Keurig Controversy Coming to a Boil


For all caffeine junkies, the Keurig “One Cup Wonder,” as it is known, was the latest answer to Starbucks, or so people thought. Starbucks or “Five Bucks,” as it is called in some circles because at least five dollars will be spent upon most customers’ entering the establishment, has a strong hold of morning caffeine worshipers. Java junkies attempting to switch the home machine for the expensive chain store coffee are finding that their solution has a flaw. The flaw is costly and misleading. This plot twist means that in order to enjoy the usual morning ritual, the Kuerig 2.0 is required to use only the Keurig K-Cup coffee refills.  This has sparked a controversy which is beginning to come to a boil.

It is a set up. The machine actually reads information about the inserted coffee pack.  If it is not Keurig brand pack, it literally rejects the alternate brands.  The machine is designed technically to read branding, and claims that if it is not the Keurig brand it may very well be an inferior cup or carafe of coffee.  If the label does not read the newly developed white ring around the canister, it will not brew. This is not sitting well with coffee worshippers.

Keurig has marketed a product offering consumers the opportunity to have the perfect cup of java in the comfort of their own home, in their own kitchen, without having more than a marginal mess. The controversy that has people boiling mad is the catch, where Keurig has made that convenience conditional on coming to them to get the coffee and supplies to operate the machine.

In earlier versions of the home brewer, cups made by other companies were able to be substituted. Reusable plastic and mesh cups were also available to allow consumers to use ground coffee without any pre-filled cups at all. This newest incarnation, however, has created the new ring technology to bring newer customers back to the original idea of Keurig brewers being exclusively for use with their own products. Technology has gone to extensive lengths to be coffee savvy, and Keurig has done the homework. They believe that they deserve to be awarded with the spoils of leading the pack in the present and future coffee industry.  Pure capitalists can not blame them for wanting to corner the market, but consumers are not as appreciative. Already there are methods being spread around on YouTube and other sites offering ways of hacking the K-cup ring restriction. The competition is already moving to put items into production to facilitate those hacks.

The controversy boils down to the consumer having the right to determine what they will or will not buy, and Keurig feeling that they have the right to dictate the terms of use for their product. In the end, it will always come down to supply and demand. The harder the company fights to keep their “pod” as the only means of accessing the technology, the faster they will drive their competition to find ways around it. The measure of how quickly the consumer abandons all Keurig accessories when that way is found will be determined by how they feel they are respected by the company in the present.

By Crystal Ball


Image courtesy of Stephen Ritchie – Flickr License

2 Responses to "Keurig Controversy Coming to a Boil"

  1. Erik   January 20, 2015 at 9:20 am

    Here is a mod that gets around this

  2. booklvr_k (@booklvr_k)   January 9, 2015 at 10:15 am

    I own an older Keurig that I use daily with all brands of K-cup sized pods (including Keurig’s) as well as the mesh containers that allow my own blends. I absolutely will NOT buy a replacement Keurig when I upgrade if it only allows proprietary pods. I am not skillful enough to hack. I will simply not buy.


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