An Inconvenient Brew

After much tooth gnashing, my office finally picked up a Keurig brewer.  I’ve had a Platinum 90 for several years now, it’s loud but reliable (newer models have near silent water pumps).  I love it because after the initial warmup, it will consistently crank out cups of coffee in about 15-20 seconds until the water reservoir runs low.  Refill it, and the steady flow of caffeinated awesomeness continues.

You could imagine my surprise when we started using the new B150 at my office that is directly fed water through a special adapter connected to our water supply – it was slower.  Much slower.  Most cups take over a minute to brew.  It’s frustrating because instead of walking in, getting a cup, and going back to work, you walk in, put in a k-cup, hit brew, and have time to add sweetener and creamer to the coffee – as well as catch up on last night’s box scores – before the coffee starts pouring out.

Being a geek, I was determined to see what was going on, why it was so slow…  From what I discovered, the boiler only holds about 4oz of water at a time.  That’s fine if you want a 4oz cup of coffee, but since most people want at least 10-12 ounces the B150 will pull in the water it needs, then heat it, then brew it.  It’s a horrible design.  Now the B150 on its own has a tank like any other Keurig pot but when you’re getting water straight from the supply – it gets bypassed for the most part.  Some water is pulled into it each time, but its only 4 ounces or so – not much.

It even has a mechanism within the tank so that it can be completely filled – and shut off – by a float switch similar to the ballcock in a toilet tank.  Here comes to most ridiculous part of this system… When the direct supply module is installed, the tank is sealed shut.  You need to remove some screws to actually access it.  I’ve manually filled the reservoir from the same supply – and the result?

Any size, 4oz to 12oz, brews within 10-15 seconds like my nearly 5 year old P90 at home.  Once the tank is empty again, it reverts back to the ridiculously slow method of feeding the boiler directly from the water supply.

I get the point of a direct-plumb kit for these, as if it worked correctly it would be a great convenience.  However, if we add up all the lost time wasted waiting for a cup of coffee to brew per user in a company and multiply that by the number of these direct-plumb kits in circulation – the amount of wasted time is unconscionable.  I went as far as contacting Keurig – they recommended I contact the vendor.  Even on the website advertising the B150, they plug it as being able to brew a new cup every 60 seconds with the direct plumb kit…

That’s not something I’d brag about considering the $50 one I can pick up at Walmart does it in 15 seconds flat.

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