Keurig’s become one of the go-to coffee machine makers in recent years, with a range of convenient pod appliances that make brewing a doddle.
With high-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 my Keurig K55 review, I’m 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?
(My guide to brewing coffee at home contains plenty more tutorials and buying tips!)
What To Look For In A Coffee Maker
Single serve, entry-to-mid level coffee makers like the Keurig 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 – a coffee maker like the Keurig K55 is a great entry level way to get started. 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 limited to coffee makers found higher up the affordability scale.
Even entry level Keurig coffee makers come with options for varying serving 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 tank is something else you should keep in mind. Keurig coffee makers range from around 30 ounces to 100 or more.
The more water the coffee maker 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 automatic switch-off mechanism means the coffee maker 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 the coffee maker set up the night before so I can grab my first cup as soon as I’m up.
Ease Of Use & Maintenance
If you’re just getting started with a Keurig coffee brewer, you’ll want something that’s easy to use.
Some of the more advanced coffee makers 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 coffee maker 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 & Color
When looking at the dimension specs of a coffee maker, consider also that you’ll need some clearance to get at the coffee pod holder and the water tank. As a general rule of thumb, allow at least 6 inches clearance at the top of the machine.
Look at the colors of your other kitchenware as well, and consider whether the coffee maker comes in a color that will be sympathetic to your other appliances.
The Keurig K55 (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 coffee makers, but the promise of the K55 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 Keurig 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!)
Brewing Time Of The K55 K Classic
Although the first brew of the day can take between four and five minutes to complete with the Keurig K55 coffee maker, 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 coffee maker doesn’t have an Auto On function, I can just about wait long enough for the first cup to come through.
More Than Just A Coffee Brewer?
As well as coffee, the Keurig 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’m 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 coffee maker comes with a 48 ounce water tank, but keep in mind that 10 ounces is the maximum brew setting. The other Keurig K55 cup sizes are 6 and 8 ounces.
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 6 ounce brew size setting. You get the strongest brew of all by doing so.
Ease Of Use
The Keurig 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 Keurig K55 coffee maker 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 coffee maker every three to six months to avoid calcium deposits building up. This notification lights up when it’s time to run some cleaning solution through the machine. Don’t ignore this! Mineral build-up on the internal components of any coffee maker 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 be sure this is lit up, as you’ll be saving electricity as well as wear and tear on your K55
Although these are simple functions, I like that they’re included even on an entry-level coffee maker such as 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 K Classic
The Keurig K55 coffee maker 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 I’ve already mentioned the Keurig K55 coffee maker has a Descale alert built into the machine. The process for completing this is pretty simple:
- Empty the water reservoir.
- Add standard descaling solution, or a mixture of white vinegar and water.
- Remove the drip tray and make sure you place something big enough to take the solution.
- Activate the Brew button on the K55.
- 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 water filter of the Keurig K55 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.
Alternatives To The K55 K Classic
As popular as the Keurig K55 coffee maker is, there are some other alternatives that are worth exploring:
The most notable feature of Hamilton Beach’s single cup coffee maker is its Dash integration. That means it can hook up with Amazon to automatically re-order 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!
- Never Run Out of Coffee Again: The Hamilton Beach Connect APP is seamlessly integrated with Dash Replenishment to track your...
- Choose Your Coffee for Reorders: Pick your favorite single serve coffee pods from a wide variety of brands and flavors
- Brew with Single Serve Pods or Grounds: A single serve pod holder and grounds brew basket are included.Do not immerse cord, plug,...
- Removable Water Reservoir: Eliminate the need to refill the coffee maker each time you brew
- Quick Brew Time: In about 3 minutes, FlexBrew makes a strong, great tasting cup of coffee and while saving energy since FlexBrew...
In terms of its brewing system, Hamilton Beach claims the 49968 coffee maker gets its first cup of coffee out of the gate within three minutes, compared to the four or so taken by the Keurig K55. It also has a somewhat larger cup size, with options to brew in 8, 10 or 14 ounce 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 a coffee maker as anyone’s ever going to build.
- FITS ANYWHERE: Less than 5 inches wide, perfect for small spaces.Filter type:Reusable.Temperature Control : No. Froths Milk :...
- YOUR PERFECT AMOUNT: Brew any cup size between 6-12oz with Keurig K-Cup pods.
- ONE CUP RESERVOIR: Just add fresh water for each brew.
- FAST & FRESH BREWED: Coffee made in minutes.
- CORD STORAGE: For easy transport and tidy countertops.
The machine can only be used with K-Cup pods (not K-Carafe, for example), but you’re still getting a great range of flavors in a very small form factor. Despite its diminutive size, it’s still got that all-important Auto-Off feature.
The SS-5 can brew drinks in 6, 8 or 10 ounce brew sizes, which is comparable with the Keurig K55. It also has a 40 ounce 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).
- Note: 1)Too coarse a grind, too little coffee, or insufficiently tamping the grounds before brewing can all lead to inadequate...
- SUPERIOR FUNCTIONALITY: Our single-serve brewer has a 40oz removable water reservoir that complements its charcoal water filter...
- K-CUP COMPATIBILITY: Use any brand of single cup pod including Keurig K-Cup pods and our very own HomeBarista elite
- AUTO-OFF FEATURE: 30-minute auto-off feature will save you money by saving energy use from your small appliance
- Compatible with ground coffee filter (not included). NOTE: Refer user manual before user for better understanding
I’ve read a lot of user reports that the drinks brewed by this coffee maker can be rather weak, even when brewed at the 6 ounce volume. I’ve not been able to verify the brewing temperature of the SS-5 myself, 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.
Keurig K55 K Classic: The Final Verdict
During my Keurig K55 review I found it to be 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 my 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 favorites – and your confidence – you can use this is a launchpad to upgrade into a more advanced machine with more customization options. The sky’s the limit really!
If you want to read more about this coffee maker, head over to the Amazon listing where you’ll find plenty of reviews and information about the Keurig K55.