Because coffee brewing methods have become more modernized over time, several innovations to the art of coffee brewing have made their way onto the scene. One of the most popular products is the Keurig, a machine that’s not only easy and efficient but also manages to produce a decent cup of coffee.
Though we here at Roasty prefer brewing methods that are a little fresher, more flavorful, and more involved — like a French press or pour-over — we’ll admit a pod coffee machine, like a Keurig, can be a convenient way to get a cup of coffee.
And just like with a regular coffee machine, the kind of coffee you use with a Keurig matters. In fact, it’s probably more important here; pop in one subpar pod, and you’re sipping a mug full of disappointing, near-flavorless brown water. Gross.
At a Glance: Best K-Cups For A Keurig
Luckily, there’s a wide variety of brands and roasts to choose from to use with your pod machine. But with so many options out there, it’s hard to know which are the best-tasting K-Cups and which will leave a bitter taste in your mouth. How do you know for sure what’s good?
Well…you’ve come to the right place! We’ve put together a master list of our picks for the best K-Cups on the market right now, and they’re organized by blend so you’ll be able to find exactly what you’re looking for. Read on. We’re certain you’ll find a java you like.
Quick Summary: Best K-Cups For A Keurig
|GREEN MOUNTAIN BREAKFAST BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
|WANDERING BEAR EXTRA STRONG PREMIUM DARK ROAST||USE ROASTY20 - GET 20% OFF →|
|STARBUCKS VERANDA BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
|GEVALIA SIGNATURE BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
|CARIBOU COFFEE BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
|LAUGHING MAN HUGH’S BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
|DUNKIN’ DONUTS ORIGINAL BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
|PEET’S COFFEE MAJOR DICKASON’S BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
|CAFE BUSTELO ESPRESSO-STYLE DARK ROAST||Check on Amazon →|
|GREATERGOODS VISTA BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
Before we get into the breakdown of the K-Cup, we need to do a quick overview of the Keurig machine itself.
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 noticed a problem with the traditional, drip-brewing coffee method used there: when brewing a large pot of coffee for the office, the java would often get cold, stale, or go to waste as the workday passed. Their solution? Creating a single-serve coffee brewing method.
Thus, Keurig was born. After Green Mountain Coffee Roasters invested in the company, Keurig began releasing machines in 1998. Though Keurig’s focus is primarily on home-brewing these days, its original machines, sold under the name B2000, were specifically designed for office spaces and workplace use.
The greatest benefit to the Keurig is how convenient it is; the fact that these little machines can brew coffee pods with just the push of a button is no doubt what landed the brand on the list of coffee giants. That kind of speed coupled with their small size — most of these pod machines take up very little counter space — is why so many office spaces and homes rely on the Keurig to give them a quick and easy coffee brewing experience.
Sure, because the pre-ground coffee is often in the pods for weeks or even months before it’s brewed, you may be giving up some of the strong coffee flavors we go crazy for, but when you’re in a pinch and need your caffeine boost on the double, you might think the sacrifice is worth it.
A K-Cup is a plastic and paper filter that holds the measured amount of coffee grounds needed to brew a cup of coffee with a Keurig machine. They come in packs of varying amounts, some with as little as four to six coffee pods and others with as many as 100.
They’re disposable, and one K-Cup is only enough for one cup of coffee. We’ll say that again: one K-Cup pod is only enough for one cup of coffee. In other words, you shouldn’t try to use them twice!
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.
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 on the acidity while boasting a smooth taste, and Green Mountain’s Breakfast Blend is no exception.
This coffee, made with 100 percent arabica beans, is bright with a smooth and silky mouthfeel, and both sweet and nutty flavors dance around on your taste buds with every sip. This light roast brew is just an all-around clean java, making it a worthy choice for your morning coffee.
This classic blonde roast from Starbucks is gentle, light, and full of delicate flavor. This soothing blend, which is the lightest roast the international coffee franchise makes, is perfect to enjoy at any time of day.
