Choosing a coffee machine can be complicated if you don’t know what to look for, especially when you’re looking at a couple machines from the same brand.
Keurig is one of the most popular coffee machine brands in the United States. They specialize in making machines that are amazingly user-friendly because of their pod compatibility.
The Keurig K-Café and K-Elite are two very popular models made by Keurig. If you’re interested in them, we’ll put the Keurig K-Café vs K-Elite here to help you make your decision.
This is what we’ll show you:
- Similarities between the K-Café and K-Elite
- Which features are different between them
- How to decide which one is right for you
Let’s dive right in.
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Water Tank Capacity
Iced Coffee Brew Option
4, 6, 8, 10, & 12 oz
6, 8, 10, & 12 oz
With a huge 70-ounce water tank, rapid brew time, and coffee strength adjustability, the K-Elite allows you to tailor every single cup of coffee to your preferences. The large water tank especially makes it a great choice for homes with a lot of coffee drinkers.
Removable Drip Trays
Nobody likes having to constantly mop up messes from their counters. That’s why either of these coffee makers has a removable drip tray.
After brewing, when you first remove your cup from the tray, any remaining droplets will be captured before hitting your counter. The fact that you can slide them out of the machine makes it easy to clean them because you can simply wash them in your sink.
However, the removable drip tray has another function. By being able to pull it off the machine whenever you need, you can make more room beneath the dispenser, allowing you to fit a larger cup like a travel mug underneath.
Pod and Grounds Compatibility
Keurig machines like the K-Café and K-Elite are famous for being able to use pods. A coffee pod is a sealed serving size of grounds that have already been measured out for you. For Keurigs, these pods are called K-cups.
With either of these coffee machines, you can just pick a K-cup flavor that sounds tasty to you, put it in the machine, and let it brew the drink for you. It’s convenient, but it won’t ever really taste as potent as freshly ground coffee.
The good news is, either of these Keurigs also allows you to use freshly ground coffee for when you need the best possible flavor. To use your own coffee grounds, you’ll just need to purchase the My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter, which is sold separately.
Because either of these machines uses K-Cups, you’ll be able to choose from the wide range of available K-Cups any time you want a drink. As one of the more well-known brands in the United States, there are tons of K-cup flavors to choose from.
It’s not just coffee you can choose, either. There are tea and hot chocolate K-cups that also come in a breathtaking variety of flavor profiles. Virtually any common hot drink that comes to mind is available in a K-cup form for you to purchase.
Coffee Strength Adjustability
Sometimes, the average cup of joe just isn’t enough to help you power through your day. If you’re in need of something with just a little extra strength, you’ll get some use out of the strength settings on either the K-Café or K-Elite.
Both machines have a Strong button on top. When you press the Strong button before brewing a coffee, the resulting cup will be more concentrated, resulting in a more intense flavor.
Energy Efficient Modes
With the busy schedules everyone has these days, it’s no wonder that appliances get left on accidentally. Unfortunately, leaving an appliance on can drive up your utility bills and waste valuable resources.
This is why both the K-Café and K-Elite have energy saving modes. If you leave either one of them on, they’ll automatically turn off after a period of time passes where no one uses them.
That means that if you dash out your door in the morning without remembering to turn off your coffee machine, you won’t have to face a higher electric bill as a result.
Most coffee machines aren’t ready to brew you a cup the second you turn them on. The majority of them have a warm-up time they must complete before you can even input your drink settings.
It’s true that the K-Café and K-Elite also have warm-up times. What sets them apart, however, is that they also have Smart Start.
Instead of having to wait for them to finish warming up before you can start inputting your drink preferences, you can set them up to brew your drink right when you turn them on and walk away. As soon as they’re warm enough to brew, they’ll make your drink for you.
Coffee makers can brew drinks in two different ways: either in large batches with several cups in them at a time, or in single-serve sizes for individual drinks.
These Keurigs both make single-serve portions. The best thing about this design is that it allows you to input whatever options you’d like to tailor each drink to your preferences.
Additionally, making individual cups at a time cuts down on waste. Rather than tossing out leftover pots of cold coffee, you’ll only have a single cup to worry about finishing.
