The Best K Cup Coffee
You can love Keurig, or you can hate Keurig, but there’s no denying the company revolutionized the way America drinks coffee. The sheer simplicity of slotting a pod in place and getting a delicious cuppa in a matter of seconds is what drives us to forego espresso machines and drip coffee makers. The endless variety of K-cups is another unbeatable advantage. At least, it is if you know where to look for quality coffee pods that don’t taste like swill.
We’re here to rescue you from K-cup mediocrity and present seven mouth-watering options we’ve tried and found worthy of your attention. Here’s a sneak peek at all brands before we take a deep dive into each one.
First, take a look at the highlights of the best green coffee beans shortlist, and then we'll take you through each option and discuss its pros and cons in detail.
Best Tasting K Cups in 2021: Everything You Need to Know
We won’t try to convince you pod coffee can taste just as good as single-origin beans roasted and ground to perfection and turned into an espresso. Still, we have to admit K-cups have their uses, both in the home kitchen and in the office break room. Single-serving pods are perfect for an instant caffeine fix when you don’t have the time or the energy to play barista. Besides, Keurig machines are usually much more affordable than super-automatic espresso makers that offer a similar level of brewing simplicity.
If you find yourself looking for a perfect pod to come along with your Keurig or Cuisinart K cup coffee maker, we have a few suggestions to help you make sense of the dizzying variety of the best K cup flavors.
You don’t need the best K cup coffee maker, if you choose a coffee pod that
- Offers your preferred roast. Light roasting doesn’t alter the natural taste of the coffee beans much, leaving plenty of bright acidity and notes of flowers and fruits for you to enjoy. Dark roasting reduces acidity and infuses the beans with intense smokiness and light bitterness. Medium roasting combines the best of two worlds, making it the most popular choice among coffee lovers. If you don’t know which roast to start with, consider buying a variety pack or go with a medium roast.
- Is caffeinated just right. You don’t have to order whole bean coffee to enjoy a cup of decaf or half-caf. It’s always a good idea to have a couple of decaf pods lying around to enjoy after dinner or offer guests who have to cut back caffeine consumption.
- Boasts bold flavor. You can skip this option if you’re a coffee purist. But if you enjoy an occasional seasonal experiment, getting a pack of flavored pods is a delicious alternative to syrups. Hazelnut, vanilla, and blueberry are among the most common flavors, though you can find more exotic options, like Southern Pecan or Brown Sugar Crumble.
- Compatible with your coffee maker. To avoid unnecessary hassle, read the pod’s description carefully to find out if it’s compatible with Keurig 1.0 or 2.0 and other pod coffee machines. While the pods look very similar, small design glitches can cause the pods to tear or even explode inside your coffee maker.
- Has a minimal carbon footprint. If you don’t want to add to billions of pods joining the landfills every year, look for greener K-cup options. Some are made of recyclable plastic, while others are compostable and biodegradable. Either variety is better than non-recyclable plastic.
Before we jump into detailed reviews of the best Keurig pods, let’s address the elephant in the room. K-cups are expensive compared to coffee beans, even if you’re a single-origin snob. Every serving of pod coffee will cost you from $0.50 to $1.00. That’s the price of convenience and speed, and it can go overboard in no time. We’ve selected seven K-cup brands that offer affordable prices and bulk order discounts that should keep your coffee expenses manageable.
Our Top 7 Picks for K-cup Coffee Brands
Tayst Coffee Review
- Medium, bold, flavored, and decaf options
- Sample box of 20 pods for only $12
- Monthly delivery of freshly roasted coffee
- Zero plastic, 100% compostable pods
Tayst might not possess the widest range of K-cups, but there are enough choices for every coffee lover. You can go with a medium or bold roast, get hazelnut or vanilla-flavored pods, or buy a box of decaf K-cups to satisfy the taste buds without the caffeine kick. However, we believe the variety packs and sampler kits to be Tayst’s true power. They offer a chance to experiment and find your perfect pod without wasting money.
