K-cups are booming in popularity right now, and these days it can seem like every coffee roaster and coffee shop is also selling their own range of K-cups. If you are considering buying a K-cup machine or have already invested in one for yourself, there is a lot of variety when it comes to buying the cups, and this can easily get overwhelming. Below we’ve answered a few questions that should help you with your purchasing decisions.
Are K-Cups and K-Cup Pods Different?
Technically, the terms ‘coffee pod’ and ‘K-cup’ mean two different things, even though they are used interchangeably. A K-cup is a cup made from hard plastic and sealed with foil that is designed to work with Keurig coffee machines. On the other hand, a coffee pod is soft, made from filter paper, and looks more like a teabag but with coffee grounds inside. Some people use ‘pod’ to refer to any sort of pre-packaged coffee including K-cups and Nespresso capsules. If something is described as a K-cup pod, it’s most likely going to be a typical plastic K-cup. Are K cups real coffee? Yes – inside that pod are freshly ground coffee beans just waiting to be brewed.
Which Pods Work with Keurig Brewers?
Keurig coffee machines are designed to use hard-sided K-cups – this is the only way that you can use these machines to brew coffee, unless you have a machine that is compatible with K-cups and another form of brewing like drip coffee. The good news is that a Keurig machine might be compatible with other coffee pod types. You can buy reusable Keurig filter basket if you want some other options. You can also use K-Cup permanent filter adaptors that are designed to use freshly ground coffee with, rather than using a pre-ground K-cup.
However, some coffee pods aren’t going to be compatible. For example, hard-sided pods and capsules made by brands like Nespresso or Tassimo are not going to fit in a Keurig coffee maker. The good news is that if you are looking for Keurig coffee K cups cheap, you’ll find lots of options.
Can You Get Starbucks K-Cups?
If you love Starbucks coffee, the good news is that most of the Starbucks branded coffee capsules that you will find in their stores are K-cups, which are fully compatible with your Keurig coffee maker. However, it is worth bearing in mind that not all single-serve pods sold by Starbucks are compatible with Keurig machines. For example, the Verismo brewer sold by Starbucks comes with its own capsules, which look similar to K-cups but won’t fit in your Keurig machine due to the ridges on the outside of the cup.
Do All Keurig Coffee Machines Use K-Cups?
The answer is yes; however, not all Keurig coffee makers use the same K-Cups. In the past, when Keurig was still fairly new, all of the machines that they sold used the same cup, and were compatible with any other coffee capsules and pods that used the same dimensions and designs. However, this led to several companies releasing unofficial versions, so Keurig brought out a new line of coffee makers in 2014 to combat this issue. Known as the Keurig 2.0 brewing system, these brewers expanded size options for users and added an espresso-style shot function. Another feature of these brewers is a sensor in the K-cup area that will reject any non-official pods. If you are looking to buy a 2.0 brewer, the best place to buy a Keurig is from the manufacturer or a trusted retailer. They’re also sold on Amazon.
Non-Standard K-cup Styles
You may come across some different types of k-cups, including:
- K-mug: These pods are designed for single-serve brewing, but they brew a stronger cup compared to the standard pods. They contain enough coffee to brew up to sixteen ounces and work in Plus Series brewers.
- K-Carafe: Also designed to work with Plus Series brewers, these make up to six cups from a single pod and contain 26g of coffee.
- Rivo Pods: These are designed to work with the Rivo, Keurig’s espresso machine that has its own line of pods. They allow you to brew espresso-like coffee shots.
- Vue Pods: These are designed to work with the Vue brewer. They contain more coffee for a stronger flavor and were the first type of K-cup to be recyclable.
If you’re investing in a Keurig brewer or have a K-cup compatible coffee machine that you want to get more use from, here are some of the best K-Cup options, including cheap coffee pods for Keurig that you’ll love.
Krispy Kreme Classic Keurig Pods
This blend is a mixture of Arabica beans in medium and light roasts. It is an ideal choice for anybody who enjoys a milder brew as it offers a crisp taste with a caffeine punch that feels like a bolder blend. The k-cups are compatible with all Keurig brewers and are Certified Kosher. You get 32 pods in a pack.
Newman’s Own Special Blend Keurig Pods
This blend offers a combination of dark-roasted Indonesian coffee beans with Central American medium-roasted beans, offering a strong body and flavor that isn’t reduced even when mixed with milk, cream, or sugar. It’s also a great ethical choice of coffee since all the company’s profits go to charity and it is Certified Fairtrade. The pods are recyclable, too.
Caribou Coffee Blend Keurig Pods
This is one of the most popular varieties offered by Caribou Coffee. It uses a blend of fruity beans from Central and South America to balance out the flavor of the smoky, spicy Indonesian beans. It results in a smooth yet complex brew that tastes great either black or with milk and sugar.
Folgers Classic Roast Keurig K-Cup Pods
This is a classic coffee brand found in many American households. The Classic Roast is certainly their blend with the strongest aroma along with a rich and full-bodied flavor that lingers without being bitter. It has a taste strong enough to stand up to anything that you add to it, making it great for anybody who likes to add milk and sugar to their coffee. The pods are recyclable and compatible with Keurig’s new brewers.
Green Mountain Nantucket Blend Pods
Green Mountain’s Nantucket Blend offers a combination of fruity African beans with smoky Sumatran beans, along with a touch of French Roast to add caramel notes. It is an ideal choice for coffee drinkers who like their brew unique and bold, with a complex flavor and rich body. It does not contain any added ingredients or preservatives and is Fairtrade Certified.
Starbucks Pike Place Roast Coffee Pods
This blend was the original medium roast to be served at Starbucks’ first Pike Place location when they first opened in Seattle in 1971. It’s still going strong today as customers love the balanced flavor with hints of nuts and chocolate, which come through just as well in the K-cup version.
Original Donut Shop Keurig K-Cup Pods
If you like your coffee to be strong, these K-cup pods are certainly going to give you the bold taste that you want without the burnt or bitter taste that can be a result of over-roasting. The K-cups are packaged immediately after roasting and grinding the coffee, so you can rely on always getting the freshest flavor from each K-cup.
McCafe Premium K-Cup Pods
If you enjoy McDonald’s coffee, you’re not alone – the coffee from the McCafé range is actually pretty good; in fact, so much so that there’s a demand for K-cups. And the McCafé K cup caffeine content is fairly generous, making this the perfect choice for those early mornings where you don’t have time to actually go to McDonald’s. The flavor is a contender among bigger brands like Starbucks, and if you prefer a milder cup, this is an ideal choice with a clean, crisp finish. They work in any Keurig brewer.
Starbucks Vanilla Flavored K-Cup Coffee Pods
Flavored coffee is an ideal choice for anybody who prefers a sweeter brew without adding tons of extra calories to your drink in the form of creamer or sugar. These K-cups from Starbucks are made with high-quality beans that are roasted for a little bit longer than most medium options, offering a naturally bright taste that perfectly complements the vanilla flavoring. The beans are ethically sourced, and the pods do not have any added sugar. They can be used with any Keurig or K-cup compatible coffee maker.
Dunkin’ Original Blend K-Cup
This is a medium-bodied and smooth brew that is ideal for getting you up and energized in the morning. The K-cups use the same delicious, high-quality 100% Arabica blend coffee that Dunkin’ Donuts use in the cafes, allowing you to get the same consistent familiar flavor from the comfort of your own home. The cups are recyclable and compatible with the current generation of Keurig coffee machines.
With many brands, blends, and flavors available, it’s clear to see why K-cups are so popular!