The cost of what you pay for a cup of fancy coffee at home is going up — not down — thanks to a tricky move by the dominant home coffee brewing company.
It recently came to my attention that the Keurig people are making a 2.0 version of their machine with DRM (digital rights management).
I know this sounds crazy, but Keurig is using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act — a controversial law designed to protect the entertainment industry — to force you to only use proprietary K coffee pods in its new machine.
My executive producer Christa likes to make individual off-brand K cups at home using her Keurig machine. That drives her cost down to around 6 cents a cup.
But as more and more people do what Christa does, Keurig has watched their profits go down. That’s because their business model is based on them making money from all the different coffee manufacturers who pay them royalties to have their coffee in K cups.
So Keurig came out with the 2.0 machine that has a computer chip in it to sense anytime somebody is trying to save money making coffee — and it will not let them make their coffee!
Even if you buy an off-brand refillable coffee pod, if it doesn’t have the Keurig logo on it, it can sense that too.
You’re better served right now with the older 1.0 versions of the Keurig machines to avoid this DRM ploy. They’re available for $50 to $75. Buy one of the older ones if you are price sensitive.
I have never had a cup of coffee in my life, and I’m upset for any coffee drinker over this digital rights management coffee “Clarkrage”!
Clark Howard — Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs — for the Atlanta Bargain Hunter blog
Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Find more answers to your consumer questions at Clark’s website.