Cost-Per-Cup Review of Keurig Home-Brewing System

by Mrs. Moneysaver on January 16, 2010

Review of the Keurig B70 Platinum Gourmet Single-Cup Home Brewing System

Let’s give a warm welcome once again to my husband, Ryan, as he shares his thoughts on the Keurig Brewer!

The Keurig isn’t the cheapest way to brew. Let’s get that out of the way. Ounce for ounce, the least expensive coffee is made the way you’re doing it now–a coffee maker, a filter, and some coffee grounds. That said, the Keurig can make the most frugal cup of coffee. (Remember the difference between Frugal and Cheap?)  And it can do it less than 60 seconds.

But you’ve got to be smart about it.

Two things you should know about your reviewer. One, I’m an evolving coffee connoisseur with three years of experience, the only beanhead in the house (Mrs. Moneysaver doesn’t do coffee). Two, I try not to let my black habit bust our budget. Not for lack of desire. (If my inner addict was in control there would be a Starbucks in my hand before and after every meal.) A guilty conscience reigns in my coffee-lust. My wife puts serious effort into our family finances; I can’t blow her work on my petty indulgences. But sometimes it’s hard to resist, you know? Everyone falls off the wagon once in a while.

I thought maybe the Keurig would be the answer to our monthly coffee bills.

It’s a magical device really. You pick your flavor, press “BREW”, and watch as a perfectly balanced stream of coffee dances its way into your cup. A great experience certainly, but my questions were deeper. How’s the taste? And even more, what’s the cost per cup (CPC)?  My great fear was this: like the daughter of a French merchant I’d fall in love with this beast and soon be trapped in it’s lair forced to pay an unending ransom of K-cups in exchange for my coffee fix. (Or maybe that’s a different story) But just how expensive are K-cups? I had only shrewd guesses. Probably really expensive.

Oh well.

I had a decent stockpile to start with, provided by Keurig for this review. And the Keurig sat majestically on the countertop like a lord among coffee appliances. It invited me to test it’s worth. I clenched my first K-Cup. With hands trembling, I loaded the chamber. The king seemed pleased at this. A soft blue glowing crown emanated from him. As my index finger released the metallic BREW button a melodic purr and the smell of swiss chocolate saluted my senses. 194 degrees of balmy goodness streamed it’s way into my favorite cup, stopping with decadence just before it reached the top.

Here’s your coffee, Ryan. I smiled in sweet euphoria.

The taste followed. It was impressive, certainly better than any coffee I’d ever brewed at home. I’d rate it as cafe quality, and after the light-show performance I expected as much. But even better, there was no mess, no grinding, no filters. The whole process took less than a minute. Over the next couple of weeks I tested it with every flavor of K-Cup coffee and tea- I’d received. It never disappointed.  The Keurig and I had entered the honeymoon phase of our relationship.

But as our K-Cup inventory diminished, I returned once more to the question of cost per cup. If my Keurig and I were to last together, we’d have to get that sorted out.

So I compared the Keurig to a few possible alternatives: Starbucks, McDonald’s, a traditional home coffee maker, and a version of the Keurig purchase and K-Cup replacement proposed by my brilliant wife (see below). Her version applies typical Mrs. Moneysaver principles. You wait for the K-Cup deals, then stockpile, stockpile, stockpile.

Here were the results at 2 cups consumed per day:

Cost per Cup (2 cups per day)
Keurig Starbucks McDonalds Coffee Maker M.M. Keurig
Initial Cost $165.00 $0.00 $0.00 $50.00 $93.00
Cost per Cup $0.48 $1.40 $1.19 $0.13 $0.29
Cost / Year

$383.40 $1,022.00 $868.70 $104.90 $230.30

In the above model, I’m assuming that the coffee maker and Keurig last 5 years. The coffee maker CPC is based on a ~$10 bag of 12-ounce Starbucks Ground Coffee.

As you can see, the Mrs. Moneysaver  (M.M. Keurig) plan stacked up nicely to the alternatives. I’ll let her explain her tactics:

If you’re hoping to purchase a Keurig, be on the lookout for sales- because you can snap up a deal on a Gourmet Keurig if you’re patient and shop around.  For example, it was recently featured on Kohl’s website for $94.00.  (Better yet, use Swag Bucks traded for Amazon gift cards to buy a Keurig for free!)  After buying the Keurig, stockpile K-Cups when the deals are right. For K-Cups, watch for deals on Amazon.  Right now, you can get boxes of Coffee People, Diedrich, and Gloria Jean’s K-Cup at a great price.  Boxes start as low as $19 for a 48 ct box.  Sign up for Subscribe and Save to get an extra 15% off (cancel as soon as your order is placed!), then use the coupon code KCUP93O6 at checkout to bump your discount to 25% off.    When it’s all said and done, you can snag 48 K-Cups for $14.25, or 30 cents each.

Husband’s Conclusion:

The Keurig is a Frugal purchase, depending on it’s usage. It provides a more convenient, higher quality brew than the standard coffee maker, and using Mrs. Moneysaver tips it doesn’t have to be that much more expensive. It’s over a dollar a cup less than the smallest Starbucks order, making it perfect for the household with one or two coffee drinkers and cafe-style tastes. Of course, if you’re serving coffee to a large group, just remember that the Keurig is more expensive per cup, so use it wisely in party mode.

Let me know your thoughts if you pick one up. We can trade K-Cups and coffee stories.

Bonus: Thoughts on the Reusable Filter

We also purchased a K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter. The device gives slight cost savings per cup at the same quality, but it loses the benefits of convenience and selection. You still need to mess around with coffee grounds and cleanup. Not as valuable as I had thought.

The Keurig brewer was provided by the company for this review.  As always, the opinions shared within the review are mine and were not provided by the company.

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