This is my comparison of the Keurig K Express vs Keurig K Mini.
I own the Keurig K Mini Plus, a very similar machine to both the Mini and Express, and spent a whole day researching these two machines to put together this comparison.
The Keurig K Express was designed as an upgrade to the Keurig K Mini.
With the Express, Keurig has attempted to match the compactness of the Mini, while making improvements in ease of use and quality of coffee it can produce.
Let’s have a look at whether the Express is indeed an upgrade over the Mini.
Should You Buy the Keurig K Express or Keurig K Mini (Quick Answer)?
You should buy the Keurig K Express over the Keurig K Mini. The Express makes better coffee than the Mini due to its inclusion of a “strong” button. The Express’s larger, the removable reservoir also makes the machine easier to use and clean than the Mini. An improved heating element means the Express can make coffees faster, and with less noise, than the Mini.
The only advantage that the Keurig K Mini has over the Express is its compactness and aesthetic appeal.
The Mini is slightly smaller than the Express, comes in a wider range of colors, and the fact that it can store its cord inside the machine makes the Mini more suitable than the Express for travelling with.
Overview of Products
The table below shows the differences and similarities between the Keurig K Mini and Keruig K Express.
|Feature||Keurig K Mini||Keurig K Express|
|Dimensions (Height, Width, Depth)||12.10 inches x 4.50 inches x 11.30 inches||12.60 inches x 5.10 inches x 12.80 inches|
|Maximum lid-up height||16.80 inches||17.20 inches|
|Mug clearance (drip tray removed)||6.00 inches (7.00 inches)||6.50 inches (7.50 inches)|
|Reservoir size||12 oz||42 oz|
|Can you store water between brews?||No||Yes|
|Serving sizes||6 oz – 12 oz||8 oz, 10 oz, 12 oz|
|Chord storage in machine||Yes||No|
|Number of available colors||6||1|
|Compatible with reusable K cups||Yes||Yes|
Let’s have a closer look at how the different features of the two machines affect their performance and usability.
Quality of Coffee
The Keurig K Express makes better coffee than the Mini. This is due to the Express’s inclusion of the “strong” button, which the Mini does not have. To produce good quality coffee with the Express, you need to use My K cup Universal Reusable K cups, as standard K cups do not hold enough coffee grounds for an 8 oz coffee. The Mini produces weak coffee at every serving size.
There is a fair bit of difference between the quality of coffee that these two machines make when you use standard K-cup and when you use reusable K cups.
I’ll therefore look at how these two machines perform with these two types of K cups separately.
Standard K cups
The Keurig K Mini makes slightly better coffee with standard K cups than the Express. Both machines fare poorly with these types of K cups, however.
The Keurig K Express is unsuited to taking standard K cups due to the fact that you cannot make 6 oz serving sizes with the machine
While a 6 oz coffee from a standard K cup is acceptable (just), there simply is not enough ground coffee in a standard K cup for an 8 oz coffee.
Therefore, to make a decent strength coffee with a Keurig K Express you need to use My K Cup Universal Reusable K cups.
|Serving Size||How much coffee do you need for this?||Can you make it with the Mini?||Can you make it with the Express?|
|6 oz||0.36 ounces/ 10.5 grams||Yes||No|
|8 oz*||0.5 ounces / 14 grams||Yes, but not as well as with the Express||Yes|
|10 oz*||0.6 ounces/ 17 grams||Yes, but not as well as with the Express||Yes|
|12 oz*||0.75 ounces/ 21 grams||Technically yes, but will be watery||Technically yes, but will be watery|
I talk more about how serving size affects coffee brew quality in my Keurig K Mini review.
The Keurig K Mini can make a 6 oz coffee, however, it brews coffee too quickly. This means that even its 6 oz coffees are a bit on the weak side.
Still, a 6 oz coffee brewed with the Keurig K Mini is better than an 8 oz coffee from a standard K cup brewed with the Keurig K Express, even when the Express uses the “strong” button.
If you want to make the best possible coffee with standard K cups, I’d recommend getting the Keurig Mini Plus.
The Mini Plus can both make 6 oz serving sizes and has the “strong” button, can brew standard K cups at the correct coffee to water ratio and with an ideal brewing time.
Reusable K cups
The Express makes better coffee with reusable K cups than the Mini due to its “strong” button.
My K Cup Universal Reusable K cups hold up to 0.6 oz (15 grams) of coffee. This is enough for a 9 oz cup of coffee.
While both machines can make an 8 oz or 10 oz coffee with a reusable K cup, the Express makes a better cup due to its “strong” button.
The “strong” button increases brewing time by about 35%. This means that coffee is more thoroughly extracted in the Express than in the Mini, resulting in a better flavored and fuller-bodied coffee.
