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Monday, August 23, 2010

Review of the Tully's Keurig B-40 Elite Gourmet Single Cup Home Brewing System

Despite the price high tag, the Keurig B-40 B40 Elite Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System is definitely a must have for people who like strong Tully's Coffee (such as Americanos).



The coffee comes out nice, strong, and fresh, almost like an Americano 

Hello, this weekend I have been demoing the new Keurig B-40 B40 Elite Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System, which is a new premium single cup coffee maker that Tullys has to offer.  It works similar to that of an espresso maker, except that it does not have a steamer.  So if you like americanos, drip coffee or just straight up espresso at your local coffee shop (such as Starbucks, Tully's, etc), the Keurig Coffee Makers can be your best friend (saves you trips to coffee shops of course).  In fact, according to comments I have gotten during the demo, it has become extra popular at dentists, doctors offices, and car dealers where free coffee is offered to customers.

Things I liked about the Keurig Coffee maker:
--> Convenient.  Set up is pretty easy and all you really need to do is fill up the water tank on the left side of the machine, turn on the power (the water will heat within 4 minutes), put a whole shot of Tully's coffee (those shot like coffee beans) face up in the dispenser that opens up (there are pins both on the lid and at the bottom of the dispenser slot that punctures holes in the coffee packets allowing for water to filter coffee into the mug).  After that, you just close the lid and two brewing buttons will flash (one is for small cups, and the other is for bigger cups), and you can choose what ammount you want, put a mug under the dispenser slot, and it is ready to go.  If you want to make more, you can throw out one coffee packet and put another one in (no filters are required of course).  This can be very useful for dorm rooms, apartments, and other on the go settings.
--> Nice Strong coffee (especially if you use Tullys K-Cup single serving coffee packets).  At home, my family mainly has the regular coffee maker and we usually make the usual Foldier's Coffee.Of course, if you like strong coffee, you will probably find that Foldiers is not nearly as strong as Tully's or starbucks and can get old after a while if you are a strong coffee drinker.  Obviously, if you like regular coffee, then Foldiers can be your thing, but if you prefer strong starbucks style coffee, you might like the Tully's K-Cups coffees and the Keurig Brewer more more.
--> Popular in businesses that offer free or cheap coffee to customers.  If you have been to dentists, car dealers, Jiffy lube, and similar places, you would probably know that many of them offer free or cheap coffee to customers.  One of the comments I got is that a bunch of businesses are offering the K-Cups coffee blends to customers instead of regular coffee (probably because of the stronger flavor that the K-cups offers).
--> Great for people on the go.  Once the machine heats up (usually within 4 minutes of turning on the power), and you put a Tully's K Cup coffee packet in the dispenser and you push one of the flashing brewing buttons, it usually starts brewing within seconds.  This can be useful if you don't feel like taking extra time to brew cups of coffee using a traditional coffee machine.  For example, if you were living in a college dorm, instead of visiting an espresso stand or coffee shop at your school, you could set up one of these in your dorm room and have strong coffee practically for free as needed.  By the way, Starbuck has a rival product going around, called the Starbucks Via Ready brew, which you can make instantly by heating up hot water and pouring a packet in the hot water

Of course, this product is not without it's downsides.  Here are some stuff, I did not like about the product:

1. Using the product can be tricky to learn at first.  There are several steps to take when making the coffees and can take some getting used to if you have never tried this machine.  Fortunately, the company that makes the Keurig coffee makers do include instrucction manuals that show how to make the coffee if you are new with the product and are feeling confused.
2. These systems are not cheap.  These machines certainly do not sell for cheap.  At Albertsons, they were selling for about $90 with a $10 off discount when I was demoing it.  It seems to be more expensive elsewhere (such as on Amazon).  If you are looking for a coffee maker for less, then you might check out some other coffee makers like Hamilton Beach 43254 Ensemble 12-Cup Coffeemaker with Glass Carafe, Black (which only sells for $34.99 instead of $90 or more).  Of course, Tully's coffee is a fancier blend of coffee and so if you want fancy coffee, then you do have to spend a little more (kind of like the $3 or $4 fee you would pay to get a latte at your local Starbucks coffee shop as opposed to the $2 or less fee you would pay to get regular drip coffee).
3. These are not espresso machines.  If you are planning to make lattes, then this is not the product for you as it only brews strong coffee (more like an Americano).  Latte and cappacino drinkers may want to opt for an espresso machine instead like the DeLonghi EC155 Espresso Maker, Mr. Coffee ECM160 4-Cup Steam Espresso Machine, or Capresso 303.01 4-Cup Espresso and Cappuccino Machine instead.
4. These machines are better for individuals than groups.  The single use dispensers are intended for making coffee for one person at a time.  So if you wanted to brew coffee for your family, you can either make multiple coffees using these machines, though it might be easier to make extra coffee using a traditional coffee maker like Mr. Coffee 12-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker - Stainless Steel (FTX41)
5. This product is best for strong coffee drinkers.  So if you don't like strong coffee, this is probably not for you.  A good test to see if you like strong coffee would be to a nearby coffee shop and getting a latte or a similar espresso drink.  If you like the stronger taste, then Tully's k-cups coffee is for you, but if you don't like the strong taste, then you might like a regular brand of coffee like Folders instead.

