If you’ve got a Keurig coffee maker and you’re looking for the best K-Cup coffee pods, finding the right ones can be a confusing and time-consuming process.
We’re here today to help streamline that for you and to make your life easier every step of the way.
We tested a huge selection of pods and we’ve culled them down to the 20 strongest choices across a range of roast profiles.
You should start this buying decision by being clear about which type of coffee best suits. We’ve got light roasts, mediums and darker French roasts so there’s something for the whole family.
We also tested a number of flavored coffees and we’ve got some of the finest examples if you’re looking for something a little different.
Another wise move is to buy yourself a starter pack of multiple tester capsules so you don’t need to commit to a full box only to find the roast profile or flavor is not to your liking. We’ve got you covered there, too.
As usual, we’ve also got some useful information to guide you further. We’ll show you how we went about choosing the best coffee pods then we’ll tail off with a detailed look at the leading advantages and drawbacks of K-Cup pods.
We’ll launch right in now with an overview of the 20 best K-Cup coffee pods.
Table of Contents
I. Top 20 Best K-Cup Coffee Pods
1. Green Mountain Caramel Vanilla Cream
Green Mountain is a coffee legend and this subtle yet powerful caramel vanilla cream blend will make you feel just like you’re in Starbucks without leaving home.
You’ll get the rich sweetness of caramel and butter undercut by a whiff of vanilla cream so you shouldn’t need to add any sugar doing wonders for your waistline.
A light roast, you won’t be overpowered while you’ll still get the morning caffeine fix you’re looking for.
Available in a pack of 24 pods, you might think this is not the cheapest way to drink coffee. Compare it, though, to a daily visit to the coffee shop and it soon seems like a veritable bargain.
For lipsmacking taste and a delectable aroma, this is out standout choice for the best K-Cup pods.
2. The Original Donut Shop Medium Roast
While obviously and justifiably famous for their donuts, never forget the Original Donut Shop makes a mean coffee too. This regular medium roast is one of their best sellers which just cause.
Labelled an Extra Bold coffee, this refers to the physical quantity of coffee in the pod rather than the roast profile.
A medium roast, you’ll get no harshness or bitterness but instead a smooth and impeccably balanced coffee ideal for drinking at any time of day.
Boxes come in a number of sizings from as few as 18 pods if you’re just testing them out or a bumper pack of 100 if you’re a committed fan looking for best value.
3. Eight O’Clock Hazelnut Medium Roast
For lovers of nutty coffee, Eight O’Clock serves up this aromatic medium roast undercut with the delicate taste of hazelnut.
Where many nut-infused blends go totally over the top causing an overload of flavor that dominates the coffee, Eight O’Clock uses a light touch while still giving you the nuttiness you’re hankering after.
A pure Arabica medium roast, these capsules work in all Keurig machines and the balanced taste means this coffee should appeal to the whole family.
Whether you want a smaller pack of 72 pods or a supersized 360-pack, you’ll get affordable coffee from a roaster you can trust.
4. Caribou Coffee Blend Medium Roast
Caribou Coffee offers a small bundle of medium roast perfect if you want a bit of body without being overwhelmed. 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified and suitable for anyone requiring Kosher coffee, you can buy with a clean conscience.
In the words of Caribou, this blend is “smooth and classic.” We have to agree that’s a pretty accurate description.
If you’re looking for a showy and bitter coffee that will blow your socks off in the morning, this blend is not for you. If, however, you’re hunting for a refined, all-day coffee, why not give Caribou a crack?
5. Best For Beginner: Coffee Variety Pack Sampler
When you’re just starting out with your Keurig machine, choosing the best blend of capsules can be confusing. Even if you know which roast profile you prefer, there’s so much choice you can never quite be sure if you’re missing out.
This sampler pack addresses that problem head on and delivers 40 different pods so you can try before committing to a full and large pack of a blend that might not be to your taste.
Handpicked from all the major players, you’ll get everything from Wolfgang Puck and Skinny Girl to Marley Coffee and Martinson.
This is one of those bundles where it’s safe to say there’s something for absolutely everyone.
See Also: Top 10 Best Thermal Carafe Coffee Makers
6. Starbucks French Roast
Starbucks needs no introduction and this classic French roast decanted into capsules for your Keurig machine is a heady brew.
A dark roast, this French coffee is not for the faint-hearted. For anyone seeking a rich and smoky start to the day, you can achieve a first-class coffee with push-button convenience if you invest in a pack of 96 pods.
