Inventor Of The Keurig Doesn’t Own One, Regrets Inventing It

Image courtesy of (Earth2Kim)

Keurig’s K-Cup coffee pods are popular brewing devices that you can find in homes, offices, and waiting rooms. There are even refrigerators with a Keurig machine built right in. Do you know where you won’t find one, though? The home of the man who invented the machine back in the ’90s, John Sylvan.

This week, the Atlantic looked at the practical and environmental problems that the Keurig causes, and started from the very beginning, when inventor Sylvan was just a guy who wanted to invent a better way to dispense coffee in the office. He figured that people would buy the pods, but didn’t foresee how popular his invention would become. He sold his share of the company (“Keurig” is the Dutch word for “excellence”) for $50,000.

K-Cups are complicated; Keurig-licensed cups can theoretically be disassembled, but only in rare cities that recycle #7 plastic and if you have the patience to take the cup apart, tossing out the foil top, paper filter, and coffee grounds, and recycling the tiny cup.

“It’s like a cigarette for coffee, a single-serve delivery mechanism for an addictive substance,” he explained to the Atlantic. Very few people want to disassemble a convenience pod so it can be recycled.

Single-serve pod machines may not be as wasteful as they seem at first. You save electricity by not keeping a whole pot of liquid warm, for one thing. The coffee is measured out perfectly to the gram, which is better than I can do while waving a bag vaguely toward my French press while half-awake. You’re paying $40 per pound for that ground coffee, sure, but you’re guaranteed not to waste any of it. The accumulation of trash is a problem, but some third-party pods can be composted and recycled.

A Brewing Problem [The Atlantic] (Thanks, Rowell!)

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