Keurig K-Mini Plus Review: Your Tiny Coffee Maker
Are you looking for a foolproof single- serve coffee maker? Then you’ve come to the right place. The ultra-compact Keurig K-Mini Plus is about as easy to use as they come, brewing a single cup of coffee at the press of a button.
In this review, we’ll look at what you can and can’t expect from this simple brewer, and how it stacks up against its more affordable base model, the K-Mini.
If you’ve been reading Keurig K-Mini Plus reviews in search of answers, we are here to deliver. Home Grounds expert team has dug deep on this one, so that you can know for sure whether it’s a worthwhile buy for you.
SUMMARY: The Keurig K-Mini Plus Coffee Maker
- Easy-to-use single serve coffee maker with a sleek and compact design
- 12 ounce removable water reservoir makes cleaning a breeze
- Coffee strength control lets you adjust between regular and strong
This is the perfect little brewer for apartments, in my opinion, or anyone with very little counter space. It’s perfect for a single cup, every time. Super simple to use.– Amanda D., Customer
The Full Keurig K-Mini Plus Coffee Maker Review
The Keurig K-Mini Plus coffee maker is featured in our review round up of the best Keurig coffee makers, so it’s no secret that we’re fans of the little brewer. It is a small, simple, and affordable single serve coffee machine, perfect for anyone who rarely brews more than a cup of coffee at a time. It doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles, but if you’re considering buying it, you should think of that as part of its appeal. It’s easy to use, and there is very little that can go wrong.
In this K-Mini Plus review, we’ll take a look at in considerable detail, including how it differs from the K-Mini and whether it’s worth the extra cost. Spoiler alert: it is.
Difference between K-Mini and K-Mini Plus
Before I get into the K-Mini Plus, you might be wondering how it differs from the K-Mini – and why it’s nearly twice the price. There are a few noteworthy differences between the two models, and in all honesty, we believe it’s worth paying for the upgraded Plus model.
Here is what distinguishes the two:
- The K-Mini Plus has a removable water reservoir, whereas it is fixed in the original K-Mini. The removable reservoir is not only easier to refill, but it makes it much more convenient to clean.
- The Plus model has coffee pod storage for up to 9 coffee pods, while the original Mini does not, despite having the same dimensions.
- The K-Mini Plus has a chrome accent on the drip tray. This is primarily an aesthetic difference, but it does give the Plus a more premium feel.
- The Plus offers coffee strength control, allowing you to choose between regular and strong.
Okay, with that clarified, let’s dig into those details (and many more) of the K-Mini Plus.
Custom Brewing Features – 3/5
As you might guess from the tiny size of the K-Mini Plus, it doesn’t offer a huge number of custom brewing features. This simplicity is part of the appeal. This is the coffee machine to buy because you want a perfect cup of plain coffee very quickly and with very little effort. And it does that very well. Once you turn the machine on, and give it about 30 seconds to heat up, you’re only one button press and 1 to 2 minutes away from a steaming cup of java.
Because the K-Mini Plus coffee maker relies on a single serve water reservoir, you can brew coffee of any cup size between 6 and 12 ounces. Just fill the tank with the desired amount of water, and it will keep brewing until it is empty. Bear in mind that you are using the same K-Cup coffee pod, and thus the same amount of ground coffee, regardless of brew size. So a 6-ounce cup of coffee will have a far stronger flavor than a 12-ounce brew.
You can also play with the coffee strength using the “Strong” button, which is an unexpected and very welcome addition to such a tiny machine. Contrary to popular belief, the strong brew option doesn’t just brew with less water to provide a more concentrated coffee. Instead, it actually slows the passage of water through the coffee grounds in your favorite K-Cup so that you extract more flavor compounds using the same volume of water (1). Perfect for the coffee lover who prefers a bolder coffee.
Any size perks?
A nice perk adding to the versatility of the K-Mini Plus is that it can accommodate full-size 12-ounce travel mugs, especially impressive given its overall tiny footprint.
By sliding out the removable drip tray, you can get up to 7 inches of clearance beneath the brew spout.
For coffee lovers who like their coffee on the go, this feature is worth its weight in gold. It quickly becomes tiresome brewing into a smaller coffee mug and transferring it to a travel mug, and a Keurig coffee maker should be all about convenience.
Coffee Flavor – 2.5/5
Keurig brewers are famed for their convenience, not their amazing coffee quality. K-Cup coffee is typically weak and watery, especially when you brew larger size cups. The coffee dose inside a K-Cup is small, and depending on where you buy your coffee pods, the pre-ground coffee has often gone stale and lost much of its flavor. Although, the “Strong” button offers a flavor boost in this case.
