The popularity of the coffee pod has skyrocketed in recent years, partly due to success of the original single serve coffee maker from Keurig Inc.
These machines are favored for their speed, ease of use, affordability, and compact sizes. Despite this newfound popularity, many people have not heard of options available, which is unfortunate, since not all brands and models rank equally. Even the pioneer Keurig does not stack up when faced against all your choices, such as Nespresso or Hamilton Beach.
The kitchen giant Hamilton Beach manufactures many popular appliances, but did you know they also manufacture a single serve coffee maker, known as the Flexbrew?
In this post, I’ll go over the details and specifics to the newest Keurig line, the Keurig 2.0, and compare it to the Hamilton Beach Flexbrew. I’ll also provide a few a reasons as to why you might want to purchase a Flexbrew instead of go mainstream and choose Keurig.
Hamilton Beach FlexBrew – an option for everyone
Hamilton Beach is a solid, reputable and affordable brand making kitchen appliances. The company’s products are sold at most major retailers, like Target, Walmart, and of course, Amazon. It’s easy to find, and all of these websites have hundreds of reviews, should you want to educate yourself before making a purchase.
Recently, the brand has come out with a single serve machine known as the “Flexbrew.” The Flexbrew is a user-friendly, reliable, and quality machine available at an entry-level price.
Being a green consumer, while saving your own “green”
The machine comes with a carafe and a reusable filter, meaning you won’t need to buy anything else in your time with the Flexbrew besides coffee, or one-time use pods. The price you see is the price you pay (unless, of course, you break a part after the warranty is up – then you can easily replace it!)
The Flexbrew’s single serve setting makes it great for unmarried people, because there’s no wasting coffee when you brew just one cup. But, since it does have the full carafe option, the Hamilton Beach Flexbrew still works for couples, families, workplace offices, and for entertaining.
The two methodologies use separate water reservoirs and result in different size cups.
I can be impatient first thing in the morning when I’m craving my coffee, and most professionals I know are the same way.
The Flexblend has a pause feature, which allows you to pour a cup mid-brew without coffee continuing to drip. Where has this been all my life?! I had never seen a coffee machine with that capability, so I was thrilled when I discovered this feature. No more long waits, and no more drippy messes on the hot plate.
Plus, if a Flexbrew is kept in the office, a cup can be brewed quickly for an on-the-go professional, right beside the already made, still hot carafe.
Oh, did I mention that?
The machine also has a hot plate that stays on for two hours and then automatically turns off. The single-serve side has an adjustable cup rest, allowing for either a standard mug or a taller travel mug. Specifically, it can fit a travel mug up to seven inches tall for the single serve side.
Flexibility in brew size, strength, and bean
I love the Hamilton Beach Flexbrew and personally, I’m more fond of it than Keurig machines (I’ll get more into that topic later).
It allows me to have options in my coffee. Hamilton isn’t kidding when they say “flexbrew” – flexibility is included in every feature.
For starters, you can choose between making a single serving, or a 12-cup pot of coffee. If you’re making a single serving, you can pick whether you feel like using a pre-made coffee pod or using the included, reusable filter with your own fresh ground coffee from a favorite local roaster (I usually opt with local beans – we’ve got some great roasters here in Oregon).
Fresh ground coffee, or pre-packaged pods?
I’ve noticed many of my friends own both a standard drip coffee machine as well as a Keurig, but that can take up a lot of unnecessary space—the Hamilton allows you to condense both appliances into one.
Generally, I prefer standard drip coffee or French press to K-pods. Besides the fact pods use excess packaging, I find the coffee inside them often isn’t strong enough for my tastes.
The Flexbrew comes with a reusable single serve filter, so I can brew the coffee of my choice. Another reason why Hamilton is awesome: the reusable filter is included for FREE!
Many people do prefer the taste and variety K-pods offer, so I appreciate how this machine is customizable for the individual consumer’s preferences, and allows you to use ground beans or a coffee pod.
Hamilton Beach FlexBrew: Pricing and competitors
Some espresso machines range into the thousands of dollars, while high end coffee makers can be hundreds of dollars. The Flexbrew will not cost you anywhere near those high dollar figures. In my opinion that’s great price especially if you’re currently spending money on lattes or house coffees when you’re out and about running errands or commuting to work.
If that’s your current situation, investing in the Flexbrew will certainly save you money long term. Click here to see current pricing on the Flexbrew 49976.
