Let them drink (off-brand) K-cups: Hackers rig Keurig’s new machine


Keurig Green Mountain brewed up trouble recently with its new Keurig 2.0 brewer. Much like the original, the Keurig 2.0 uses single-serving pods to brew up individual cups of coffee. However, the newer machine’s scanner reads K-Cups’ logos and delivers an aw-shucks message when users try to use a “rebel” or off-brand pod: “Oops! This pack wasn’t designed for this brewer. Please try one of the hundreds of packs with the Keurig logo.”

Seeing this as a blatant attempt to force consumers to buy Keurig’s cups over less expensive alternatives — and not, as the company claims, merely a way of ensuring the most delectable cup of Keurig-brewed coffee — some 2.0 owners have, well, rebelled. On Amazon, newer models have an average of two or two-and-a-half stars. One company claimed the K-Cup maker is attempting “to create a monopoly by restraining trade” and filed a lawsuit. Other off-brand enthusiasts have simply found a way to game the system.

It’s actually pretty easy to fool the machine into using alternative cups. One YouTube video shows an enterprising K-hole, as we affectionately refer to the Keurig enthusiasts in our lives*, using naught but scissors and tape to affix a sanctioned lid to an off-brand cup. All while “The Imperial March” from Star Wars plays. Of course, we’re not advising such nefarious practices, merely pointing out that they are out there.

Now, if only someone could hack these machines to not produce so much waste.

*On second thought, that sounds mean. Pod person? We’ll work on the affectionate nickname later.