To conclude, while the Keurig coffee maker may not be for everyone, I do recommend it to people who like strong coffee (especially Americanos) and can afford the high price tag. If you prefer lattes, you might consider going an espresso maker instead.  Regular coffee drinkers and people wanting to make coffee for their families might want to go with a regular coffee maker instead.  Of course, if you like strong coffee and like the self serve style of the coffee machine, you will love the Keurig coffee makers.

Comments and testimonials about the product:

Quoted reviews at Amazon (I will post some of these since I am a part of their affiliate program and it can give you some perspective on it, note that this is not an exhaustive list of reviews, you can look at more of them at the product page):

1. "Do your research, then use your head., June 5, 2009


By Peace Frog "Aktur" (Bakersfield, CA) 



This review is from: Keurig B-40 B40 Elite Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System (Kitchen)

I read every single Amazon.com review for this item. And then read them again. I went to the Keurig website and researched the B40. Came back to Amazon and read the reviews one more time. If I was going to pay $100 for a coffee machine, I wanted to be sure I knew as much as possible about it. I finally purchased the B40, and after getting it today and having brewed four cups of coffee so far, I offer the following review (from a BLACK COFFEE drinker, no milk, no sugar):



I think the people who claim this machine is too loud and complain that it vibrates too much are your normal "Mr. Coffee" people. Yes, the machine makes noise. It's pumping pressurized hot water into the K-Cups. Of course it's gonna make noise. I counted each time the noise was made. It lasts five seconds each time, at most. And it's MUCH quieter than my Melitta Mill & Brew, which grinds the coffee beans with a high shrill. This machine also vibrates. But again, it's well worth the minor noise and moderate vibration. You shouldn't be shelling out this much money for a coffee machine if you expect a Mr. Coffee coffee maker. You are buying a "gourmet" coffee machine, and it has some cool features that require hot pressurized water to be pumped through the machine. Not a big deal!



I think a lot of the negative reviews that I read, and maybe all of them, referred to an older version of the B40 that only had one cup size setting. Indeed, when I purchased this machine at Target today, the display model for the B40 had only one cup size. I had to triple-check the box to make sure I was getting the B40 with the TWO cup sizes (and I was). So maybe they have improved the machine since that version.



I read negative reviews about this machine making weak coffee. I was so freaked out about those reviews, I wanted to brew every K-Cup (even the Extra Bold) on the small cup setting. As I was brewing the third cup, I put in a "regular" K-Cup and hit the "large" cup setting. I immediately went into Panic Mode, worried that I just wasted a K-Cup, because my coffee would be too weak to drink. Not true at all! Yes, the coffee was not quite as strong as I would normally like, but it was a very decent cup of coffee. I will not worry if I ever hit the large size on a regular pod again. Although I plan on buying all Extra Bold cups, so that I can brew a bigger cup.



I am extremely pleased with this coffee machine. So much so that I plan to buy two of this same model (or the B60 if it's on sale) as Christmas gifts for my mom and uncle.



As a former coffee house Assistant Manager and an avid fan of "gourmet" coffee, I highly recommend this coffee machine. Probably the best $100 I have spent in at least five years. One of my biggest concerns was that the beans had NO TIME to brew properly in such a short amount of time. But I was completely wrong. This machine brews a nice, bold, rich cup of coffee. Slightly less bold and rich if you brew the regular pods on the larger cup setting; but still very drinkable. I was also concerned that the pods would leak after removing them from the machine, but they are almost dry. I haven't had a single one drip on the way to the trash can, and I remove them seconds after brewing. I'm extremely pleased with the ease and cleanliness of using this machine. No filters to deal with, no messy coffee grounds, no dirty coffee pots to wash (and filter baskets). The convenience of the machine alone is well worth the minor noise and vibration."
Permalink: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1B623H6XQASMW/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

2. Posted by: R. Ketchum "Keurig B-40 B40 Elite Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System (Kitchen)


I have been using the Keurig B-40 for over 7 months now and have been very impressed with it. It heats up very quickly, and the auto shut-off feature allows you to have your machine shut down after 2 hours of inactivity. You can use the B-40 for brewing tea by buying tea in K-cups, but I simply and frugally put my tea (either loose in strainer or in a bag) in a cup and run the Keurig without a K-cup in the holder. I use the Keurig in a similar manner to add hot water to cups of soup.



