You’ve decided to go the route of a single-serve machine, and, hey, it’s hard to beat the convenience and speed. The Keurig K55 is a full-size starter machine in the Keurig world and the combination of function and affordability makes it a popular one.
When considering what single-serve machine is best for you, you’ll want to review your own habits and what you want from a machine. How many cups of coffee do you drink? How much control do you want over those cups? If you’re a no-nonsense sort who just wants to push a single button before bam!, caffeinated goodness appears, the K55 will likely check off all of the boxes on your list.
advance features guarantee the best tasting brew
fair price according to its reputation in the industry
our rating, based on our sound and impartial assessment
If you’re reading this to figure out if you should opt for a single-serve machine, there are several good reasons to, despite the inherent waste that can come along with these machines. (Focus on the word can there.)
All that said, let’s talk about the Keurig K55 more specifically.
Let’s delve a little deeper into each of these features and discuss what they actually mean for your morning brew. One of the primary reasons you get a single-serve machine is to take the fuss out of your morning brew, right? So if the machine doesn’t make your single-minded demand for coffee first thing after waking up easier, then what’s the point?
The K55 puts a lot of focus on convenience and speed, which can definitely be seen just in the basic setup of the machine. The removable 48 oz. reservoir pops out for easy filling and refilling. It also holds enough water to make four 10 oz. cups plus an 8 ouncer, so, in a worst-case scenario, if you consume 40-plus ounces of joe you’ll only be refilling the reservoir once a day. If you drink a cup or two every morning, especially at a 6 or 8 oz. size, you could go days without refilling, which is one less thing to think about.
The K55 has a built-in water filter, which is key to creating a solid cup of coffee—water containing impurities can (and will) alter the taste of your morning joe, so the fact that it’s built in eliminates the need to pre-run your water through a filter. It’s recommended that you replace that charcoal filter every two months, but it comes with a nifty date dial so you don’t have to remember when you last replaced it off hand.
The hallmark of Keurig is the simple 1-2-3 ease of use. You pop in the pod, close the lid, hit a button to indicate cup size, and done. The K55 has that all down pat. Choose a 6 oz. cup for stronger coffee, pick the 10 oz. to dial down the strength (or lengthen the drinking time), and 8 oz. for when you fall in between those two categories.
From entirely turned off, the K55 heats up in three minutes and brews in less than one—that’s java in less than 5 minutes. After it’s on, you can get your next cup in 30 seconds flat. This is a bit more important than it is for other machines mostly because the K55 isn’t programmable. You can’t set this machine to turn on every morning at 6 am so it’s ready and raring to go the second you catatonically walk into the kitchen the way you can with some of its upper echelon siblings. The fact that it heats up so quickly nearly negates that as a necessity, though.
Again, this is more of a starter machine, but it’s also a straightforward machine. You can’t control the temperature, leaving it to automatically brew at 193 and 197 degrees Fahrenheit. While this may not work for coffee lovers who want total control over their morning joe, for many people this just isn’t something they’re interested in messing with (myself included). The fact of the matter is, 193-197 degrees is a good temperature range for brewing most coffees.
The K55 is well capable of handling even large mugs with the drip tray in place so you won’t need to pull out a measuring tape to make sure your favorite one will fit. If you have a tall travel mug that you use on the daily, just slip out the removable drip tray to get a full 7-inches of room. There are no latches, nothing special that needs to be done to remove the drip tray so it’s an entirely no-hassle feature.
It’s also a member of the classic 1.0 line and this is largely significant because of the reader technology implemented in the 2.0 models, which absolutely require Keurig-brand k-cups. The K55 will take any pod that can fit in the machine, whether it’s made by Keurig, like these, or not, like these, these, and these. If you can find it in pod form, you can use it with this machine.
This is sort of a shameless plug for everyone to be aware that the largest downfall for Keurig machines is the waste-plus-cost aspect. One, buying pods for daily consumption can get very expensive, especially if you’re a heavyweight drinker (like me). Two, many k-cups aren’t recyclable, or they need to be disposed of in very specific ways, neither of which are ideal.
