Let’s get a closer look the K-Care Coffee Maker by Keurig. This is a single serve coffee maker that features Keurig’s usual K-cup coffee selections but also adds features like a SHOT two ounce coffee brew to get you the strength of coffee needed for lattes and cappuccinos. Of course, coffee is only half of the challenge when it comes to blended coffee drinks. To get us the rest of the way there, Keurig built a milk frother into this machine. Let’s see how well they did.
What we’re looking for is the flavor compared to the time it takes to brew a “real” cup of cappuccino or a latte.
Real espresso needs time to brew. Keurig fans know only that they want a quick cup of coffee. There will be trade-offs in any case. We’ll check the basic features, the whole brewing process and find some feedback from those who have been using this coffee maker for awhile.
Features of the Keurig K-Cafe
We’ll dive into the features of the Keurig coffee station and see where it shines.
Every coffee maker has a few points that we can mark for comparison. Things like volume of coffee, size, strength settings and any programmable features. Let’s take a look at what this machine has to offer.
Type of Coffee Maker: Single Serve
This pod drip coffee maker can be used to make single serve regular coffee. It can also be used to make single serve lattes and cappuccinos. It accomplished this by adding a milk frother to the machine.
Type of Coffee Used: K-Cups or My K-Cups reusable filters for using your favorite grounds.
Since it’s a Keurig machine, any type of K-cup can be used. You don’t need to use the Keurig Espresso Roasts in this machine even though the settings might give you the impression that this is the case. The idea behind those pods is to give you the bolder flavor that mimics espresso. It still isn’t a true espresso as an espresso is brewed using pressure and steam to extract the flavor from the coffee grounds.
My K-Cup Reusable filter is sold separately.
Type of Filter Used: None
The reservoir holds 60 ounces of water. It’s removable so you can fill it at the sink or just leave it in place if you want to fill it with a jug of water. I have a friend who put his machine next to the sink and he fills his reservoir using the sink’s spray nozzle.
Number of Cups That Can Be Brewed at Once: One cup at 6-8-10-12 ounces each.6
6 ounces of coffee takes about 30 seconds to brew. In true Keurig form, the coffee dispenses a little cool at about 165 degrees F. It isn’t anything to get worked up over but it does fall short of the 195 degree F minimum that’s recommended.
SHOT brews 2 ounces of intensely strong coffee for the lattes and cappuccinos. It takes about 45 seconds to brew a shot. This brings up an interesting twist on Keurig machines. While you usually wait for the water to the water heat up to its optimal brewing temperature and then choose the cup amount, this Keurig machine has a “Smart Start” feature. You pick the amount and the machine then heats the water and fills your cup all in one movement.
These brewing sizes go against convention as a standard “cup” of coffee measures in at 5 ounces each. The means that since six ounces is the smallest cup of coffee you can get, you can’t measure the dilution in the same way. You’re not comparing apples to apples anymore.
There is a drip tray which is removable. It holds five ounces of liquid if there’s an accident (like forgetting to put a mug underneath). It’s also dishwasher safe.
A 6-inch high mug will fit underneath when the drip tray is in place. When the drip tray is removed, a mug 7.2 inches high will fit there.
Automatic Shut-off: Yes.
This Keurig coffee maker will shut off automatically after not being in use for two hours. This is an optional feature which can be switched on and off as needed.
To Toggle the Automatic Shut Off on the K-Café:
- Turn off the machine but do not unplug it.
- Simultaneously press and hold down the 10-ounce button and the STRONG button.
- Holding these two buttons down for three seconds, you’ll see the Auto-Shutoff light go off.
- The auto-shut off feature is disabled and to turn off the machine, you press the power switch.
- To turn the auto-shut off back on, repeat the process.
Single Serve: Yes
Brew Strength Options: 3
The three selections are Regular, Strong and SHOT.
- Regular Strength gives you the clean, classic cup of coffee you find at the donut shop.
- Strong is closer to the coffee you’d find at a coffee house or Starbucks. The grounds are simply saturated a little longer.
- SHOT gives you 2 ounces of a concentrated shot of coffee. This is what you would use for lattes and cappuccinos.
Why don’t they just say, “matte black,” since that’s what it is? Anyway, it’s the basic black that Keurig machines like to be. Since it isn’t glossy, it doesn’t showcase fingerprints and dust the way normal black appliances do.
A Closer Look at the Other Features
Milk Frother. The milk frother will easily froth skim, soy or almond milk. Be sure and follow the instructions, including using the lid. I’m used to not using a lid from my DeLonghi espresso maker so I was surprised that this was so necessary. It actually uses a magnetic agitator to spin. This is brilliant. You won’t have to worry about cleaning under any type of blade. The frother jug has no non-stick coatings on it so nothing will peel off at any time.