Although both these Keurigs make single-serve portions, they do make these portions in different sizes. The Keurig K-Café, for example, makes 6, 8, 10, and 12-ounce cups. It also has a shot button that you can use to make small, highly concentrated shots of coffee.
If you want more sizes to choose from, you’ll want the K-Elite. It has the 6, 8, 10, and 12-ounce sizes of the K-Café, but with a bonus 4-ounce size in case you’re looking for something really modest.
Water Tank Capacity
Water needs to be added to coffee machines to keep them brewing. Without water, there can be no coffee. Thus, a larger water tank is preferable if you’re going to use your coffee machine frequently, because you won’t need to add water as often.
In terms of water tank capacity, the K-Elite is the clear winner. With a 70-ounce water tank, you’ll be able to make one or two drinks more than the K-Café’s 60-ounce tank before a refill is necessary.
Keurig K Café Milk Frother
One aspect in which the K-Café easily wins is its milk frother. Coffee shop darlings like lattes and cappuccinos both require foamed milk.
With the attached frother on the side of K-Café, you can get smooth, silky milk foam to top your shots with – just like what you’d get from a barista. You can even choose if you want enough foam for a cappuccino or a latte.
On top of that, you can even foam milk cold. If you’re craving an iced latte to help you beat the heat, you can just foam up some cold milk and pour it over ice.
The K-Elite does not include a frother. It has an Iced Drink button, which assumes you’re brewing over ice, but you cannot use it to produce milk foam.
Keurig K Elite Hot Water Dispenser
Technically, either one of these machines can produce hot water. That’s simply part of what a coffee machine does to brew properly.
However, the K-Elite is the only one of these machines with a dedicated hot water button. You can use the machine to heat water for all sorts of purposes, such as instant oatmeal or to brew bags of tea.
You can use the K-Café to make plain hot water by pressing the coffee button and not putting a pod in, but this can be confusing for anyone unfamiliar with the machine. If you’re going to be sharing your machine with someone who will want to use hot water, the K-Elite’s Hot Water button may be easier just because it’s marked as such.
Keurig K Café Shot Button
The K-Café is designed to mimic a coffee shop experience in as user-friendly a way as possible. Because of this, it can brew shots of espresso.
The shot size will brew one 1.35-ounce serving of coffee that will be highly concentrated. It’s not necessarily a true espresso shot, because you’d need a real espresso machine that can brew at the correct amount of pressure. Nevertheless, it will give you an experience similar to getting a shot of espresso.
The K-Elite does not have a shot size. Its smallest size is 4 ounces.
Keurig K Elite Temperature Control
Some people like to have their drinks brewed at a particular temperature. For instance, some like an extra-hot cup of coffee that really warms them up as they drink it.
If that sounds like you, you’ll love the K-Elite’s temperature controls. You can tweak the settings to brew your coffee to temperatures ranging from 187-192 degrees Fahrenheit.
The K-Café, on the other hand, does not have such a setting. You can only brew the same standard hot drink, unless you’re using the milk frother to make cold milk.
Which One Should You Buy?
Either one of these coffee machines will deliver a beginner-friendly coffee experience to your household. You’ll have the same range of K-cup flavors to choose from, a similar range of drink sizes, and overall similar benefits.
There is one key difference that will help you choose one or the other, though: the K-Café’s milk frother. If you’re the kind of person who loves to go to the local coffee shop and get a latte, then the milk frother could be a must-have for you.
But on the other hand, if all you want most of the time is a basic cup of coffee, the K-Elite will do just fine. You can even use it to adjust the temperature of your cups.
How many drinks you anticipate having daily may make a difference, too. The K-Elite’s slightly larger water tank allows it to brew a couple more drinks before a refill is necessary, which could save you time if there’s a line of people in your house all waiting for coffee.
Here’s the bottom line:
Choose the K-Café if you’re a fan of milk-based coffee shop drinks. You’ll be able to whip up milky beverages that will remind you of your barista-made favorites with just the push of a few buttons.
But if you’re going to be making plain coffees more often, pick the K-Elite. It has a bigger water tank, so it won’t require as many refills, and lets you make adjustments to the temperature of your drinks.
Looking for more information on these Keurigs? You can check them out below: