Looking for the best home espresso machine? This machine may be just the one. Just over a year ago I reviewed the Keurig Platinum – their high end flagship model at the time – and really liked it. Yes there were minor issues that kept it away from the rank of being perfect, but a year later and it was still on my counter getting used almost every morning (and even some evenings). Now my counter space is somewhat limited in my kitchen, and there was no way I could keep both the Platinum and Vue plugged in – so this became a “counter top rumble”, or a battle for kitchen superiority. While my family was upset to see me pack up their beloved Platinum, they were more than willing to give the Vue a run for its money. So which coffee maker won out in the end? Read our coffee maker review on to find out.
The Vue is a sleek giant on the counter – as big as the Platinum and then some. It looms mightily over everything else I have there, and really causes you to take notice of it. While you can get some other Keurig models in different colors, the Vue is only available in black with silver highlights. The effect of the design and color choice is immediately noticeable if you have lighter colored counters and walls – it just screams elitism. The water reservoir is located on the left side, and tinted just enough to not detract from the overall color scheme. There is an led at the bottom of it that blinks when it needs refilled, but even that doesn’t take much away from the look (although it does make you almost instantly want to refill it so the offending light goes away).
On the Platinum, a small section lifted up to reveal a place to insert your K-Cup for brewing, on the Vue it is basically thirty three percent of the top that lifts for you to insert a Vue Pack. It’s not that much different than the Platinum other than how much of the top is lifting – there is still a little hole for you to place the cup in, and still a needle on the top and bottom to puncture the cup and make everything actually work. What is different though, is what is on top of the lid. Rather than a small button on the right hand side, now there is a huge button on the very top that says “brew”. To the right of that ever present button though is the heart and soul of the Vue system, the “Custom Brew Technology” screen.
Through this special screen, you have a myriad of options that were missing from the Platinum (and all of Keurig’s other brewers). One that I asked for in the review of the Platinum was the ability to brew a cup of coffee that is larger than normal. While the Platinum had a measly three size settings, the Vue has eleven total throughout all of its settings. Not only that, but the Vue allows you to modify the temperature of your brew – if you want to drink it right away you can make it a little cooler, or if you have to put your coffee in a travel mug and hope it lasts a while, you can brew it even hotter. It’s a great addition that I didn’t even know I wanted. Another new thing with the Vue is the ability to brew “Cafe” beverages. These special packs come with a powdered milk that “froths” when brewed right. I bought a pack of the French Vanilla Latte, and while it worked mostly (and tasted GREAT), the milk never frothed as much as I would have liked it to.
Unfortunately there aren’t as many flavor choices for the Vue – something that instantly turned my family off. On top of that, we had a number of K-Cups stocked up for the Platinum, and the Vue is NOT backwards compatible with any K-Cup, meaning they would be useless if we got rid of the Platinum. I understand why they can’t make it use the K-Cups somewhat, but I would think there would be a way to make it sense the size of the cup inserted and then limit the brew size. Another issue is that right now you can go to pretty much any local store (like WalMart) and pick up any number of original K-Cup flavors. You can’t do that with the Vue. In fact, out of all of my local grocery stores, only WalMart had Vue packs, and even then the amount that they had was quite limited. That means that if you want a specific flavor you almost HAVE to order it online. Now this was a complaint I had with the Platinum over a year ago, and the fact that that prior complaint is no longer valid makes me hope that if this takes off, other stores will begin carrying the flavors as well.
All in all though, when the test was over I packed the Vue up and put it in to a closet. I still have some Vue Packs to use on a rainy day, but there just was not any real reason for me to keep it out. For one, the Vue Packs come with less cups than the K-Cup packs. They are also more expensive than the K-Cup packs (especially since you can find any number of places – Bed, Bath, and Beyond primarily – that has K-Cups on sale at any moment) which is understandable since they are bigger. Lastly though, it just comes down to ease of use. with the Platinum you just have to drop in the cup and press a button – on the Vue there are so many settings that it can be daunting to someone trying to get a simple cup of Joe (like my father in law).
Bottom Line: The Keurig Vue might just be the latest and greatest in home brewing technology, but for my money I would still recommend a Platinum.
- Can brew a large mug of coffee finally
- The Cafe Beverages are something different
- Being able to change the brew temperatures is a nice touch
- Extremely expensive, especially if you consider the cost of the Vue Packs
- Much more complicated to run than other Keurig brewers
- Not backwards compatible with K-Cups
You can pick up the Keurig Vue at a number of different stores like WalMart for $229.00