up over time.
Occasionally, the unit alerts you to descale the brewer and has an auto-off feature that turns off the unit after two hours. This process removes calcium deposits, which can clog up the works. Keurig recommends descaling every three to six months to keep your brewer working in top form.
You can buy an expensive descaling solution from the manufacturer, but many people use half parts white distilled vinegar and water. Keep in mind, Keurig only approves its brand of cleaning solution. So, you could void your warranty if you don’t use their product.
For other common problems with Keurig machines, see our handy article on the common issues and ways to resolve them.
See more about descaling below:
Getting in a Froth
With the Keurig K-Café, it’s all about the feature of whipping up frothy milk for a decent Latte or Cappuccino. The option of delicious foam is what makes this model stand out among most pod-brewers.
As you’d expect from a Keurig, the milk frother is automatic. Thus, you can get the perfect amount of hot foamy goodness, and also cold for delicious iced coffee. Just don’t lose the little circular whisk that sits inside the bottom of the frother, which is easy to do. Also, make sure the lid is securely in place!
The automatic milk frother works with push buttons like the coffee maker. Just pour in fresh milk, including skim, soy, or almond milk. For example, four ounces of milk is the perfect amount to whip up and pour into a cup to make a six-ounce Cappuccino. You simply hit the “Capp” button, and your milk is ready in a couple of minutes. Easy!
For a Latte, there is a…wait for it…”Latte” button. Now, don’t be worried if you are wondering what the difference is. Basically, a Latte is larger at eight ounces rather than six and has more steamed milk in it.
For a Cappuccino, the frother starts with four ounces of milk and froths it to be approximately half milk and half froth. For a Latte, the frother starts with six ounces of milk and froths it to be 20 to 30 percent froth.
For the finer points of what differentiates a Latte from a Cappuccino, check out our earlier article.
For a clear demonstration, see the video below:
Overall, this Keurig will please those wanting coffee fast with minimal clean-up and convenience. However, for the best-quality brews, you’ll need to look at other methods, like Espresso machines and drip brewers.
Overall, the Keurig K-Café will appeal to those who love the convenience, ease of use, and option for Cappuccinos and Lattes. Without much effort, you can get a reasonably-good specialty coffee. Of course, cleaning the milk frother adds a bit more work each time you use it.
Another thing to consider is that the quality of the foam will depend on the kind of milk you use. The manufacturer has received complaints about the frother not working but attributes this to the wide variety of milk sold in the United States. Thus, it may take some experimentation to get it right.
Of course, if you love the art of making the best Cappuccinos and Lattes by hand, you might prefer to make steamed milk and froth it yourself. With some planning and elbow grease, you can compete with the quality of your local coffeehouse.
Or, you might consider investing in a top-quality Latte machine to do the work for you. For more money, you can get a super-automatic machine that makes the perfect Latte with the press of a button. For a serious investment, you could take coffee brewing to the next level with a Breville BES920BSXL.
On the other hand, you can opt for a semi-automatic Latte machine for less of an investment. Even though less expensive, these machines offer the flexibility to customize your drink to your unique liking. For example, the De’Longhi EC702 is an affordable and versatile semi-auto machine.
If you enjoy the convenience of the Keurig brand, then the Keurig K-Café will not disappoint. You don’t have to be an expert in the fine art of coffee making to begin making Lattes and Cappuccinos at home. Although the results may not rival your local barista’s skills, they will be satisfying and delicious.
Before you invest, consider if you have the counter space and if you would instead ultimately invest in a higher-end Latte or Espresso machine. Also, without the option to brew a large pot of coffee, this single-use brewer could continuously need refilling in a house of coffee-lovers.
If you do try the Keurig K-Café, the options for “Strong” and “Shot” brewing, along with four cup sizes, provide some variety to switch up the experience. However, the quality of the coffee can’t compete with higher-end machines and methods. If this isn’t a deal-breaker, then the Keurig K-Café could be the right choice.
One concern to many people these days is recycling. When it comes to plastic K-cups, this is a big problem. However, the company states they are transitioning to 100 percent recyclable K-Cups in the near future. Thus, you can enjoy the convenience with some peace of mind.