If you’re thinking of buying a single cup coffee maker, you’ll have heard how convenient they are.
Consistent coffee with no mess, made in double quick time. They’re the perfect option for people with busy routines.
And if you’ve been researching different models, you’ll probably have come across the iCoffee and the Keurig.
They look pretty similar, and they use the same K-cups to make your brew. So is there any difference between them?
We’re going to look at iCoffee vs Keurig to see how they perform. Read on and find all the information you need to decide which of them is right for you.
iCoffee DaVinci vs Keurig
#1 The similarities
Let’s start by looking at the similarities – because there are quite a few.
Both the iCoffee DaVinci and the Keurig are single cup coffee makers. The idea is simple: pop a capsule into your machine, press a button, get your coffee. If you want your morning brew with the minimum of fuss, this will sound like heaven.
Both machines use pods known as K-Cups. These are made by Keurig Green Mountain, the same people who make the Keurig coffee maker. There are also a wide range of compatible pods from other manufacturers.
The K-Cup is a small plastic capsule with an aluminum lid. Unfortunately, it’s not widely recycled, so this isn’t the most environmentally sustainable coffee-making system (1). (Keurig has pledged to improve this in future.)
Ground coffee sits inside the capsule, together with a filter. It’s flushed with nitrogen before the capsule is sealed. This approach is designed to keep the coffee away from air, light and moisture, keeping it fresher for longer.
There are also refillable K-Cups that allow you to use your own coffee instead. And because they’re reusable, they’re a better option if you care about the environment.
The coffee-making process is simple. You place a capsule inside the machine and lower a handle. This action pierces the top and bottom of the K-Cup with a small needle. When you push a button, water is pumped from a reservoir, heated up and dispensed into the K-Cup.
The water flows through the coffee grounds and into your cup, giving you your coffee. You’ll have to add your own milk and sugar if you take it. But that’s the extent of your effort (2).
So far, so straight forward. But with the iCoffee, manufacturers Remington have come up with an ingenious twist on this basic process.
#2 So what’s the difference?
In Keurigs, the needle that pierces the capsule at the top remains stationary. The result is that the water flow is concentrated near the needle. Remington argue that this can’t allow the coffee flavors to be evenly extracted.
Their iCoffee, on the other hand, introduces what they call “Spin Brew technology”. When you push the button the needle rotates, spraying the coffee grounds with water in all directions. This YouTube video shows the theory.
Remington claims that this results in a much smoother cup of coffee. And it seems that at least some customers agree with them. This YouTube video states that “the majority” of people undertaking a blind taste test preferred the results from the iCoffee.
What the video doesn’t tell us, unfortunately, is how many people took part. And it doesn’t say how many of them preferred the iCoffee over the Keurig. That might suggest the difference wasn’t huge. Still, the “majority” did prefer the iCoffee.
In 2014, 12 “descriptive analysis experts” from Ohio State University conducted the same comparison. Their findings were strongly in favor of the iCoffee.
There’s not much information, though, on the parameters of the test. We don’t know if it was conducted blind or not. And it appears that the iCoffee manufacturers may have paid for the experiment.
The negative description of the Keurig coffee – its “sensory profile”, the experts say, “is shaped by bitterness, sourness and astringency” – is reason enough to raise an eyebrow. So while the results look good for the iCoffee, it may be worth taking them with a pinch of salt.
Of course, there are other differences between the coffee makers. There are lots of different models of Keurig on the market, and many of those offer features you won’t find in an iCoffee.
The Keurig 2.0, for example, offers you the option of brewing a full carafe as well as a single cup. If most people in your household drink the same coffee but one person has decaf, that’s a great feature.
And there are plenty of Keurigs with integrated water filters, something the iCoffee doesn’t have. If you dislike the taste of your tap water, that’s a real bonus. And it also means you can brew more coffee before having to descale your machine.
In short, the sheer variety of Keurigs out there mean there’s a wider range of features to choose from. But if coffee flavor is your priority, the iCoffee may be worth a try.
iCoffee DaVinci coffee maker reviews
Like Keurig, iCoffee produce a number of different models.
There’s the iCoffee Express, the smallest and cheapest of the range, similar to Keurig’s K15 Mini. Then there’s the Mozart and the Opus.
For this review, though, we’re going to focus on the DaVinci.
Let’s start with the aesthetics.
When a machine has taken the name of one of the greatest artists and inventors in history, you expect it to look good. And although some may find the DaVinci a little flashy, we like its style.
The body of the machine is glossy black. That contrasts well with the shiny chrome handle on the K-Cup compartment and the matching drip stand. There are plenty of lights too. The reservoir is backlit with blue LEDs, which also light up your cup during brewing.
So the DaVinci gets points for its appearance. But what about the features?
