If you love Keurig coffee, you will appreciate that a K-Cup is magic in a tiny cup. These hassle-free pods yield flavorful coffee at the push of a button. Do all K-Cups have the same amount of coffee?
How much coffee is in K-Cups?
On average, a K-Cup contains 9-13 grams of ground coffee but some brands may have significantly more coffee per pod. For example, Barrie House K-Cups have up to 18 grams of ground coffee. Extra bold K-Cups have more coffee than regular K-Cups.
The amount of coffee in a K-Cup impacts the boldness and caffeine content in your brew. The coffee ratio is an important factor when making coffee and although K-Cups eliminate the need to measure your coffee, they are made with the ratio in mind.
The actual amount of coffee in K cups varies depending on the brand and the boldness of the K-Cups.
Extra bold K-Cups such as Tully’s Coffee dark roast extra bold pods have more ground coffee than regular K-Cups for that bold flavor. Barrie House extra bold K-Cups have up to 18 grams of coffee.
Most extra bold K-Cups are medium and darker roasts as they are more mellow than the lighter roasts which have a higher acidity.
How to Make Stronger Coffee with K-Cups
Most people mistake dark roast K-Cups to mean stronger and bolder coffee but that is not the case.
The strength of the K-Cup brew largely depends on the type of coffee, the amount of ground coffee, and the amount of caffeine in the K cup. After that, you can adjust several features of your coffee maker for bolder coffee.
Most people prefer bold K-Cups when making iced coffee. See the best K-Cups for a richer over-ice coffee.
K-Cups are usually not labeled as to the amount of coffee they contain, so it’s quite difficult to determine at face value how strong a K-Cup is. However, there are a few ways to get ahead of the game and ensure that every cup you brew is bold and rich:
- Use the “STRONG BREW” function of your coffee maker. This function is available on most single-serve coffee makers. The feature slows down the flow rate of water through the K-Cup to yield bolder coffee.
- Brew a smaller cup. Keurigs have options for cup sizes from 6-12 ounces. A six ounces cup uses less water to yield stronger and richer coffee. This is a cool trick especially if your Keurig does not have the “STRONG BREW” feature. When using extra bold K-Cups, you may want to brew the largest cup size.
- Purchase extra bold K-Cups. These have more coffee grounds in the K-Cup and they are ideal for people who want very bold coffee. You may not want to use the “STRONG BREW” function with extra bold K-Cups unless you are making iced coffee as the coffee may be too strong. See the Keurig coffee makers that are ideal for iced coffee.
- Increase the temperature of your brew. Although Keurig has a preset maximum brewing temperature, your coffee maker may be set on a high altitude setting that brews at a lower temperature than the recommended optimum temperature. Higher temperatures extract more solubles from the coffee. Check whether the high altitude setting of your Keurig is holding the coffee maker back from brewing strong coffee
You do not want to compromise the quality of your coffee for strength. Strong and bold coffee does not have to be overly bitter or sour which is a sign of the poor quality of coffee beans.
You want the coffee to be bold but still highlight the desirable notes of your favorite coffee and roast.
Generic K-Cups are a culprit for low-quality coffee. The low-quality materials used to make generic pods can also affect the quality of your coffee.
Most specialty coffee roasters, such as Peet’s Coffee and Tully’s Coffee, blend high-quality, carefully selected 100 percent Arabica coffee beans sourced from different parts of the World for their K-Cups.
The beans are masterfully roasted to unlock the potential of their flavors and polish the subtle notes. Tully’s Coffee uses a “low and slow” roasting process to draw out the aroma and flavor of the coffee beans.
Read about storing your K-Cups to prolong their shelf life.
How are K Cups Made?
Premium coffee roasters source high-quality coffee beans and masterfully roast them to bring out the flavors and aroma. The beans are then left for a few days to degas before they are ground to a medium-fine to a fine size.