If you’re worried about the environmental impact of your Keurig, you will love Tayst. Their pods are free of plastic and 100% compostable and biodegradable. Even the inks on the paper lid are compostable! The company is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and relies on recycled and recyclable materials to stop billions of pods from ending up in landfills.
We were first attracted to Tayst, thanks to their Starter Box. After all, 20 pods and a coffee mug for only $12 with free shipping sounds too good to be true. However, once the sample pack runs out, you’ll have to dish out $23 for a 30-count package. The cost per cup goes down the larger package you choose, but it’s still far from the most affordable option on our list. And their monthly subscription plans start at $29 for 40 pods.
- Medium, dark, and extra dark blends
- Vanilla and hazelnut flavored coffee available
- Compostable K-cups
- Not Keurig 2.0 compatible
Glorybrew by Gourmesso might not be the most popular of K-cup options, but it sure comes with plenty of benefits. For one, there are five delicious choices, including medium, dark, and extra-dark roasts that are tailored to the Keurig brewing method to deliver the most flavorful cuppa for your morning pick-me-up or nightcap. Two of them are flavored, the names Lady Vanilla and Sir Hazelnut giving away the additives that take the coffee experience overboard.
Another undisputable benefit of Glorybrew is their use of compostable materials in K-cup design. However, these pods are only certified for industrial composting facilities that might not be present in every city. As there’s still no certification for backyard composting, the company cannot claim you may turn their pods into soil at home.
All of the Gourmesso blends are available in 12 count packages for around $8.50. But the variety packs were the first to grab our attention. You can get 12 pods of three varieties for around $25 or 60 pods of five blends for $40. It’s a great way to taste test all blends or tickle your guests’ curiosity at the next dinner party. After all, compostable K-cups guarantee you can enjoy delicious and hassle-free coffee without feeling guilty about adding to the landfills. However, getting these pods to work with Keurig 2.0 machines might be too much of a hassle, so we advise you to start with a small pack before going all in.
- Dark roast Arabica and Robusta blend
- Strong, intense with cherry and chocolate notes
- Recyclable K-cups
- Compatible with Keurig 1.0, 2.0, and other machines
If you’re a fan of super-strong coffee, you must have heard of Death Wish. Their specialty blend of Arabica and Robusta is now available in the form of Death Cups that deliver the same powerful pick-me-up. The signature dark roast works wonders for coffee brewed in the pod, providing you with a full cuppa of strong yet delicious joe with pleasant cherry and chocolate notes and none of the expected bitterness.
Unlike the previous option, Death Cups work well with all types of pod machines, including Keurig 1.0, 2.0, Cuisinart, Breville, and Mr. Coffee, so you should have no trouble getting your cuppa ready. Besides, the product is USDA Organic and Fair Trade certified, and the pods are recyclable, so you can enjoy the caffeine fix guilt-free.
Considering the number of glowing reviews, our shortlist would never be complete without the Death Cups. In our opinion, their only downside is the price that’s two or three times higher than average. You can get ten K-cups for $16 or 50 pods for $60. Unless you set up a subscription, the cost might soon become overwhelming, especially if you require three or more cups of coffee every day.
San Francisco Bay Best K cup Coffee
- Medium to dark roast Arabica
- Decaf option available
- Commercially compostable K-cups
- Compatible with Keurig 1.0 and 2.0
Forget about settling for brown-tinged water instead of coffee. San Francisco Bay offers a variety of delicious K-cup options that won’t have you dreaming of a state-of-the-art espresso machine. The medium to dark roast blends deliver full-bodied, rich, and bold flavor at a single press of the button. And the decaf option is great too, thanks to a French roasted combination of South and Central American beans.
Unlike other brands on our shortlist, this company specializes in Arabica beans, freshly roasted, ground, and packaged for your ultimate coffee drinking pleasure. As there are no additives and flavors, the product is kosher. San Francisco Bay is so confident in their product; they offer a satisfaction guarantee, so feel free to reach out to the company if you don’t enjoy their K-cups.