As mentioned in other reviews, the 7.25 oz brewing size is fine for a single regular cup, but small for a big mug or travel mug. Furthermore, the strength of the coffee that you get with the regular K-cups is too weak for my taste. The regular K-cups are better suited to one of the other Keurig brewers (B50 or B60) where you have the option of changing your brewing volume to 5.25 oz. The caveat is that you have even less coffee. The Extra-Bold K-cups that vendors are now selling actually do brew a great cup of coffee in the 7.25 oz size and I would recommend that you order Extra-Bold versions of your coffee if you like your coffee stronger. K-cups are a fantastic convenience - easy to use and easy to dispose of. Maybe too easy - I blasted through my first box of 25 in the first week at work. They are not cheap either, at between 40 and 50 cents a cup if you search for deals. However, the Extra-Bold varieties are fairly limited in availability. An accessory that I highly recommend - the Keurig 5048 My K-Cup Reuseable Coffee Filter - allows you to fill its reusable basket up to the rim with your favorite ground coffee. If you fill it all the way it makes a very strong cup of joe - just the way I like it.



Pros:

Price

Convenience

Utility

Looks cool on your desk

Great coffee with Extra-Bold K-Cups or optional Keurig 5048 My K-Cup Reuseable Coffee Filter



Cons:

Single 7.25 oz brews coffee that is too weak with regular K-cups

Fairly limited selection of Extra-Bold K-cups

Cost per cup is pricey"

3. "A first-hand comparison of the Keurig B40 and B60 as well as the Bosch Tassimo 1 cup, June 1, 2010



By A. Chandler "ArtistAlana" (Austin, TX) -





This review is from: Keurig B-40 B40 Elite Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System (Kitchen)

I was able to compare all aspects of the following coffee makers:

The Keurig B40 Elite Gourmet (my parents own it)

The Keurig B70 Platinum Single Cup (we owned it and loved it until it recently died)

The Bosch Tassimo Titanium (we have been using it for the last month, ordered on Amazon)



So, because I always value lots of research myself prior to any major purchase, I thought I'd share my own personal observations and results should anyone else be comparing the two brands. Although I prefer my current Tassimo, there are aspects of the other coffee makers I also really like and that you might personally prefer over the one I chose so I thought, rather than simply saying which one I like best, I will pass along a first-hand comparison that my be helpful to other shoppers so they could decide what they like most...as a big shopper myself on Amazon, I thought my own comparison may save others time.



Size:

KB40: (Keurig B40) 10x13 1/2x13

KB70: (Keurig B70) 10 3/4x14x13

TT (Bosch Tassimo Titanium) 8x11x13



Speed:

This was one of my most important features but it may not be yours. The Bosch Tassimo was the only one that has a "stand by" system so the machine goes into stand-by after use, using less electricity but ready to use instantly without heat-up (By instantly I mean 4 seconds.) The Keurig does not have stand-by so you will need a 4 minute heat-up time but after that it's the same amount of time.

KB40: 4 min heat up time for first cup

KB70 4 min heat up time for first cup (but see notes, below, about the programmable "on" button if you wake up at the same time each day)

TT: due to a "stand-by" system you do not have to turn the coffee pot on and heat up water ever because this has a flow-through water heater for faster brewing, rather than heating the whole tank resulting in 4 second brewing for first cup. However, if you choose to turn off your coffee pot or never use the stand-by system for some reason the heat up time is about a minute.



Water tank size:

KB40: 48 oz

KB70: 60 oz

TT: 67 oz



Warranty:

All one year



Water Measurement:

On the Keurig you are going to get the same amount of water for every drink, depending upon the setting you have to manually input. On the Tassimo, there is a barcode on all the T discs that the coffee maker reads and automatically adjusts the water and temperature needed for that beverage. For example, a smaller T disc would automatically adust your water so the beverage is not diluted. However, should you prefer a weaker cup, you can hold down the button to add more during every brew. Which brings me to taste...

I always found my Keurig to be on the weak side unless I was brewing a 5.25 oz up. I don't find this to be true for my T-discs, even in very large cups of coffee. Incidentally, the Starbucks brand makes a large cup and very full-bodied if that's desired.



