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If for some reason you’re using K-Cups, you might as well use great K-Cups. While they are a scourge on the environment, and their inventor himself has gone on record saying he regrets ever inventing them, they’re basically unavoidable these days. Almost every office you’ve worked at has one. And lots of busy (or lazy) people have them on their kitchen counters – they are compact, they take next to no time to operate, and require practically zero effort on your part to produce a cup of coffee.
In any case, good things usually take effort. That’s why coffee lovers generally look at instant coffee and K-Cup coffee with a mixture of disdain and pity. And if you’ve drunk regular K-Cup coffee before, you too have figured out that it’s a far cry from the flavor you’d get using other coffee makers. Luckily, we’re here to introduce you to the best K-Cup coffee, so that you don’t have to compromise taste or eco-friendliness for convenience.
So, let’s take a gander at the best K-Cups coffee, which offer great taste, a strong caffeine punch, and aren’t just drinkable – but also enjoyable. Keep in mind that – if you care about the environment as we do – you’ll be happy to know that we’ve only included eco-friendly, compostable recommendations! You may also wish to consider getting a reusable K-Cup filter.
Best K-Cup Coffee in 2020
Before we get to our reviews, here’s a quick look at our top recommendations:
Overall Best: SF Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest
Our top pick has it all: flavor, quality, eco-friendliness, and affordability. This medium-roasted coffee blend offers beautiful notes of dark chocolate and sweet berry, giving you a well-bodied cup of coffee. The coffee pods are plant-based and thus 97% biodegradable.
In other words, you get all the taste of proper coffee and all the convenience of a K-Cup without any of the guilt! Neat, right? The SF Bay coffee company also offers a lot of variety, so if you prefer dark roasts – as many people do with K-Cups – you can choose from an array of dark and medium-dark roasts (like the dark French Roast or the delicious Fog Chaser).
The SF Bay Organic Rainforest Blend is some of the best tasting K-Cup coffee you can find. Unlike regular K-Cups, which use a sort of diluted coffee formula in the capsules, the SF coffee pods are filled with freshly roast, ground coffee, which allows for a flavorful result. This particular blend is made with 100% arabica (the good kind of beans) medium roast coffee, which delivers a full-bodied cup of coffee adorned with acidic notes. It has delicious hints of sweet dark berry, jasmine, and lovely dark chocolate.
The SF coffee pods made it to the top of our list also thanks to their excellent quality. The beans used are of certified organic origin and are also certified Kosher. The blend is made using beans from the most popular coffee-growing regions: Mexico, Columbia, Guatemala, and Indonesia. As the pods are packed with freshly ground coffee, if you keep them in a well-enclosed container in your home, you’ll never have to be subjected to stale-tasting coffee.
We love that these K-Cup pods are eco-friendly. The pods are made of plant-based materials that are commercially compostable. This means that you can get the convenience of a single-use coffee pod without the negative, wasteful impacts on the environment.
You may assume that high quality would come at a ridiculous price – but this is far from the truth in the case of the SF K-Cup pods. Their price per pod is quite affordable, which gives you excellent value for your money. In fact, it’s the most budget-friendly option on our list!
Lastly, the SF Bay Coffee company is a family-run company, which cares about their legacy to the world – so they back their quality with a satisfaction guarantee.
The taste of the coffee isn’t always consistent – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just keep in mind that since the company is always creating the blends, the taste of the coffee will vary based on the most recent batches of beans.
Best Quality: Cameron’s Coffee Single Serve Pods B01MQN9N79
Cameron's Coffee Single Serve Pods
To give you some context if you aren’t familiar with the concept, Kona is some of the best-tasting and most highly valued arabica coffee in the world. It grows only in some parts of Hawaii, and it owes its sought-after taste to the special climate that accompanies the region.
So naturally, we found the best Kona K-Cup coffee on the market, and it’s Cameron’s Coffee K-Cup pods! They taste amazing and guess what – they don’t cost much either. Plus, we delivered on our promise: these pods are commercially compostable.
Cameron’s Coffee Kona blend K-Cups pods combine the simplicity of a single-serve coffee with the taste of a quality brew. Although the blend contains only 10% Kona arabica, it’s enough to give your cup of coffee the desired, delicious signature taste. The flavor is rich and bold yet smooth, with lovely overtones of chocolate and nuts. The roast is well near ideal for a Keurig’s coffee machine.
Cameron’s Coffee Kona blend offers great value for your money. While normally, Kona-based coffee blends are quite expensive, these pods are quite affordable. As we mentioned, it’s only 10% Kona – but it’s still 100% arabica. To keep the ground coffee in the pods fresh for as long as possible, keep them well sealed in a Ziplock bag.
Cameron’s Coffee pods are also one of the more eco-friendly options on the market. Rather than using plastic, the ground coffee in the pods is placed in a coffee filter which is commercially compostable. Keep in mind that industrial composting facilities aren’t available everywhere, so unless you compost yourself, it may be a bit tricky to find the adequate facility.
One drawback with the Cameron’s Coffee pods is that the top doesn’t always get properly pierced by the Keurig’s machine, so it may need a bit of help on your part – which can be considered a hassle since you’re trying to make coffee in the most fuss-free way.
