Keurig Reveals its Vue
By Jennifer White Karp
cup category puts it head-to-head with
Green Mountain Roasters, the company
that sells the Keurig brewer, for which
Starbucks-brand K-Cups were recently
introduced. In addition, the patent on
Keurig’s K-Cups is reportedly expiring
in the fall, leading suppliers to wonder
aloud what Keurig’s plans were.
Over at the Keurig booth, it was clear
what Keurig’s view was, or rather, its
Vue. That’s the name of the company’s
new brewer, which does not use K-Cups
but a wider capsule called a Vue Pack,
which can be recycled in some municipalities, unlike the K-Cup.
At $250, the new Vue brewer is priced
above the top-of-the-line Keurig machine,
which sells for $180. It is currently available at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and will roll
out nationwide this month.
The new system offers improved functionality, creating a better beverage,
according to a Keurig spokeswoman.
“We heard from consumers that they
were looking for a brewer that made
bigger, stronger and hotter cups of
coffee,” said Jennifer Gear, a media
representative for Keurig.
The Vue incorporates new technology
for water pressure, air flow and timing
that allows users to customize their
beverage better with a touch screen,
a function familiar to today’s iPod users.
The Vue also creates café beverages like
cappuccino and lattes by using two Vue
Packs. The Vue Packs are marked with icons, which correspond to icons on the touch screen, another example of smartphone functionality crossing over to small appliances. The Vue Packs will cost more than K-Cups at $11.99 to $13.99 for a 16-count pack. Currently, over 30 brews are available for the Vue Packs, compared to over 200 for the K-Cups. Consumers concerned about being green were often uneasy with the plastic waste generated by the K-Cup. The Vue Pack, however, uses No. 5 plastic (polypropyl-
ene), the type of plastic used for yogurt
containers, for example. About 50 percent
of municipalities accept No. 5 plastic for
recycling, according to Keurig. And that
number is increasing. While New York
City is among those that don’t, Mayor
Michael Bloomberg recently announced
plans to increase the amount of plastic
recycling for the city.
To recycle the Vue Pack after brewing,
users pull back on the lid and the grounds
remain encased in the mess-free tea
bag-like pod that can be composted.
Specially marked Vue Packs can be used
to brew larger amounts for tall 18-ounce
travel mugs, which the new brewer can
accommodate, another upgrade over the
older Keurig brewers.
Keurig executives consider the new sys-
tem to be an additional platform, not one
that will replace the older system. In a
It wasn’t just the caffeine creating a
buzz among coffee brewer exhibitors at
the International Home + Housewares
Show in Chicago last month. It was the
question: What will Keurig do?
Brew Over Ice
The Vue uses capsules
called Vue Packs, which
differ in size from the
Touch screen icons allow
users to customize their
Keurig unveiled the Vue Single
Cup Brewer at the IH+HS in
Chicago last month
statement, they said they can coexist with the new
Starbucks system as well, pointing out that theirs is
a low-pressure system while the new Verismo system from Starbucks uses high-pressure extraction.
“We believe Starbucks to be a very satisfied participant in the Keurig K-Cup system, having frequently
communicated its ongoing support of the Keurig
K-Cup platform,” said Lawrence Blanford, Green
Mountain Coffee Roasters president and CEO, in
a statement distributed at the IH+HS. “The two
companies continue to collaborate with each other
in the low-pressure Keurig Single Cup Brewing
system in North America.”
Starbucks has reportedly said as well that it would
continue to supply Starbucks-branded K-Cups to