This is a medium-sized machine, with a 55 ounce water reservoir. More unusually for a coffee maker of this size, it offers 4 different serving sizes. You can select anything from 4 to a generous 12 ounce serving. And the drip tray is removable to allow you to use a large travel mug.
You select your serving size by turning a dial. (Remington give this the catchy name “Dial-a-brew”). It’s a simple difference to the Keurigs, but we like it. It’s more intuitive than repeatedly jabbing at a button.
And unlike some of the newer Keurigs, there are no restrictions as to what pods you can use. Any K-compatible capsule should work fine.
There’s also an energy saving mode and automatic power shut-off to save on your electricity bills.
It seems that for many, the Spin Brew technology really does create a superior flavor.
Some users also prefer the flavor of the larger serving sizes over that of the Keurig.
In both cases, it’s worth remembering the limitations of the one-cup process.
To give you a larger serving, the machine will just add more water. There’ll still be the same amount of coffee in the capsule!
But perhaps the iCoffee’s spinning needle improves extraction. Whatever the reason, a number of users state that the “watery” flavor they disliked in the larger Keurig servings isn’t a problem with the iCoffee.
And the iCoffee also compares well in terms of noise. Many people say that it brews far more quietly than their Keurigs ever did. If you like peace and quiet in the kitchen, that’s a definite advantage.
Unfortunately, though, this is a tale of two different sets of experiences.
In fact, a few years ago, the quality of customer service seems to have been a real selling point. Sadly, it seems that in the intervening years, something has changed.
A common complaint about the DaVinci is that it worked brilliantly, producing delicious coffee – until it didn’t. After often only a few months of operation, something goes wrong and it seems impossible to fix it.
Calls to the customer service line are unsatisfactory. And even more recently, people have found it impossible to get through at all. It seems as if Remington have abandoned the iCoffee and their customers. It’s a sorry tale.
So what’s going wrong?
In a few cases, it seems the problem is coffee grounds clogging up the needle and the area around it. It’s the same issue that Keurig users often encounter, and fortunately it’s easily solved.
All that’s needed is to insert a straightened-out paperclip into the needle and push out the clogged grounds. Do the same to clean the area around the needle. Then run a couple of brew cycles without a K-cup to flush the machine with water. Problem solved.
But in many cases, it appears something else is going wrong. A recurring complaint is that the reservoir no longer pumps, leaving users with a cup full of coffee grounds.
There doesn’t seem to be any remedy for this. Unhappy purchasers have either got no response from Remington, or have been told they’re out of replacement machines. In other words, the warranty is effectively useless.
Some retailers have stepped up to the mark to try and resolve the problem – but that’s not always the case. And it seems that if your iCoffee breaks down, you can forget about getting help from the manufacturer.
So if the problems with the performance of the iCoffee have given you pause for thought – what about the Keurig? Is it any better?
With so many models on the market, it’s difficult to form firm conclusions. But here are a few observations we hope you’ll find helpful.
First up, while lots of people love their Keurigs, others have experienced a range of problems.
There’s that issue with coffee grounds clogging the needle, for one. And some people have found that even regular cleaning doesn’t sort that out.
Others have a similar story to the iCoffee: the machine worked brilliantly for a few months, then stopped. No amount of troubleshooting has been able to sort it out.
At this point, you might be ready to throw up your hands in despair. Is there any point in buying one of these at all?
The reality is that nothing works perfectly 100% of the time.
So how does Keurig respond when things go wrong? The answer is – better than Remington.
That’s not to say they’re perfect. You may be dismayed to find yourself asked to pay significant shipping charges to return your faulty machine and receive a replacement.
But at least Keurig answer their phones and emails and honor their machines’ warranty. That’s a pretty basic test to pass – but it seems it’s more than Remington can manage.
Keurig vs iCoffee: Summary
Keurigs and iCoffees both set out to do the same thing: make decent quality coffee as quickly and easily as possible.
Keurig is an established company with a strong share of the single cup coffee maker market. iCoffee shook things up with a twist on the brewing technique that some people loved. But somewhere along the way, things went wrong.
If you spot an iCoffee machine at a bargain price, it might be worth buying. But beware: You may experience faults after just a few months of operation. It seems that a great idea was let down by flaws in design and manufacture.
If you’re prepared to pay the money to try iCoffee’s Spin-Brew technology, you may get superior coffee for a while. But there’s a real chance you’ll be left with a non-functioning machine, with no way of getting it fixed.
This is one occasion where we’d recommend playing it safe. When it comes to the iCoffee vs the Keurig, we’d go for the Keurig.
If you’ve got either one of these machines, we’d love to hear about your experience! Please comment and let us know your thoughts. And if you’ve enjoyed this article, why not share it with your friends?
My name is Kathy Gallo, Editor of Ag Ferrari, a Coffee buff. The guide you find here is designed exactly for you, and it is our hope that you find it not only interesting but also actionable.