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Remington iCoffee Opus Single-Serve Brewer review: A lackluster brew from iCoffee's Keurig competitor

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MSRP: $139.99
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The Good The iCoffee Opus Single Serve Brewer sports a flashy design and promises to work with all kinds of K-style cups.

The Bad iCoffee isn't as feature-rich as other brewers we've tested, and despite iCoffee's claims, we weren't able to detect an uptick in coffee quality.

The Bottom Line iCoffee's brewer does an acceptable job, but it doesn't live up to its performance claims, and that makes it difficult to recommend.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.6 Overall
  • Performance 6
  • Design 7
  • Features 6
  • Maintenance 8

Review Sections

A year after introducing a steam-based drip coffee maker, Remington's iCoffee brand is back with a new single-serve brewer designed to compete with Keurig. Touting SpinBrew technology, the iCoffee Opus Single-Serve Brewer promises pod-based coffee with less of a bitter aftertaste, as well as the freedom to brew whatever brand of K-style pod you like.

The emphasis on that last bit stems from the fact that the latest generation of Keurig brewers, dubbed "Keurig 2.0," won't brew anything other than Keurig-branded pods. That positions iCoffee's cup-blind brewer as a Keurig 2.0 alternative, but with plenty of other alternatives that also won't discriminate between K-Cups and Knockoff-Cups -- including the existing batch of Keurig 1.0 brewers -- it isn't alone in that regard.

That puts the pressure on iCoffee's performance to set itself apart, and after taste-testing more coffee than I care to admit, I'm not convinced that it does. At $140, it's a perfectly fine single-serve brewer, but not an exceptional one. Shop around, and you'll find better value and more feature-rich designs.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Design and features

The iCoffee Opus is a glossy, slick-looking brewer with a black, boxy build and stainless steel accents. Blue LEDs shine up through the 75-oz. water reservoir -- and down into your mug during the brew process. The look is less homey than it is techie. From a distance, you might mistake the thing for a gaming PC.

It isn't a bad look for a coffee maker by any stretch, but for some, it might be a touch ostentatious. It'd be right at place in a dorm room, but I have a hard time imagining it blending in with most kitchen decor.

The tech that iCoffee is trying to highlight is its SpinBrew technology. Put simply, the Opus will shoot a 360-degree spray of water within the K-Cup during the brew cycle. The company's claim is that this agitates the grounds, allowing the water to permeate them more evenly. According to iCoffee, this produces a less bitter brew.

The other feature that's front and center is Dial-a-Brew, which is just a rubbery knob that you can turn to adjust the size of your beverage. This is nothing groundbreaking -- pretty much any single-serve brewer will allow you to select the specific size of your drink -- but I did appreciate iCoffee's approach here. The dedicated knob and LED display look a bit luxurious, and feel the part, too. Turning a knob just makes more sense than repeatedly jabbing your finger into a touchscreen.

iCoffee Opus Keurig K500 Cuisinart SS-700 Bunn My Café MCU
Brew time (8 oz. cup) 53 seconds 49 seconds 46 seconds 42 seconds
Drink size range 4 - 12 oz. 4 - 10 oz. 4 - 12 oz. 6 - 14 oz.
Brew temperature range (F) N/A N/A 187 - 192 N/A
Brews K-Cups Yes Yes Yes Yes
Brews off-brand cups Yes No Yes Yes
Brews Vue Packs No Yes No No
Brews fresh grounds Yes (reusable cup sold separately) No Yes (reusable cup included) Yes (brew head included)
Reservoir size 75 oz. 80 oz. 80 oz. N/A
Suggested retail price $140 $190 $200 $170

SpinBrew and Dial-a-Brew aside, the iCoffee Opus doesn't actually offer much by way of features. There's no way to adjust the water temperature, nor are there any presets for things like iced beverages. It doesn't come with its own reusable cup, like the Cuisinart SS-700 does. You can't brew entire pots from a single pod, the way you can with a Keurig 2.0 brewer like the K500 . It won't "pulse" the brew process for a slower, stronger brew, like the Editors' Choice-winning Bunn My Cafe MCU will.

Still, there's something to be said for simplicity. If all you want is a countertop machine that'll quickly brew an acceptable cup of coffee each morning, you'll probably be perfectly satisfied with the iCoffee Opus. Those wanting more control over the brew process, however, might want to look elsewhere.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

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