As methods of brewing coffee have become more modernized with the progression of time, there have been several new innovations to the art of coffee brewing. One of the most popular contraptions is the Keurig, a machine that’s not only easy and efficient but also produces decent coffee.
At a Glance: Best K-Cups For A Keurig
Though we here at Roasty prefer brewing methods that are a little fresher, flavorful, and more involved like a French press or a pour-over, Keurigs can be quick methods to getting a cup of coffee as well.
20 Best Keurig K-Cup Pods
With so many brands and roasts of coffee out there, and so many of them customized into K-Cup format, there are many options to choose from. Here’s our list of the best K-Cups on the market right now, organized by blend.
Light, Refreshing Roasts
Light roasts tend to be sweeter, more flavorful, and more caffeinated than other roasts. The beans for lighter roasts are normally roasted around 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, the blend is low in oil and high in acidity. Here are some of our favorite K-Cup versions of this delicious roast.
1. Green Mountain Light Roast Coffee
A mild roast, Green Mountain’s Light Roast is savory, easy on the acidity, and smooth in flavor. Due to this, it makes a delicious go-to option for those who need something simple. Since it’s lighter, this K-Cup blend has just the right dosage of caffeine and zest to sip on.
2. Peet’s Light Roast Coffee
Roasted from some of Columbia’s best coffee beans, Peet’s Light Roast is aromatic, light-bodied, and refreshing. With vibrant color, the coffee is smooth for those who may have sensitive stomachs and savory for those who need a tastier, lighter brew to enjoy.
3. Starbucks Veranda Blend
A classic blonde roast by Starbucks, this popular blend is gentle, light, and full of delicate flavor. The lightest roast that Starbucks makes, this soothing blend is perfect to enjoy at any time of day.
4. Gevalia Signature Blend
This bright and full-bodied light roast has notes of citrus, giving it a bright color and a rich flavor. It has a mellow taste and is great for those who like to drink a light roast in the morning, or for those who just need something to sip on throughout the day.
Medium, Evenly-Balanced, Roasts
Medium roasts maintain a balanced level of acidity, as well as a balanced level of body. Therefore, they are normally richer in flavor than light roasts and have less amount of caffeine.
1. Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend
For those who are looking for a blend that’s not as strong as dark roasts, but has a little more body than light roasts, Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend is a beloved K-Cup option for many. In addition, its balanced amount of caffeine is rejuvenating, and its smooth flavor is moderate and enjoyable.
2. Caribou Coffee Caribou Blend
Made from Indonesian beans, this hearty blend has notes of spice and woody flavors with hints of dark chocolate on the finish. Heavy-bodied, this is a darker medium blend, packed with rich flavor that leaves you craving more with each sip.
3. Laughing Man: Hugh’s Blend
Founded by Australian actor and entrepreneur Hugh Jackman, this high-quality medium roast blend is savory, well-bodied, and filled with deep, hearty flavor. Made in recyclable K-Cups (woohoo!) this K-Cup blend is not only made with quality flavor in mind but quality everything else as well.
4. Donut Shop Medium Roast Blend
Strong and full-flavored, this blend is not as bitter as some darker medium blends can be. It’s bold but has low amounts of acidity and bitterness. This K-Cup blend is ideal for a great morning brew, as well as an afternoon and evening drink too.
Dark, Bold, Robust Roasts
For dark roasts, the deepest notes and tones of flavor in the beans are released. They are the most heavy-bodied roasts, possessing a bolder, richer, and often more bitter flavor. Because of their longer roast times, they have very little caffeine and are typically more saturated in oils from the beans themselves.
1. Community Coffee New Orleans Blend
This rich, vibrant flavor inspired by the culture of New Orleans is smooth, robust, and bold. Perfect to drink in the morning, afternoon, and evening, this blend is packed full of flavor but isn’t as heavily-bodied as some normal dark roasts can be.
2. Peet’s Dark French Roast
This blend of intense, bold flavor consists of a powerful smoky taste that’s made to savor. As a result, this blend is sure to put some pep in your step. If you like having a strong cup of joe in the morning to kick off your day, this K-Cup option will get the job done.
3. Starbucks’ Dark French Roast
Starbucks’ darkest roast, this blend also possesses a lot of smoky-flavored tones. Low in acidity, and a little lighter in body than other dark roasts, this K-Cup blend balances the intensity of a dark roast, while smoothing it over for better consumption.
