Keurig vs Bartesian: Which One Wins?

Keurig vs Bartesian

Keurig vs Bartesian: Which One Wins?

What’s more important, your morning cup of coffee or your evening cocktail? It’s the question at the heart of the debate between Keurig vs Bartesian. The former machine uses pods filled with coffee grounds to make perfect single-serving cups of coffee.

The latter machine uses pods filled with mixers, syrups, and other add-ins (in combination with your alcohol of choice) to create single bartender-quality cocktails. But which one of these two does the job better? Let’s take a look at the two at length to find out the answer.

Keurig vs Bartesian: Side-by-Side Comparison

First Introduced19982014
Country of OriginUnited StatesUnited States
Parent CompanyKeurig Dr Pepper Inc. (KDP)Hamilton Beach
Price Per Machine$60 to $250$250 to $450
Price Per Pod$0.40 to $1.25$2.25 to $2.50
Brands OfferedStarbucks, McCafe, Dunkin’, Folgers, Caribou, Peet’s, Newman’s Own, Krispy Kreme, Panera Bread, and moreNone; Exclusive to Bartesian
Brew Type(s)Coffee, cold brew, tea, lemonade, hot cocoaCocktails
Annual Revenue$12.68 billion (KDP, 2021)$100 million (2021)

Keurig vs Bartesian: What’s the Difference?

While the above specs demonstrate plenty of differences between the Keurig vs Bartesian machines, there’s more to the debate than just the simple fact that these differences exist. We need to understand what exactly they mean.

Without a proper explanation, there’s no way we could argue one machine is superior to the other. For this reason, let’s take a closer look at these key differences below.

Drink Type

Firstly — and, no doubt, most obviously — there’s a difference in drink type between the Keurig vs Bartesian. Keurig makes coffee, first and foremost. While there are many alternative pods (more on this later), the primary function of the Keurig is to make a piping hot cup of coffee with customizable strengths and sizes.

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Keurig K-Café SMART Single Serve Coffee Maker
  • COFFEE, LATTES & CAPPUCCINOS: Brew full-flavored coffee and make delicious coffeehouse beverages using any K-Cup pod.
  • BrewID: WiFi-enabled BrewID technology, recognizes your specific K-Cup pod and customizes brew settings.
  • CAFE CREATIONS: An expertly curated menu of beverages designed for your specific K-Cup pod, available in the Keurig app
  • HOT AND COLD MILK FROTHER: Features three speeds and one cold setting to froth using milk or a dairy alternative.
  • COMPLETE CUSTOMIZATION: Personalize your cup with five strength settings (from Balanced to Intense) and six temperature settings (from Warm to Max Hot).
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08/30/2023 01:15 am GMT

The Bartesian, on the other hand, makes cocktails and cocktails alone. The Keurig can’t make you an Old Fashioned, and the Bartesian can’t make you a dark roast. This fact is definitely the biggest difference between these two.


Secondly, it’s important to consider who owns what machine. Corporate ownership might seem like an insignificant thing to review, but it makes all the difference in terms of resources, marketing, availability, and more.

With this in mind, Keurig is owned by Keurig Dr. Pepper: a merged company consisting of the companies formerly known as Green Mountain Keurig and Dr. Pepper Snapple.

Bartesian, on the other hand, is distributed by Hamilton Beach Brands, Inc. They might not have full ownership, but Hamilton Beach nevertheless sells, markets, and distributes Bartesian products.

Machine Price

Thirdly, let’s compare the price per machine. The cost of the Keurig vs Bartesian is a major consideration, as both of these machines are marketed as a way for the consumer to save money compared to purchasing the drink at a coffee shop or a bar, respectively.

The Keurig costs anywhere from $60 to $250, depending on the model. The Bartesian, by comparison, costs anywhere from $250 to $450. Clearly, it’s a lot more money for the latter over the former. This isn’t even accounting for the pods required, which we’ll get into next.

Pod Price

Going hand in hand with this previous point is the cost per pod for Keurig vs Bartesian. While both machines offer different sizes and varieties of pod packs, ranging anywhere from 8-packs to 120-packs, the price per pod remains relatively unchanged.

Keurig’s K-Cups range from $0.40 to $1.25 per pod. The Bartesian’s cocktail pods range anywhere from $2.25 to $2.50 per drink. (And this doesn’t account for the alcohol that you need to provide yourself.) Keurig’s K-Cups are cheaper, even for the most expensive K-Cup brands.

