What's the point of Keurig coffee machines?

So I was reading this thread about Keurig & DRM and I came up with the same question I’ve asked myself a million times since they first came out.

What’s the point of a Keurig machine? Yes, I know that it can make single cups of coffee well. And, I know that in certain situations, the ability to have tailored single cups of coffee, tea or whatever is nice. My former employer used to have one in the client conference room along with a pretty diverse menu of coffees, teas and other hot beverages that it could brew.

But I suspect that 99% of people just use them to brew coffee, and I wonder why they pay the relatively massive premium to get a Keurig and k-cups when they can get a 4 cup coffeemaker and do the same damn thing for a lot less money. The math isn’t there- a Keurig machine is roughly $100, and a 4 cup coffeemaker is roughly $30, and 50 k-cups costs about $30, while 12 oz of coffee (48 cups) costs about $12 (Green Mountain Breakfast blend for both k-cups and ground coffee). Coffee filters are dirt-cheap; 200 for $4.50 is pretty typical, giving us a per-cup cost of $1.67 for the k-cups, and $0.25 for the coffee + $0.03 for the filter for $0.28 per cup for the regular coffee.

Is it really the level of sheer laziness that would think that amount of money is worth not having to clean a coffeemaker or measure out water and coffee? Or is there more to it?

There has been a least one thread asking pretty much this exact question, but all the same, I’ll move this to Cafe Society to see if we can brew up another discussion.

From IMHO.

Well, my DH and I decided we could feel healthier if we drank less coffee. So instead of making 12 cups every morning and drinking all of it and not sleeping well, we bought a Keurig and now drink one or at most two cups of coffee in the morning and then maybe one cup of sleepytime tea or decaf late in the day, and so far the experiment is working; I am sleeping a little better.

By the way, mostly I use my own coffee in a “fake” k-cup made by Melitta that I got at Walmart for around $4.

And, yeah, I guess there’s some laziness in there too; I would never discount laziness.

There’s one in my household. My fiance drinks about four cups of coffee a week, I drink none. She likes it because she gets the one cup every couple of days that she likes, without having to throw any out, or clean a pot. I like it because doesn’t seem to put off nearly as much of an odor as a regular coffee maker.

If you’ve never worked in an office where someone came charging out of the break room screaming “Which of you worthless fuckers left the empty pot on the heater again! Tom, I know it was you! I’m going to murder your children!” consider yourself lucky. K-cups cut way down on office friction.

In an office situation, you never have to deal with office drama over:

Who left only half a cup of coffee in the coffeepot?!
Who didn’t clean the coffeepot?!
Who didn’t brew another pot of coffee?!
Who turned the heater off?! The coffee is cold now!
How old is this coffee anyway?!
But I want decaf coffee!
I’m doing all the work of cleaning and refilling the pot and I’m resentful of you lazybones!

However it does not eliminate the ever present problem of who throws out the coffee grinds/filter - just turns into people leaving a k-cup behind. Or people who spill their coffee and don’t clean up. Or the people who don’t wash the office cups, or steal other people’s cups. But it does eliminate a bunch of other coffee bullshit. Depends on the workplace, mostly.

It’s also a status symbol because it costs more.

And all of the above can apply to household coffeemaking as well in one form or another, with the added bonus of easy single-cup brews in the case of only one cup being needed.

In my own experience, having this same argument with multiple people, I can say that lot’s of people just don’t consider the cost benefit argument to be compelling. I point out that per cup, traditional brewed pots of coffee can be a small fraction of the cost of a K-cup brewed cup. Usually I get a look like, “What’s your point?”

As for me, there are any number of other practical reasons a traditional brewed pot of coffee is desirable to me, in addition to the cost argument
[li]“Would you like a warm-up? Thanks, just top it off…” Can’t really do that with the Keurig.[/li][li]Manufacturing waste for creating those twee little pods.[/li][li]Packaging waste when it all goes in the trash.[/li][li]Clean up in that in some models someone does have to recover the used pods from the dump bin in the unit, etc. So, there’s no real advantage there.[/li][/ul]
People is people, what you gonna do?

Of course you can buy a reusable plastic K-cup that holds regular ground coffee and have the best of both worlds.