4. Laughing Man Colombia Huila
With bright notes of lime and bergamot, Laughing Man’s Columbia Huila is robust in flavor and heavy in body. Moreover, they are made in a disposable, environment-friendly K-Cup. Subsequently, using this blend won’t only taste good, but it’ll make you feel good too.
Coffee that has been decaffeinated has to have a required 97% minimum of the caffeine removed from the beans. This normally leaves around 1-2% of caffeine remaining. This is beneficial for coffee drinkers who are pregnant, nursing, or have heart conditions.
1. Green Mountain Coffee Dark Magic Decaf
Though this Green Mountain blend is decaf, don’t let it fool you. Loaded with hints of chocolate and dried fruit, this K-Cup blend will give you mouth-watering flavor without the overwhelming power of caffeine.
2. Newman’s Own Organic Special Decaf Blend
With a slight tart taste, this blend is vibrant and scrumptious. Roasted with tones of banana, nuts, and chocolate, this is arguably Newman’s most tasty brew so far. So, not only is it enjoyable, but this medium roast will give you a boldly flavored, yummy cup of coffee.
3. Eight O’ Clock Original Decaf
Another scrumptious medium-roast blend, Eight O’ Clock’s decaf K-Cups are well-bodied and balanced in flavor. Made from 100% Arabica beans, this decaf blend has a sweet flavor with hints of fruit blended in. It’s the perfect decaf option for every time of day.
4. San Francisco Bay One Decaf
Filled with intense flavor, this dark roast by San Francisco Bay’s Decaf K-Cup is rich enough to satisfy any coffee craving. With a powerful smoky flavor, it’s delicious aroma makes you feel like you’re enjoying a deep, dark roast without the influence of caffeine.
Flavored coffee is often roasted with certain spices, herbs, nuts, or other aromas that provide an extra flavor to the beans when roasting. This infusing of flavors makes for a variety of brews for even the pickiest of coffee drinkers to enjoy.
1. Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla
Full-bodied and robust in flavor, the tones of French vanilla in Dunkin’ Donuts’ K-Cup blend is light, not overly sweet, and soft in flavor. A medium blend, it has a moderate amount of caffeine that’s evenly balanced. The tasty flavors of vanilla in this brew also make it ideal to sip on in the morning.
2. Green Mountain Southern Pecan Blend
Full of southern comfort flavor, Green Mountain’s Southern Pecan blend is nutty, buttery, and bold. A light to medium roast, this roast is well-bodied with a vibrant flavor that’s light, slightly tart, but comforting in taste.
3. Community Coffee Mardi Gras King Cake Coffee
Need another dose of southern flavor? Community Coffee Mardi Gras King Cake K-Cups have you covered. A lighter blend, this coffee is well-bodied and has balanced flavors of vanilla and cinnamon, encompassing the classic, smooth New Orleans king-cake flavor.
4. Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Rolls Blend
Obsessed with cinnamon? Cinnabon Cinnamon Roll K-Cups are not overly sweet, smooth, and rich in flavor. Enjoyable and refreshing, the K-Cup blend is quick to become a favorite go-to for any time of day.
Since it’s common for coffee lovers to start their day with a hearty cup of coffee, there are many editions of blends that are designed specifically for this time of day. Breakfast blends are normally light-to-medium roasts that are easy in acidity and smooth flavors.
1. Green Mountain Breakfast Blend
Many enjoy interchanging this blend with their Green Mountain Light Roast blend, and vice versa. Both are lighter blends, but this specifically packs a delicious, robust flavor to get you up and going in the morning.
2. Tully’s Breakfast Blend Roast
A lighter roast, this breakfast blend by Tully’s is mild and gentle on the taste buds. Tully’s Breakfast Blend has notes of citrus, this mellow K-Cup brew is a simple and delectable option to implement in your morning routine.
3. Starbucks Breakfast Blend
Starbucks’ Breakfast Blend is a medium roast that’s bold and crisp. Its robust flavor is bright and tangy, and sure to put some pep in your step. Though this blend is a medium roast, it’s not as powerful as some other blends, but still packs a lot of personality.
4. Martinson Breakfast Blend Capsules
Another light breakfast blend roast, Martinson’s Breakfast Blend is delicate in taste. Mild, but certainly not bland, it’s high caffeine amount is designed to give you a burst of energy and a burst of flavor.
A Quick K-Cup Run Through
Before we get into the breakdown of the K-Cup, we need to do a quick overview of the Keurig machine itself.
Introduction To The Keurig
The Keurig was first designed in 1992 by John Sylvan and Peter Dragone. They were college roommates during the late 1970s, and the pair met up once again during the early 1990s, reuniting as business partners.
