I was one of those very early buyers of one of the first Keurig K-Cup machines before they got to be such a common kitchen accessory. I’ve stuck with them when their machines went from well built to essentially throw away junk, and when they tried – and failed – to lock...
I was one of those very early buyers of one of the first Keurig K-Cup machines before they got to be such a common kitchen accessory. I’ve stuck with them when their machines went from well built to essentially throw away junk, and when they tried – and failed – to lock users in to only using their own brand of pods using a dubious lockout scheme.
Over time to get the quality it wanted I moved from their plasticky home brewers to their commercial products and at this point own a K-150 which I think is one of their best ever products. So point number one, I am not new to the Keurig ecosystem and point number two is I really didn’t absolutely need another brewer. At least I didn’t think I did.
ORIGIN OF THE MINI
However, as I travel I note that many of the hotels I’ve stayed in have the original Keurig single serve compact brewer so I always travel with a few coffee, tea and sometimes hot chocolate pods so I can brew a quick cup in my room. That hotel room version is (was) nice but poorly designed and not really suitable for home use. When I first saw this new upgraded K-Mini model I got really interested. I hoped it could be a viable choice to take with me when traveling due to its small size, to use at our cabin or vacation properties or even something even more special, something near and dear to my needs - as a single cup hot shot hot water dispenser for use with tea bags or other instant beverages.
THE HOT WATER MAGIC TRICK
You see, the world is in desperate need of a good single serve very fast hot water dispenser, but no one knows that. There is one very cheap model that’s been around forever that has more flaws than benefits, and a few models form Japan that are overpriced and also very flawed in design. Then there was one perfect model that was around for a couple of months that I should have bought a dozen of for fear that they would stop making it. They did stop and the one I bought still works but is now showing signs of slowly wearing out. I hoped this new Keurig could help me fill the void for something that I could use to make a boiling cup of water for a fast late night cup of tea or cocoa. And yes, this is it.
AS A COFFEE MAKER
As a single cup coffee brewer the mini does what you would hope and expect so I won’t dwell too much on that. You put a single pod into the familiar snap down receptacle and pour a cup of water into the permanently attached reservoir and push a single button and a couple of minutes later out pours your coffee. The good news is that if you don’t put a pod into it everything else happens the same way except what comes out is hot clean water that you can use for tea or anything else. And what’s nice is that you can choose anywhere between about 6 and 12 ounces of water depending on how much you pour in. Most other similar units parcel out a measured amount of water, usually exactly 8 ounces. This one pours back the same as you put in to it so you can make your tea, soup or cocoa as strong as you like..
WHY I LOVE IT
I typically reserve 5 stars for superstar products, the best of the best, and I have to tell you that this little gem has me very excited. It feels well made and not plasticky and the overall design is a lesson in simplicity yet perfection. The first thing I noticed is that there is a small cutout on the back to store some or all of the power cord in – and by the way it has a 3-prong grounded commercial grade plug. If you have it on your kitchen counter you can pull out only as much cord as you need to reach the outlet and if you travel with it you can easily stow the entire cord safely away. You literally don’t need any instructions, although they are well written, have large color illustrations, and are super easy to understand. After you plug it in you lift a hinged door on the top of the unit and pour water in, and you’re not limited to a fixed amount, you can fill it with anywhere between 6 and 12 ounces to suit your coffee strength taste or to fill a travel mug, and yes it will fill a full size auto mug with ease. After you put the water in you lift the handle, which automatically turns the power on, and insert a K-cup and press the handle back down and then press the very large brew button on top. When you do that the light surrounding the button stops flashing, the water heats up, and brews your coffee. 40 seconds after that, if you don’t do anything else like make another cup, the power turns itself off. I timed it from button press to filled cup and it took just under 1 minute and 18 seconds. And the water is super hot, cup after cup, unlike most similar brewers that get increasingly cooler for each cup.
One thing that interested me is that no water is wasted in the process, when I put exactly one cup into it exactly one cup comes out of it. Most coffee makers don’t do that. AND you don''t have to clean it because there is no holding tank like full-size coffee makers, the water you pour in gets pulled right through, heated, and dispensed. No water sits inside to get moldy.
WHAT REALLY SOLD ME
You can tell I am impressed and excited about this thing. When I saw it I thought it would be nice to have but had no idea I would ever use it at home instead of my big fancy commercial grade brewer. I was so wrong. I actually have the two sitting side by side now and use the mini every time I need a cup of hot water for tea, soup, hot chocolate or anything else. But what I didn’t anticipate is that I would be using the mini for those times when I want to make one single K-cup of coffee during the day and I don’t want to have to wait for the entire tank of water in my full size brewer to heat up or I certainly don’t want to make a pot of traditional coffee. With the mini the entire process of making one cup takes about two minutes and there is zero cleanup or leftover water that can develop a bad taste. Despite some reviewers who didn''t understand what this thing is, in reality it is the FASTEST way to make a cup of coffee from scratch in my kitchen. That means I’m using this thing two or three times every day now and it has become something I can’t be without. You know what that means, I better buy several of them now just in case they ever get discontinued.
BUY OR NOT
Nowhere is it claimed that this is a full sized and full featured coffee brewer. I mention that because of a couple of disappointed users who didn''t understand that posted negative comments about the size of the water tank or that it isn''t meant to be used with those fussy adapters that have to be manually filled with ground coffee. I have never seen the value in spending a half hour filling and cleaning those gadgets to save two cents - they defeat the entire purpose of the speed, convenience and zero cleanup of K-cups. And no, this doesn''t even have a traditional multi-cup water tank, what you pour in gets heated and poured into your cup. That''s why it''s called a single serve brewer.
I’m baffled why anyone would think 2 minutes is too long to wait for a cup of coffee. The last time I was at Starbucks it took 10 minutes to get a cup of coffee, my full size Keurig takes over 10 minutes to warm up before I can make my first cup and my Bunn coffee maker also takes over 10 minutes. Most electric hot water makers take about 8 minutes to come to a boil and it takes about 5 minutes in a pot on my stove. Exactly what are they comparing it to that can boil a cup of water in less than 2 minutes?
If you compare this brewer to any other from the time you pour water into it until the time your cup of coffee is ready, at about 1 minute and 18 seconds this is the fastest I’ve ever seen. It’s a shame so many people are comparing a single-serve machine to full-size coffee makers that already have taken time to heat up an entire tank of water and all the user is doing is dispensing it. Duh, of course that’s going to be a few seconds “faster”.
The time it takes to boil a cup of water at sea level and at high altitudes is substantially different, that probably accounts for some people quoting different amounts of time for their brewer to heat up. That’s science, you can’t change it.
All Keurig brewers require that the brew button be pressed immediately after lowering the pod compartment handle. After several seconds the machine will go into standby and the handle will have to be lifted and lowered again. This likely explains those users who reported that their unit didn’t work or wouldn’t dispense water – they didn’t read the instructions.
THE FINAL WORD
Since the moment I opened the box this gadget has given me more satisfaction than anything I’ve seen so far this year. Everything about it is exactly as it should be. If you love the convenience of K-cups, like to make a quick cup of coffee, tea, cocoa or soup with zero prep time and zero cleanup, don''t have a lot of counter space or need a personal brewer for a dorm room or office cubicle, or are looking for the perfect single cup hot water maker, this is what you''re looking for. I recommend it.