Two of Keurig’s highest end machines are the K-Supreme (Plus) and the K-Elite. I have owned both of them and brewed hundeds of k-cup from each device. In fact I’ve brewed hundreds of k-cups from both the K-Supreme and the K-Supreme Plus so I have a lot of personal experience with all three of these machines.
Of the three machines I actually like the K-Supreme series of brewers better than the K-Elite for two main reasons, I like the fixed head style where the k-cup holder doesn’t move and I like the five-point needle that Keurig calls Multi-stream technology.
Technology might be going to far in my explanation of how it works though, it’s just five water injection needles instead of one.
The K-Supreme is better than the K-Elite because the multi-stream water needles saturate the coffee grind in your k-cup uniformly resulting in better tasting coffee. The K-Elite includes a strong button to slow the water flow down but it still brews too fast compared to the K-Supreme for full bodied coffee.
FYI – This is what the strong button does.
Not only do the five point water needles give me full extraction rates from my k-cups but when I bump the strength setting up to the highest it brews much slower than the K-Elite giving me a completely better tasting cup of coffee.
Even though the K-Elite is a good brewer I still have ranked the K-Supreme Plus higher on my list of best Keurigs. You can see that list here: Best Keurig Coffee Makers This Year
I also advise a lot of my readers to look closely at the K-Select which is cheaper than the K-Elite and offers most of the same features that I consider to be important. You can see my comparison of the K-Elite to the K-Select here.
If however you want to learn more about the differences between the Supreme and the Elite then take a few minutes to watch this video comparison I made not long ago about these two machines:
If you are interested in buying either the K-Supreme or K-Supreme Plus then see this page where I show you my recommendations for best place(s) to buy these machines.
Also, did you know that the K-Supreme Plus SMART was released in the summer of 2021? You can see my review of the new K-Supreme Plus SMART here.
Now Let’s Compare The Settings Between the Elite and the Supreme
The Supreme Plus, Plus SMART, and the Elite each offer 4oz, 6oz, 8oz, 10oz, and 12oz cup sizes but the base model K-Supreme doesn’t have the 4-oz option.
I typically use the 4-oz option for my rinse cycle or to pre-warm my coffee cup before brewing actual coffee into it.
All three machines offer strength selections.
The base model Supreme brews normal coffee in about a minute and if you push the strong button it brews an 8oz cup in around 1:20.
The Elite also offers a sliding strength selector of a variety of strength options, each of which extend the brew time slightly. This is very similar to the Supreme Plus and the Supreme Plus SMART.
The Supreme Plus SMART actually gives you five different strength selections to choose from making it the most customizable of them all. Make sure to see the following article to see more of the differences between the Supreme Plus and the SMART.
Water Reservoir Size, Filtration, & Location
Both the K-Supreme Plus & SMART models have identical water reservoirs sized at 78oz on the spec sheet however I can consistently get a few more ounces in the tank before hitting the max-fill line.
This is in comparison to the Elite which has a tank that only holds 75-oz and the base model K-Supreme that only holds 66-oz.
All three of the Supreme models have a pitcher style reservoir that is very easy to pick up and refill at the sing while the Elite can be removed just the same but it’s a bit more cumbersome to do. You’ll likely need two hands to remove and replace the reservoir compared to a single hand on the Supreme units.
The base model K-Supreme is the only one that offers an adjustable location reservoir, meaning you can position the water tank to the left of the unit or the rear.
For filtration all of the machines come with a charcoal water filter and filter holder in the box so you don’t have to buy that separately.
Coffee Brewing Speed, Temperature, Flow Rate, & Volume
The K-Elite falls under the older style of Keurigs that use an internal water tank as opposed to a heated water line. Because of the internal tank the Elite holds more water in it than the removable water reservoir indicates.
When you brew a cup the internal tank heats up the water inside it to brewing temperature and then it pumps the water through your k-cup. This process is louder than the new style machines and it takes longer for the brew process to start.
Because of the longer wait time for the first drip the actual water-to-grind contact time is faster, basically the flow rate is greater so it catches up to the Supreme while brewing.
As a result the coffee is no faster to your cup, the brew extraction is weaker, and the noise to get the job done is a lot more.
Related Reading – Do Any Keurig Coffee Makers Actually Make Good Coffee
In contrast all of the Supreme models use the heated water line method so there is no internal tank to deal with. The machines make nearly no noise at all and the first drips in your mug usually happen in about 7-10 seconds from when you hit the button.
Because the first drip comes so fast these machines are able to take more time brewing, pumping water through your k-cups, so that your coffee extracts correctly…and since these machines offer the multi-stream injection needle the coffee grind is evenly saturated further improving the taste of your final cup of coffee.
The supreme is almost always going to give your coffee in cup a slightly lower temperature because of the slower flow but the coffee brews at nearly the same temp as the K-Elite so this to me is a non-issue.
One of the Elite’s problems also has to do with that internal water holding tank. Like many Keurigs water can get trapped in there and there’s no easy way to get it out without taking the machine apart.
The tank is helpful though if you are brewing multiple cups at a time because the tank can keep water hot and ready to brew at a moment’s notice. You can set the tank to stay on indefinitely or shut itself off after a period of time has passed. If you like getting your coffee as quickly as possible then the K-Elite can get this job done in any of the five cup sizes.
Click the following links to see where to buy these things for the best pricing, availability, and promotions:
Comparison of Other Features: Iced Coffee, High Altitude, Descaling
All of the units we are talking about here have an iced coffee or over ice button that you can select. They all work exactly the same way too.
When you brew with the over ice setting enabled you’ll get approximately 5.5-oz of coffee. The first portion of the coffee seems to brew at a higher temperature than the second portion of the coffee.
This ensures that most of your coffee gets extracted well and then the lower temps aids in keeping your iced coffee cold when it gets to your glass full of ice.
Assuming you have enough ice in the glass you are brewing into the smaller portion size and average lower temperature of the brew will cool off without melting away too much of your ice. With some melt you’ll end up with around 8-oz of iced coffee and a lot of ice cubes still left in your cup.
I have an entire video demonstrating this and explaining how it works. You can see that video here if you like.
If you live at an altitude over 5000-feet then all of these units have an adjustment that can be enabled to adjust for high altitude brewing. At 5000 feet water boils at a much lower temperature than at sea level so toggling this option can help the brewers perform better and potentially last longer too.
Additionally each of these units make it very clear with a dedicated light when it’s time to descale the machine. I recommend always running rinse cycles on these machines and brewing vinegar through the machine periodically to never see this light illuminate but if you don’t do preventative maintenance then the light is there for your convenience.
In general you are probably going to be paying on average about $10 more for the Supreme SMART over the Supreme Plus and about $40 more for the Supreme Plus over the base model Supreme.
The K-Elite is usually going to cost you more than the Supreme and less than the Supreme Plus. Obviously prices change all the time and sales make judging value a little harder.
I personally think the K-Supreme Plus is the best value but if you don’t care about lots of settings and don’t see yourself ever brewing 4-oz cups of anything then the base model K-Supreme is a great deal.
Keurig even sells the K-Supreme on it’s website packaged with their starter kit for a substantial discount. You can check pricing and availability out through this affiliate link.
Learn More About Keurig and K-Cup Coffee Below
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