The Best K-Cup Coffee to Start Your Morning With

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Those of you who own one can attest: A Keurig coffee maker can change your mornings forever. But not all coffee pods are created equal. And since there are zillions of options to sip through, we’re here to help you narrow your search for the best K-Cup coffee pods. To create this list, we scoured everything from most popular brands, like Starbucks and Keurig, to boutique roasters, like Peet’s and San Francisco Bay Coffee. We sifted through the best of the best for every roast, flavor and need, so it’s safe to say the K-Cup of your java-loving dreams is here. Read on for the best K-Cup coffee to try at home.

The Best K-Cup Coffee at a Glance

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1. Peet’s Coffee K-cup Coffee Pods

Best Overall K-Cup Coffee

  • Pros: Affordability, freshness, variety of roasts, beginner-friendly
  • Cons: None

At about 50 cents per pod, this pack of Peet’s Coffee is a solid bargain. But our favorite part about it is that the beans are freshly prepared before being packaged. Seriously: They’re hand-roasted overnight in small batches, then shipped the next day, so you’re guaranteed a next-level cup of joe with every brew. This mixed pack includes four different varieties of pods: the light roast Colombia Luminosa, the medium roast Café Domingo, the dark roast House Blend and the dark roast organic Alma de la Tierra. So, it’s also a great choice for newbie coffee drinkers who want to learn more about their preferences and taste.

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2. The Original Donut Shop K-cup Coffee Pods

Best Medium Roast Coffee

  • Pros: Large quantity, mild flavor, versatile, best for Keurig brewers
  • Cons: Not as compatible with non-Keurig brewers

No office Keurig is complete without a few Original Donut pods by its side. The brand's medium roast packs a punch of both robust flavor and caffeine. It boasts just the right amount of bitterness, so it’s perfect for drinking both black or with milk. The grind is specifically designed for Keurig brewers, meaning it’ll extract every drop of flavor, every time. And with nearly 100 pods in the box, it’ll last you a loooong while before you need to restock.

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3. Happy Belly French Vanilla K-cup Coffee Pods

Best Blonde Roast Coffee

  • Pros: High caffeine, flavored, beginner-friendly
  • Cons: Not as palatable for dark roast drinkers

When you’re next-level groggy in the morning, nothing’s going to perk you up like light roast coffee. Because the beans are roasted for less time than medium and dark roast beans, less caffeine gets cooked off. Happy Belly’s French Vanilla offering, which is made from pure Arabica beans, is creamy, sweet and fruity with a delicate finish, taking out any bitterness.

best k cup coffee starbucks sumatra
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4. Starbucks Dark Roast Sumatra K-cup Coffee Pods

Best Dark Roast K-Cup Coffee

  • Pros: Bold flavor, smooth, balanced
  • Cons: Lower in caffeine, shorter shelf life than other K-Cups

Sure, you’ve had more cups of Pike Place than you can count. But have you ventured to try Starbucks’s Dark Roast Sumatra? Bold, full-bodied and robust, this exotic pick will wake you up in a jiffy with its earthy aroma and taste of herbs and spices. It’s made with 100 percent Arabica beans (which are mellower and sweeter than harsh, bitter Robusta beans), so you’ll have no problem brewing a consistently silky-smooth cup of joe. Since it has a shorter shelf life than some other pods out there, buy a size that you feel you can reasonably get through within three months.

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5. Mccafé Decaf Premium Roast K-cup Coffee Pods

Best Decaf K-Cup Coffee

  • Pros: Easy drinking, smooth, great for dinner and dessert
  • Cons: No caffeine for early mornings

We know, we know. Some of you are shaking your heads asking, 'What’s the point of decaf coffee again?' We like having a tasty decaf blend on hand to serve after dessert or to sip on before bed, just like a warm mug of tea. McCafé’s Decaf Medium Roast, also made from pure Arabica beans, is roasted in a temperature-controlled environment to ensure a consistent, delicious taste. It has shockingly deep flavor without being too overwhelming. (It smells pretty darn delicious to boot.) The coffee’s smooth body and clean finish makes it great for serving to guests after a dinner party.