Best Decaf: Tayst Decaf Coffee Pods
Sometimes, you want coffee but you don’t want caffeine. And, most coffee lovers don’t just drink coffee for the kick in the morning – we drink it for the taste. Well, the Tayst Decaf coffee pods bring just that: all of the flavor with none of the punch.
Tayst also just happens to be one of those awesome K-Cups producing companies that deliver their delicious grind in compostable and biodegradable containers. And if you’re not a fan of decaf, Tayst also offers a broad variety of blends, roasts, and flavors: from deep and dark coffee to zany vintage vanilla.
Tayst’s Defiantly Decaf coffee pods will break down all the prejudice you may have for decaf coffee. Taste-wise, it’s not just a filler between your morning cup of java and your afternoon’s final charge. It’s an event all of its own. The flavor is dark and rich, delivering a full-bodied cup of joe. It pairs quite nicely with a splash of milk.
Tayst is another single-serving coffee pod company that has done its work in the way of eco-friendliness. The K-Cups coffee pods contain no plastic and are 100% biodegradable and compostable. Additionally, the coffee is Rainforest Alliance-certified, which means that the coffee beans are harvested in an environmentally conscientious way which conserves natural resources and doesn’t disrupt the life of local farm communities, but rather supports it.
While the pods are biodegradable and compostable, they do come in some additional packaging which is a bit wasteful and will require more recycling – that is, if you’re trying to reduce waste.
Most Versatile: GLORYBREW Compostable B06XCPS9TL
The Glorybrew Variety Pack Compostable K-Cup coffee pods are the most versatile K-Cups option on the market – you get three beautiful coffee blends that will suit the taste of any coffee enthusiast. The coffee blends deliver consistently flavorful cups, and they vary from medium to extra-dark roasts. And – as any coffee lover will tell you – if you’re using a Keurig’s machine, you can’t afford to go below a medium roast. Light roasts taste like watered down coffee on a Keurig’s machine. Oh, and, of course – the Glorybrew pods are compostable and biodegradable.
The Glorybrew Variety Pack will offer you a neat introduction to all the blends that the company has to offer. All three blends are made of flavorful arabica coffee, so in the end, which one’s best will depend on your unique taste. You get The Duke – a medium roast with a bright aroma and mellow aftertaste; The Knight – a dark roast that will deliver a rich, full-bodied cup of coffee; and The Noble, an extra-dark roast that will produce a beautifully intense cup of java with sublime chocolate overnotes.
The Glorybrew blends are made of high-quality coffee. They’re all 100% arabica and don’t contain any additives or preservatives.
The Glorybrew is another eco-friendly option, in more than one way. To begin with, the pods are 100% compostable and biodegradable, as they’re entirely made of organic materials. In fact, this product is certified by the BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute). Additionally, it’s Rainforest Alliance Certified, which means that the beans are sustainably grown and sourced, and don’t contain harmful additives.
The bottom part of the pod’s filter is sensitive to breaking, so you may end up with some coffee grounds in your cup of coffee or your coffee machine on occasion.
Another drawback is that these K-Cups are a bit pricey.
The SF Bay Organic Rainforest blend is our favorite K-Cup coffee due to its excellent taste and quality – which come at quite a reasonable price. The pods deliver a full-bodied cup of medium roast with lovely dark chocolate and sweet berry overtones – and just a slight hint of jasmine. The coffee is also certified organic, which means that no harmful chemicals will make it to your morning ritual – as far as the coffee goes, at least. The coffee pods are biodegradable as they’re plant-based, so you’ll be able to enjoy your convenient, single-serve, no-fuss coffee guilt-free!
For those looking to get some high-quality arabica in the mix, Cameron's Coffee Single Serve Pods are the best quality Kona coffee K-Cup option on the market that combines excellent taste with affordability. Although the pods contain only 10% Kona, the rest is still pure arabica, and the blend is artfully made to allow the unique taste of Kona to pop. These pods deliver a bold and smooth cup of coffee, with notes of chocolate and nuts. The pods are commercially compostable.
Tayst Decaf Coffee Pods. The best decaf K-Cup coffee are the If you have some experience with decaf, you probably know that decaf coffee – usually – isn’t nearly as delicious as regular, caffeinated coffee. Well, Tayst is the exception that proves the rule. The coffee grounds in the pods are darkly roasted, so they deliver a rich, full-bodied experience without the twitchiness that accompanies the third cup of coffee mid-day. In fact, the flavor is so bold that you’ll want to add some milk to it! The pods are also completely compostable and biodegradable, and the company is Rainforest Alliance – certified.
The most versatile K-Cup coffee is the GLORYBREW Compostable. With this option, you get three beautiful blends for any flavor – dark and rich, mellow and smooth, and intense and chocolatey. So if you’re not sure what type of K-Cup is your type of K-Cup, the Glorybrew Variety Pack is a great way to get an idea of what your favorite roast and blend is. The pods are compostable and biodegradable, and Glorybrew is also a Rainforest Alliance member – which also means that there are no additives or preservatives in the coffee.
