Keurig K-Compact Review – The best K-Cup Brewer for Small Kitchens

By: | Updated: May 14, 2021

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As a leading producer of K-cup machines, Keurig has always innovated to address consumer needs. The Keurig K-Compact is the company’s solution for customers with limited space at home. 

Although it’s not the smallest Keurig on the market, the K-Compact is the most premium option you can have at this size and price range.

Unlike the K-Mini, this model comes with a large, removable water tank, which means you don’t have to fill it as often. At the same time, it can take a 7-inch travel mug and won’t sacrifice your convenience.

As a coffee perfectionist, I’ve tested dozens of similar brewers, and I was impressed with the easy application, fast operation, and tastiness of this one.

Pros

  • Space-saving design.
  • Minimum waiting time.
  • No pod restrictions.
  • Affordable.
  • Wide color options.
  • Simplistic and easy-to-use.

Cons

  • No setting for strong or iced coffee.
  • Occasional taste of plastic.
  • Not suitable for large households.

A Few Things to Consider Before Buying a K-Cup Brewing Machine

Pod coffee machines aim to deliver fast coffee with minimum effort. They’re especially ideal for coffee fans who don’t have extensive knowledge about making a coffee or lack the time to do so.

So, if you want complete control over how your coffee tastes, these models are probably not your best choice. Instead, you should consider a grind coffee maker such as Cuisinart DGB-800.

What’s more, most K-Cup coffee makers are single-serve, making them a great choice for solo-drinkers rather than households. They’re easy-to-use and give you the ability to choose from an endless array of flavors, but you have to buy quite a few coffee capsules every week. 

If you still want to go ahead with a K-Cup coffee maker, there are factors you need to consider to ensure you’re picking the right model. Try to answer the following questions, and only buy the k-compact if it perfectly suits your needs.

  • Do you prefer simple controls over advanced settings?
  • Would you trade a compact design for more brewing options?
  • Do you mind not having a “strong brew mode” on your machine?
  • Is affordability a priority?
  • Are you okay with spending money on coffee pods?
  • Do you consider a large reservoir an advantage?

Why Should You Consider the Keurig K-Compact?

The K-Compact comes with several benefits, but it has its shortcomings too. Read on to learn more about its core features and make your purchase wisely.

Design

When it comes to the structure, the Keurig K-compact isn’t much different than its predecessors. It has a plastic body, a water reservoir, and a handful of buttons to adjust cup sizes and other brewing modes.

The unit’s compact design differentiates it from the previous models and makes it an excellent match for space-limited kitchens.

This coffee maker is 13 inches wide and 14 inches high and fits practically every countertop. When you open up the bale to insert a K-Cup, the height extends to a little over 16 inches. Also, the device is tall enough to take in large travel mugs – up to 7 inches. 

Another selling point is the wide range of colors. The device comes in black, white, red, grey, and a beautiful turquoise design to match your interior decor.

Water Reservoir

With 32 ounces of tank capacity, this brewer holds about four water servings, which means you don’t have to fill it before each brewing effort. 

Of course, a larger capacity could bring more peace of mind, but this amount is more than fair compared to the compact size. So, unlike other tiny models, you don’t have to give up the space-friendliness for your convenience.

The water tank has a half-circle shape that sits on the rear. It also has a transparent top that helps you realize when it’s empty. When it’s time to refill the reservoir, you just need to pull up the tank and simply slip it back to its hiding spot. 

Unfortunately, the tank doesn’t include a filter, so you need to buy one. If you don’t have access to purified water, go for a rear-reservoir water holder, and place it at the bottom. This makes your machine compatible with most types of water filters. However, if you don’t want to restrict the tank capacity, distilled water can do the job since it eliminates the need for a water filter.

If you check out the inside of the tank more carefully, you’ll see a filter screen right at the center, which prevents water residue from getting into your coffee. But remember, it’s not an alternative to a water filter.

Serving size

Although single-served, this isn’t a mono-sized coffee maker. It means you have the freedom to brew over three different cup sizes—6, 8, and 10 ounces. 

As long as you’re used to drinking moderate portions of coffee, this will meet your needs. But if you sometimes want 12,16, or even 20 ounces of coffee at once, you should go for more diverse models.

Other than the serving size, there are no extra brewing options to choose from. It also lacks the Strong Brew mode. So, when you’re exhausted and need a more potent dose of coffee to reduce your drowsiness, you should try a larger portion instead.

It doesn’t have an instant hot water option, an iced brew button, or the temperature settings you find with other advanced models. Given its affordable price and simplistic design, this isn’t very surprising.

Brew Time

The Keurig K-Compact prepares your coffee in less than one minute. The only limitation is that the machine needs four minutes to warm-up before it brews the first mug. However, once it completes the preheating process, you can make back-to-back servings until the reservoir dries out.

This ideal for larger households because individual servings get ready with minimum delay, and family members can have their morning coffee together. 

The machine features an Auto-Off function that turns it off after two hours of inactivity. So, you don’t have to worry if you forget to switch the device off. This feature reduces your power bills, prevents electrical shocks, and ultimately extends the longevity of your machine.

