Which is The Better Coffee Machine? Keurig vs. Traditional Coffee Maker

Have you been considering trying a new coffee machine in your home? Are you fussy about the quality of your coffee but can’t afford one of those café style coffee machines? Me too! I have always been intrigued by the Keurig vs. traditional coffee maker.

The Keurig looks like it would be cleaner with less coffee grind to deal with, but is that the only difference? I thought I would share what I have discovered, from one coffee lover to another!

The Keurig vs. Traditional Coffee Maker Cleaning Comparison

The recommended cleaning regime for the Keurig coffee maker

According to a study performed by several CBS stations cleaning and maintaining your Keurig coffee maker is as simple as following five steps.

1. Clean it often using vinegar
2. Use filtered water
3. Change the water after each use
4. Leave the lid off when the machine is not in use
5. Wipe it down after each use

Keurig mountain agreed with their analysis responding with further instructions:

“For best results, we recommend descaling every 3-6 months using our descaling solution to keep the brewer free from scale or lime build up. Vinegar may also be used…. The water reservoir should be cleaned weekly by wiping it with a damp, soapy, lint-free, non-abrasive cloth and rinsing thoroughly…. If the brewer is not used for several days, we recommend running several cleansing brews through to remove any internal standing water. If the brewer is stored for a length of time, we also suggest descaling prior to use.”

An informative response directly from the company is undoubtedly an excellent way to gain consumers’ confidence. Is Keurig as honest when it comes to its packaging process and methods? Please read on to find out!

I wonder what the recommended cleaning regime is for a traditional coffee maker?

GoodHouseKeeping.com asked Carolyn Forte, Director of the Good Housekeeping Institute Home Appliances & Cleaning Product Lab, the same question. Here is a summary of her response:

1. Wash removal parts with dish soap after every use
2. Wipe down the outside of the machine and the warming plate
3. Leave the reservoir’s lid open to dry it out
4. Decalcify your machine every month with vinegar

According to GoodHouseKeeping.com, number 4 requires the following instructions below:

“Fill the reservoir with equal parts vinegar and water, and place a paper filter into the machine’s empty basket. Position the pot in place and “brew” the solution halfway. Turn off the machine, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Then, turn the coffee maker back on, finish the brewing, and dump the full pot of vinegar and water. Rinse everything out by putting in a new paper filter and brewing a full pot of clean water. Repeat once.”

5. If your carafe is looking gross over time, you can fill it with warm soapy water and some rice. Swirl it all around, and then remove the gunk with a scrub sponge.

As you can see, both the Keurig and the traditional coffee require dutiful maintenance if you want them to produce decent tasting and clean coffee. In my humble opinion, there is not much difference between the two machines in this regard. Although perhaps your traditional coffee machine needs a little more cleaning than the Keurig.

You can watch these useful “how to clean” videos for both coffee makers here:

“Maintenance Cleaning – How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker in Less than 5 Minutes”

“How to Clean Mr. Coffee® Coffee Makers”

Quality of Coffee comparison

The Keurig coffee maker is well known for its clean and fast coffee production. As I said above, the no-mess factor is very appealing. The question is, does Keurig make better-tasting coffee than the traditional coffee makers we have all used over the years?

My research led me to some interesting scientific arguments on why Keurig K-Pods do not deliver a great-tasting coffee. This surprised me, as so many coffee brands have released their own K-Pods claiming to be tasty, including:

· Starbucks
· Krispy Kreme
· Dunkin’ Donuts
· Gloria Jeans

Things you need to know about coffee

· Coffee contains oils that are released when it is ground. The compounds in coffee bean oil are sensitive to light, air, and moisture.
· As soon as coffee is ground, it begins to deteriorate, and within two weeks, it will be completely stale.
· Roasted Coffee beans and ground coffee release CO2, so manufacturers will seal them in an airtight container with a one-way valve allowing them to release CO2, so they don’t blow up. This is not possible to do with coffee pods.
· One solution for packaging that does not contain this release valve is to wait 15 days or more for the coffee to release the CO2 before packaging it.

Coffee grounds and roasted beans for traditional coffee makers are easily airtight packaged with a one-way valve put in place, allowing manufacturers to preserve the quality of the essential oils that impact flavor. This packaging method is not possible with the small K-Pods the Keurig coffee maker uses.

The Business Insider reached out to Keurig regarding whether pods are airtight and packaged immediately after grinding. They declined to respond. This is not a promising sign. Keurig happily answered questions regarding its coffee maker’s cleaning and maintenance requirements. Why was Keurig not as forward with information about their packaging practices to preserve coffee grind?

It can be reasoned that a traditional coffee maker produces fresher coffee and taste than the Keurig coffee maker due to the method of packaging likely used by the manufacturers.

Obvious Pros and Cons

Price Comparison
The Keurig coffee machine is more expensive than the traditional coffee maker machine. There is also the cost of coffee K-Pods to consider compared to buying a bag of coffee beans or grind.

Keurig K-Classic Coffee Maker, Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Brewer, 6 to 10 oz. Brew Sizes, Rhubarb – $79.99

Keurig Coffee Lovers Collection Variety Pack, Single-Serve Coffee K-Cup Pods Sampler, 60 Count – $36.99

A total cost of $116.98


Sboly Programmable Coffee Maker, 10 Cup Drip Coffee Maker with Glass Coffee Pot, Stainless Steel Coffee Maker with Timer – $54.99

AmazonFresh Go For The Bold Ground Coffee, Dark Roast, 32 Ounce (Pack of 1) – $15.49

A total cost of $70.48

Your traditional coffee maker is definitely cheaper and more affordable to run than a Keurig coffee machine. Large packets of coffee grind or roasted coffee beans are cheaper to buy in bulk than the individual K-Pods required for the Keurig.

Serving Coffee in Bulk

The traditional coffee maker allows you to produce a higher volume of coffee at one time. Unfortunately, the Keurig coffee maker was designed to produce one coffee from one K-Pod at a time. This process is timely and inconvenient when you have guests in your home.

The Keurig coffee maker and K-Pods were initially designed for fast, clean coffee in office environments and fast food venues. The goal was to eliminate staff and customers drinking coffee made hours earlier. The Keurig was not convenient for large staff meetings when coffee was needed quickly and in bulk.

Keurig successfully switched to marketing machines for household use, which were more suitable to the single-serve design and concept. This indicates that the Keurig coffee maker was not designed for bulk use, and coffee consumers agreed.

Environmentally Friendly

K-Cups are not recyclable, and you open and use a pod each time you drink coffee. It isn’t good for the environment and has not been designed with the planet in mind.

Traditional coffee bags for classic coffee machines come in paper and a variety of environmentally friendly options.

Method of Production

The traditional coffee makers take longer to produce a coffee, particularly if you have beans that need grinding first. The National Coffee Association recommends at least five minutes of brewing for traditional machines. Although you can now purchase modern devices that can be scheduled to do this automatically for you, a fast instant coffee is not what conventional coffee makers are designed to produce.

The Keurig brews coffee in 60 seconds and still uses natural coffee grounds. However, the water is not given enough time to grab the oils necessary for flavor, so convenience comes at the cost of quality.


When deciding between the Keurig coffee maker and the traditional coffee maker, you need to determine what’s important to you. Are you looking for convenience first or quality and flavor?

Traditional coffee machines deliver better taste and quality than the Keurig; however, they take much longer and cannot be considered instant coffee as the Keurig produces.

If you are looking for a better quality of instant and convenient coffee, Keurig is the better coffee-making option for you!

If high quality and flavor are what you are looking for in your coffee at home and you are not short on time, traditional coffee makers are an excellent option for you!

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