Pros: Sturdy, brews a good cup of coffee very quickly.
Cons: Be willing to commit to K-Cups, which sell for roughly $0.50 each.
I'm an engineer by trade and bought this machine with high expectations. There are many positive things to say about this unit (I'll mention those first), but if you don't want to blow the family budget on the proprietary K-Cups, you are going to be very disappointed.
First, the positives: The machine is sturdy (if not loud when it pumps the water), and brews a good cup of coffee very quickly. This model has a programmable timer and can brew at temperatures up to 193F.
Second, the negatives: To best use this machine, you had better be willing to commit to K-Cups, which sell for roughly $0.50 each. That may not sound like much, but it means you're going to spend $1.00 for two 7.5 oz cups of coffee in your own home--no barista or free WIFI in sight.
The problem is that Keurig sells something they call "My K-Cup". It is a simple plastic device that contains a metal filter and fits into the Keurig machine in lieu of the usual K-Cup holder (you actually have to remove the K-Cup holder from the unit before you can use the My K-Cup--be careful not to cut your hands on the protruding razor-sharp blade the is within inches of the My K-Cup slot). The company and its reps tout this My K-Cup device as being the answer to customers who wish to brew their own coffee from grounds. Not so simple. Whenever I tried to use the My K-Cup adapter, I got mixed results. Of the 12 varieties of store-bought ground coffee I had tried, only 2 of them brewed without difficulty. The others allowed only a bit of water to trickle into the coffee cup below. This meant that I had to repeatedly brew the coffee until the coffee cup contained enough coffee to drink. This took an average of 7 minutes of my time and I had to stand at the machine during the entire process in order to repeat the brewing cycle manually.
Frustrated, I called Keurig at 1-866-891-2739. I spoke with "Cindy" on April 29, 2008, in the Keurig Technical Support center. Cindy was immediately defensive and explained in a rather condescending way that the My K-Cup is not designed for just "any" ground coffee. She asked a litany of scripted questions, and I responded "Yes" to each: "Did you clean the My K-Cup filter?"; "Did you clean it well?"; "Did you have enough water in the tank?"; "Did follow the directions in the user's manual?"; "Are your coffee grounds clean?"; "Are you sure you did not overfill/underfill the My K-Cup--in other words, did you try different levels of coffee grounds in the My K-Cup?", etc. (I am surprised that she did not ask whether I had made sure the unit was plugged in and confirm that I do indeed have electricity flowing through the power cord!) After all those questions, Cindy admitted that it takes an extreme amount of experimentation (to use her words exactly, she said that it is "a process") to achieve success with it. For example, she said that if the coffee you place inside of it is too fine, then it will clog the metal filter and the water won't flow through it. If it's too course, then the same thing can happen but for different reasons. She said that it is all "very complicated" and that the My K-Cup was never designed to fit all the needs of all customers. She said that the same coarseness level may work with some coffees and not others due to the difference in the oil content of the bean.
When I pointed out to Cindy that my $29 Mr. Coffee machine happily accepts any ground coffee and produces a drinkable cup 100% of the time, she said, with an air of disgust, "You're comparing a $29 machine with a $179 machine, Sir. Where's the logic in that?"
Cindy aside, the reality is that you must commit to the manufactured K-Cups if you want to achieve success with this machine. If you use the My K-Cup (the existence of which justified my purchase of the Keurig system but later proved to be a sort of bait-and-switch add-on) you can expect the unit to brew about 3-5 tablespoons of coffee before shutting off with a click. At that point you have to raise the metal bar and close it again so that the brew-size lights blink. Then choose a size, and wait for another 3-5 tablespoons to brew. With the Dunkin' Donuts ground coffee beans I bought from the local Kroger in April, 2008, it takes 12 repeated brew cycles to get a single 7.5 oz cup of coffee.
Cindy stated that the internal brewing mechanism is the same across all models of Keurig as of April 2008 and therefore I would not have any better success with a pricier model.
Personally, I think the company offered the My K-Cup as a novelty without properly testing it. There are no disclaimers on the My K-Cup packaging--such as that it is critically sensitive to the fineness of the grounds. If Keurig really cared about its My K-Cup audience, they should offer several types--one that works with fine grounds, another with medium grounds, and another with coarse grounds. But to tell the customer that it's going to be "hit or miss" with the My K-Cup was an entirely dissatisfying answer.
I will be returning my Keurig and looking for another company's product. Once again, if you are satisfied with the Keurig selection of coffee and you want to lock yourself into the proprietary K-Cups for life, then you will love this machine. If you like variety in your life and want to be able to go to your local supermarket and try its new Pumpkin Spice beans, this is not the unit for you. The company seems not to care much about such customers.
ADDED ON MAY 7, 2008
I have some new information.
If you look at the K-Cup "clamping" mechanism (just peer under the unit before you close it onto a K-Cup cartridge), you will see a red-colored soft rubber washer. That washer, which is probably worth about $0.15 retail, is probably the most critical part in this entire machine. It is used on every Keurig unit available today.
The problem is that when you use the My K-Cup filter and the coffee doesn't brew properly, this rubber washer gets wet because the hot water and coffee in the My K-Cup filter backs-up onto it. If it gets wet enough, it doesn't form a good seal between the flow of water from the machine into the K-Cup--and when that happens, the machine will begin to "spit" coffee outside of the cup it is dispensing into.
Soon after writing my original review, this rubber washer came off completely. I tried to place it back on, but it would not stay. So I then visited a local store to inspect an original washer, and--get this: It is glued on! It is not held in by a flange or any other mechanism. It is simply an adhesive-backed rubber washer.
So--if that washer gets wet (and it WILL if you have problems with your My K-Cup), the adhesive will soon loosen. And once the rubber washer falls off, you are in big trouble. At that point, no seal whatsoever is formed between the flow of water and the K-Cup and at that point coffee will spill all over the surface on which the machine is sitting.
If you want to experiment with this machine yourself, buy it from Bed Bath and Beyond because they have a VERY LIBERAL return policy. They are accepting my unit as a return in exchange for a store credit. I do not even have to have my receipt because it is a unit they still stock (the B60).
I am going to try to post links to photos and possibly a video to make this review more complete.