The ground coffee is then added to the cups using high-precision portioning machines. The cup is finally vacuum-sealed or nitrogen flushed during sealing.
Some roasters prefer to blend their coffee before roasting whereas others blend after roasting.
Let’s look at what is in a K-Cup.
A K-Cup consists of ground coffee, a receptacle, a coffee filter, and a foil seal. Each of these parts contributes to the freshness and quality of the K-Cup.
Generally, a K-Cup pod weighs about 12-16 grams with the packaging accounting for about 3 grams (18-25) percent of the total weight.
The coffee is ground to a uniform fine grind size to even the extraction process. The grounds may be single-origin or blends from different sources. Highly caffeinated K-Cups are usually blends of both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans
Most K-Cups pods use a plastic cup that may be recyclable. The receptacle is the robust part of the pod that holds all the other components. The plastic is food-grade and BPA-free.
Most K-Cup manufacturers use recyclable plastic but non-recyclable ones are still in use. Besides the acceptable materials for recycling vary across the counties.
The #5 plastic in Keurig pods is widely accepted for curbside recycling in most North American communities. Generic K-Cups usually use low-grade plastic that may leach its flavors to the grounds making your coffee taste like plastic.
Some roasters do not use plastic receptacles and instead make their pods from biobased materials that are compostable in commercial composting facilities.
100 percent commercially compostable K-Cups include Glory Brew K cups and San Francisco Bay Coffee OneCup pods.
The K-Cup paper in the plastic receptacle does the magic of keeping grounds from your cup. Some K-Cups such as Peet’s K-Cups may also have a plastic disc-like filter that sits at the bottom of the pod for extra filtration. Most K-Cup paper filters are compostable
The seal is usually aluminum foil that may be recyclable in some K-Cups or commercially compostable in the case of K cups made with biobased materials. The seal is tightly fitted to prevent air and moisture from reaching the grounds. Some K-Cups such as Barre House use recyclable aluminum foil for the seal
How To Dispose K-Cups
After brewing with K-Cups, avoid removing the seal until the used pods have rested for a while as the coffee grounds may still be hot. You may want to leave the used pod in the coffee maker for some time and come back later to retrieve it.
To dispose of the cups, first, find out whether any parts of the pods are recyclable or biodegradable. 100 percent compostable K-Cups are clearly labeled on the individual seals as well as on the packaging.
Recyclable pods have the “recyclable” symbol on the packaging. You also want to check the materials that are accepted for recycling in your community and whether there is a commercial composting facility nearby.
Open the pod by peeling the foil to separate it from the plastic. The coffee grounds and paper filters are biodegradable and you can dump them in your backyard garden or toss them in the trash can.
In some counties, recyclable plastic and aluminum foil should go in separate curbside recycling bins.
For commercially compostable pods, you may want to use a separate trash bag or container to pile the pods for the occasional trip to the composting site. Some counties may require you to show photo identification or proof of residence to be allowed to use the composting facility.
You may engage the area garbage hauler to pick up your compostable waste at a fee. The downside to compostable pods is that piling used pods is likely to attract bugs.
K-Cup pods have enough grounds for a cup of coffee with each K-Cup having about 9-13 grams of coffee. Extra bold K cups have more coffee than regular pods.
The strength of your K-Cup brew depends on the type and amount of coffee in the pod as well as the caffeine content.
You can also tweak the brewing process to improve the strength of your brew. For example, you can brew a smaller cup for more intensity and engage the “STRONG BREW” feature for more boldness.
In some cases, your coffee maker may have been preset to a lower temperature than is recommended. Adjusting the temperature can yield stronger coffee.
Other than the type and quality of coffee in K-Cups, coffee pods also differ in terms of the type of materials that are used to make the pods. Some pods are fully compostable in commercial composting sites. Some other pods are recyclable whereas others are not.
When disposing of used K-Cups, find out whether any components are biodegradable or recyclable and adhere to the relevant guidelines in your community when discarding them.