Technology and appliances are expensive, and in my experience, their lifespans aren’t nearly long enough. Hamilton is backed with warranties, no matter what big box store you shop at. Hamilton offers a 5-year warranty, while Amazon offers a 3- and 4-year protection plans for a nominal charge.
Best Buy sells the machine for roughly the same price, but only offers a 2-year warranty for an additional charge. On hamiltonbeach.com, the model is even sold out – that alone exemplifies the products quality.
The Flexbrew’s main competitor is the Keurig 2.0, which is a single cup and carafe brewer with programmable features for multiple brew sizes and strengths. It’s the most flexible, customizable Keurig to date, so we will see how it compares.
Keurig 2.0: The most flexible Keurig yet
Admittedly, Keurig machines are not my favorite for a few reasons. Even so, I have to say the brand has improved its models markedly in the past 10 years. In college, I used the most simple Keurig model ( K-Compact Single Serve Coffee Maker) mostly for its size, but also for its ease, and speed.
It got the job done, and allowed me to save some money in the dorms. The Keurig 2.0 does more than “just get the job done.” It truly does brew a rich, smooth, flavorful cup of coffee, which I was not sure possible of a solely pod-based machine.
In addition, it used to be Keurig did not offer a reusable filter but recently the company started manufacturing them, so for now my environmental concerns regarding Keurig have been assuaged. Besides being green, the reusable route is much more affordable than purchasing pods (of any brand).
Keurig 2.0 costs a bit more than the Flexbrew on Amazon and it comes in super fun colors, including Imperial Red, Turquoise, Strawberry, Orange Zest, and Peacock Blue.
If you’re like me and tend to stick to a more “sleek,” refined look, they offer Black, Sandy Pearl, and White.
So, how much coffee does the Keurig 2.0 brew?
The Keurig 2.0 only utilizes pods, however, past models have been just single serve machines, while the Keurig 2.0 has the ability to brew a 4-cup carafe, making it a strong competitor with the Hamilton Flexbrew.
Unfortunately, customers have to buy a carafe and carafe size pods for the feature (carafe size pods cost more than standard k-cups and typically come in smaller packs of eight).
Otherwise, a single serve size can brew up to 14 ounces, with 4, 6, 8, and 10 ounces as other options. Including the carafe option and the different brew strengths, there are a total of nine different brew choices
Keurig 2.0: Monopolizing the coffee pod industry
When the new 2.0 was released, Keurig received a lot of backlash from previously loyal customers. Many customers were upset that, unlike other Keurig brewers, the new machine didn’t accept non-Keurig brand coffee pods, making it that much more expensive to use.
Simultaneously with its release, the company raised the prices of K-pods by 9%, forcing consumers to spend more on the company. A box of 16 single serve K-pods costs $12 from Target, while the off brand Melitta offers a box of 18 single serve coffee pods for $5 from Wal-Mart.
Senseo is another popular off brand company that offers 16 count packs, ranging from $6 to $10 depending on type and flavor. Senseo advertises specifically for use in Hamilton Beach machines.
But perhaps the highest quality and value is offered by San Francisco Bay Gourmet Coffee. There is a variety pack of 80 pods on Amazon at bulk pricing levels.
NOTE: San Francisco Bay pods are not Keurig brand, but Amazon lists them as compatible with most Keurig 1.0 and 2.0 models.
A few community members said they were not compatible no matter what the box says, so I would be wary if trying these – as mentioned before, Keurig received some backlash for making the model specifically not compatible with other brands of pods.
There is a freedom clip you can purchase that is also supposed to allow a 2.0 to read and brew any and all single serve coffee pods.
Which to buy? The Hamilton Beach Flexbrew or the Keurig 2.0?
I am a proponent of individuality and free choice.
The very fact Keurig released a machine with the intent to monopolize the market and force consumers to pay more outrages me, and incentivizes me not to purchase their products, especially when there are options on the market of equal quality.
If you buy an additional reusable filter or a freedom clip, you can use the coffee or pod of your choice in the 2.0, but I personally don’t want to invest in a product I know I am going to have to buy more stuff for immediately.
Plus, with the additional carafe I would purchase, freedom clip, and reusable filter I would spend way more than I would buying any Flexbrew coffee maker.
The Flexbrew offers coffee drinkers everything they could want in a cup, in a customizable, quality, and fully equipped machine that doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg and is backed by the company. Cheers to having your coffee, your way!