The Brewer

The main advantages of the Keurig Mini-Brewer are that it is stylish, convenient, and very easy to use.

The brewer has a small footprint and will slip into a small gap or find a space on a crowded kitchen couter.  It is reasonably presentable in appearance and comes in basic black and an attractive dark red shade.

The mini-brewer uses pre-packaged plastic containers of ground coffee with a foil top, called "k-cups".  This means you do not need to mess around with loose coffee or paper filters.

The machine pretty much tells you how to use it right out of the box.  Once plugged in and turned on it prompts you to open the water reservoir which will take up to ten ounces of water. The you open the compartment for the K-cup which releases the water from the reservoir and into the brewer.  once you close the k-cup holder and press the brew button it takes less than two minutes for it to dispense a cup of coffee.

The K-Cup

K-cups are available in many coffee types as well as teas and hot chocolate.  They cost between 60 and 80 cents each.  This ends up being considerably more expensive that machines that use loose coffee or even pods, especially if you drink a lot of coffee in the average week.

Some may find the extra convenience worth the cost, but you also have the option of using a reusable k-cup either all the time of for a favored brand of coffee that des not come in k-cup form.  reusable k-cups range from a simple plastic lid to put on top of a used and washed out k-cup, to a number of different containers with a reusable metal filter designed to fit neatly in the k-cup holder of the mini-brewer.

The main problem is that the k-cup is actually rather small.  So if you use it with anything other than a very bold coffee the resulting cup will tend to taste rather weak--although making a 6 or 8 ounce (rather than 10 ounce) cup can help avoid this problem.  Other than that I found that the Solofill cup I selected worked very well in the mini-brewer.

The Bottom line

I have been using my mini-brewer for over six months now and I love how easy it is to use and how the red model looks in my compact studio-apartment kitchenette.  It has worked flawlessly with both the k-cups and the solofill reusable cup. I think that this brewer would make a great gift for a single person or couple who value ease of use over making coffee in quantity or consuming their favorite hard-to-get gourmet or fairtrade brand. The machine works best with pre-packaged k-cups and so may not suit a high-volume coffee drink on a budget.  However with trial and error you can also get a decent cup at a lower price by pairing a bold and/or finely ground coffee with a reusable cup like the solofill.