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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Keurig Vue vs Keurig K-cup Comparison: Which Single Serve Coffee Brewer is Best?

Keurig Vue Pack vs Keurig K-cup

Keurig K-cups are the well-established single serve coffee pod that work with Keurig K-cup brewing systems, the current market leader.  Keurig Vue Packs are a new coffee container format for the new Keurig Vue brewing systems.  Since K-cups and Vue cups are not interchangeable, it is important to make an informed decision when buying a single serve coffee maker: Is Vue better or is K-cup better?

Shows larger Vue Pack next to K-cup
Keurig Vue Pack (left) is larger and has a semi-transparent container compared with K-cup (right)
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

What is Keurig Vue Machine?

Keurig Vue is a new type of single serve coffee brewer from Keurig.  It is similar to the previous Keurig models, except it uses different coffee pack.  The older Keurig machines use K-cups, the newer Vue machines use Vue packs.  Keurig Vue machines claim to "brew stronger, brew bigger, and brew hotter".  K-cups will not work in Vue brewers, and Vue Packs will not work in K-cup brewers, so choose carefully!

Store display of Keurig Vue brewing system
Keurig Vue Single Serve Brewer
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

One of the issues with Keurig K-cup machines is that some people do not think the coffee is brewed strong enough.  I like the brew strength of K-cup coffee, and you can adjust the strength by selecting less water to make a smaller cup of stronger coffee.  Some people even pause the brewing in the middle of the cycle to allow the coffee in the K-cup to brew longer to increase the strength of the coffee.  Vue seems to address this concern by providing more coffee grounds to allow stronger coffee brews, and provides temperature and brew strength control.

Another issue with K-cup brewers is the small amount of coffee that is brewed with each K-cup.  You can select 4 ounces, 6 ounces, 8 ounces, or 10 ounces of brewed coffee per K-cup.  Many people want a 16 oz or even a 20 ounce cup of coffee.  Of course you can brew 10 ounces from one K-cup, put in a second K-cup and brew again to fill a 20 ounce cup.  But since it takes about 30 to 45 seconds to brew each K-cup, this can be a bit inconvenient.  Since single cup brewing is all about convenience, that is not good.  Vue can brew up to 18 ounce cups of coffee from a single Vue pack.

Shows Keurig Vue brewer with Vue Pack mechanism exposed
Keurig Vue Pack mechanism is not compatible with K-cups
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

What is a Keurig Vue Pack?

Vue packs are about twice the size as K-cups and contain about twice as much ground coffee.  Vue packs use the same brewing principle as K-cups- coffee grounds and a small coffee filter are contained inside the sealed Vue.  The Keurig Vue machine punctures the top and bottom of the Vue pack and injects hot water into the top.  Brewed coffee emerges from the bottom.  Since the Vue pack contains more coffee grounds, it can produce stronger coffee and can brew larger amounts of coffee from a single Vue pack.

Shows a Vue Pack next to a K-cup for size comparision
Keurig Vue Pack (left) and Keurig K-cup (right).  The Vue Pack is about twice the size of a K-cup.
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

Vue Pack Prices

Typical price for Vue packs is 32 for about $30.  This works out to 93 cents per Vue pack.

The semi-transparent container shows the paper filter inside
Keurig Vue Packs in display- you can see the paper filter thought the semi-transparent container
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

What is a Keurig K-cup brewer?

Keurig K-cup brewers are the original style of Keurig single server coffee brewer.  These machines use K-cups, small plastic cups that contain coffee grounds and a coffee filter.  The cup is sealed with a foil lid.  During brewing, the lid is punctured by the Keurig maching at the top and bottom.  Hot water is injected into the top of the K-cup, and brewed coffee emerges from the bottom.

K-cup brewer box with notice that it uses K-cups only
K-cup machines cannot use Vue Packs!
Image Source: Dr. Penny Pincher

K-cup Prices

Typical prices for K-cups that brew 10 ounces of coffee:

  • Many coffee varieties: $10.99 for 18 K-cups.  This works out to 61 cents per K-cup.
  • Starbucks coffee: $11.99 for 16 K-cups
  • You can also buy packs of 3 K-cups for $1.99.  This can be a good way to try new coffee varieties without buying a lot before you know you like it.

Keurig Vue and Keurig K-cup Comparison

Keurig K-cup Advantages over Keurig Vue brewer:

  • K-cup brewer is less expensive
  • Easier to find K-cups in stores than Vue Packs
  • More choices for refillable K-cups- use your own coffee grounds and save money
  • K-cup is well established with large base of customers, less risk of obsolescence than Vue at this point

Keurig Vue advantages over Keurig K-cup brewer:

  • Vue brews stronger coffee
  • Vue has temperature and brew stength control
  • Vue is latest model Keurig machine, people who buy a K-cup brewer and are not aware of Vue may have buyer's remorse
  • Vue brew bigger cups of coffee (K-cups limited to 10oz cups or less).  Many people like larger cups of coffee- Vue brews up to 18 oz cups of coffee

Copyright © 2013 by Dr. Penny Pincher.  All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal


  1. All this talk about K-cups has me thirst for some coffee!

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