Keurig K-Duo Plus and Duo Essentials Review – The Best Dual Brew Coffee Makers
K-Duo and K-Duo Plus are somehow identical machines with slight differences. Both of them are dual-brew coffee makers, meaning that they can accept coffee pods and ground coffee. Also, they have the same brewing features and the same control options.
Duo Essentials, on the other hand, is a simplified version of the K-Duo series. It’s very similar to the regular K-Duo in terms of design but an entirely different machine when it comes to features. Simply put, Duo Essentials has stripped K-Duo’s features to the “essentials” of a dual coffee maker.
So, If cup and carafe variability is your only parameter when buying a coffee maker, the Duo Essentials will do the job. But if you’re looking for more convenience and better flexibility, you should consider one of the K-Duo models.
In the following, we’ll go over the K-Duo and K-Duo Plus and discuss their pros and cons. We’ll then explain how they’re different from the Essentials and tell you which one to get depending on your requirements.
Keurig K-Duo Plus
Things to Consider before Buying a Dual Brew Coffee Maker
With a wide variety of flavors and easy usage, Keurig K-cup brewers have been an ideal choice for coffee lovers and busy workers for years.
But sometimes, you just miss the fresh aroma of your favorite ground coffee. You want to host your friends every now and often, and you don’t want to serve their cups separately. Or, maybe you just prefer quick K-Cups while your parents prefer traditional drip coffee.
Here’s where dual coffee makers come in handy. With this combination, you don’t have to buy two individual coffee makers. You can brew either a whole carafe pot for the entire family or a single cup of tea, chocolate milk, or coffee for yourself.
I know it sounds terrific, but before you rush to buy one, here’s what you should consider about two-way coffee makers:
- Does the serving size meet your family’s needs?
- Can you put it on your countertop without hassle?
- Can you fit your favorite mug in it?
- Is the carafe pot resistant to breaks?
- How many cups does the tank provide before having to refill?
- Can you use water filters with this machine?
- Is it convenient to use and set up?
- How long does it take to brew your coffee?
- Whats the upfront cost?
- What do you get with the machine, and what do you need to buy separately?
Why You Should Consider the K-Duo and K-Duo Plus
Multiple Brew size
The K-Duo series offers you a wide range of size options. When brewing in a single cup, it lets you choose between 6, 8, 10, or 12-ounce cups. Similarly, if you want to use the drip brewing feature, you have the freedom to brew at 6, 8, 10, and 12 cups of a carafe.
All you need is to select your desired portion and press the right button.
There’s a large water tank of 60 ounces that you can use for both carafe and K-Cup brewing. It means the coffee maker can prepare 12 cups of coffee before it needs refilling. So, you don’t need to worry about the water in the tank every morning.
Besides, the reservoir is removable for convenient filling.
I’m proud to say that K-Duo isn’t one of those coffee makers that brew coffee in seconds.
This might seem like a drawback on the surface because you may think that faster is better. But the truth is, when a coffee maker brews your drink in under a minute, it doesn’t give the grinds enough time to contact the water. So, the result will be a weak, distasteful cup of coffee.
By extending the time to more than a minute, the K-Duo slows down water flow to extract more coffee and produce stronger drinks.
The difference in time is almost imperceptible – maybe twenty to forty seconds – but the taste improvement is worth considering.
On the carafe side, though, it takes almost ten minutes to brew a full pot. If you consider the number of cups it’ll give you in the end, this is also fast.
Strong Brew Option
Apart from the strong overall taste, the K-Duo has another option to increase your beverage density further. This is very helpful for coffee purists or those who prefer a stronger dose every once in a while. There will always be a time when you’re too sleepy and need more caffeine to kick start your morning.
The Keurig K-Duo has a programmable timer, which lets you set a brewing time for up to 24 hours later. With this auto-brewing feature, the coffee will be ready while you’re busy with other chores, and you’ll never miss it.
Besides, what’s better than having your coffee waiting for you, rather than you waiting for it?
As the name suggests, this feature lets you pause the brewing process and get a cup of coffee before the whole carafe is ready. But remember that it’s only a 20-second break. So, you’ll need to put the carafe back once you’re done with pouring.
Many reviewers find the feature somehow unnecessary because they think the whole brewing cycle isn’t too long to need a pause option. However, you’ll never know how useful it is until you’re in a big hurry.
Unlike most coffee makers, the Keurig K-Duo doesn’t need extra time to warm up. It heats the water and brews your coffee simultaneously. So, as soon as you turn on the machine, you can choose the serving size and have your coffee.
Besides the smart start option, the K-Duo comes with a useful smart shut-off feature that makes your job easier, lowers electricity consumption, and minimizes the risk of electrical shocks. So, if the brewer stays idle for about five minutes, it automatically shuts down.
Just like other Keurig models, you can choose from a wide range of K-Cups when using the K-Duo series. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Keurig pod or any other brands such as Starbucks, Tully’s, or Folgers.
The only exemptions are K-Carafe pods, K-Mug pods, Rivo pods, and Vue pods.
The cleaning process is usually a big concern when it comes to kitchen appliances, especially when you use the device every day.
The good news is, you don’t have to wash all of K-Duo’s parts every time you brew a batch. The outer body, water tank, pod holder, brewing needle, and drip tray need cleaning every couple of months.