How to Choose the Right K-Cup Coffee for You
Now you know everything about the best K-Cup coffees on the market, which will certainly improve your opinion of just what that Keurig’s machine can do. Still, the question remains – which one is the right choice for you? Let’s go over the main factors you should consider when choosing your new order of K-Cups.
One of the main criticisms that K-Cups get is that the resulting cup of coffee tastes weak, diluted, and old. However, since we’ve filled our recommendations with filter-based pods that contain actual grounds of coffee rather than regular plastic cups which contain some sort of a coffee concentrate, this criticism mostly doesn’t apply.
The part which does apply concerns coffee strength. Light roasts simply don’t go with Keurig’s machines. Light roasts shine when it comes to drip brews or pour-over coffee. When we’re talking Keurig’s machines, you should opt for everything above medium roast, and in fact – the darker and oiler, the better. So medium, medium-dark, dark, and extra-dark roasts all work well for this brewing method. And from this generous variety, all that’s left to you is choosing which type of roast is most to your liking.
Pods Over Cups
The original K-Cups, which is what we mean by cups and which you may have used before, are different to the K-Cups pods that we are recommending. The difference between the two is in quality, taste, and eco-friendliness. That’s right, we’re not just trying to push you to be more eco-conscious, we’re also trying to give you the best tasting option.
The cups are filled with coffee concentrate which goes through various factory processes and just sort of tastes, meh at best. The best reviews you’ll find for K-Cups of this sort is that they are acceptable or that they taste like vanilla, or caramel, or whatever. But most coffee lovers aren’t just in it for a syrupy, Starbucks-inspired cup of sugar. Plus, these cups are made of plastic which is adding to the neverending piles that are suffocated land and water.
K-Cups pods on the other hand, taste way better. That’s because they’re filled with freshly ground coffee, and if you store them well, they’ll maintain that freshness until it’s their turn to be brewed. There’s no chemicals, additives, dilutants, or any of that – it’s just an easy single-serve portion of proper coffee. In fact, you’ll see that your Keurig’s machine will finally shine using these pods. Not to mention that pods are generally either biodegradable or compostable or both – so they definitely have the upper hand when it comes to reducing waste and pollution.
We talk a lot about taste, quality, and environmental consequences – but what about money? We are kind of programmed to believe that the more of these tags a product has – like “eco-friendly” or “biodegradable” or “organic”, the pricier it will be. But this isn’t always the case – in fact, it’s even less so over time. As the human negative impact becomes more obvious with each passing day, some of these selling points are becoming a norm. So, no: a biodegradable, compostable pod will not cost you more than a single-serving piece of plastic.
In any case, our top picks vary in price, and favorite K-Cup coffee also just happens to be the most affordable. Even though the blend is organic – which people may think should be priciest – it’s not the case. The current cost per pod of the SF Bay Rainforest Blend is about $0.42.
The next stop on the scale is Cameron’s Kona Blend – which again, you’d expect to carry a salty price due to the coveted Kona coffee in the blend. However, it costs only about $0.50 per pod. The Tayst Decaf Pods are pricier, costing around $0.77 per pod, and the Glorybrew Variety Pack is by far the costliest, with pods that cost $0.84 apiece. As prices are subject to change, make sure you check the latest price when choosing.
Brewing The Perfect K-Cup Coffee
The appeal of Keurig’s machines is the simplicity. All you do is insert the K-Cup, press a button, and pick up your drink-ready cup of java a minute later. However, there are a couple of steps you can take to make sure that you get a great cup of coffee every time…
Choose The Right Roast
We’ve gone over this – go for at least medium, up to extra-dark. The best way to have control over the roast is either to get one of these awesome pods we’ve been talking about, or to get a reusable K-Cup filter which you can fill with a fresh grind of your own choosing every day. The latter is a bit more work but will deliver some great tasting coffee.
Regularly Clean Your Machine
With any brewing method, you’ll need to clean your coffee maker regularly. Otherwise, stale coffee and bacteria will accumulate and affect the taste of your coffee for the worse. To keep your taste buds safe from trouble, you should regularly clean your Keurig’s machine. And don’t worry, by regularly, we mean once every two months or so.
The easiest, most foolproof way to clean a Keurig’s machine is to run a cycle of white vinegar through it (no coffee – just vinegar). You can also do half water, half vinegar. Then, send two more cycles of pure, regular water to get rid of vinegar residue. I do the same thing with my Moka pot to prevent the bitter taste that accompanies old coffee buildup.
A Few Words Before You Go…
We hope that our reviews and buying guide have been useful in your search for the best K-Cup coffee for your Keurig’s machine. We tried to create a list for you which doesn’t compromise taste or eco-friendliness for convenience and price. In a nutshell, we tried to bring you the best of the best! If you want to learn more details about each K-Cup variety, follow the links to the Amazon sites.
And since we have you (not that we have you), check out our product reviews, guides and recipes, which are sure to bring the best of the restaurant/coffee shop experiences into your own home.
Amazon product information last updated on March 24, 2022. Images, prices and links from Amazon Product Advertising API.