Drink Brands

This leads us to our next consideration: the variety of brands available for each machine. To be clear, both Keurig and Bartesian offer their own branded pods for their machines. Keurig has a slew of in-house brands, most famously including Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

Bartesian has a catalog of its own branded cocktail pods, as well. However, Keurig also offers a great number of popular branded pods for their machines (including Starbucks, Dunkin’, Panera Bread, Krispy Kreme, and more). Bartesian has no popular drink brands beyond its own, which means less variety overall.

Additional Functions

Lastly, let’s consider what other functions each machine can provide. Granted, most are buying a Keurig for coffee and a Bartesian for cocktails, but still. The Keurig can also make anything from cold brew to tea to lemonade to hot cocoa to fruit drinks.

The Bartesian offers no such variety, unless you consider making a mocktail different than a proper cocktail. This makes the Keurig much more versatile than the Bartesian. (But is anyone really making lemonade or fruit drinks in their Keurig anyway?)

5 Must-Know Facts About the Keurig

  1. Keurig can be credited with popularizing the single-serving coffee industry for the modern-day consumer. However, they were far from the first to market the concept. Folgers first conceived the idea of single-serving coffee back in 1953, followed by the invention and popularization of the Nespresso system throughout the 1980s and ’90s. Keurig blew up around the same time the Nespresso system arrived in the States: the early-to-mid 2000s.
  2. Between Keurig’s invention in 1998 to the product’s merger with Dr. Pepper Snapple in 2018, the company grew large enough to command more than 20% of the U.S. packaged coffee market. That’s a hugely impressive feat, not to mention a real testament to the company’s massive success.
  3. While Keurig is certainly convenient, it’s also responsible (along with Bartesian) for creating massive amounts of plastic waste. By 2013 — just 15 years after Keurig started — the company was responsible for creating enough plastic waste to line the equator more than 10 times. Ten years later, that number has undoubtedly increased exponentially.
  4. K-Cups made the shift to 100% recyclable materials in 2020. However, the process required of customers to actually recycle the pods is complicated. The grounds inside of the pod technically need to be dumped out to be truly recyclable. That means any K-Cup that gets tossed in the recycling bin with the grounds inside isn’t actually going to be recycled.
  5. Though a K-Cup is undoubtedly cheaper than a cup of coffee from your local coffee shop, the product looks much less affordable when you break it down by weight. A pound of coffee grounds for a drip coffee maker costs around $10 to $20. Considering each K-Cup includes about 11 grams of grounds at $0.40 to $1.25 per pod, a pound of coffee inside K-Cups costs closer to $40.

The History of Keurig

The idea for the Keurig was born out of a common workplace frustration: that nasty, bitter, hours-hold pot of coffee that barely anyone has touched and no one wants to drink. John Sylvan, a tech worker on the east coast, came up with a solution in the early 1990s: a machine that used coffee pods to dispense one single cup of coffee every time.

No more gross cups of coffee. Sylvan knew that if he could perfect the design, he could completely change the coffee-making experience office space forever — and eventually the home, too. Sylvan partnered with his one-time roommate from college: a businessman named Peter Dragone.

Together, Sylvan and Dragone created Keurig, Inc. Officially founded in 1992, the two borrowed from the Dutch word for excellence and exquisiteness. They hoped this would describe their revolutionary machine and its single-serving coffees.

Without adequate funding themselves, they turned to a popular regional coffee roaster for capital: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. In no time at all, Green Mountain had forced Sylvan and Dragone out and replaced them with additional investors.

The first official Keurig product — the B2000 — was ready to hit the workplace in 1998. Though he was no longer part of the company, the product was the perfect realization of what Sylvan (and later Dragone) had always envisioned.

By 2002, 10,000 units were sold. Keurig entered the home two years later. Naturally, the Keurig and its compatible K-Cup coffee pods flew off the shelves. Keurig and K-Cup sales passed $1 billion in 2010. Eight years later, Keurig Green Mountain came together with Dr. Pepper Snapple. This 2018 merger made Keurig Dr. Pepper the U.S.’s third-biggest drink company.

How Bartesian Competes

Founded in 2014 and first gaining attention through a viral Kickstarter campaign that year, the Bartesian is like the Keurig of cocktails. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, and headed by founders Bryan Fedorak and Ryan Close, Bartesian is a first-of-its-kind product that creates cocktails like Keurig makes coffee.