While the coffee is more expensive, 7-8 bucks a week for K-cups is clearly in my nuisance price and still cheaper Starbucks or even 7-11.

Add to that the convenience and variety and it is a choice that works for me.

Edited to add:
I top-off/warm-up frequently at home on weekends. On workdays I’ve filled a travel mug and i top off with the coffee at work if needed.

For me, yes. I drink one cup of coffee a day, in the morning. It’s perfect - nothing to measure or clean (especially coffee grinds getting EVERYPLACE) or stinky coffee filters to trash/compost. I make a good enough living that the cost doesn’t break me, if anything, it’s cheaper than a Starbucks cup of coffee. I love my Keurig.

Cost, at the levels cited in the OP, are not a factor in choosing a method of making coffee at home for me and my wife. What makes a Keurig desirable for us:

Week day mornings: I make a to-go cup and leave for work at 5:30, my wife makes a fresh cup when she gets up at 7:00.

Saturday mornings, I have a couple of cups of black regular whatever we have in stock, and she has hazelnut or whatever her heart desires that morning.

Friends over for dinner: decaf, hazelnut, real coffee, herb tea, whatever you want, we can do it.

There may be better or cheaper ways to accomplish all of the above than our Keurig, but it works very well for us.

Profitability, much like home security. Hardware is overpriced and ongoing use necessitates insanely large and ever-increasing amounts of money for goods or services that in no way justify their costs. Lawn care isn’t much more fair, but who wants to get out there in blazing heat and deal with poisons? Hey, Keurig–that’s it! Maybe I should start selling that, too!

My workplace has a Kuerig machine, where the advantages are numerous. For that I buy biodegradabe pods from Costco for 30 cents a piece.

At home, we just bought a Starbucks Verismo machine, which makes espresso (and ordinary coffee). I love it. Way easier than most espresso machine and a helluva lot less $$. Now I make my own espresso con panna whenevr I like.

I still have a regular coffee maker, but it no longer sits on the counter all the time. As much as I love my ECPs, I still have to get my Chocolate Macadamia Nut Maui coffee fix every once in a while.

We have a pot of coffee (8 cups) before work. If one of us wants one more for the road, we brew a K-cup. My gf doesn’t drink coffee after that, but I occasionally like a cup or two in the evening; the Keurig is perfect.

Some people have mentioned using generic K-cups. But as the OP indicates, Keurig is adding DRM to the next generation so you will only be able to use their K-cups.

Enjoy your choices while you can, citizens.

We got one with Airmiles so basically free. It is handy after dinner parties when only one or two people might want a cup. Most morning we use the drip machine set on a timer so we wake up to a fresh pot. If I forget to set it, the Keurig is a good back up for the SO’s must-have morning coffee.

I hope the Nespresso come down in price or someone comes out with a decent knockoff. Even at the current prices they are still cheaper and easier than the traditional espresso machines.

eta: @ftg I think Keurig is is too late. People with old machines will keep using generics and generic machines are sold to use them. Keurig doesn’t have enough brand prestige that many people will accept their new world order.

As I mentioned in that thread, have you ever actually tried using a 4-cup (or smaller) drip coffee brewer? They suck. The Keurig (or other similar brewers now) is really the best way to make reasonably good drip-style coffee in small quantities.

I’m the only coffee drinker in my household, so a simple little Mr. Coffee works just fine. But I’d imagine that, in a family situation where Dad likes dark roast, Mom likes light, one kid likes hazelnut, another wants mocha, and the little one likes hot cocoa, a Keurig would be pretty convenient.

At work, someone would always leave coffee burning on the warming plate, or no one would clean it out and it would get moldy. The Keurig has been a terrific change at work, so anyone can have a fresh cup of whatever kind of coffee they want (bold, mild, decaf etc). Everyone just brings in the K cups they want and I bought the machine for the office.

At home I only drink one cup of coffee a day, so it makes little sense to brew a pot. This way I can throw a tea bag in a cup and dispense hot water, or pick a K-cup and have my cup off coffee. It’s not about laziness but about picking a tool that fits how we drink coffee.

Yeah, despite the claims of evangelistic keurigistas, I don’t know anyone with a keurig who wouldn’t dump it in favor of a generic. It’s the coffees people get attached to, not the maker.