Keurig K-Cup Brewing System

I was at a friend’s house (Hi, Cindy!) and she has a Keurig K-Cup Brewing System.  I’d never seen one in action and fell in love. 

You can get all sorts of wonderful flavors and brands:  Toffee, Vanilla, Mocha, Hazelnut, apple cider, Newman’s Own, Tully’s, Emeril’s.  PLUS, you can get various teas, too – Twinings, Celestial Seasonings, even Swiss Miss hot chocolate!  Over 200 varieties!  That’s an astonishing number of choices.  This coffeemaker is THE coolest thing EVER!

Now, I want one for my birthday – although we’d also use it for the office.

Which makes complete sense, because we’ll often have a couple clients who want coffee in the middle of the afternoon, which means I make a small pot of coffee, ½ of which goes down the sink later. 

Personally, I don’t want coffee in the afternoons, I want tea, which means I have to run upstairs every time I want another cuppa and wait for the water to boil (or run water through the coffeemaker, hoping that no clients will want coffee that day).  Meaning I’m not at my desk and the phone will invariably ring and I pick it up and have to go back downstairs to find the answer to their question. 

Actually, shhh, I sometimes want tea in the mornings

But, I’ve since discovered that the K-Cups are not easily recyclable, so now I’m having second thoughts.  I can’t in good conscience use those cups unless I can figure out a way to make them more ‘green’ (no offense, Cindy).

The plastic cups, themselves, are a ‘5’, meaning that some recycling places will take them but I can’t put them in my recycling bin for the city pick-up service.  I’d have to drive for 20-30 minutes to the closest recycling center…that’s adding a recycling point but taking away a carbon-footprint point on my ‘green’ scale.  And the little cap isn’t recyclable so it goes in the trash.  On the plus side, taking the cups apart means you can compost the coffee or tea, so there’s another point in my favor, except that I don’t yet compost, so its actually still a negative point on the scale.

In doing a little research, I’ve discovered that an entire niche business has sprung up which provides new caps for the used cups (3 brands popped up during an internet search) and reusable filters instead of the K-cups – tiny versions of the ones you can get for your regular coffeemaker. 

The new caps are put on the used cups after you’ve thoroughly washed (taking up precious water-points) and dried, then you fill the cups with coffee and pop on a cap.

Supposedly, you can get up to 10 uses before you need to toss the cup and use a new one.

It’s not like Keurig is ignoring the problem.  They have a page about this on their website.  They are working to find a way to make the K-Cups more easily recyclable but that isn’t, umm, easy.  The problem lies in keeping the coffee fresh and dry and the cup strong enough to handle the process that the coffee machine puts it through. 

Keurig even has a link to a site that will tell you where the closest recycling center is that will take the ‘5’ cups, which is a thoughtful thing to do. 

Keurig’s next single cup coffeemaker, Vue, will have coffee pods that are less trouble, they say.  The Vue is a slightly different product (although they’d probably use a stronger word that ‘slightly’) and the coffee pods are not interchangeable with the K-Cup Brewing System pods.  You can make stronger, hotter beverages and even add frothe.  I like that its an easier name to type;  Vue  vs K-Cup Brewing System.

Keurig's soon-to-be-released 'Vue'

I tried to find info about the Nestle’ espresso maker Nespresso, but their website wasn’t as informative.  There are similar re-capping solutions for their coffee capsules, too.  Someone mentioned that they have a program for companies where they take back the used coffee pods and recycle what can be.  I couldn’t find that info on their website, though.

There are other single cup coffee makers and here is an article at Popular Mechanics which rates a few of them: 

One of them was scary – it uses a nitrous-oxide (N2O) cartridge! 

Mypressi Twist has a N2O cartridge in the handle

What am I going to do?  I love the versatility of the Keurig machine but, I dunno yet if I can justify it.

What do you think about this?  Help me decide 😉