If you're spending far too much on takeaway coffees, but don't want to miss out on your morning caffeine fix, then there is an alternative that can work out far cheaper in the long run. Single-serve, pod-based coffee machines can cost far less to maintain than a takeaway coffee habit and will only take up a small amount of space inside your home or office.
The Keurig K50 machine is one of a number of coffee makers offered as part of the Keurig range and can pay for itself within a matter of weeks (see Keurig K50 reviews). Though it doesn’t have the carafe-brewing functionality of some of its bigger brothers, it’s still well-suited to serving smaller groups of family members, friends or colleagues.
Below, we’ll look at some of the design features and functions that make up the K50, as well as some potential alternatives of varying sizes and price points.
Keurig K50 Overview
The Keurig K50, also called 'The All-Purpose Coffee Maker' by Keurig, is a single-serve coffee machine that uses individual coffee pods to produce single mugs of coffee.
Depending upon the pod that you choose, you can also make other hot drinks, such as tea and hot cocoa.
The full range of compatible pods includes a range of over 500 drinks, so if anything, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Though you can't brew a whole pot of coffee for the family breakfast using this machine, you can switch between 3 distinct sizes of hot drink, ranging from 6 oz. to 10 oz., which is also sufficient to fill most travel mugs.
The machine stands at 9.8 x 13 x 13.3-inches, making it somewhere around the mid-range sized model from the full Keurig range of coffee machines. Out of the box, it weighs in at 14.5 lbs. This makes it easy to set up and straightforward to move around if it isn’t a permanent fixture on your countertop or you have a change of heart in terms of positioning.
During operation, it is relatively quiet and certainly not as noisy as some of the larger machines in the Keurig family that have heavy-duty pumps.
In terms of brewing hot drinks, after an initial setup, the machine is always ready to go and can brew a single drink in less than 60 seconds.
This means that although it is a single-serve machine, it won't take long to brew up enough hot drinks for the family, or for a small office-based team.
However, you can override this always-on functionality using Keurig’s classic ‘Auto Off’ feature.
Who is the Keurig K50 for?
As a mid-range coffee machine, this unit would suit a
wide range of environments.
People living alone will benefit from the automatic shutdown feature, since you won’t be brewing coffees too frequently and will likely want the machine to go idle between uses. Otherwise, larger families will love having a 48 oz. water reservoir, so that there’s no need to keep refilling between hot drinks.
At the same time, the large water reservoir can also benefit small business teams within an office; tea and coffee runs will never have been easier than when you’re able to use a single-serve machine to brew hot drinks for everybody with little downtime in between each cup. With this reservoir, you could easily cover a team of around 4 to 5 people with a single refill.
What’s Included with the Keurig K50?
The Keurig K50 comes with the core components required to create your basic setup, including the detachable water reservoir and drip tray, and the power cord. However, the bundle lacks in basic extras seen in other models, such as the K55. Unlike the K55, this machine comes with no water filters.
This means that unless you’re using filtered or purified water in your machine, impurities in your tap water could affect the taste of your hot drinks. The machine also lacks a coffee pod starter pack, so you’ll need to account for that and order some pods separately if you want to get brewing drinks immediately.
Keurig K50 Features
The Keurig K50 makes several improvements on the K45, though still lacks some of the functionality later introduced in the K55 model.
Still, this doesn't make the machine redundant; it means that the price tag is lower, while still offering the functionality that made it a popular machine in the first place.
Keurig's classic 'Auto Off' feature is included, as are the adjustable drink size settings.
The water reservoir can be completely detached from the machine for filling directly from the kitchen faucet, and the drip tray can also come away to make room for larger mugs. Regardless of the coffee pod selected, the 48 oz. water tank can serve drinks of 6 oz., 8 oz. and 10 oz. in size.
Regardless of whether you’re using this machine at home or setting it up in the shared kitchen area of an office, everybody can appreciate energy saving functionality. The ‘Auto Off’ feature that’s built into the majority of Keurig’s coffee machines ensures that when enabled, the coffee maker will automatically turn itself off after 2 hours of inactivity.
At home, this can mean savings on your energy bills. In an office, this is especially useful for long periods where the office is not staffed, such as holiday periods, as it’s easy to forget to power everything down at the end of a long week.
Both the water reservoir and the drip tray can be detached from the machine, which makes for some added benefits. Firstly, cleaning out the drip tray in the event of spillages is straightforward when you can hold it beneath the kitchen faucet; the same can be done with the reservoir when a refill is needed.
Secondly, storing the machine is far easier when the unit can be disassembled. The pod housing isn’t detachable and can’t be disassembled, but the pods produce no mess so this shouldn’t be a problem.