You have two choices when picking the amount of froth. Both options can be hot or cold.
Latte: Begins with 6 ounces of milk. It froths to create between 20% and 30% froth.
Cappuccino: Begins with 4 ounces of milk. It froths to a 50/50 ratio of froth to milk.
High Altitude Setting keeps the coffee brewing at altitudes over 5,000 feet. Where you would normally get a weaker cup of coffee since the boiling point changes at high altitude, this coffee maker will adjust the water temperature accordingly. This allows the proper amount of flavor to be extracted from the coffee ground. You’ll get a strong cup of coffee every time no matter where you live.
How Easy is it to clean the Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker?
The milk frother and drip tray are top-rack dishwasher safe. The milk frother’s “mixer” is very small and will probably get tossed around in a dishwasher. Flying object and glassware don’t mix so it’s probably best to wash this by hand.
Descaling Alert lets you know when it’s time to start the descaling process to prevent calcium build up.
How Much Counter Space Does it Use?
Dimensions are 12.5” H X 15.3” W X 11.7” D
It isn’t very tall but you have to consider the width to be the sticking point here. The water reservoir is on one side while the milk frother is on the other. You not only need room for the width of the machine, you also need room for the reservoir to be released in order to be refilled and cleaned.
Here’s a great video and demo of this machine.
What the Comments Say
There are a lot of comments on this machine. Let’s take a look at the impressions it’s making on other people before we disclose our verdict.
Praises From Reviewers:
One of the quietest K-Cups machines Keurig has ever made. Even the frothing machine is quiet. Having owned one of the earliest versions of a home style K-cup machine, I can tell you this is impressive. The older machines were likely to draw complaints from the neighbors. I had mine on an old mouse pad and a piece of carpet to keep my glassware from clanging while I was brewing a cup of coffee.
People are also impressed with the frother. This is a very good frothing machine. Frothing milk is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome when making a latte or cappuccino. Getting the milk to the proper temperature and getting foam before your coffee goes cold can make you feel like you’re suddenly competing on “Chopped”. This frother not only produces top foam, it does it quickly.
Drawbacks to Consider
Flavor, as you might anticipate, isn’t as strong when compared to a true, pressure brewed espresso. This is unfortunate since espresso coffee is the base ingredient for a high quality cappuccino or latte. This is why it doesn’t really say it can brew espresso.
Travel mug isn’t included. I’m not sure why this is such a big deal. Everyone has their own preference in mug size and style. Being upset that the machine doesn’t include a travel mug is like being upset that your queen size mattress doesn’t come with a bed-in-a-bag set featuring pictures of trains.
Some people have complained that the machine simply stopped working after only a few cups of coffee. This type of thing can happen if Keurig changed manufacturers and the build quality dropped. It could also just be a faulty part from a different supplier. It’s important to let Keurig, or any company that sells defective goods, know about this right away. Catching it early can be key to keeping a company in business.
This machine was really a joy to play with. It has all the stability of a standard Keurig coffee maker with the added fun of making lattes and cappuccinos. The flavor profiles of cappuccinos and lattes aren’t as intense as those created with pressure-made espresso machines but they’re great for saving money and not having to leave home just to get one.
We thought the milk frother was definitely worth including in this package. It does a very good job of creating wonderful foam.
If you enjoy making different coffee recipes with ease and aren’t quite so picky that you need the intense aroma of a true espresso shot, the Keurig K-Café Coffee and Latte machine is definitely worth considering.
Tips for Making Lattes and Cappuccinos in Your Keurig K-Café Coffee Maker
Here’s a few quick tips for getting a great tasting drink from your Keurig Machine
Use a bold K-Cup flavor for richer flavor. A coffee that’s roasted a little darker than what you’re used to drinking will prevent the milk and froth from overpowering the coffee flavor.
Try San Francisco Bay’s Rainforest Blend for a superb cup of dark roast coffee.
Make your favorite syrups ahead of time. Most simple syrups can be made with sugar, water and flavorings. Making up a batch in advance and you’ll have a great time experimenting with different coffee concoctions.
You can add sugar syrups to the frother and your mug before you start brewing or frothing. It’s disappointing when you add a syrup and it simply doesn’t blend well. You need your syrup at room temperature, drop it into the mug or frother and give it at least 30 seconds to one minute to start to melt after the coffee has completed its brew cycle. Blend up the coffee and syrup prior to adding the milk. Following these simple steps will help to distribute the flavor throughout the coffee and avoid having a puddle of syrupy sugar at the bottom of the mug.