Greener BeeGreen GadgetsThe Buzz Machine

Sitting in one such conference room on a recent morning, Keurig’s third cofounder, Dick Sweeney, carefully cuts a K-Cup in two with a pair of scissors. There’s a small pop when he punctures the plastic capsule, releasing the shot of nitrogen that keeps the coffee from oxidizing. Inside the container, there’s a conical filter filled with grounds. The amount ranges from 9 to 15 grams, Sweeney explains, depending on flavor and variety. When the plastic capsule is closed into the Keurig brewer, wide needles pierce its foil top and plastic bottom. The brewer then pumps in hot water, turning the capsule into a miniaturized version of the filter basket in a traditional coffeepot. The process takes just 45 seconds, and if you like French vanilla while your co-worker wants a hazelnut decaf, that’s no problem. Freed from the tyranny of brewing by the pot, to each his own.

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