When I reviewed the Keurig 2.0 K550 Coffee Brewing System last November, the only complaint I had was that you can’t use your own coffee in a reusable capsule nor can you use store-brand pods. Green Mountain Roasters, Keurig’s parent company, had put some sort of “DRM” restrictions in their new 2.0 machines so they would only work with officially-licensed Keurig pods. They were so determined to control what coffee you could use in their machines that you couldn’t even use old packages of officially-licensed Keurig pods. They don’t even make the My K-Cup reusable capsule (for use with your own ground coffee) any more. The claim was that you needed to use only special pods so that the machine would know how to control all the variables to make a perfect cup of coffee, but it didn’t really seem to do anything different in the brewing process. It seemed pretty obvious that the limits were more to control their profits than to brew a perfect cup of coffee.
Coffee drinkers are a dedicated bunch. They are dedicated not only to drinking coffee, but to drinking their preferred varieties, roasts, and brands. Some of them are concerned with controlling costs by using cheaper brands or buying coffee in bulk and brewing it in a reusable capsule. Many of them are also dedicated to recycling and reducing waste as much as possible. Keurig was stomping on their right to drink the coffee they want, their right to control costs, and their right to recycle by forcing them to use only official Keurig pods. (Keurig brand pods aren’t only expensive, they’re also nearly impossible to recycle, even if you are willing to separate them into their metal, paper, and plastic components.)
Coffee drinkers are also a smart bunch – maybe it’s partially due to all that caffeine. 😉 Immediately, people set to work finding ways to break Keurig’s iron control on what they can brew in a Keurig 2.0 machine. Someone found you could just tape the white-ringed foil top from a used pod over a fresh pod to fool the machine into brewing an old Keurig or a store-brand pod. Some people found you could just tape part of the foil top over a little sensor in the brewer so that you could use any pods. One woman even found that she could use a reusable capsule if she also taped a piece of the foil over the sensor and used a particular brand of plastic capsule.
I recently noticed that two readers, John and Lori, commented that Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Amazon were selling reusable capsules that worked with Keurig 2.0 without having to jump through any hoops to make them work. I noticed our BB&B had the single cup capsule, but Amazon had both the single cup and the carafe-sized capsules. I immediately ordered both the Eco-Fill 2.0 Deluxe for Keurig 2.0, K300, K400, K500 Series single-cup capsule and the Eco-Carafe for Keurig 2.0, K300, K400, K500 Series carafe-sized capsule from Amazon.
Do they work? Am I now free to use any coffee I want to make a cup or a pot? Oh, you betcha!
Click on any image for a larger view.
Both of these reusable capsules are from PerfectPod EZ-Cup, a company that has made reusable capsules for earlier Keurig machines and for Breville, Mr. Coffee, and Cuisinart single-cup brewers. They are made of thick BPA-free plastic, and both have permanent micro etched stainless steel filters. The colors aren’t randomly assigned. Apparently, these colors are what the Keurig 2.0 sensors are looking for to know you are using an allowed coffee pod.
Both have hinged lids with rubber gaskets to prevent the water from being forced out from the top before it can extract the coffee. The mechanical hinges are guaranteed not to break. The nipples on the tops allow the needle inside the Keurig that punctures the disposable cups to remain in the machine. The Eco-Fill and Eco-Carafe are “easy to use, rinse to clean, and dishwasher safe”. You can see that a quick rinse with hot water wasn’t enough to remove all the coffee residue from the purple cup on the right. It’s been used for several cups of coffee, so it’s ready for a run through the dishwasher.
The single-cup Eco-Fill 2.0 Deluxe for Keurig 2.0, K300, K400, K500 Series is purple. Open the top, measure in your coffee grounds and close it back up.
It fits in the pod holder inside the Keurig 2.0 brewer just like one of the official pods.
When I reviewed the Keurig 2.0 machine, I tried it with an older K-Cup pod and got the message seen above. Even though it was a Keurig pod, it didn’t have the new design on the foil top, and the brewer wouldn’t brew coffee with the pod in place.
When the lid is closed with the reusable capsule inside, the Keurig recognizes the color of the Eco-Fill 2.0 Deluxe cup and is ready to start brewing.
Coffee brewed using the Eco-Fill 2.0 Deluxe capsule had quite a bit of sediment in the bottom of the cup. Although “the integrated micro etched stainless steel foil filter provides the best filtration possible from a permanent filter, paper filters are recommended for espresso grind coffees.” Apparently my coffee grind wasn’t optimal.
Of course, you’ll need a small filter to fit the single-cup pod, and the EZ-Cup Filters by Perfect Pod have been around for a long while for use in other reusable coffee capsules. I actually ordered a pack of these filters when I ordered the reusable capsules. A friend of mine uses these all the time with her reusable capsule in her older Keurig machine and swears by them.
The filters are already pre-formed to fit into the capsule. Just measure in your ground coffee, fold the paper lid over the grounds, then close the lid on the capsule.
I brewed a cup of coffee using the paper filter, and you can see the coffee is crystal clear. The paper filter makes it easy to knock the used grounds out of the capsule, too, so you’ll be able to reload to brew another cup of coffee in seconds.
The Eco-Carafe for Keurig 2.0, K300, K400, K500 Series capsule brews a 4-cup carafe with any coffee; it holds up to 28 grams of ground coffee.
It fits easily into the Keurig 2.0’s pod holder.
The Keurig accepted the Eco-Carafe capsule and was ready to brew as soon as I selected how many cups I wanted to make.
At the time I purchased these reusable capsules, Amazon didn’t have any filters to fit the carafe-sized capsule. I bought a pack of Mr. Coffee 4-cup filters for their small drip brewer, and I found that they work pretty well in the Eco-Capsule. They are a bit too big, and they don’t have the paper lid like the paper filters for the single cup capsules do. As luck would have it, I found that you can order carafe-sized paper filters directly from the EZ-Cup website. A pack of 30 EZ-Carafe Filters is $4.99 directly from EZ-Cup.
The Eco-Fill 2.0 Deluxe single cup capsule and the Eco-Carafe capsule both work perfectly to circumvent the “DRM” restrictions added to the Keurig 2.0 machines. With these reusable capsules, you can use your own ground coffee. They won’t help you use cheaper store-brand pods or the older Keurig pods that you may still have unless you want to open up those pods and pour the coffee into the reusable capsule. That will help you use up your old pods, but you’d probably be better off just buying the store coffee and loading up the reusable capsule yourself.
And the single-cup reusable capsule should work just as well in older Keurig machines that are too dumb to check what color your coffee pod is.
FYI: EZ-Cup also makes reusable EZ-Carafe for Keurig 2.0 K300, K400, K500 Series and EZ-Cup 2.0 for Keurig 2.0 K300, K400, K500 Series capsules that will also work with the Keurig 2.0 machines. These differ from the Eco cups in this review because they do not have the permanent steel filters, so they require you to use the paper filters. These EZ versions cost the same as the Eco versions I have. If you get the correct grind for the coffee and/or you don’t mind a bit of sediment in your cup, the Eco versions would be a little cheaper to use in the long run because you wouldn’t require the paper filters.
Source: I purchased both of the EZ-Cup reusable capsules used in this review. You can learn more about them and purchase them at the EZ-Cup website or at Amazon (using the links in the body of this review).