San Francisco Bay coffee has been on our radar for years, but we’ve noticed quality control issues mentioned in other reviews. Since the company switched to compostable pods, they have become less reliable and prone to breakage and even explosion inside the Keurig machine. We recommend starting with a 12-count pack (available for only $9) before you commit to a larger package (36, 40, or 80-count). While the larger packs provide significant savings, it’s not worth risking your coffee machine.
The Original Donut Shop Best K cup Coffee
- Medium and dark roast available
- Decaf option present in the lineup
- Stronger than your average K-cup
- Recyclable pods
You got to love the company that claims the best part of any donut is the coffee that comes with it. And that’s exactly the philosophy behind this brand! Their original K-cup is much bolder and more flavorful than your average pod cuppa thanks to an increased coffee content (over 11 grams per pod). As a result, you don’t have to settle for a weak brew and can enjoy the powerful caffeine kick with or without a sweet treat.
The three K-cup options include the original, dark roast, and decaf coffee. The original version is medium roasted for a smoother taste, and the decaf version tastes very similar, without the caffeine kick and related health issues. The dark roast is much more intense and perfect for those who enjoy a little bitterness to balance the acidity in their cuppa.
Another thing we love about The Original Donut Shop is their dedication to making K-cups affordable for everyone. Their most expensive offer is around $43, but you get 96 pods for that price. If you’re not ready to commit to these K-cups, you can opt for a smaller package of 72, 48, or 32 pods. You can enjoy a hassle-free cuppa for as cheap as $0.45, and it’ll be delicious!
Solimo Dark Roast Best Keurig Coffee
- Light through dark roast and full scale of flavor intensity
- Compatible with Keurig 1.0 and 2.0
- Available in 24 and 100-count packages
Considering Solimo is an Amazon brand, it’s no surprise these K-cups are extremely affordable (only $34 for a hundred-count package) and come with plenty of positive reviews. We couldn’t ignore the variety of roasts and beans that comprise the lineup. With Solimo, you can go from a bright light roast with a fruity palette to an intense French roast Arabica that’ll knock your socks off with its bold and smoky flavor.
Aside from single-blend packages of 24 or 100 K-cups, you can also opt for a combination of two or more flavors with a variety pack. For example, a duet of French Roast and Decaf Breakfast Blend seems like a nice option if you crave a delicious cuppa after dinner but don’t want to risk your beauty sleep.
The one downside to Solimo K-cups is their environmental impact. Though the pods are recyclable, you have to disassemble them and recycle the plastic separately from the aluminum foil. If you buy K-cups to save time and avoid the hassle, wasting precious minutes on this chore seems counterintuitive. Once the brand comes up with fully recyclable or compostable pods, it might become our top choice.
Green Mountain Best Keurig Coffee
- Single-origin, blended, flavored, and decaf options
- Original K-cups designed for Keurig machines
- 12 to 96 count packages available
- Recyclable pods
We could never get away with compiling a list of top K-cup brands without Green Mountain. After all, it was the first company to partner with Keurig and create the coffee pods to fit their machines. While other brands try to make their K-cups work with Keurig 1.0 and 2.0, Green Mountain is miles ahead thanks to their original Keurig-compatible design no other company can match. While there were some issues with pod design a couple of years ago, they are now resolved, and the K-cups work seamlessly with your trusty Keurig.
The flavor selection is one of the best on the market. You can go for a single-origin or a blended coffee, add a little extra to your morning routine with a flavored pod or enjoy your coffee guilt-free thanks to decaf and half-caf pods. There are even a few flavored decaf K-cups, so everyone can find their perfect cuppa on the Green Mountain roster. Variety packs are a thing too, if you are feeling adventurous.