As always, if you’re caught on the fence and questioning the value of this bundle, try calculating how much you spend in Starbucks each month and you might find yourself eagerly ordering up.
As with most of the best K-Cup coffee pods, these capsules work in all Keurig machines including 2.0 models.
7. Best Decaf K Coffee Cup: Green Mountain Breakfast Blend Decaf
If you simply can’t get enough coffee but appreciate the need to dial it back later in the day, decaf makes a great substitute.
Perhaps you simply don’t enjoy caffeinated drinks or your doctor has advised you to cut right back on caffeine.
Either way, decaf can be bland and utterly disappointing so take our word that this Green Mountain Breakfast Blend is anything but. While it’s a light roast and you won’t get the punch of an espresso, you’ll enjoy a gentle nutty flavor and an aroma richer than most decafs provide.
This is by some distance our preferred decaf K-Cup pod from a roaster you can rely on.
8. Green Mountain Breakfast Blend Light Roast
Yet another light roast up next from the inimitable Green Mountain, this time fully caffeinated.
Made from Arabica with no artificial additives or ingredients, you’ll get coffee at its smoothest without any of that bitterness or acidity that can taint darker roasts.
Certified Kosher and sourced ethically, you can do your part for the local growers by placing your trust in Green Mountain. In return, you’ll get coffee at its finest at a price you’ll love.
9. Barista Prima Coffeehouse Coffee
Barista Prima Coffeehouse produces some striking and fragrant blends with this fruity and nutty Colombian being a particularly fine example.
Full-bodied without being too extreme, you’ll get a taste sensation and a pleasant scent of mixed fruits.
Flavor-wise, you’ll be able to discern a nuttiness running underneath but you won’t find the taste too cloying.
This blend comes in packs of 24, 48, 72 or 96 capsules to suit.
10. Tully’s French Roast Coffee
Tully’s is a stellar presence in the coffee industry and with this powerful French roast, you’ll get something truly special to kickstart a busy day.
As with all darker French roasts, there’s an unmistakable smoky hue to this coffee. Unless you know what you’re signing up for, you’re probably better off sticking to a medium roast. If, on the other hand, you’re a fiend for the complexity of a darker roast profile, there are few better versions on the market.
Packaging is a disappointment with 50 pods bundled loose. On the flipside, this at least minimizes the environmental footprint, high enough as it is with the amount of plastic used in capsules.
A coffee for connoisseurs rather than beginners, go Tully’s and you won’t look back.
11. Peet’s Coffee Big Bang Medium Roast
Blending up Ethiopian’s finest coffee, Peet’s aptly named Big Bang makes a real statement.
Although a medium roast, you’ll get the strength and depth of flavor you’d normally associate with a darker roast. That said, you won’t be assailed by any bitterness and there’s relatively little acidity.
You’ll get a full flavor named for the founder of Peet’s Coffee who was described as the big bang of the craft coffee vertical.
Drop us a line and let us know if you think this signature medium roast lives up to that bold claim.
12. Decaf: Eight O’Clock Coffee The Original Decaf
Another great choice for decaf lovers, Eight O’Clock nail their colors firmly to the mast with The Original Decaf.
Rather than the limp and tasteless concoction of many decafs, you’ll get a sweetness and fruity flavor reminding you of a caffeinated drink but without the component you want to avoid.
As with all Eight O’Clock blends, this is certified Kosher and free of all additives and preservatives for an all-natural experience.
Choose from a range of sizes from 72 capsules to a jumbo bundle of 360 for economy and convenience combined.
13. Newman’s Own Medium Roast
Newman’s Own pitches this medium roast at all coffee lovers. If you normally prefer a light roast, this delicate blend is not too much of a step up. For dark roast lovers, you’ll still get the taste, aroma and punch you prize.
Compatible with all Keurig machines including the 2.0 versions, you’ll get push-button ease without sacrificing the quality of the coffee in your cup.
Certified Fair Trade and Organic, you can buy without any nagging concerns about damage to the environment or to the local communities where this coffee is sustainably sourced.
14. Folgers Gourmet Classic Roast
Folgers Gourmet line uses the very best coffee and blends it so you’ll get a no-nonsense classic roast that’s strong enough to appeal to the coffee purist but not so fierce as to put off anyone used to a lighter roast.