The Keurig K-Mini Plus coffee maker is a first generation Keurig machine that is compatible only with 1.0 coffee pods, rather than the newer 2.0 pods. This is to the consumer’s advantage, as 1.0 pods are much more readily available and affordable (2). You can even find compatible K-Cup coffee pods for brewing tea and hot chocolate.
Better yet, the Keurig K-Mini coffee makers work with the My K-Cup refillable pod. At HomeGrounds, we always recommend taking advantage of this option. From an environmental standpoint, you’ll be keeping the non-recyclable plastic K-Cups out of landfills, which is reason enough (3). But you’ll also be able to make better quality coffee.
With the reusable My K-Cup, you can use any ground coffee in your K-Mini brewer, which has three big advantages versus a pre-packaged coffee pod.
- You have way more options when it comes to coffee variety, because you aren’t confined to brands that make K-Cups. You can use literally any coffee on Earth!
- Your coffee will be much fresher, which means it will be much more flavorful. This is especially true if you are buying whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself, but is even true of most pre-ground coffee (4). Though not a rule, K-Cup coffee is notoriously stale.
- You can add however much ground coffee you like to your reusable K-Cup (within reason), providing another way to play with coffee strength. Most coffee lovers find that K-Cups are under-dosed, particularly for brewing larger coffees.
Using the My K-Cup does do away with some of the convenience Keurig brewers are known for. You’ll have to add about a minute or two of prep and cleanup to your morning coffee routine. If that’s incompatible with busy weekday mornings, maybe consider this option for slower weekend brews.
Make Your Life Easier Features – 4/5
The primary goal of Keurig brand coffee machines is to make brewing coffee as fast and convenient as possible. So while the K-Mini Plus doesn’t have a lot of custom brewing options, it certainly delivers when it comes to making your life easy. That’s just one reason we think it’s among the best small coffee makers.
First, let’s talk about the design of the K-Mini Plus. Most notable is its size. It’s the smallest of all the Keurig coffee makers, measuring just 4.5 inches wide by 11.3 inches tall by 12.1 inches deep. It can fit comfortably anywhere. Tiny spaces like apartment kitchens, RVs, dorm rooms, offices – you name it. And even with its small size, the drip tray is large enough to accommodate an entire accidental brew, avoiding a wet mess if you forget to add a mug (we’ve all been there in the morning).
It’s even small and light enough to be considered portable, at least in the context of road trips. It’s a bit unwieldy to tuck into a purse or backpack. Traveling with your K-Mini Plus is made even easier by the fact that it has discreet cord storage and K-Cup pod holder storage space for up to nine K-Cups, something not found in the standard K-Mini.
K-Mini Plus coffee makers are available in five colors to suit any decor, from practical to wild. You can choose between matte black, cardinal red, evening teal, studio gray, and matte white. It’s an attractive and sleek design, with the chrome accent on the drip tray definitely classing it up versus the K-Mini.
When it comes to using the K-Mini Plus, you’d be hard-pressed to find a simpler coffee maker.
It only has three buttons.
The power button turns it on and off. The strong button allows you to opt for a slightly stronger coffee. And the brew button brews. Brewing a hot cup of delicious coffee is as simple as turning it on, inserting the coffee pod, and pressing the brew button. If only everything in life could be so easy!
One thing missing from the K-Mini Plus that would be a nice addition is a brew timer that allows you to pre-program it to brew at a particular time. It’s such a treat to wake up in the morning with your coffee ready and waiting. This is common on many budget coffee makers and many Keurig coffee machines, so it should be neither difficult nor overly expensive to add. Perhaps this should be another feature distinguishing the K-Mini Plus from the K-Mini. That said, given how quickly this machine heats and brews, it isn’t a huge sacrifice to start from scratch in the morning.
Keurig and the Environment
It’s difficult to review a Keurig coffee machine without mentioning its environmental impact. Keurig brewers have developed a negative reputation for their large environmental footprint, and it’s not entirely unwarranted. The K-Cups themselves continue to be non-recyclable in many jurisdictions, leading to overflowing landfills (5).
Rest assured that the coffee maker is a different story. It has an energy-efficient auto off feature that powers it down just 90 seconds after brewing, so you’re never wasting excess power. Better yet, the matte black casing of the K-Mini is now made from 30% recycled plastic. Keurig is partnering with industry experts to incorporate more recycled materials into its manufacturing, so expect this to be just the beginning of a larger trend.
Recently, Keurig has also launched some other sustainability initiatives to combat their poor reputation, including conservation projects with a focus on water.
For every Keurig beverage made, we restore the same volume of water through projects that focus on enhancing watersheds, protecting habitats and conserving water.
So if you’ve been avoiding Keurig due to concerns about your environmental impact, pairing the matte black K-Mini Plus with a reusable My K-Cup is a method of brewing coffee you can feel good about.
