When it comes to drinks, Diet Coke ranks a close second to beer on my favorites list. My Diet Coke obsession means I always probably have a 2-liter around when I need a fix, but it also means I don’t keep very many other sodas on hand. Regular Coke? Only when liquor is involved. Dr. Pepper? I love having one every now and then, but not so often that I need to keep any in the house. And so, whenever I want to stray from my DC, or just want to make a quick cocktail (Diet Coke, despite its deliciousness is a horrible mixer), then I have to run down to the store and grab something, a task that typically involves buying a 2-liter I only need a little over half of, and then ultimately tossing out the rest later when I discover it’s gone bad.
Now there’s another solution: Keurig Kold.
The device works a lot like your average coffee maker with one big difference: it makes cold drinks. More than just iced coffee, it can make everything from your favorite sodas and flavored waters, to things like sports drinks and tonics. Just like the hot version, drinks are made individually, so you don’t end up tossing any out, and are dispensed in seconds with just the press of a button.
Keurig recently sent me one of the devices to try out, and so I did, a lot.
In general, the machine is fairly large. It rivals the size of my (large) espresso machine, and takes up the entirety of the counter space beside my stove. It’s on-par with your traditionally bulky coffee maker or other appliance, but you’re gonna need some counter space in order to make this thing work.
Once you take it out of the box, you’ll have to plug it in and have it “cool down” for roughly two hours before you can use it. Cooling down turns a fan on inside the machine that’s pretty loud (think like a mini fridge). Also worth noting, the packaging suggests that the device is going to use as much power as a small mini fridge as well.
Once that cooling process goes down, you also have to “prime” the machine using a special plastic cup included in the box, and fill the reservoir on the side with water (it will hold roughly the entire contents of your Brita). While the fan sound definitely dies down after that initial cooling, the device still has a pretty loud hum. In my small apartment, I found myself opting to unplug it to kill the noise on occasion.
What can you make?
There are actually a ton of different options when it comes to the kinds of beverages you can make with the system. Currently selections include: Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke, Root Beer, Red Barn Cane Cola, Canada Dry Ginger Ale, Diet Coke, Sprite, Orange Fanta, a variety of different flavored seltzer waters and sports drinks, and drink mixers for things like Mojitos and Margaritas. You can check out the full rundown here.
Making each one is as simple as inserting the appropriate cup into the machine, and pressing the start button. Drinks are dispensed in 8oz. increments, so depending on how thirsty you are, you might need to make two in order to fill your glass. The K-cups are a little larger than the kind you put in a coffee machine, and each has their own clear compartment where you can see the syrup inside that will ultimately make your beverage. The machine spits out a bit of water at first, and then the syrup, ultimately mixing the two and creating the perfect 8oz. beverage. Drinks are served at a chilly 39 degrees.
That’s great, but how does it taste?
To say that there’s no difference between the Keurig cups and your traditional can of soda would be a lie. Those who enjoy certain beverages frequently (such as I do with my Diet Coke) will be able to tell there’s something a little “off” about what they’re sipping on. That said, the difference isn’t so great that I would stray away from enjoying a Keurig-made DC. While the taste isn’t exactly the same as what I’m used to, it’s decent. A lot of the taste difference, I think, comes in part due to my city water. The odd taste is less powerful in some of the sugary drinks.
Keurig Kold Diet Coke (left), 2-liter Diet Coke (right)
The Keurig Kold doesn’t use CO2 to carbonate drinks, which ultimately makes the carbonation one of the most distinctive difference between it and a traditional bottle. The Keurig version of Diet Coke has much finer bubbles, giving it a bit of a different mouthfeel than the traditional bottle version, it also has a bit more of a chemical taste to it than the bottle version. That said, for someone who doesn’t drink the same soda regularly (and isn’t trying them side-by-side), I’d suspect the difference would be fairly less noticable.
Should you buy one?
Maybe. The Keurig Kold is great at what it does, but is also clearly for a niche audience. Priced at roughly $300, the device isn’t exactly cheap. Individual drink cups will also run you roughly $1 a pop (get it, pop…ha!), so you’re probably not saving any cash when it come to the actual drinks either (a 4-pack sells for $5).
That said, for the right situation, that machine might be an amazing thing to have on hand. Being able to make a quick (cold) soda in an office without a fridge would be fantastic, as would being able to whip up a single serving of a margarita mix when you need to relax, or a single sports drink after a heavy workout. If you have a family with varying tastes, the device will also make it easy to please everyone with the drink selection without filling your fridge to the brim with cans and bottles. Speaking of cans and bottles, there’s also an environmental bonus of owning the machine: you’re creating a whole lot less waste if you typically rely on single serving bottles or cans.
Want to get one of your own? You can buy one now from Amazon, as well as a number of other retailers where you traditionally find Keurig machines.