- In the fall, Keurig plans to release their new 2.0 brewing system
- The new systems will use Digital Rights Management technology
- TreeHouse Foods Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Keurig's parent company
I use a Keurig coffee machine at home because I'm lazy. And, quite frankly, don't feel like I've really done my duty to God and country until I've added a little something to the landfill.
"Here ya go, America. Have another K-Cup. Go Braves."
Though, to be fair, I do actually use 97% biodegradable French roast OneCups from San Francisco Bay, a brand of the Rogers Family Company out of Lincoln, California.
Mind you, I use these OneCups not so much for environmental reasons, but because the price is right and I quite like the taste.
So hold your praise. I'm still a delightfully lousy, wasteful human being.
However, my day-to-day brand of single-serve coffee may soon be a thing of the past, because this fall Keurig plans to launch a new system that will use DRM (Digital Rights Management) technology. It's fancy science, but ultimately it means unlicensed cups won't work with the new machines.
Kate Binette, senior public relations specialist from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, the parent company of Keurig, couldn't tell me exactly how their new interactive technology would work -- and even if she did I'd probably have to take a 40-minute nap -- but I did get the basics.
"Each Keurig 2.0 brewer will have a camera that can 'read' a proprietary taggant material," Binette says, adding that it's similar to current anti-counterfeiting technology and will be "embedded on the lid of each Keurig brand pack."
So, essentially, our coffee is going bionic, and if your current pod doesn't have that taggant, it's no coffee for you!
This includes my OneCups from San Francisco Bay.
Which can only mean ...
Brace yourself. Litigation is coming.
Welcome to the Great Electronic Coffee War of 2014!
Green Mountain argues that its new advancements in roasting and flavor extraction, as well as thermodynamics, have been expertly developed to ensure perfect consistency with each cup.
Therefore, Binette told me, "It is critical for performance and safety reasons that the system only brews Keurig brand packs."
And I didn't have to look far to find someone who agrees with that assessment.
My co-worker, Tiago, says he doesn't want somebody's inferior brand of K-Cup malfunctioning and screwing up his system, declaring from his desk three cubicles away, "The sanctity of the K-Cup should be respected!"
Mind you, I once said the exact same thing about Lean Pockets.
It was 2:30 a.m. I was outside. Not wearing pants. In the rain.
"The sanctity of the Lean Pocket should be respected!"
Looking back, that probably wasn't my finest moment.
Anyway, while Keurig says adding DRM is all about performance, Jon Rogers, founder and president of the Rogers Family Company (makers of my San Francisco Bay coffee) calls it "baloney."
He thinks it's all about money and keeping non-Green Mountain coffee out of your hands.
By e-mail, he explained to me, "Prices would be higher to the consumer. Innovation would be stifled."
In February, another company, TreeHouse Foods Inc., even filed a lawsuit against Green Mountain. The Rogers Family Company is considering legal action as well.
Jon Rogers says, "If Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is allowed to introduce Keurig 2.0 with the feature that, in our opinion, is clearly in restraint of trade, the Keurig 2.0 monopoly would be reinstated as it was when Keurig 1.0 was the only brewer on the market."
Whatever happens, it'll be interesting to see this play out over the coming months.
But I do have to say that the new Keurigs are really sexy. Plus, in addition to brewing single cups, they'll also do full carafes.
So, never mind whose cup you choose (or are allowed) to brew.
Brace yourself. Multiple sprints to the bathroom are coming.
Follow @JarrettBellini on Twitter.