Water Reservoir – 5/5
There is nothing to critique when it comes to the water reservoir on the K-Mini Plus. Yes, it only holds one serving of water at a time, so you will have to refill it every time you brew coffee. But that is the point of this tiny brewer. And the advantage of this system is that you can precisely choose the actual cup size of your coffee based on how much water you add.
On the larger brewers with full-size reservoirs, you are confined to pre-programmed drink sizes – usually, 6 oz, 8 oz, and 10 oz. You can also feel confident you’re brewing with fresh water every time (6).
The fact that the one-cup reservoir is removable is one of the features that separates the K-Mini Plus from the K-Mini. While it might seem like a small thing, the removable water reservoir adds significantly to the user-friendliness of this model. It makes it easier to refill, but even more importantly, it makes it much easier to clean. You can even pop it in the dishwasher, because it’s dishwasher safe.
Things we liked:
- Very compact design
- Easy to use
- Removable water reservoir
- Can adjust coffee strength
Things we didn't like:
- The negative environmental impact of K-Cups
- Not a lot of custom brewing options
- Plastic case
Don’t Buy the Keurig K-Mini Plus If…
- You want to make multiple cups in a row: If you often make more than one cup of coffee at a time, constantly refilling the single serve water reservoir in the K-Mini Plus will eventually drive you crazy. A better option is to go for a slightly bigger Keurig model with a larger removable water tank.
Check out our Keurig K-Classic review for a great option. This mid-priced model is just as straightforward to use but includes a 48 ounce removable water reservoir. On the other hand, if you're considering a low-cost drip brewer, try the Drew Barrymore coffee maker. This brewer can make coffee in batches. It also comes in different cute colors.
- You want more drink customizability: If you want more options than just drink size and “strong”, read our Keurig K-Elite coffee maker review. The K-Elite offers the most customizability of any Keurig brewer. It has brewing temperature control, 5 different drink size options, the strong brew option, and even a special brewing method for enjoying iced coffees!
- You want an affordable machine that can make a tastier cup of coffee: Keurig has recently released the K-Supreme line. These models are equipped with MultiStream Technology, which is like a showerhead water dispensing system. The most affordable model in the line is the Keurig K-Supreme. Other models such as the K-Supreme Plus, and the K-Supreme Plus Smart offer more features.
- You want the option of milky drinks: If you truly want cafe style drinks like lattes and cappuccinos, don’t buy a Keurig. You’ll need a real espresso machine, with 9 bars of pressure and a steam wand. But for tasty specialty coffee drinks in a much easier-to-use and more affordable package, the Keurig K-Cafe is a very clever coffee maker. It includes a built-in milk frother plus the option to brew a strong 2-ounce coffee, which approximates espresso.
- You prefer espresso over brewed coffee: If you're looking for a compact single-serve machine that can make espresso, then consider the Essenza Mini by Nespresso instead. It is Nespresso's smallest model yet, and it can make two espresso drinks: a single shot of espresso and a lungo. You can learn more about this model in our review here: https://www.homegrounds.co/nespresso-essenza-mini-review/.
The Keurig K-Mini Plus is not a coffee maker for everyone. Yet, it serves its designed purpose very well. If you’re looking for a reliable coffee maker that makes it incredibly easy to brew a single cup at a time, this is the one for you. That is especially true if you’re short on space, as it is the most compact Keurig available.
Still, if you’re not the only coffee drinker and usually brew more coffee, or if you prefer to have more control over brewing parameters, you’re better off opting for one of the higher-end Keurig models or an alternative brand.
- Boydell, H. (2018, November 22). Coffee Extraction & How It Helps Create the Perfect Cup. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/11/understanding-coffee-extraction-for-your-perfect-cup/
- Hern, A. (2015, May 11). Keurig takes steps towards abandoning coffee-pod DRM. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/may/11/keurig-takes-steps-towards-abandoning-coffee-pod-drm
- Hamblin, J. (2015. March 2). A Brewing Problem. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/the-abominable-k-cup-coffee-pod-environment-problem/386501/
- Shewmake, M. (n.d.). How Long Does Coffee Last? How to Store Coffee to Preserve Freshness. Retrieved from https://club.atlascoffeeclub.com/how-long-does-coffee-last/
- Scauzillo, S. (2019, July 19). The curious, environmental case of the Keurig K-Cups (or what to do with them). Retrieved from https://www.sgvtribune.com/2019/07/19/the-curious-environmental-case-of-the-keurig-k-cups-or-what-to-do-with-them/
- Pocasangre, F. (2018, July 4). Testing Water in Pursuit of Excellent Coffee. Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/07/testing-water-in-pursuit-of-excellent-coffee/