So, here’s my shameless plug: invest in a reusable k-cup pod. On top of eliminating the excess waste of single-use pods, it opens you up to the entire world of beans! A lot of the smaller manufacturers simply don’t dabble in the single-use world and a reusable pod means you can still use the Keurig to enjoy them. You can find the Keurig-approved one here, and then knock-offs that are well liked by the masses here and here.
P.S. It’ll save you so much money.
P.P.S. There’s no Planet B.
While the Keurig may do just about everything else for you, there’s a certain amount of cleaning that needs to be done to to keep the machine in good working order. Nearly all Keurigs come with a descaling function. All coffee makers suffer from calcium buildup, which doesn’t mean anything good for your morning brew. This calcium buildup is called “scale,” so “descaling” just means getting rid of the calcium buildup.
Cleaning the machine isn’t much of a hassle, either— it’s mostly remembering to do it that’s questionable. It’s recommended that you put a mixture of water and white vinegar through the machine every three to six months, running the machine a few times subsequently to make sure that it’s all out. You can also use Keurig’s Descaling Solution.
One of the more common cleaning requirements has to do with the needle that punctures the coffee pods. If your machine is ever running slow or the brew time hikes up, I can tell you with nearly 110% accuracy that it’ll be because you need to clean out the pod container and the needle. An easy way to avoid having to do this on a fairly regular basis is to simply remove the pods immediately after brewing. This is some first-hand advice, by the way, because I use a Keurig machine pretty regularly.
What’s all of the previous information worth unless it means something against the competition, right? Staying within the general price range of K55 and still with the larger reservoir, I want to put a highlight on the Mueller Ultima Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker.
The Mueller Ultima is made by Mueller Austria, and its primary disadvantage is that it doesn’t have the same brand awareness in the USA as its competition. The Mueller Ultima offers four brewing sizes, 6 oz., 8 oz., 10 oz., and 12 oz. and has a large 45 oz. removable water reservoir.
Where the Mueller Ultima ups the ante is in looks, construction, and customer service. It has a compact, sleek design and comes with live customer service representatives if you have any problems. It’s compatible with K-cups and many other pods, so it’s pretty flexible. The only drawback to this beaut is that the cleaning process isn’t as hands-free—it doesn’t have a descaling option, in particular, but you can clean it similarly.
Honestly, this one’s a toss-up depending on which one you like the looks of better, but it should be a fair contender in the game.
Maybe it’s not fair, but I’m going to compare the K55 to one of it’s upper echelon family members, the K475. The K475 is the next step up and provides features that might be more your thing, especially if you like more options or want to control more of the brewing process.
The LCD screen on the front of the K475 gives you the ability to set the strength and temperature, as well as choose from five cup sizes, 4 oz. up to 12 oz., as well as a carafe in three different sizes— yes, a pot of coffee up to 30 oz., which can be great for company. This same touchscreen allows you to set turn on and turn off times, so even though it still maintains that super quick warm up time, it can be ready even quicker. It ups the ante on water reservoir size, with the removable container able to hold 70 oz., which would better handle multiple coffee drinkers.
Basically, if you were looking for a little extra something-something from your single-serve machine, it may be worth opening your wallet just a little bit more to upgrade for the K475.
At the end of the day, you’ll have a hard time finding something similar to a Keurig that isn’t a Keurig. The K55 is a good no-nonsense model. It’s a good value for all of the features that it offers, the cup sizes, large reservoir, and speedy function. If you aren’t prepared to fall in love with the convenience of a single-serve, do not purchase one. It’ll be hard to transition to anything else, which is both praise and a cautionary tale.
The largest consideration on the K55 is that it isn’t particularly known for its longevity like its fancied up older siblings. If you’re in the single-serve game for life, it may be better to pony up and get the K475 model, especially if you have even a slight inkling you want a little bit more to your single-serve experience.
TL;DR, the Keurig K55 is great as a starter model. Enjoy the convenience, speed, and freshness of this single-serve model. Also, don’t forget to grab the reusable pod! Happy caffeinating!