How to defeat Keurig 2.0's DRM with scotch tape

Related - another Kickstarter project I’m delighted I decided against.

The original Kickstarter promised a machine that would let people customize the way they roasted raw beans. The Bonaverde team never outright stated that the machine would be compatible with any coffee bean, but there was no mention of a plan to limit the kind of beans that would work with the machine. They even demoed a prototype of a machine where you pour in the raw beans of your choosing, press a button, and roast.

But then in July, the company updated its backers with a development that hey, actually, in order to use the machine people would have to buy Bonaverde beans through a marketplace it developed with farmers. The coffee maker would use RFID tags to process pre-prepared servings of coffee. Proprietary beans! Basically, you were locked in for the life of the machine. Many backers who had pledged $300 expecting a machine they could use with any bean were apoplectic.

Bonaverde framed this surprise feature as a way to help people not fuck up their coffee: “In the past, we’ve often experienced people misusing the machine in the most adventurous ways, filling beans into the water tank and vice-versa filling water into the roasting chamber etc. So one of our main goals is to make the machine as easy to use as possible,”


I was half expecting the machine to exploded like the death star or blasters or something. But still not disappointed of the video.

And yeah, also dismayed at this coffee pod idea.

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Isn’t this exactly how people were beating the DRM on Gevalio and Nescafe (or is that the new one can’t remember) back before the Keurigs came out? When the DRM locked pod brewers were the only option? And then they largely failed at market because you had to get your coffee mail order or at Bed Bath and Beyond? Or when the Keurigs first came out and people were re-filling used cups because they hadn’t come out with those fill your own filters and you had to get your coffee mail order or at Bed Bath and Beyond? All I’m saying is this sounds awfully familiar and it didn’t work out so well the last few times.

Unecological. Unethical. Unnecessary. Expensive. No reason to use it.

Just think: Even when you hack the machine, you are still buying those pods and still supporting their manufacturers. The right solution is not to use it.

I simply make my coffee in traditional way.

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You might be happier here:

So, if someone buys their Kcups from an “unlicensed” manufacturer, they are still being unethical?

I use an aeropress.


Yes. Keurig made bank when they were the only seller of K-Cup pods, which was then lost as competitors entered the market in their format. They could take the lesson that innovation is rewarded in the short term, and the only way to continue to make bank is to innovate continuously. Or you could try to build a bullshit pseudo-legal moat around your castle to prevent competition. They took door number two.


Of course. If you search for opinions on coffee pods on sites like or even here on boingboing you will see that:

  • it is possible to brew perfecct coffee in many ways that do not use throw away parts. So using this plastic things is wasting resources, creating polution and so on - i think that it is unethical against our planet.
  • furthermore the pods are gram for gram more expansive as comparable coffee - That meens that EVERYONE who produces it tries to raise their profit not by making better product (coffee), but by using artifical ways to bind customer to their product. And that is unethical too.
    I hope now you understand my point of view.

I wouldn’t say that all coffee produced by Keurig is bad. In fact, the Barista Prima Italian roast is quite good.

What America (and to a marginally lesser extent Europe) have to do is stop being a bunch of hare-brained coprophages (aka ‘consumers’) diving head on in every fad where product quality is reciprocal to the sum of someone elses profit, waste production, and snazzy advertisement.


our keurig machine broke (which is fine with me) and i’ve moved on to making damn fine pour over. it’s cheaper, the only waste is paper and grounds and it tastes a whole lot better.


I believe the point is that (KCups/coffee machines that generate waste) are conceptually unethical by way of their excessive use of resources not directly involved in the making of the coffee.

Maybe. I’d be afraid that their takeaway from that would just be, “we need to fix our DRM for version 3.0”.

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Part of that message being “we want coffee pods and we like pod coffee”. As this isn’t something I’d like to accidentally communicate, I’ll stick with just not buying a K machine… or any machine that involves much more than hot water, coffee, and a simple filter mechanism.

I do see this hack being ultimately useful if you’re wage slaving away at work, someone without taste or imagination was in charge of the office kitchen, and the only source of hot water for your coffee is therefore a K machine.

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True thing I hate is that the kind of people who buy Keurig machines are precisely the same kind of person who doesn’t care about “hacking” the machine…


Headline on Treehugger:

Keurig coffee pod DRM gets hacked, now you can use any horrible pod

They’re bloody expensive, and they take up shelf space that could be used to sell whole bean coffee. So perhaps I should be sad that this hack will stave off the collapse of this fad.


I’d like to see a non-mechanical hack. Something that disables or comments out the code that looks for the approved label in the first place. That would be a proper hack. Can’t seem to locate a USB port on the machine, though.

I’ll stick with the drip coffee maker I have or just use the Cuban coffee pot I have. No Keurig for me thank you.

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I’m just going to keep french pressing and waiting for the report to come out that coffee brewed through cancer-causing plastic causes cancer.

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