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6. Maud’s Flavored K-cup Coffee Variety Pack

Best Flavored K-Cup Coffee

  • Pros: Wide range of flavors, sustainably roasted, recyclable pods
  • Cons: Less caffeine

Brew your way through nine epic flavors that range from bananas foster to vanilla-almond biscotti to raspberry chocolate. Maud’s flavored variety pack stars organic, fair-trade Arabica beans from top-tier growing regions all over the world. The beans are roasted in California at a solar-powered facility. It’s not overly caffeinated (bye-bye, jitters) and has a smooth mouthfeel and flavor, so it’s just the thing for a midday pick-me-up. The pods are also recyclable.

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7. Crave K-cup Coffee Variety Pack

Best Recyclable Coffee Pods

  • Pros: Recyclable pods, wide range of flavors
  • Cons: No plain options

Is it a butter toffee kind of morning? Perhaps Vermont maple or Southern pecan are more your speed. Or maybe blueberry vanilla? Mix up your cup every day with this variety pack from Crave Coffee, a purveyor of strong, 100 percent Arabica flavored java that doesn’t taste overly sweet or artificial. It’s packaged in totally recyclable coffee pods—just peel off the lid, empty the used grounds and recycle the rest. Additional flavors in the pack include classics like hazelnut, French vanilla and caramel.

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8. Infusio Flavored K-cup Coffee Variety Pack

Freshest Tasting K-Cup Coffee

  • Pros: Wide range of flavors, long shelf life, small-batch roasts
  • Cons: Artificially flavored

If you’re someone who only drinks coffee every so often, this massive box of 96 pods and 12 different flavors is just the ticket. InfuSio’s long shelf life ensures that each pod tastes just as fresh as the last, even if they’ve been sitting in your pantry for a while. The coffee is roasted in small batches for maximum flavor, and they don’t taste artificial (even fun flavors like crème brûlée, s’mores and Hawaiian dream cake).

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9. Keurig Coffee Lovers’ Collection K-cup Coffee

Most Adventurous K-Cup Coffee

  • Pros: Wide range of flavors, roasts and brands
  • Cons: Limited number of each flavor

They say variety is the spice of life, and this mix of 20 distinct coffees is proof. The Keurig Coffee Lovers’ Collection has favorites from Caribou Coffee, Green Mountain Coffee, Krispy Kreme and beyond—it’s a wonderful way to try coffees you might not typically purchase outright. Not only does the variety pack contain a large mix of brands, but it also has both flavored and unflavored selections, as well as light, medium and dark roasts.

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10. Solimo Dark Roast K-cup Coffee

Best K-Cup Coffee Blend

  • Pros: Affordable, smooth
  • Cons: Not single-origin

Savor a unique mix of dark roast Arabica coffees from Latin America, Africa and Indonesia. Solimo’s blend offers mildly acidic, robust flavor at first sip, but finishes oh-so-smooth. Its intense, hearty characteristics won’t cost you either: These pods are a steal at about 30 cents a pop. If you like your coffee strong in flavor, look no further. (And if you want it even bolder, go for Solimo’s French Roast pods instead.)

best k cup coffee illy brasile
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11. Illy Arabica Selections Brasile K-cup Coffee

Best Single-Origin Coffee

  • Pros: Sustainably produced, single-origin, balanced
  • Cons: More unique in flavor than blends, so beginners may not find it as easy to drink

Coffees labeled “single-origin” are made with beans from one place, as opposed to blends, which combine beans from multiple places. Single-origin beans consequently have a unique flavor that’s specific to the place they’re from. These illy Arabica Selections Brasile K-Cup pods are full-bodied and bursting with notes of caramel. The brand’s coffees are roasted and air-cooled to create a smooth, balanced taste. They’re also made sustainably, as illy was named one of the most ethically sourced coffee producers in the industry by Ethisphere.

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12. San Francisco Bay Coffee Fog Chaser K-cup Coffee

Most Eco-Friendly K-Cup Coffee

  • Pros: Compostable pods, sustainably produced
  • Cons: Pricier than other brands on this list

Sustainable packaging is a huge plus in our book, and San Francisco Bay Coffee does it right. The pods are totally compostable, as they’re made from plant-based material. They’re also created in a way that minimizes their carbon footprint. Gear up for the day with the medium-dark Fog Chaser, a smooth blend made from Central and South American Arabica beans that's packed with notes of toffee and mandarin orange.

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...