The Keurig Kold is such an odd product that it almost looks like it came from a distant world where no one cares about corn syrup ingestion. Clad in white plastic and covered in grills, the case is far bigger than anything else in your kitchen and makes a noise like Darth Vader taking a nap. It takes two hours to prime and then, in a minute or so, can produce a glass of fizzy beverage without CO2 canisters, syrup bags, or any of the accoutrement associated with soda fountains. On the surface it’s a modern miracle: a machine that makes soda (or pop) out of water and plastic. Then, when you think about it, it’s kind of pointless.
Keurig and Coke teamed up to make the Kold in an effort to win back the kasual soft drink drinker. They are using something called Karbonator pellets – do you see the klever thread here? – that produce CO2 when exposed to water. The kompany says that these pellets should not be eaten which makes me kontemplate what would happen if I accidentally necked one. Would it be katastrophic? That said, there is little opportunity for the pellets to fall into your drink simply because the little pods are self-kontained.
To use it you first run the machine for about two hours to prime the chiller. Then you pour water into the main tank and peel a little aluminum cover off of one of the pods. The pods make one drink in about 90 seconds. In that time I suspect the average cola drinker can down a half a can. Then you recycle the pod and, depending on your taste, drink the drink or pour it out in disgust. You, too, can experience the environmental guilt associated with the traditional pod coffee system, but in cola form!
At $359 for the machine and about $1.25 per drink I’d be hard-pressed to recommend this kit to anyone at this point. The drinks, which came out cold, are slighty flat and the flavors are limited to Coke products and a few Keuring inspired soft drinks like “artisanal” birch beer and energy drinks. If you value your counter space the Kold isn’t for you either simply because it takes up a 20×12 square of space and weighs 23 pounds. In short, the Kold isn’t for anyone in a city.
So the kuestion remains: why does this thing exist?
I can see some of the use cases. Because this requires no CO2 canister you can simply place the machine in a break room and offer your co-workers frosty beverages on the fly. This could be cheaper than, say, one of those monolithic drink makers that are now popular. But the pods, priced at $5 for 4, are wildly expensive in comparison to a bottle of 99 sugar water you can get at the bodega. But having the ability store a few hundred of these in the space it takes to store a few cases of Coke could be compelling. Perhaps astronauts could take this into space and enjoy fine frosty beverages as they fight off the Zorgan menace? I believe, however, if you drink enough cola to warrant this machine you should probably just head out to Kostco and pick up a pallet of drinks. This think would satisfy your kravings.
The Keurig Kold is a fascinating idea. However, in practice it is too expensive and the drinks too underwhelming to replace a soda fountain system. Again, there may be a strange situation in which this makes more sense than simply buying a 2 liter bottle of old Dr. Rottenteeth’s Fat Juice and maybe it’s that rare person that Coke and Keurig are trying to grab. After all, cola konsumption is falling and, like Crystal Pepsi and New Coke before it, the manufacturers are trying hard to please konsumers. If the system were a little cheaper, the drinks a little better, and the entire experience not an insult to the environment I could imagine this as a fascinating if overzealous solution to the cola problem. As it stands, however, there is no cola problem and this kit, as ingenious as it is, is rather krappy.