Types of drinks:

All offer cocoas, coffees, teas, lattes, cappuccinos, espressos I think Keurig actually has more choices at this time than the Tossimo.



Sound:

KB40 VERY loud and vibrating

KB70 less loud, still vibrates

TT: very quiet, no vibration



Other notes:

The KB70 allows you to change the temperature of your coffee and, although it doesn't have a stand-by mode to brew instantly, it does have a programmable on/off so that you can have it turn on at a certain time each day which is almost as good. This didn't work for me because I might want a coffee at 6am but if I want a tea at 4pm I would have to wait 4 minutes for heat up with the Keurig, but have it instantly on the Bosch since it can stay on standby at all times, powered down but not off and ready to brew instantly. The KB70 has a digital clock on it and the Tassimo does not. The Tassimo shows less coffee drips at the base than the Keurig if anyone does grab their cup too soon in a rush. The Tassimo comes with 2 Mavea Water Filters. Although they are optional, filtered water does take your coffee taste up a notch...even the Starbucks company insists on their machines (even in corporate offices) having the filter due to the taste change. So we use it...it just plugs into the water tank so it's easy to use or not. The Tassimo has a cup stand light that switches off when not in use for 5 minutes. The cappuccinos and lattes are better waaaay better on the Tassimo because they have real milk that really froths rather than dehydrated like the Keurig, but regular coffee is really good on both...I like a bold cup though so I prefer the Tassimo not using more water in relation to coffee...doesn't taste as watered down even on the really light blends, the flavor comes through in my opinion.



Also note: The T-discs take up less room. If you keep a dispenser on your counter you can have lots of t-discs in them without refilling the dispenser frequently because they are flatter and more round rather than tall.



Conclusion: I like my parent's Keurig B40 which made me buy my Keurig B70 which I liked a lot until we used it to death and I decide to try out the Tassimo Titanium. Although each has aspects that are great, I love my Tassimo far more...HOWEVER, if some of the things that were important for me aren't as important to you, I think anyone would be happy with the Keurigs too over a regular brewer.



Here are some comparisons to a regular coffeemaker rather than a one cup:



The flavor of coffee is broken down by three things: light, heat, and air. Every time you open a bag of coffee to measure out and fill a regular coffee maker, you break down the taste because of this. Also, a regular brewer is cheaper but there is more waste. We always dumped out leftover coffee. Now we only brew what we drink. Also, as your pot sits, it is also exposed to the aforementioned elements making it stale. With either the Keurig or the Bosch Tassimo, you always get a fresh cup.



If you have guests, it's excellent because you can have various types of coffees and teas and each person can push one button and brew their own. You don't have to stop your entertaining at a dinner party to keep refilling coffee or asking if anyone needs any refills, or stop to brew a few pots during dessert...I have this at the end of the counter and there is no wait time...anyone can easily serve themselves with no instructions and there is no mess, no coffee measuring spoons, no coffee canister on the counter, no coffee beans in the trash or disposal, or spilling on the floor. Just take out the t-disk and throw it in the recycling bin. At least I can do that in Austin...it may be in the trash in other areas which would be a negative for the extra waste from the discs or keurig cups." 



I highly recommend this machine. Just do your research and make sure this is the coffee machine you are looking for. It takes time to research, but it pays off in the end. I couldn't be happier with the B40, and don't see why anyone else wouldn't be just as pleased.


Thinking about getting the Keurig Coffee Maker or Tully's K-cup coffees?  Here are some links from Amazon you can check out:

  1. Tully's Coffee Kona Blend, K-cups for Keurig Brewers, 24-Count Boxes (Pack of 2)
  2. Tully's Coffee House Blend Decaffeinated, K-cups for Keurig Brewers, 24-Count Boxes (Pack of 2) 
  3. Tully's Coffee Italian, K-cups for Keurig Brewers, 24-count, Boxes (Pack of 2) 
  4.  Keurig B-40 B40 Elite Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System 
  5. Keurig B-70 B70 Platinum Single-Cup Home Brewing System  
  6. Keurig B60 Special Edition Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System 
  7. Keurig 35 B30 Mini Personal Single-Serve Brewing System, Black
By the way, thinking about becoming a barista some day (or maybe you want to learn how to make espresso drinks)?  Here is an ebook you might like: Kim Sammon's Coffee Barista Training course - this is an ebook written by an experienced barista named, Kim Sammon that aims to help people to learn how to become a barista (can be useful if you are trying to get into the coffee shop business and don't have any experience, especially with the recession going on and less companies hiring inexperienced workers).

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