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Bartesian Premium Cocktail and Margarita Machine
  • Bartesian cocktail machine capsules were created by master mixologists and include the ingredients for favorites like margaritas, whiskey sours, Old Fashioned, and more
  • An automatic cleaning cycle runs after each cocktail is created
  • Recyclable capsules contain real juice concentrates, bitters, and extracts and are dated for freshness
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08/28/2023 04:56 pm GMT

Using cocktail capsules that contain all the mix-ins and flavors you need for your alcoholic drink, the Bartesian simply requires you to add your own alcohol, choose the strength of your drink, and press the button. Then, in just a matter of seconds, you’ve got yourself a cocktail.

After raising over $100,000 from Kickstarter donors in 2014, Fedorak and Close spent the next few years perfecting their prototype to get it ready for the marketplace. Bartesian first began shipping machines in 2017, sending them exclusively to those who backed the Kickstarter campaign.

By December 2019, they were ready to go out to the general public. The positive press was the best possible marketing Bartesian could have asked for. From CES to Oprah, from the Knot to Good Housekeeping, the Bartesian was propped up by rave reviews from the biggest names.

In 2021, Bartesian secured another $20 million in funding from some key investors (including celebrity Mila Kunis) to help make the product even better than ever. At the start, the machine was only available through Bartesian’s site.

Today, it can be purchased from numerous major retailers including Macy’s, Williams-Sonoma, Target, and Best Buy. The company isn’t on the same level as Keurig just yet, but regardless, Bartesian competes by offering something that Keurig can’t: simple and easy alcoholic drinks at the touch of a button.

Keurig vs Bartesian: Pros and Cons

Pros of KeurigCons of Keurig
Simple, easy user interfaceSome Keurig machines can be expensive
Offers a variety of drinks beyond coffeeHard to recycle the plastic K-Cup pods
The machine is less expensive than a BartesianSome Keurig brews taste very watery
Pods are cheaper than Bartesian’sA pound of K-Cups costs more than a pound of coffee grounds
Pros of BartesianCons of Bartesian
Makes high-quality, tasty cocktailsRequires you to add your own alcohol
Costs less per cocktail than at a barLimited to only cocktails
The machine offers a variety of drink strengthsThe machine is very expensive
New cocktail pods are released monthlyPods only come in Bartesian brands

Keurig vs Bartesian: Which One Is Better?

If ever there was a debate that could be summed up as “apples vs oranges,” it would be this one. The Keurig is a high-quality coffee pod machine, whereas the Bartesian is an equally high-quality cocktail pod machine.

Stripping back this key difference, is there a way to say which pod machine does its job the best? Absolutely, there is: it’s Keurig. With a lower price point for the machine, a cheaper average cost per pod, a wider variety of pods to choose from, and a greater number of alternative functions to utilize, the Keurig wins out over the Bartesian.

Keurig vs Bartesian: Which One Wins? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

How do I descale my Keurig?

Descaling a Keurig is actually incredibly simple. No need to break out the vinegar or anything like that. Simply activate Descale Mode by holding down the “8oz” and “12oz” buttons in unison for three seconds.

The display will begin flashing, at which point you may press the “Brew” button. This will initiate Descale Mode. Place a cup underneath the spout, then dump the liquid in the sink when it’s complete. Check your manual for more information.

Do I need to descale by Bartesian?

Bartesian suggests descaling your machine routinely, depending on how often you use the device. For nightly usage, you should consider descaling once or twice a month.

For weekly usage, you can get away with descaling once every month or two. You can find descaling instructions in your user manual, found inside the Bartesian box.

Does Keurig still sell a cocktail maker?

Keurig once manufactured a direct Bartesian competitor called the Drinkworks Home Bar. However, Keurig discontinued the machine in 2021 after just two years on the market.

They offered refunds to anyone and everyone who had purchased the machine within a certain timeframe, truly underlining the failure of the Drinkworks.

Is it cheaper to use a Keurig or a coffee maker?

Despite how it might seem — that using a single-serve coffee pod machine saves you money and time compared to a traditional drip coffee machine — the price of coffee grounds alone should show you which one is truly more affordable. A pound of coffee — which results in over 60 or more cups of coffee — costs around $10 to $20, whereas a pound of K-Cups costs closer to $40.

Does the Keurig make alcoholic drinks?

While Keurig does not make alcoholic drinks itself, there’s nothing stopping you from adding some alcohol of your own to a Keurig brew. From coffee to tea to lemonade to cocoa, feel free to spice up your K-Cup in whatever way you see fit. Keurig just can’t do it for you.

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