As with most of the best K-Cup coffee pods, these capsules will fit in any Keurig machine even if you’ve upgraded to one of the 2.0 models.
Priced very keenly in packages of 24 pods, this is a pocket-friendly alternative to hitting the coffee shop on the regular without needing to give up that unbeatable taste.
15. Dunkin’ Donuts Medium Roast
The donut kings are also capable of delivering top-notch coffee as any regular knows. If you’re looking for a smooth yet rich drink to accompany your breakfast, this medium roast from Dunkin’ punches above its weight.
Arabica beans in the trademark original blend give you a coffee that won’t put off the casual drinker or the more experienced caffeine addict. Balance is perfect and you won’t have any unappealing acidity or bitterness.
All that remains now is to grab yourself a box of donuts and you’ll be ready to push into your day the Dunkin’ way.
16. Marley Coffee Catch A Fire Light Roast
If you’re looking for something slightly different, Marley Coffee is an interesting choice.
With striking packaging and a bold name, Catch a Fire comes from Nine Mile Mountain, the homeland of the legendary Bob Marley. The name comes from the chili peppers present in this coffee, a wonderful touch that’s not as intimidating as it sounds.
As well as a truly decadent and unique coffee, 1 cent from every cup is channeled into clean water initiatives in the local area so you can do your part helping others while benefiting from a jaw-dropping light roast.
17. Decaf: San Francisco Bay French Roast
San Francisco Bay brings you a strange combination in the form of this dark roast that’s also stripped of all caffeine.
While this might be unusual, it’s actually a cunning move. Many fans of dark roasts want to continue drinking coffee later into the day without impacting their sleep. There’s no need to compromise with this decaffeinated French roast and it was one of the favorite coffees we tasted during testing.
For a smoky and potent beverage without the stimulating effect of a caffeinated alternative, we can’t recommend this ethically-sourced blend strongly enough.
18. Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll Flavored Coffee
If you’re partial to Cinnabon’s cinnamon roll pastries, you’ll be blown away by this facsimile of those flavors in coffee form.
You’ll get that punch of frosting and cinnamon in a sweet and aromatic flavored coffee that needs no added sugar.
The only way to improve this flavored concoction is to supplement it with a bag of the cinnamon rolls that inspired it so what are you waiting for?
19. Wolfgang Puck Jamaican Me Crazy Flavored Coffee
Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck brings all his culinary expertise to bear on this stunning blend designed for Keurig coffee machines.
Once you’ve dragged yourself away from the eye-catching artwork on the capsule, you’ll get a medium roast that’s imbued with the aromatic tropical coconuts for which Jamaica is famous.
As you’d expect from Puck, the coffee beans used are of the very highest standard.
With Jamaican Me Crazy, you’ll get a medium roast with a difference that makes a real conversation piece.
20. Folgers 100% Colombian Medium-Dark Roast
Last but by no means least, another entry from Folgers in the guise of this medium-dark roast.
A Colombian coffee, you’ll experience a very full-bodied drink that doesn’t overpower your taste buds and appeals to a broad range of palates.
Suitable for use in the full spread of Keurig coffee machines, Folgers once again deliver just as you’d expect from such a stellar presence.
With our quest for the best K-Cup coffee pod put to bed, it’s time to round out with some simple pointers so you can see whether capsule coffee and single-serve machines is the best approach for you.
II. How We Pick The Best K-Cup Coffee
For the purposes of our testing, we used the classic Keurig K55 so we could get the fairest taste test. If you’re a fan of the Keurig machines, there’s a strong chance this will be the model you own since it’s enduringly popular as well as very reasonably priced.
We took a number of weeks to plough through this batch of capsules. While we’re partial to a coffee or two, we also understand the wisdom of moderation so we took our time and invited all our team to participate.
We’ve tried to avoid any definitive value judgments since taste, aroma and roast profile preferences are largely subjective. We’ve given you an overview of each coffee so you can take that information and decide whether or not you should spend out your hard-earned money on a whole packet.
We’ve also thrown in some decaf pods but limited ourselves to only the very finest. In our considered opinion, most decaf sucks but the capsules we bring you are the exception that proves the rule.
If you’re still not entirely convinced of which pods to choose, we’ve also included a batch of testers so you can sample a single coffee from 40 major brands across all roast profiles and see which ones you consider worthy of further investment.
We’ve included the main metrics of note for you in each review. From roast profile and taste to the aroma, you can see at a glance which floats your boat.
