Keurig: The Saga Continues…

Uncategorized Posted Jun 1, 2015 by chenpr

Around this time last year I blogged about my love/hate relationship with Keurig coffee machines and the impending release of the next generation Keurigs. Since there have been some recent developments on the subject, I thought I would write a follow-up post for all the instant coffee addicts out there.

In my original post I explained Green Mountain Coffee Inc.’s plans to outfit all their new Keurig coffee machines with DRM-like technology. DRM—or Digital Rights Management—is a protocol that helps protect documents and other digital files by restricting the way it is used and shared. DRM makes some sense when it comes to protecting intellectual property, especially in the age of “frictionless sharing.” But when applied to the use of Keurig’s proprietary K-Cups, the tech would cut out third party K-cup suppliers.

In theory the scheme would generate more revenue for Green Mountain Coffee. In reality, it sounded a little sleazy and short-sighted to me. Turns out I’m not the only one who felt that way.

After releasing their new and “improved” Keurigs last August consumer backlash was immediate.

Green Mountain Coffee’s most recent quarterly earnings revealed that the company’s sales of brewers and accessories were down 23 percent, at which point their stock dropped 10 percent in afterhours trading. Seems folks decided they wanted more choices than Keurig was giving them.

And if the whole strategy of monopolizing K-cups wasn’t misguided enough, it turns out their technology was comically ineffective. As one YouTuber demonstrated, all it takes to defeat the scheme is a used K-cup lid and some cellophane tape.

Life hacks be damned, Green Mountain seemed to be sticking to its guns right up to the moment they had to release their aforementioned financial report. Once that turd floated in the punchbowl, they backpedaled faster than a cornerback on game day.

Publicly they admitting their error in judgement and acknowledged that they did not properly account for the degree of freedom their customers desired when choosing their coffee. In response, Green Mountain announced they are going to release a new version of their My K-Cup device that is compatible with their new brewers later this year. My K-Cup is a reusable pod that the operator can fill with a coffee ground of their choosing.

Although undoubtedly a step in the right direction, it still leaves third party K-Cup producers right where they started. No matter. With a little time and ingenuity you can brew your coffee any way you damn well please.