Coffee Pod Compatibility
Some later models of Keurig machine are bundled with a DRM-type feature that locks them down to only being compatible with specific coffee pods. A barcode design on the newest type of Keurig’s own-brand pods ensures that certain Keurig machines can only match against their own coffee pods.
However, the Keurig K50 isn’t affected by the same problem. You can use any coffee pods with this machine, meaning that some excellent deals can be had. This also means having access to a far broader range of flavors and drinks types, such as coffee, tea, hot cocoa, iced drinks and some other specialty types.
Always On/Auto Off
As mentioned above, the machine features an adjustable ‘Auto-Off’ feature that can automatically power the machine off after 2 hours of inactivity. However, when this function is disabled, the machine remains in an always-on state.
This means that even after long periods of disuse, it will remain in position to brew a single cup of coffee in less than 60 seconds. If you’re setting up the coffee machine in an office environment or want it to be ready for a quick escape in the mornings, then this can prove to be a highly useful feature.
How to Use the Keurig K50
Before you can brew your first mug of coffee with the K55, you'll have to perform a one-time setup out of the box. However, unlike many machines, you don’t require a false coffee pod to run the cleaning process, which is simply achieved by running through hot water.
After connecting to a grounded outlet, place a large 10 oz. mug on the drip tray and fill the water reservoir to its maximum fill line, before replacing it within the machine.
Power the machine using the top-mounted button and allow the machine to heat, after which the red 'Heating' LED will turn off.
At this point, you should lift and replace the handle, leaving the coffee pod holster empty. Press the button corresponding to the smallest brew size and dispose of the dispensed liquid into the sink. Now, your machine is ready to brew its first hot drink.
Brewing yourself a cup of coffee is essentially the same process as outlined above. Place a freshly washed mug beneath the dispenser on the drip tray, or remove the tray if using a tall travel mug, and then lift the handle and insert your favorite coffee pod. Lower the handle until it clicks into place, ensuring that the 'Heating' LED is not illuminated.
Next, simply select your preferred brew size; the corresponding LED will remain illuminated until the brewing process has completed. The spent coffee pods should always be disposed of after brewing has completed.
Finally, the cleaning process for the K50 is simple and is much the same as for any other coffee machine. Start by adding a suitable descaling solution – alternatively, household vinegar will do – to the water reservoir of the machine, before topping it to the max fill line with water from the kitchen faucet.
Next, follow the same steps that you did for the first-time setup process, initiating a small brew without any coffee pods inserted into the machine. Finally, dispose of the dispensed liquids down the drain.
This process is only required once every 3 to 6 months, but you should be sure to run the machine 2 to 3 times after cleaning it with descaling solution or vinegar, to be sure that there’s nothing left in the machine that could impact the quality of your drinks.
However, one of the key differences between the two machines is that the latter comes in a range of customizable colors, including black, blue and coconut white.
Thus, if you want a machine that you can color match to the rest of your kitchen appliances, then you might want to consider the K55.
You’ll also benefit from 2 included water filters, which can remove impurities from water that is taken straight from the kitchen faucet.
Just bear in mind that this model comes at a higher price than its predecessor.
If you’re happy to pay a premium, then you could opt for the Keurig K-Select Single-Serve machine instead.
This alternative comes with one of the largest water reservoirs of the full Keurig range, with a huge 52 oz. reservoir built into the machine.
Despite the size of this container, the unit is smaller than the K50, standing at just 9.2-inches x 12.5-inches.
Thanks to the additional capacity of the reservoir, the drinks settings also allow mug sizes up to 12 oz., unlike most of the other machines in the Keurig family that only allow up to 10 oz.
Alternatively, right at the upper end of the budget range is the Keurig K475 machine, which is as advanced as they come.
This coffee maker makes several improvements to the above mentioned models; for example, the 6, 8 and 10 oz. drinks settings are supplemented by a smaller 4oz size, and larger 12 oz. setting.
What's more, the K475 can brew carafes of 22, 26 and 30 oz. in size, making it perfect for large families sitting down for breakfast or small office teams.
Of course, you might not want a machine that is purely serviced by single-serve coffee pods.
Even if you purchase a coffee machine that can take carafe-sized pods, you may want something that can handle ground coffee, too. The Hamilton Beach 49950C is a coffee machine that can do just that.
In addition to taking single coffee pods, it can also brew a pot of coffee using grounds, and what's more, the machine has 2 separate water reservoirs built in for brewing each type of beverage.
The Keurig K50 is somewhat outdated by models such as the K55, which adds greater color customization and more functionality. However, it also commands a lower price tag as a result, and despite its age, it still makes a solid choice for a home or office-based single-serve coffee machine.
With a good size water reservoir and several adjustable drinks size settings, as well as space for a travel mug thanks to its removable tank, this machine makes the ideal replacement for expensive takeaway coffees. This can be further compounded when buying coffee pods in bulk.