Keurig Design Mom2

This post is sponsored by Keurig

So I was on a call with Keurig, and they mentioned they wanted me to try their 2.0 brewing system. I responded that I’d need to pass because I’m not a coffee drinker, and they said, “Actually, that’s perfect! Because the 2.0 system is not only about coffee. It was created for the entire family (even the kids!), and there are over 400 different beverages available. Many of them have nothing to do with coffee at all, like hot cocoa, peppermint tea, and apple cider.” And then I was like, “400 different options?!” And they said, “Yes. Over 400. And we partner with more than 60 brands that you know and love, including Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Tazo, Snapple and Swiss Miss.”

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So I thought, why not? Beyond a french press, I’ve never actually used a coffee machine of any sort. I see them in hotel rooms and have no idea how they work. But hey, it’s never too late to learn! Plus, chamomile tea and hot cocoa are daily staples at our house, and once I learned about Keurig’s offerings, I could see we would actually use this machine daily. And beyond our own family, I love having the house stocked for visiting neighbors, exchange students and houseguests — and that means having coffee on hand. So I decided to give Keurig a try.

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Now don’t laugh, but I’m not joking when I say this is the first time I’ve ever used a coffee machine. Hah! I’m sure most of you reading would just plug in and go, but I took a few minutes to read the instructions and get familiar with the machine beforeI made my first cup of hot cocoa. Here are the four things I like best about it:

– Keurig 2.0 is their most advanced system yet, and the thing that really sets it apart, is that it’s the first Keurig with the ability to brew both a single cup and a four-cup carafe at the touch of a button. Which means we can make enough hot cocoa for everyone on a rainy day, or just one cup of chamomile on a restless night.

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– As a coffee machine newbie, I was happily surprised to see how super simple it is to use — even Oscar & Betty can make themselves hot cocoa with no assistance and no mess. Since I have never been a coffee drinker, and didn’t grow up in a house where anyone drank coffee, I assumed there would be a fair amount of complications, or taken-for-granted knowledge that would make it a more or less complex task for me — like I would have to somehow catch up on 25 years of background knowledge. But I found it really easy and straightforward to set up and use. I know that shouldn’t sound worth mentioning, but for me, that was legitimately a concern.

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– The Keurig machine filters the water before the brewing begins. And better water equals a better drink in the end.

– The machine is really handsome. I love how it looks sitting on the counter! The Keurig 2.0 K450 model I have is available in four colors — Marsala (that’s the color I have — marsala is the 2015 Pantone Color of the Year), Vintage Red, White and Black.

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If you’re in the market for a brewer, I give the Keurig a big thumbs up. It would make a perfect Mother’s Day gift! In fact, you should totally get one early so your kids can treat you to breakfast in bed. : ) Best news of all? I’ve got a discount code just for Design Mom Readers. Use the code DESIGNMOM to get 30% off a Keurig 2.0 now through May 30th! It’s good for the first 200 people.

Now I’d love to hear, have you ever tried a pod coffee machine like this? And am I the only one out there that never learned to make coffee or use a coffee machine when they were growing up?

4/29 Update: I’m truly sorry. I know zero about coffee makers and had no idea Keurig had eco issues. You may not believe me but I’m seriously an idiot about all things coffee! But that’s not an excuse, it’s my blog, and I should have done more research. I’ve written to Keurig for a response. I’m boarding a flight and will update the post with any new info when I land. I have closed comments until I get a response from the sponsor. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

4/30 Second Update: I heard from Keurig while I was on the flight yesterday, but ended up going straight to my book signing when I landed, and that turned into a late night, so I’m just getting back to my laptop this morning. Apologies for the delay, but sometimes I really do have to sleep. : ) Here is Keurig’s response.

From: Sandy Yusen, Director, Corporate Communications & Community Relations. 