The machine will notify you when it’s time to descale the tank so that you won’t have to keep track. The reservoir and the drip tray are detachable, so it’s easy to wash them in the sink. And the drip tray is dishwasher-safe, so you won’t need to worry about cleaning the small holes.
The only parts you have to clean every day are the carafe pot – if you use the carafe option – the filter basket, and the mesh filter. If you brew a sugary beverage or dense, sticky drink such as hot chocolate, it’s also a good idea to clean the exit needle afterward.
What is the Difference Between Keurig K-Duo and K-Duo Plus?
The biggest advantage of K-Duo Plus over the regular K-Duo is that you can put its water tank anywhere around the main body – except for the front. This gives you more flexibility when deciding where to put the brewer in the kitchen. It also saves you space on the countertop.
The most noticeable difference between these models is their appearance.
Before anything else, the regular K-Duo has a side-by-side design: on the left, you’ll see a spout for carafe brewing, and on the right, there’s another for the single-cup brewing. In comparison, the K-Duo Plus has a vertical structure and a single spout for both settings.
The former comes with a glass carafe, whereas the latter boasts a stainless steel one. Needless to say, stainless steel is more durable and may be more fashionable than glass. Also, it can retain the heat for up to two hours.
The K-Duo, on the other hand, uses a heating plate to keep your coffee warm. You can set it to your desired temperature, and is a plus compared to the K-Duo Plus. If you ask me, it’s the only advantage of the K-Duo over the Plus.
K-Duo Plus is taller and narrower than the regular K-Duo, which may or may not be a good thing based on your countertop dimensions.
K-Duo is almost 13 inches high and 11 inches wide, while the K-Duo Plus has a height of 14.2 inches and a width of 8.2 inches.
As a result, they’re also different in terms of the mug sizes they accommodate. The K-Duo model offers a maximum space of 7 inches for your cups, but the Plus version can fit up to 8-inch travel mugs when you detach the drip tray.
K-Duo Plus offers some extras with the deal that the regular version doesn’t. It comes with a gold-tone filter basket to prevent coffee grounds from getting into your coffee. It also includes a charcoal water filter inside the reservoir, which purifies the water and minimizes scale buildup.
You can use these accessories with the K-Duo, but you should pay extra money to buy them.
The K-Duo is compatible with all flat-bottom paper filters. You can also buy reusable gold-tone mesh filters to avoid the waste of paper.
Being an upgraded version of the K-Duo, the Plus is much more expensive than its basic predecessor. It’s also more costly than most Keurig machines.
However, if you add the price of accessories and other perks, such as the adjustable water tank, thermal carafe, and high durability, it’s a relatively fair investment.
What About the Duo Essentials?
Duo Essentials is a stripped-down version of the Duo series. It is cheaper but offers two-way brewing.
It has a side-by-side design – rather than single-spout – making it very similar to the regular K-Duo in terms of appearance. Also, it contains a glass carafe and a heating plate. The only difference is that the Essentials is a bit larger than K-Duo.
Here are a few functional differences between the Essentials and K-Duo:
- Fewer brew sizes: For single-cup brewing, you don’t have the 6-ounce option. Similarly, for the carafe brewing, you should brew at least 8 cups and at last 12 cups of coffee.
- No programmable timer or auto-start feature.
- Strong Brew is not an option.
- It doesn’t have more than 6.7 inches of space for your mugs, while the K-Duo and K-Duo Pus allow for up to 7 and 8-inches high, respectively.
Things to Know about the Keurig K-Duo, K-Duo Plus, and Duo Essentials
Is the Keurig Duo Good?
The Keurig Duo is a great machine for those who want a combination of modern K-Cups and traditional drip coffee in a single device. It lets you brew up to 12-ounce cups of your desired hot drink, as well as 12 cups of carafe coffee for larger households. It also offers automatic features such as smart start, auto shut-off, and a digital timer to set a brewing cycle.
If you go for the Plus version, you’ll also get an adjustable reservoir that you can place on either the sides or back of the machine.
How Does the Keurig Duo Work?
If you’re using a K-Cup, it’s as easy as filling the reservoir, inserting your favorite pod, and choosing the brew size. The carafe involves a few further steps, though: You should open up the carafe drawer, place a paper filter or gold-tone permanent filter into the basket, and pour the coffee grounds to the bottom. Then place the pot under the spout and select a brew size.
Is the K-Duo Programmable?
Both K-Duo and K-Duo Plus are programmable machines. For example, they can automatically start brewing at a predetermined time. If there’s enough water in the reservoir, they can also repeat the process every single day at that time. Remember that Duo Essentials lacks this feature.
All three options of the Keurig Duo line allow you to brew ground coffee as well as K-Cup pods. Duo Essentials is the most basic version. K-Duo regular is the upgraded version, and the Plus is the high-end version that outweighs the other two models in terms of extra features.
If you’re looking for a cheap yet practical solution, the Duo Essential is probably enough, but if you want a premium device with maximum automation and durability, I would recommend the K-Duo plus.
It comes with all the additional tools you may need, including a customizable tank. It’s a good investment due to the stainless steel material.
Keurig K-Duo Plus