As you sip a cup of the smooth coffee, savor the flavors of toasted malt and baking chocolate these Latin American beans boast. Coffee connoisseurs can enjoy this 100 percent arabica coffee on its own or with a bit of creamer and sugar — consumer’s choice.
As Sweden-born coffee company Gevalia boldly declares on its website: it might be their signature blend, but it has your name written all over it. If that kind of confidence doesn’t make you want to try out their blend of East African and Central and South American beans, we’re not sure what will.
This bright and full-bodied light roast has citrus blossom and chocolate notes that blend perfectly together to give the brew a bright color and rich flavor. This mellow taste will suit a wide variety of coffee drinkers, from those who need the caffeine of a light roast to perk them up in the morning to those who just need something good to sip on throughout the day.
Medium roasts maintain a balanced level of acidity, as well as a balanced body. Therefore, they are normally richer in flavor than light roasts and have less amount of caffeine.
If you’re anywhere near as devoted to coffee as we are, you know there’s never a bad time to sip a cup of the brewed drink and enjoy the strong flavors of good java. But for beans to work well in the morning, afternoon, or even as an after-dinner coffee treat, their resulting brew must be pretty smooth and relaxing.
Enter Caribou Coffee’s Caribou Blend. Made from Indonesian coffee beans, this hearty blend has spicy notes and woody flavors with notes of dark chocolate on the finish. The heavy-bodied, darker medium roast is packed with rich flavor that’ll keep you enjoying the coffee for years to come. A down-to-earth brew that’s smooth enough to drink at any time yet caffeinated enough to actually wake you up in the morning? Sounds good to us — brew us some, too.
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 roast, packed with rich flavor that leaves you craving more after each sip.
Founded by Australian actor and entrepreneur Hugh Jackman, Laughing Man Coffee brings us an organically sourced, fairly traded, high-quality medium roast.
The blend, named after the brand’s founder, is savory and well-bodied, and with every sip of this brew, you’ll taste the rich chocolate notes and nutty flavor. Adding to the list of this coffee’s positives is the fact that it’s made in recyclable K-Cups (woohoo!), and you’ll be happy to know the profits from these products go toward things like education and community development in areas all over the world.
For those who are looking for a blend that doesn’t have quite the strength of a dark roast, but has a little more body than a lighter roasted brew, the Original blend from Dunkin’ Donuts is a beloved K-Cup option. Plus, its balanced amount of caffeine wrapped up in a smooth flavor makes it rejuvenating, moderate, and enjoyable.
We’re willing to bet you’re already familiar with Dunkin’, as you have probably hit up the franchise’s drive-through for a cup of joe and a donut or two (or three…whatever). Now, you can enjoy the taste of the coffee that made the company famous without having to leave your house! No long lines, the same taste you’re used to, and you’re saving money, too. What could be better than that?
In dark roasts, the deepest flavor notes and notes 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.
Major Dickason’s Blend is one of the most popular types of coffee Peet’s Coffee has to offer, and after experiencing the blend’s rich, full-bodied, and bold flavor, you’ll probably understand why darker coffee-lovers flock to this joe.
Beans for this blend, created by company founder Alfred Peet and loyal Peet’s customer army sergeant Key Dickason, are sourced from Latin America and the Indo-Pacific region, and thanks to its earthy and spicy flavors, this brew makes for a smooth and balanced cup of coffee.
Wandering Bear Extra Strong Premium Dark Roast
Wandering Bear Dark Roast K-Cups
With a little extra boost of caffeine packed in and the slightly sweet flavor, these organic dark roast K-cups are hard to beat.
If you’re a regular Roasty reader, chances are you’ve already seen our full review of Wandering Bear Coffee. But if you haven’t read it, allow us to sum it up for you: we’re pretty impressed.
The delicious coffee brewed by these K-Cups manages to be bold but not bitter, making it a great choice for someone who prefers drinking their coffee black (though it also tastes pretty great with milk or creamer, too). This dark roast brew has notes of chocolate and sweet caramel that give it a flavor you’ll enjoy in any setting, whether you’re sipping the joe on a slow, easy morning or chugging it down quickly during your morning commute.
