I was looking for a new single cup brewer that I could use with loose leaf tea. This review will be of most interest to people who are considering a single serve brewer to use with loose leaf tea or loose ground coffee as I will not be commenting on the results it provides using K-Cups, I do not intend on ever buying any. As with all single cup brewers, none of them officially allow the use of loose leaf tea, but I had gotten the Melitta 1:1 a few years ago for this same reason and figured that I'd just return it if it didn't work well with loose leaf tea. I put loose leaf tea in the Melitta's pod holder and it worked great, except with some teas the "shower head" over the pod holder got full of tea leaves and required cleaning. The main things I didn't like with the Melitta was the ridiculously small water tank (had to refill after every cup), and the small brew size of 8oz max, so I always had to wait for 2 brew cycles to fill my large cup.
Recommend this product?
About the Keurig B70, I had originally seen these Keurigs before back in the time of the B60 and was not interested in them at all when I saw you had to buy "K-Cups" of coffee and tea, so they were not an option for me because I use only loose leaf tea, and anyway the B60 pretty much had the same 2 problems as the Melitta (small tank and brew size). Then came the My K-Cup adapter and B70 which changed everything, I actually bought only the My K cup at first to test it with tea because the official use for it is for coffee only, Keurig says it will not work with tea because it would be too weak, but I got the My K-Cup adapter by itself and used it to make tea using my hot water dispenser to see how well it would work before buying the machine and many teas came out fine, but indeed some came out like water. I then found that grinding the tea finer in a food processor allowed me to increase the brew strength, the finer it is ground, the stronger the brew. Even herbal teas that normally require 15 minutes of infusion will come out fine if ground very fine (finer than teas that normally need a 2 minute infusion).
After a few weeks of making my tea with the My K-Cup and my hot water dispenser (this was actually simpler than using the Melitta machine and allowed me to thoroughly evaluate the tea made with it) I decided to buy the Keurig B70.
After using it quite a bit, I'm extremely happy with my purchase, it is a bit pricey for a coffee/tea maker, but I'm sure it will last for many years. It makes any kind of loose leaf tea perfectly (Ive tried black, flavored black, green, flavored green, rooibos, herbal, etc.), and for those that come out too weak, simply grind your tea in a coffee grinder or food processor (that's what I use so I can grind a large batch at a time and have enough for months without re-grinding), I recommend brewing test cups as you grind it finer and finer until you find your preferred brew strength, the finer it is ground, the stronger the brew.
I also tried it with a few types of coffee even though I rarely drink coffee, I tried one of the included K-Cups at the 2nd smallest brew size and it was perfect, although not being a regular coffee drinker I can't really tell how good it is compared to other coffees. I also tried it with a filter grind coffee in the My K-Cup which came out too weak, but like the tea, grinding it finer will solve that problem. I also just recently found out about "Herbal Coffee", coffee substitutes with no actual coffee or caffeine, these also brew perfectly using the My K-Cup adapter, and in fact I prefer the taste over the taste of actual coffee, and unlike coffee it's actually healthy, so I intend on using it with these herbal coffees quite a bit also.
I then tried making iced tea with it, I filled a glass with ice, put the juice of one lime in the glass, put enough black tea in the My K-Cup for the brew size selected plus the amount of ice to compensate for the melting ice diluting the tea (for example, if I select a 7.25oz brew size and put about 6 oz of ice, I put enough tea leaves for 13.25oz), by the way, I also add stevia along with the tea leaves/herbal coffee in the My K-Cup to avoid having to mix it after (for those who don't know, stevia is a plant which is a natural zero calorie sweetener with many health benefits, sugar and artificial sweeteners are both very dangerous to your health), this makes the best iced tea I ever had in about a minute, including juicing the lime (natural lime juice found in grocery stores normally contains sulfites as a preservative, which is a known carcinogen) and cleaning the My K-Cup.
The features of the B70 include:
-Four brew sizes (from 5.25 to 11.25oz)
-60oz removable water tank with removable lid so you can either bring the tank to the water or bring the water to the tank (I have an under the sink water filter with a filtered water faucet on the sink and an additional filtered water hose under the sink for filling 5 gallon water bottles, I simply bring the hose to the water tank and remove the lid to fill it, this prevents wear and tear on the valve under the tank which has failed on my friends Melitta 1:1 from removing it so often for refilling, I dont want this to happen to my B70, I never had that problem with my Melitta because I also refilled it with the hose)
-Programmable on and/or off times (you can choose to set only the on time, only the off time, or both)
-Programmable idle shut down timer (you can set it to turn off after 1 to 9 hours of inactivity, in 1 hour increments, or disable this function to have it stay on until manually turned off)
-Programmable brew temperature in 1 degree increments between 187 and 192*F
-Programmable default brew size, this lets you to select your preferred brew size and set it as the default, this allows one click access to your favorite brew size, but you can still change to a different brew size before each cup using the right and left buttons to highlight the desired brew size, if you do this, it will automatically return to your set default size for the next brew
I would highly recommend this brewer to anyone who wants a single serve brewer but with the freedom, convenience and savings of using your own ground coffee, herbal coffee or tea, or if you don't mind the added cost and limited choices of K-Cups (there are over 100 types, but no herbal coffees and not that many teas), but as others have said, the K-Cups make a large amount of preventable waste, but Keurig says they are working on making recyclable K-Cups, but its really not much trouble at all filling and rinsing the My K-Cup, Im normally a lazy person (which is why I got this machine rather than making coffee or tea manually), but I really dont find it a problem at all to fill and rinse the K-Cups, it takes 5 seconds to put a spoonful of coffee/tea in it, 10 seconds to rinse, and saves you a fortune on coffee/tea, while letting you choose from any coffee or tea, not just those available in K-Cups. I do not intend on ever buying any K-Cups, and will probably keep those that were included for guests.
The only negative, which really isn't much of a problem at all, is that the power button is in the back of the machine.
Two other features I discovered from using it more:
-When brewing a cup, it checks if there's enough water left before brewing to prevent a wasted cup, the Melitta 1:1 would simply stop as it brewed if it ran out of water, ruining the coffee/tea you were making, and with it's ridiculously small tank it happened fairly often
-After brewing, the machine sends a big puff of air after the stream of water to force out any water left in the K-Cup, ensuring that not only all the water makes it in your cup, but also that the K-Cup doesn't drip as you take it out
I also found that the lid of the water tank fit a bit loosely on the tank causing it to vibrate and make a loud noise as it pumped water, to correct this, I put 2 minuscule dabs of hot glue on the back part that slides into the tank and let it harden to create a slight pressure to stop the vibration when the lid is in place, the machine is almost completely silent now, if your machine is noisy, try this or look for any other loose parts, it's not the machine itself making the noise, but just parts vibrating against each other from the vibration of the pump. Once you make sure everything is secure it's very quiet.
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