Hi Gabrielle,

Thanks for reaching out with these questions. Recycling Keurig Green Mountain pods is a priority for our company and we are aggressively working on a solution. We believe that in order for recycling to succeed, three pieces of the puzzle must come together: the way our pods are designed, the way they are collected for recycling and the demand for the material they are made from. We have made progress, and we know we still have work to do. Today, three of the four pod types available for the Keurig 2.0 brewing system are recyclable – K-Mug™, K-Carafe™, and Vue® pods. The plastic cup in these pods is made of polypropylene (#5) plastic, which can be separated from the lid and filter and recycled wherever #5 plastic is accepted. Our ultimate target is to make all K-Cup® pods recyclable by 2020, with incremental portions of the pods transitioning to a recyclable format each year between now and 2020.

Regarding your question on K-cup® pod recovery programs — while we move toward a 100% recyclable K-Cup® pod, we are working as an interim step to expand our take-back programs for responsible disposal of our pods, particularly in areas where there is no municipal recycling.  Our current take-back program for office customers in the U.S – Grounds to Grow On™ – collects brewed K-Cup® pods and grounds, and returns them to our disposal partner to turn them into alternative fuel. This program has recovered millions of used K-Cup® pods, composting 358,000 pounds of coffee grounds and generating an estimated 586 kilowatt hours of energy. We are working on piloting a program for at home consumers in select regions in the U.S. within the next few months to divert brewed pods to nearby waste-to-energy facilities. 

It’s a tough challenge, but we’re committed to solving it, while still delivering the high-quality, great-tasting beverages that our consumers expect from us. We promise to provide updates on our progress. More information can be found in our recently published FY14 Sustainability Report.

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Now it’s Gabrielle writing again. As you can imagine, this has been on my mind since the first comments came in yesterday, and I’ve tried to make time to read what I can on the subject (though I can’t pretend I’ve had a ton of time). In fact, as I checked into my hotel room yesterday, the first thing I noticed was a Keurig coffee machine. Hah! Thank you so much for letting me know about the issue and giving me links so I could learn more. I’m still learning, but after I read Keurig’s response, I’ve decided to keep the post, instead of take it down.

I ended up having a late-night talk about this with my conference roommate. She lives her life in an eco-conscious way whenever possible — more than I manage to do — and she’s a daily coffee drinker, so I wanted her thoughts on the subject. I told her that for me, as an outsider to the world of coffee drinking, Keurig didn’t create an eco-red flag in my head at all. I was trying to figure out why that was, and I think it’s because from my point of view, as someone who observes coffee drinking outside of my house — on planes and in airports, in restaurants, in the office when I was working in New York, at conferences, etc. — coffee drinking generally seems to come with a lot of waste. Now this may not be true at all, because again, I’m an outside observer and haven’t really paid attention to coffee drinking. But when I think of it, I picture sticks for stirring, packets of sugar, little containers of cream, disposable cups, plastic lids, coffee cup sleeves, and issues with coffee manufacturing. For someone who knows so little about coffee (that’s me!), I’m telling you, it all looks about the same to me waste-wise.

So now I’m curious. If you’re a coffee drinker, how much do earth-friendly practices play into your daily coffee rituals? When you go to your favorite coffee shop, do you bring your own mug (is that a common thing where you live?)? Or if you buy coffee-to-go in a disposable cup, do you seek out recycling or composting when you’re done? Do you do all your coffee-drinking at home where you can have more control over the waste created? Or is coffee drinking just like any other processed food product for you — as in, there’s some waste, and not everything is recyclable. I ask, because I always assumed coffee-drinking and coffee-machines, and coffee-accessories were sort of in the same category as cars. Neither is great for the earth, but it’s not realistic to ask everyone to give them up, because they are an essential part of modern-life for so many people. So instead of trying to eliminate them, the companies that make cars (and coffee) are trying to make them more and more efficient, and less and less harmful.

What’s your take? I couldn’t predict the response this post received, so I thought it would be good to use the opportunity to have a conversation where I can learn more. I’m not trying to gloss over Keurig’s current eco-issues. They are real and I’m glad you brought them to my attention. But I’m also encouraged there are companies in the world that are trying to do better and improve their practices. I’d love to hear your thoughts — especially if you are a daily coffee drinker. How do you navigate coffee drinking and sustainability?