Keurig isn't exactly known for espresso machines but rather pod coffee makers. They changed things up with the release of the R500 Rivo - a cappuccino and Latte maker. Here at Cliff & Pebble, we tend to focus premium domestic espresso machines from the best manufacturers worldwide and don't really dabble with Keurig, Nespresso or any other of the cheaper models but we've received so many questions on this one as to whether the Keurig R500 is actually a good espresso machine, we felt the need to test it out.
First things first - we don't really view these machines as real "espresso machines." Making espresso correctly requires many things but perhaps the most important is temperature. A Keurig won't heat up to the proper temperatures to make real espresso as a semi-manual machine would.
They'll still make coffee but that's really it. Not espresso but rather hotter than normal coffee. Still good stuff, just not really espresso.
This is another issue with making espresso properly. Pods are not going to give you a "real" espresso shot. Making espresso requires freshly roasted coffee beans, a quality burr grinder with the ability to grind incredibly fine. Pods are pre-ground coffee that has most likely been stored somewhere for a certain period of time.
Let's begin by going over some of the main features.
A cool, convenient feature but doesn't exactly effect the taste of the espresso.
We're always a little weary when we see things like this on a machine at this price point because, well, 15 bars of pressure isn't necessary. The optimal extraction for espresso will take place between 8 and 12 bars of pressure. When a manufacturer feels the need to put 15 bars of pressure out there, it's more of a marketing gimmick as maybe the machine has the capacity to go that high but it isn't exactly necessary.
Still, 15 bars of pressure is impressive for a $159 espresso machine.
An incredibly convenient feature you're seeing more and more manufacturers go to. On the R500, no work is required. It'll froth for you! A great, time-saving feature. The frother itself actually does a pretty good job.
In addition to the quality of the frother, you can froth and brew espresso shots simultaneously. Something you'd only see on more expensive models.
This takes the learning curve out of the equation when it comes to frothing milk as you don't need to do, or learn, a darn thing. The machine will do everything for you. We're not entirely sure what the cold froth is for but ok, it's there.
It short - for the price, it's pretty darn good.
You can find comparable machines in the same price range however most won't have the attached milk frother like the R500 does. It's still important to note that none of these machines in this price range are truly making espresso but rather hot, hot coffee. Still good - just not real espresso.