Moreover, these K-cups are quite affordable. The 96-count package is only $43, bringing the cost of a coffee cup down to around $0.45. Smaller packs are available too, if you want to check the pods out before committing to a bulk order. The K-cups are recyclable in some communities, so you’ll have to research the local facilities to learn if you can drink Green Mountain without contributing to landfills.
Call us boring, but Green Mountain K-cups are our top recommendation due to the sheer variety of options, affordable pricing, and recyclable pods. We are certain you’ll find the best mild Kcup coffee among the thirty options they offer, and you’ll never want to switch to another brand unless it’s Death Wish and their Death Cups that can raise the dead.
The Verdict. What Is the Best K-Cup Coffee?
There’s no pleasing everyone, but Green Mountain sure comes close to achieving the feat. With nearly three dozen options to choose from, including decaf, half-caf, and single-origin beans, there’s no way to go wrong. Besides, their pods are tailored to your Keurig, so you don’t need to test your luck with every brew cycle. Finally, the K-cups are recyclable, so you get to minimize your environmental footprint. And if you’re more adventurous and have money to spare, check out the runner-up, Death Cups by Death Wish. These are the best when it comes to kickstarting your brain in the morning.
What Are the Best K Cups?Many factors alter the taste of the bean. The country and region of origin are a good indicator of the flavor you can expect. The taste changes with the annual temperature, humidity level, soil composition, and farming techniques used. The variety of Arabica trees grown is also a factor, along with the processing method, drying conditions, packaging, and storage before shipping. Once you get your hands on the beans, the way you store, roast, grind, and brew them will affect the flavor of your cuppa.
How to Store Green Coffee Beans?You’ll have to answer this question for yourself after a few experiments with different brands. We recommend you start with Green Mountain, San Francisco Bay, or Death Wish. All are outstanding in their own right. Remember to take the price, convenience, and environmental impact into account before setting up an auto-ship subscription or placing a bulk order.
How Much Coffee Is in a K Cup?It’s hard to tell unless you look closely at the package. Aside from the net weight in ounces and grams, the box should list the amount of coffee each K-cup holds. For example, every Death Cup holds 12.5 grams of coffee, while Green Mountain Breakfast Blend is only 8.9 grams per K-cup. Folgers pods are even lighter at 8 grams per K-cup. As you would expect, the more grounds every pod holds, the stronger your cuppa will be, so pay attention to this number before succumbing to advertising.
How Much Coffee Do You Put in a Reusable K Cup?K-cups hold 8 to 14 grams of coffee on average. And that’s how much grounds you should be able to stuff into a reusable K-cup. The exact amount depends on your choice of a reusable pod and the fineness of the grind, as well as your machine and brewing technique. For instance, if you decide to pre-brew or pre-soak the grounds in hot water before inserting the pod into your Keurig machine, you need to leave enough space to stir the grounds in the K-cup without losing any. In this case, you’ll need to stave off the desire to jam the pod choke-full of coffee.
Where to Buy Unroasted Coffee Beans?Amazon is the most obvious choice, as you're unlikely to find quality green beans at a local bodega or big box store. You can also check out roasters' websites, like Smokin Beans or Coffee Bean Direct, but they rarely have enough reviews for individual products, and there's no way of telling which reviews are genuine and which are fake. If you like one of the products on our list, follow the link to learn more, check out reviews, and purchase.
What’s the Best Roast for K Cups?Traditionally, Keurig brewing produces a rather weak cuppa, so most brands offer a medium to dark roasts to compensate for the watered-down flavor. However, the latest models are much better at extracting every last ounce of flavor from the single-serving pods, so you can get away with lighter roasts without sacrificing the taste. As with ground beans, dark roasting introduces smoky notes, while light roasting brings fruity, herbal, and floral nuances to the fore.
Can I Reuse K-cups?Even if you’re desperate to save money, we don’t recommend it. You can try and reinsert the used pod into your Keurig and run the brew cycle, but don’t expect to get a decent cup of coffee. The brew will be so weak; it will be nothing but brown-colored water. Instead, try reusable K-cups you can fill with your preferred grounds.