Both Sylvan and Dragone previously worked in an office atmosphere, and they both noticed a problem with the traditional, drip-brewing method of office coffee. When brewing a large pot of coffee for the office, it would often get cold, stale, or go to waste as the workday passed. Therefore, they wanted to create a method of brewing single-serve coffee that would prevent this problem.
Thus, the Keurig company was born. After it received some investment from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Keurig began releasing machines in 1998. The first machine that Keurig released was the B2000, a machine that was specifically designed for office spaces and workplace use.
Nowadays, Keurig has still maintained its production of office-design machinery, but it also primarily focuses on home brewing as well.
Benefits Of The Keurig
The greatest benefit to the Keurig is how convenient it is. They can be relatively small in size, taking up little counter space, and brew coffee with the push of a button. This is why they are efficient options of office spaces, or for home brewers who need a quick, easy-to-operate coffee brewing method.
Characteristics Of The K-Cup
A K-Cup is a plastic and paper filter that holds the measured amount of coffee grounds needed to brew with a Keurig machine. They come in packs of small amounts (from 4-6) to large amounts (up to 96). They are disposable, and one K-Cup is only enough for one cup of coffee. Many larger coffee roasting companies have K-Cup options.
Things To Consider Before Buying
If you’re on the market for a Keurig, or just looking for some new K-Cup coffees to try, it’s important to keep in mind the following characteristics before you purchase a new box of K-Cups.
For those who are new or may need a refresher on how to distinguish between different kinds of coffee, understanding roasting is a must. Different coffee beans are roasted at various temperatures for various amounts of time. As a result, this creates differences in acidity, bitterness, caffeine amount, color, body, and overall flavor of the coffee.
Some smaller brands of coffee roasters may not be popular enough on the market to sell K-Cups, but there are methods to still drink your favorite coffee with your Keurig.
For instance, there are
reusable K-Cup options that allow you to brew with normal ground coffee, allowing you to use whatever brand or roast you wish.
Cup or Capsule?
Since Keurig machines can be somewhat versatile on their own, they have the option for brewing either with K-Cups or with capsules. The primary difference between K-Cups and capsules is that instead of being in a plastic container, they’re in a smaller, thinner paper casing. Capsules can be beneficial because they provide a better brewing extraction due to a larger surface area. On the other hand, K-Cups have limited surface area for extraction.
Of course, when it comes to purchasing coffee, everyone has a price range. Depending on which K-Cup brand you’d like, there are options for how many cups in a pack you can purchase. Therefore, different brands may charge different prices based on the quality or quantity of K-Cups, so researching which brands and blends best suits your taste is a must.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can You Use K-Cups Twice?
Since K-Cups are designed for single-serving sizes of coffee, they normally have around 9-12 grams of coffee grounds. However, it’s recommended to use around 10 grams of coffee for every 6-8 ounces of water.
Consequently, if you reuse the same K-Cup to make multiple cups of coffee, the grounds are going to be over-extracted. This is because all of the flavors, aromas, and oils will already be stripped from the grounds after you brew your first cup. And besides, it’s just kinda gross.
Can They Be Recycled?
There are some companies who design recyclable or organic K-Cups to easily dispose of. However, for normal K-Cups, you’ll need to take them apart to recycle them. This is because many K-Cups are made with a combination of aluminum, and plastic, all materials need to be recycled separately.
Can K-Cups Expire?
K-Cups don’t necessarily have an expiration date, but they do have a “best-to-brew-by” date. They’re normally written on the sides of the cups. As a result, they can last longer than regularly packaged coffee grounds, but they can still go weak or stale after a certain amount of time. Granted, brewing a K-Cup a little past the date won’t kill you, but it might not give you the best flavor.
Do You Have to Have a Keurig to Use K-Cups?
Though the inside of K-Cups are only coffee grounds, you can brew them with a variety of methods. However, K-Cups are extremely efficient because specifically designed for Keurig machines.
But, if you wanted to take multiple K-Cups to make a larger amount of coffee (because proportionally, you’ll have to), you could find yourself with quite a mess on your hands. Therefore, it would probably be more efficient, affordable, and easier to not attempt using K-Cup grounds in other coffee brewing machines.
In conclusion, when looking at K-Cups, there are many options out there to choose from. At the end of the day, the best option for you is going to be a blend that has the flavor, caffeine content, and amount of K-Cups that you want. Also, remember that many brands package their K-Cups in different sizes and amounts, so there’s bound to be one that works best for you.