Quality of Coffee Winner: Keurig K Express (but use reusable K cups)
Ease of Use
The Keurig K Express’s larger storage reservoir and descale button makes it easier to use than the Mini. The fact that the Express can fit a water filter in its reservoir and tells you when to descale it means that the machine should last longer than the Mini.
Ease of Filling the Reservoir
The Express’s reservoir can be removed from the back of the machine and filled at the sink.
The Express’s reservoir is deep and slim, meaning that it can be easily carried even when full. Its lip handle allows you to attach/detach it from the machine easily, even when full.
The Mini’s reservoir cannot be detached and therefore you need to fill it at the machine with another vessel.
With the Mini, you need to measure out the required amount of water for each brew individually. This can be a pain, especially with the fact that the measurements on the Mini’s reservoir are not the easiest to read.
Both machines have a reservoir at their back. This means that to attach/detach the Express’s reservoir and fill the Mini’s reservoir you have to either turn the machine around or lean over it.
This can make filling the reservoir of both machines a bit of a pain if you do not have much space on your counter or vertical clearance above it.
Ease of Making Coffee
Both machines have very intuitive button systems, with the main difference between the two is that with the Express you need to select your serving size. Serving sizes are labelled with their corresponding numbers.
I can’t see anyone having a problem with programming either machine to make the type of coffee that they want.
The Express has a superior heating element to the Mini. This makes the Express more user-friendly than the Mini in three ways:
- The Express makes coffee around 30 seconds faster than the Mini
- The Express can make several coffees in a row quickly; the Mini cannot do this
- The Express is a quieter machine than the Mini
Ease of Use Winner: Keurig K Express
Ease of Cleaning
The Express’s removable reservoir and descale lights make it an easier machine to clean than the Mini. Neither machine is that much of a pain to clean.
There are many parts of the two machines that are cleaned in the same way these are:
- The K cup ports, which can be removed and cleaned in the sink
- The K cup needles need to be cleaned of all visible coffee grounds with something hard and sharp (a toothpick or straightened-out paperclip, for example)
- The drip trays, can again be removed and washed in your sink
The two parts of the machine that vary in how they are cleaned are the reservoir and the descaling of the machine’s inner pipes.
Ease of Cleaning the Reservoir
The Keurig K Express’s removable reservoir means that it is easy to clean in the sink.
The Mini’s reservoir cannot be removed so it needs to be cleaned while still attached to the machine. This can be awkward if you do not have much countertop space or vertical clearance above the machine as you need to lean over the machine to clean the reservoir.
Ease of Descaling
Both machines are descaled in the same way, by running a 12 oz brew with either descaling solution or white vinegar (make sure there are no K cups in the machine when you do this).
The difference between descaling the two machines is that the Express has a descaling light that flashes when the machine needs to be descaled, whereas the Mini does not.
With the Mini, you just need to remember when to descale it.
Although the descale light does not make descaling the Express any easier than the Mini, I still think that it is an excellent addition to the machine because the descale light should help improve the longevity of the Express over the Mini.
The regularity by which you need to descale your machine depends on the mineral content of the water in your area.
Keurig recommends that you descale your coffee machine every 3-6 months. This suggests that there is a lot of variability in the regularity in which your machine needs to be descaled.
Knowing exactly when your machine needs to be descaled should help you to slow down the deterioration of the coffee maker. This means you get better value for money from the machine.
The Express’s reservoir can also be fitted with a Keurig water filter which can reduce the rate at which limescale builds up in the machine.
The Mini’s reservoir is too small to have one of these filters fitted.
Ease of Cleaning Winner: Keurig K Express
Size and Aesthetics
The Keurig K Mini is more compact and comes in a wider range of colors than the Express. The Mini is able to store its cable inside the machine, which can be useful if you are taking it in luggage. The Express has no such storage so you are left with a dangling cable when travelling with it.
The Keurig K Mini is half an inch less wide and less tall, and an inch and a half less deep than the Express.
This should not make a difference for most kitchen setups. Considering its relatively large reservoir, the Express does a really good job at being compact.
The Mini has storage space inside the machine for its cable, something the Express does not have. This can be a great space saver if you want to travel with your machine.
At the time of writing, the Keurig K Express is only available in black
The Keurig K Mini is available in six colors. You can see these below:
Size and Aesthetics Winner: Keurig K Mini
The Keurig K Express’s inclusion of a strong button, superior heating element and removable reservoir makes it a superior machine to the Keurig Mini.
Considering that there is not a huge difference in the price between these two machines, I would opt for the Express in almost every situation.
I still think that the Keurig K Mini Plus is a better coffee maker than the Express. If you want to find out more about the Mini Plus, please see my comparison of the Keurig K Mini vs Keurig K Mini Plus.