Viva Flavor is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.
Keurig’s become one of the go-to coffee machine makers in recent years, with a range that covers every coffee enthusiast from beginner to coinnosseur.
With barista-quality coffee now available at the touch of a button, it’s no surprise that a remarkable 64% of adult Americans are now quaffing at least one cup a day. It’s certainly increased my overall consumption, even as I try to replace quantity with quality!
In our Keurig K55 review, we’re taking an in-depth look at one of the most popular entry-level machines on the market today. Is it really the machine you need to get started with the coffee pod revolution?
Things to consider
Single serve, entry-to-mid level coffee makers like the K55 are designed for those of you who want to break away from the drip – or even instant – coffee you’ve likely been guzzling for some time.
If you’re looking to get a taste of the rich array of coffee pods available in the Keurig range – but don’t want to spend a fortune on a high-end machine – they’re great options to help you get going. Just be warned that upgrading these things is addictive once you’ve got a taste for them!
When you’re researching the right beginner Keurig machine for you, there are a few things that you need to think about first:
Do you want to be able to tweak the temperature of your brew so the coffee’s weaker or stronger? Look for temperature control as an option, although this feature tends to be reserved to machines higher up the affordability scale.
Even entry level Keurig machines come with options for varying brew sizes. Think about how much you’re going to want in an average cup, and make sure the machine you pick has a setting to suit.
The capacity of the water reservoir is something else you should keep in mind. Keurig machines range from around 30 oz to 100 or more.
The more water the machine can take, the less time you’ll spend refilling the reservoir. Machines at this range typically can’t be plugged into the water mains, so it’s something to keep in mind.
Auto Off / Auto On
An Auto Off mechanism means the machine automatically shuts down when not in use. That’s good for the environment, your energy bills, and it also means you don’t have to worry about leaving something hot in the kitchen.
Auto On, as the name suggests, lets you set a timer. With a young family it’s safe to say our mornings are busy, so I like to be able to get things set up the night before so I can grab my first cup of coffee as soon as I’m up.
Ease of Use & Maintenance
If you’re just getting started with Keurig coffee brewing, you’ll want something that’s easy to use.
Some of the more advanced machines come with a huge collection of settings to tweak. If you don’t know what you’re doing here, it can be quite easy to make an unpleasant cup of coffee.
Likewise you’ll want a machine that’s easy to maintain and clean.
At this range, you’re looking for something reliable above all else. If it’s easy to look after, it’ll last longer and keep doing its job without any fuss.
Size & Colour
When looking at the dimension specs of a machine, consider also that you’ll need some clearance to get at the coffee pod holder and the reservoir. As a general rule of thumb, allow at least 6 inches clearance at the top of the machine.
Look at the colours of your other kitchenware as well, and consider whether the machine comes in a colour that will be sympathetic to your other appliances.
Keurig’s K55 machine (also known as the K-Classic Coffee Maker) is aimed squarely at those who want to get into K-Cup coffee, and do so with as little fuss as possible.
It has fewer of the advanced features that you’ll find in more expensive machines, but the promise made here is simple: get top-quality coffee as effortlessly as possible.
If you’re tired of your regular brew and want to dip a toe into something a little more luxurious, the K55 is an excellent starting point. You’ll have much better-tasting coffee, produced with barely any effort.
You’re not necessarily tied into using K-Cups either. If you purchase a refillable pod you can carry on using regular ground coffee, rather than burn through these disposable items (which can happen at a rapid pace!)
Although the first brew of the day can take between four and five minutes to complete with the K55, any cups you brew after that can be finished up in under a minute.
One cup is never enough for me, and so I appreciate being able to grab a top-up in a reasonable amount of time. I just have to plan the first brew with enough of a headstart.
My own process every morning is to wake up, need coffee, make coffee. Although the K55 doesn’t have an Auto On function, I can just about wait long enough for the first cup to come through.
As well as coffee, the K55 can also be used to make tea, hot chocolate and iced drinks too. For the sake of both my wallet and the environment, I am always keen to avoid doubling up on appliances unless it’s absolutely necessary.
If you only enjoy those other drinks occasionally, the K55 is perfectly adequate for the purpose. That it does all this in such a reasonably sized machine is a plus as well.
The K55 comes with a 48oz reservoir, but keep in mind that 10oz is the maximum brew setting. The other Keurig K55 cup sizes are 6 and 8oz.
That’s quite a small capacity to be honest, but it’s not a huge problem if you’re located near to the machine – or at least pass through regularly.
