The Keurig B60 (www.keurig.com) Special Edition is the latest single cup brewer to come from Keurig. Joining its predecessors, the B40 Elite and B50 Ultra, the B60 Special Edition adds glowing blue backlit lighting to its LCD panel and water reservoir for a very impressive techno look. It also arrives with additional features, some unique not only to the Keurig line but to single-serve brewing devices generally, like a brew-temperature control (197F-203F) that permits the user to produce a somewhat smoother, sweeter, more delicate cup at the lower temperature or a punchier cup at a higher, and a programmable automatic-on feature that will turn the machine on at an appointed time to eliminate waiting three minutes for warm-up.
These features don't come without a sizeable price tag, however. The B60 can be purchased at a base price of $199.95 from Keurig and can be found elsewhere at similar or higher prices depending on the size and variety of included packages of assorted K-Cup coffee choices. The B60 currently has limited retail availability at William-Sonoma outlets and will have wider retail distribution through William-Sonoma and other retail stores over the next six months.
Serving Size and Reservoir Capacity
Removable 48 oz. water reservoir with a blue backlit lighting feature for easy monitoring of water level. The B60 has 3 brew settings: 5.25 oz., 7.25 oz. and 9.25 oz. servings.
Coffee-Pod Size and Format
The Keurig K-Cup is a distinctive design and can only be brewed in Keurig machines. In general size and shape K-Cups resemble a single-serve coffee creamer container and usually contains about ten grams of coffee inside a tiny paper coffee filter. K-Cups can be found on the Internet selling at a considerable range of price, currently from roughly $0.35 to $0.56 per K-Cup.
Machine Quality and Ease of Use
The B60 is a striking, modern-looking machine that seems sturdy and well-built. The directions for priming, programming and using the B60 are extensive but easy to follow. The machine did what it was supposed to, and the more time I spent with the machine the more I felt that I was able to personalize my cup of coffee. The machine is ready to brew 3 minutes after being turned on and needs about 15 to 30 seconds to recharge itself between brews.
Range and Availability of Coffees
Currently, five companies produce coffee in K-Cups for brewing in Keurig machines: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Timothy's World Coffee, Gloria Jean's, Van Houtte, and Diedrich Roasters. They produce an extensive range of coffee choices, including single-origins, blends, decafs, and flavored coffees, considerably more than are available for use with competing single-serve systems.
Keurig machines also brew teas using the K-Cup method. Celestial Seasonings, Timothy's, Bigelow, and Gloria Jean's produce K-Cup teas in black, green and herbal varieties. Gloria Jean's also offers a cappuccino K-Cup.
Dimension and Style
The Keurig B60 weighs about 12 lbs. when empty and about 15 lbs. with a full water reservoir, with a fairly substantial footprint AT13 inches high, 10 inches wide and a little over 13 deep. It is sleek in profile without awkward protruding elements.
Notes and Other Features
Along with the programmable water temperature feature, the B60 also allows for programming specific automatic on and off times, as well as a feature that automatically turns the machine off after a set time following the last brew. The B60 is a bit pricy and, if we assume the 62mm paper-formatted pod becomes the industry standard for single-serve, the patented K-Cup design and brewing technology eventually could constrain coffee variety and choice. Currently, however, the Keurig B60 is the king of single-serve coffee variety and availability. Given that edge, its impressive menu of special features and its heat-turning design, it is clearly a category leader, and, along with the Bunn and Senseo, one of our recommended choices for single-serve brewers.