Keurig Green Mountain is supported by The Coca-Cola Co

Keurig Green Mountain is supported by The Coca-Cola Co

Last week, analysts got a sneak preview of the Keurig Kold.

It was a long-awaited chance to test-drive the home-carbonation platform that The Coca-Cola Co likes so much it invested at least US$1.25bn in maker Keurig Green Mountain. Unfortunately, analysts appear harder to impress and gave the machine, which is expected to roll out later this year, some harsh reviews.

Top of the list of bugbears was the price.

SodaStream, which will be Keurig Green Mountain's main rival in the home-carbonation market, sells its machines for US$99 in the US. The Kold price? A cool US$299 for the low-end model and $369 for more advanced specs.

"When we initiated in January, we estimated the retail price of the Kold machine and pods at $175," writes CLSA's Caroline Levy in a note this week. "Our proprietary survey at the time found that only 4% of respondents were interested in a Kold machine at a price above $250."

The pods used to flavour Kold beverages also took a beating on price, as Levy says they are as much as three-times more expensive that anticipated.

What Keurig hopes is that consumers will be willing to pay more for a higher quality of beverage dispenser compared to SodaStream's models, which, unlike the Kold, don't deliver chilled drinks. Keurig has also brought on board big name brands from Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper Snapple Group as well as developing own-brand flavours.

But, that hope has now been dealt a blow.

Levy reports that, while the Kold's brand Coca-Cola tasted the same as its commercially-made version, other flavours scored mixed reviews. Levy adds that the brewing process was also a bit slow, "with water being dispensed first, followed by syrup".

The Keurig Kold will be released online in the Autumn - Coca-Cola and Keurig will hope that consumers are easier to please than beverage analysts.