Be careful with these little pods, though. You may be so enchanted by this tasty blend that you’re tempted to brew several cups of it in one day. But before you do that, note that each pod delivers 250 milligrams of caffeine, so it may be in your best interest to limit your intake.
If you’ve never experienced the goodness of Cuban coffee, believe us when we tell you you’re missing out! And maybe there isn’t a K-Cup that perfectly captures the bold taste of the iconic and flavorful brew, but Cafe Bustelo’s Espresso-Style dark roast just might come close enough.
American coffee brand Cafe Bustelo is known for its authentic Latin espresso-style coffee and has claimed a pretty prominent spot in the coffee market for years. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that these K-Cups are well-loved, brewing a bold dark roast with a strong aroma. It’s the perfect marriage of tradition and innovation as convenient pod brewing and traditional Latin coffee meet, and you’ll find this brew delicious on its own or with a thick, sugary foam — the mark of a good café Cubano.
Did you know that only the top two percent of the world’s arabica beans make their way into GreaterGoods’ coffee? That means you’re not just getting any old coffee; with that kind of exclusivity, you can bet you’re getting a brew that’s guaranteed to be good. It doesn’t just taste good, either; it’s good for the environment, as these pods contain no plastic and therefore, create less waste to sit in your local landfill for years and years.
The brand’s Vista blend is a perfect combination of bold and smooth, and it’s also gluten-free and certified kosher. The cupless design of these “cups” improves flavor extraction as the coffee brews, so your result will be a cup that’s more flavorful than that of some other K-Cups. Plus, they’re delivered in nitrogen-flushed bags that are almost fully oxygen-free, which means your coffee will be as fresh as possible when it arrives on your doorstep.
Coffee that has been decaffeinated is required to have a minimum of 97 percent of the caffeine removed from the beans. This normally leaves around one to two percent of caffeine remaining. Decaf coffee is a great choice for coffee drinkers who are pregnant, nursing, have heart conditions, or simply want to enjoy a cup of the stuff without caffeine-induced anxiety or jitters.
We know how easy it is to enjoy the deep, intense flavor and the amazing aroma of a good French roast. In fact, it’s so easy to enjoy French roast that you might find yourself drinking cup after cup after cup…then, before you know it, it’s time to go to bed, but because of all the caffeine you consumed, falling asleep is officially out of the question. That’s why you need a decaf version of the dark roast on standby, and San Francisco Bay can make that happen.
As you drink your cup full of the popular roast, you’ll notice tasting notes of dark chocolate and toasted cinnamon. Be sure to appreciate every bit of the Central and South American beans’ flavor while being assured there won’t be any caffeine-related side effects later.
Though this Green Mountain Coffee blend is decaf, don’t let it fool you; it’s loaded with subtle hints of chocolate and dried fruit, and this K-Cup blend will give you all of the mouth-watering flavors without any of the overwhelming caffeine. But, with a name like Dark Magic, did you expect anything less than intensity?
Not only will buying a box of these cups make you feel like you’ve escaped to a cozy little hideaway in the mountains, but it helps the company carry out its mission to provide clean drinking water, better coffee growing conditions, and financing for farmers in the regions where the beans they source are grown.
You probably don’t think of coffee when you first hear the name “Newman’s Own,” but you probably should. Not just because 100 percent of its profits go to charity, but because the brew is actually good.
With a slight tart taste, the Special Blend is vibrant and scrumptious. Made of medium-roasted Central American and darker-roasted Indonesian beans, the blend is littered with tones of banana, nuts, and chocolate, and it’s sure to give you a boldly-flavored and yummy cup of coffee.
Flavored coffees are often roasted with spices, herbs, nuts, flavor syrups, or other aromas to give the beans a little something extra as they roast. This infusing of flavors makes for a wide variety of coffees even the pickiest of palates can enjoy.
Chocolate lovers, rejoice! The first product in our lineup of flavored coffees is for you.