If you need a particularly zingy cup of coffee to get you started in the morning, I recommend opting for the 6oz setting. You get the strongest brew of all by doing so.
Ease of Use
The K55 is about as easy to use as it gets. Once set up you simply keep the machine topped up with water, pop a K-Cup in and get your brew going.
There are a handful of buttons for things like power, Auto Off and the cup size selection. That’s about all you need for basic brewing at this level.
There are also a few useful indicators to help you use the machine optimally:
- Add Water – This will light up when there’s not enough water left in the reservoir. No one wants their coffee machine running empty, after all.
- Descale – It’s important that you descale the K55 every three to six months to avoid calcium build-up. This notification lights up when it’s time to run some cleaning solution through the machine. Don’t ignore this! Calcium build-up on the internal components can seriously affect the machines lifespan if left unattended.
- Heating – Nothing fancy here. This simply lights up whenever the machine is actually heating up and producing coffee for you.
- Auto-Off – This light lets you know if Auto-Off has been enabled. It’s always good to make sure this is lit up, as you’ll be saving electricity as well as wear and tear on the machine itself.
Although these are simple functions, I like that they’re included even on an entry-level machine like this. Looking after your appliances is just as important as buying the right ones in my book. You’ll save money and do your bit for the environment at the same time.
Cleaning and Descaling
The K55 has a removable drip tray, so it’s quite easy to clean overall. A quick wipe over with a damp cloth gets the outer body looking presentable again. I like this as I haven’t got time to bring a budget appliance back to life.
That said, the K55 does have a very “plastic-y” feel overall. If your other appliances sit at the higher end of the pricing spectrum you might want to consider upgrading further up the Keurig range.
Back to maintenance though, and as we’ve already mentioned the K55 has a Descale alert built into the machine. The process for completing this is pretty simple:
- Empty the water reservoir
- Add standard descaling solution
- Remove the drip tray and make sure you place something big enough to take the solution
- Activate the Brew button
- Empty out the reservoir and repeat once more with descaling solution.
- Brew through an entire reservoir’s-worth of clean water to flush out any remaining solution.
The Keurig K55’s water filter will need to be replaced after a period of extended use, but these are readily available online.
If you start running into problems, consult your Keurig K55 manual. It doesn’t go into a lot of detail, but it contains much of the information you’ll need to fix common problems.
As popular as the K55 coffee maker is, there are some other alternatives that are worth exploring:
The most notable feature of Hamilton Beach’s single cup maker is its Dash integration. That means it can hook up with Amazon to automatically re-order coffee pods and filters when you’re close to running out. Just be careful how much coffee you burn through if you’re on a budget!
In terms of brewing time Hamilton Beach claims the 49968 gets its first cup of coffee out of the gate within three minutes, compared to the four or so taken by the K55. It also has a somewhat larger cup size, with options to brew in 8, 10 or 14 oz sizes. You can also adjust the cup rest to fit the mug you want to pop under the nozzle.
If you still want a Keurig machine but space – or budget – is a really, really big consideration then it’s worth looking at the Keurig K-Mini. It’s barely 5 inches wide, which is about as small as anyone’s ever going to make a coffee machine.
The machine can only be used with K Cup pods (not K-Carafe, for example), but you’re still getting a great range of flavours in a very small form factor. Despite its diminutive size, it’s still got that important Auto-Off feature.
The SS-5 can brew drinks in 6, 8 or 10 oz sizes, which is comparable with the K55. It also has a 40 oz reservoir and a 30-minute auto shut off. It’s also a little shorter in height at 12.1 inches, which may be a factor if you’re particularly pressed for space (remember you need around 6 inches in clearance to get at the insides of these machines).
We’ve read a lot of user reports that the coffee brewed by this machine can be rather weak, even when brewed at the 6 oz level. We’ve not been able to verify the brewing temperature of the SS-5 ourselves, but this may be an issue for you.
If you need a really punchy caffeine fix in the morning like I do, you might find this one a little wanting.
All in all the K55 is a deservedly popular single-serve coffee maker. It makes an excellent starting point for anyone who wants to develop their love of coffee.
It’s very simple to use, and yet you have the full range of K-Cups to explore. It’s about as good as entry-level coffee making gets for our money. Although it lacks advanced features, the coffee still tastes great, which is all you need to worry about at this stage.
Once you’ve found your favourites – and your confidence – you can use this is a launchpad to upgrade into a more advanced machine with more customisation options. The sky’s the limit really.
If you want to read more about this coffee maker, head over to the K55 Amazon listing where you’ll find plenty of reviews and information.