Ease of Use

Working with the K-Compact is straightforward. It has four simple buttons instead of a complex touchscreen, one for switching the device on, and three for the cup size. The buttons are sorted in descending order, making them easy to spot when you’re too sleepy to read the numbers.

There’s a warning light that notifies you whenever the water level is low. Also, a maximum filing line on the tank wall tells you when to stop pouring water. 

To make a cup of coffee, just pull up the handle, insert your favorite K-Cup, and select your serving size.

Cleaning and Maintenance

Cleaning your Keurig machine not only improves its durability but also prevents changes in your coffee’s flavor.

Luckily, the Keurig K-Compact comes with removable parts that make it a breeze to clean. All you need is to detach the drip tray, tank, and pod holder, wipe them up with a damp cloth, and put them back together. You can also use a mild detergent if needed.

As with any other brewing machine, you’ll need to descale reservoir every so often. While the due time may vary depending on your usage and water quality, the procedure always remains the same. You should use a quality descaling solution, add water to it, and turn on the brewer.

The mineral build-up is more likely when you have salty water or don’t use a water filter. Watch this video to see how often you should clean different parts of your Keurig unit.

Value

As you can see, the Keurig K-Compact is a brewing system with minimum bells and whistles. So, it comes at a surprisingly affordable price compared to its competitors. 

If maintained appropriately, the K-Compact can last up to two years, a fair trade for the money.

Durability

Most parts of this brewer are made with plastic, but there’s nothing flimsy about it, despite what you may think. The plastic pieces are relatively tough, and they won’t lose their glossy finish after a couple of times cleaning.

Besides, it has a one-year warranty that makes sure you can use it for a decent amount of time.

Compatible Pods

The Keurig K-compact is compatible with all types of K-Cup pods, including Keurig, Caribou, Starbucks, Barista Prima Coffeehouse, or Nespresso.

This opens up a wide range of choices for you, both in terms of price and flavors. There are over 200 types of K-Cups out there, which means an excellent brewing experience without losing quality.

Even if you want to have a personalized mixture of ground coffee, there’s nothing to worry about because this brewer is also compatible with refillable filter pods.

The only no-no pods are iced-based K-Cups because the K-Compact doesn’t offer iced coffee brewing.

Hot Water Demand

As mentioned before, the Keurig K-Compact doesn’t include many brewing options or programmable settings. One drawback is the lack of on-demand hot water. However, you can work around the problem with a simple trick.

If you don’t insert a pod and press any of the serving options, your coffee maker starts generating quick hot water rather than coffee. This is quite helpful when you want a quick breakfast, such as oatmeals.

Taste

Taste is somewhat subjective. Looking at the customer reviews, dozens of people say they appreciate the taste and claim they get their capsules’ original flavor. But there are coffee geeks who complain about a mild plastic taste.

Generally, if you’re accustomed to the taste of K-Cup machines, the Keurig K-compact won’t bother you because it’s as good as other Keurigs when it comes to taste. However, you can’t compare barista coffee machines to coffee machines. 

Alternatives

If you still have second thoughts about buying a K-Compact, check out some of its best alternatives below.

Keurig K-Mini

If you don’t mind filling your water reservoir each time you’re brewing coffee, this one is worth considering. As the name implies, it has a super small structure, and it’s 7 inches slimmer than the K-Compact. 

With the addition of 12-ounce cup-sizes, you have broader options. Besides, the device features a cord storage compartment to maximize its space-saving abilities.

Nespresso Essenza Mini

Another pod-based brewer, the Nespresso Mini, is a more stylish alternative to the K-Compact. It also preheats much faster, but it’s only compatible with Nespresso capsules. Moreover, it’s almost three times pricier than its Keurig equivalent.

Things to Know About the Keurig K-Compact

Does the Keurig K-Compact Use K-Cups?

The Keurig K-Compact accepts any kind of pod that contains coffee, tea, or other mixtures of hot drinks. It doesn’t brew carafe style, so if you want a more customized beverage, you’ll have to work with refillable pods.

Does the Keurig K-Compact Need a Filter?

The Keurig K-Compact only needs a filter if you use tap water. Most urban water supplies contain high levels of dissolved minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, salt, and iodine. The result is hard or saline water, causing scale buildup in water appliances, including your Keurig tank.

Using a water filter removes the impurities from your water. So, your K-Compact will do a better job, your coffee will taste better, and you’ll have to descale the tank less often.

How Do I Clean My Keurig K-Compact With Vinegar?

Cleaning your Keurig K-Compact with vinegar is an excellent way to remove scale deposits. Pour some white vinegar in the tank until it’s half full. Then, add another portion of distilled water till you reach the max line. Turn on the device and let it brew all the water in the reservoir.

Since every brewing extracts no more than 10 ounces, you may need to repeat the process several times until the tank’s empty. Make sure you change the mug after each effort to avoid a mess. Once there was no vinegar solution in the tank, remove the tank, wash it, and put it back after drying.

Final Words on Our Keurig K-Compact Review

The K-Compact isn’t the most advanced or customizable Keurig version, but it definitely works beyond its value. It’s the slimmest option you can find among large-tank models and perfectly blends with small kitchens. With a hard plastic body, it is also easy to maintain and can last up to three years – a reasonable exchange for what you pay.

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by Brett