Nothing quite hits the spot like a mocha latte, and thanks to Cafe Escapes Cafe Mocha K-Cups, you can enjoy one without firing up the old espresso machine or waiting in a long line at the coffee shop. This brew is a nice balance of cocoa and coffee that’s sure to satisfy your sweet tooth while giving you a nice kick of caffeine.
No, that wonderful aroma isn’t a pan of freshly baked cinnamon rolls coming out of the oven. What you’re smelling is Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll blend coffee flowing out of a Keurig brewer.
The 100 percent arabica beans used for this blend are lightly roasted, and the coffee produced by these cups manages to be smooth and rich in flavor without being overly sweet. If you’re obsessed with cinnamon and cinnamon rolls, you’ll likely find this type of coffee enjoyable and refreshing. And who knows? It just may become your personal favorite — your go-to brew for any time of the day.
What do you get when caramel, brown sugar, and vanilla flavors join forces with lightly-roasted coffee beans? If you guessed Green Mountain Coffee’s Caramel Vanilla Cream coffee, then congratulations, you’re correct!
Now, if you’re not a big fan of sweet coffee, you probably won’t want to pop these K-Cups into your machine, but if you want something that tastes like dessert in a cup, trying this blend from the Keurig partner brand might be a good idea.
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 to the world of java or just need a refresher on distinguishing different kinds of coffee, understanding roasting is a must.
Coffee beans are roasted at various temperatures for different amounts of time. This creates differences in acidity, bitterness, caffeine amount, color, body, and overall flavor of the coffee, which is where we get a light, medium, or dark roasted joe.
Then, there’s also the question of deciding whether you want a blend or single-origin roast.
Coffee blends are made with beans from different places* that complement each other well. Single-origin coffee, as its name tells us, is made with beans from just one place. Most serious coffee drinkers swear by single-origins, as they’re traceable (meaning you can determine exactly where they came from) and usually boast flavor notes that are specific to the area they came from.
*Though in many cases “places” refers to different countries, it doesn’t have to; maybe the beans were grown on the same farm at a different altitude. In that instance, the beans still aren’t exactly the same, and if combined, the result would be a blend.
The good news: there are over 60 Keurig-approved brands to choose from to meet your coffee brewing needs, and probably dozens of other non-approved pods to pick from, too. With such a wide variety, it’s more than likely that your favorite coffee brand has K-Cup products available for purchase.
But in case you exclusively drink joe from a local roaster or a company that’s not quite popular enough to sell K-Cups, there are still ways of brewing your favorite coffee in a Keurig. Reusable K-Cups, for instance, are designed for use with your own ground coffee and allow you to use whatever brand you wish, whether they sell K-Cups or not.
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.
We already answered this, but since so many ask this question, we feel it’s worth saying again: no!
It’s recommended to use around 10 grams of coffee for every six to eight ounces of water, and since K-Cups are designed for a single serving of coffee, they normally have around nine to 12 grams of coffee grounds inside them.
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.
That’s why you should be finished with the cup after one brew. And besides…it’s just kinda gross.
There are some companies that design K-Cups with recyclable or organic packaging. However, for normal K-Cups, you’ll need to take them apart if you want to recycle them. This is because many of them are made with a combination of aluminum and plastic, and all materials need to be recycled separately.
The “normal” ones sold in stores that we reviewed in this article are single-use only. However, they do make reusable K-Cups that you can fill with your own coffee grounds each time you want to use it, and then rinse and repeat day after day. Not only is this better for the environment, but it’s generally much more affordable over the long haul. There is a little more clean-up and prep though – so the trade-off is some of that convenience that made Keurigs popular to begin with.
K-Cups don’t necessarily have an expiration date, but they do have a “best-if-brewed-by” date that’s normally written on the side of the cup.
They can last longer than regularly packaged coffee grounds, but they’ll 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 (definitely won’t) give you the best flavor possible.
Because there’s nothing different or special about the ground coffee on the inside of a K-Cup, you can brew it with another brewing method. However, it won’t be as efficient, as these cups are 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 use more than one), you could find yourself with quite a mess on your hands. Therefore, it would probably be more affordable and easier to not attempt to use K-Cup grounds with other coffee brewers.
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.