Now you’ve got a good idea of how, exactly, we went about testing out this huge selection of the best K-Cup coffee pods, are these capsules really worth your time?
We’ll finish up for today with a snapshot of the principal advantages and drawbacks of K-Cup pods so you can make an informed decision based on the cold, hard facts.
III. Advantages and Drawbacks of K-Cup Pods
One thing we’d say before outlining where single-serve coffee machines stand and fall is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing…
Most of the real coffee lovers on our team have a single-serve machine but it’s not the only method they use. It’s perfectly OK to have a classic French press for that perfect hot or cold brew, an espresso machine to get you going in the morning and then a classic Keurig as an everyday machine running alongside.
As far as we’re concerned, these machines with their convenient K-Cup pods work best that way: as secondary rather than primary machines.
First, then, we’ll break down the key selling points of K-Cup capsules…
Advantages of K-Cup Pods
- Sheer Convenience: No question, the primary draw with any single-serve coffee maker is the push-button convenience of top-notch coffee in less than a minute. With super-swift results, almost no maintenance required and equally little by the way of clean-up, you simply can’t argue with the convenience of K-Cup pods
- Incredibly Versatile: K-Cup pods come in all strengths, roast profiles and flavors. Another serious advantage of pod-style coffee is that you can use any type of mug from a small shot glass to a regular cup or even a travel mug if you like a stiff coffee for your morning commute. In every sense, K-Cup pods return the ultimate in flexibility
- Keep Wastage To an Absolute Minimum: How many times have you brewed up a whole carafe of coffee in your French press convincing yourself you’ll finish it off then returned downstairs later to see it left neglected and forgotten? Brew up coffee a single pod at a time and you won’t end up burning your hard-earned money on wasted drinks
- Reduce The Amount of Equipment You Need: As we mentioned, many people like owning a Keurig as a secondary machine. How about if you’re interested in using it as your main coffee maker, though? If so, you can cut down on all the paraphernalia like grinders that can soon clutter up your kitchen. Don’t get us wrong, there’s no substitute for freshly ground beans and a manual brewing method like pour-over but if you live in a small apartment and want to keep the amount of coffee equipment you need to the bare minimum, you can’t beat a pod-driven machine
- Relatively Good Value When Compared To Visiting a Coffee Shop: While it might not be the fairest comparison, if you weigh up the price of a pack of K-Cup pods against regular trips to Starbucks or Tim Horton’s, you’ll soon see that buying these capsules could be considered quite cost-effective. Sure, you won’t get free WiFi or the option of food on tap but you’ll save yourself a considerable sum over the course of the year and you won’t need to queue up or travel to the coffee shop either
While K-Cup pods undeniably have all these benefits and more, how about the downside?
Drawbacks of K-Cup Pods
- Far From Environmentally-Friendly: Single-serve coffee machines using pods could never be claimed to be a green approach to brewing however much the manufacturers talk up the sustainable sourcing or the good they do for the growers in the area. There’s so much plastic used in producing the pods that you should seriously consider this aspect if you’re concerned about your environmental footprint
- Costlier Than Other Brewing Methods: While we illustrated the relative value you’ll derive from pods, if you set capsules against other brewing methods where you can buy beans by the quarter-kilo, they’re reasonably expensive. What we would say is that if you plan to drink coffee regularly throughout the day, interweave another brewing method to save yourself some money.
- More Restricted Choice: While you might look at the number of pods for sale and consider there’s almost too much choice, you could also find yourself unable to find your favorite blend in capsule form. Again, it needn’t be all or nothing and you could still brew up that classic dark roast you can’t find in pods using your French press
We hope you’re in a far stronger position than earlier to get yourself the most fitting K-Cup pods for your Keurig machine.
You should by now be confident in our testing process, too. We strove for consistency and attempted to bring you as wide a selection of K-Cup pods as possible so there’s something for all tastes and budgets.
The sampler pack works well if you’re not sure what to choose or if you have a larger family where everyone has different preferences. Buying pods that way is also a nice touch to give guests a greater choice and they work well in an office setting as well.
If you feel there are any serious contenders for the best K-Cup pods for coffee we missed out, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We’re highly responsive to messages and we always love to get feedback and thoughts from our readers.
Remember to bookmark The Prince LA and come back whenever you want some frank and impartial guidance to help you streamline your buying decisions. As always, our ever-busy team is working on the next round of testing and we’ll be reporting back later this week so come back soon!