For those of us who crave convenience, one cup coffee makers are a gift from the gods. As a K-Cup consumer, I never know which ones to buy, and I hate getting stuck with a whole package of subpar pods. So, I’m here to help you solve your K-Cup conundrums, and decide which of these tiny life-savers will give you the coffee kick you need.
Note: It was beyond my power to try every K-Cup that exists, but I was able to try all 15 of these over the course of a week without spontaneously combusting.
15. Lipton Berry Iced Herbal Tea
I’d never made an iced beverage with K-Cups before, so this was exciting. I thought I’d be able to drink this in place of a Passion Tea from Starbucks, but I was wrong. This tea wasn’t refreshing, and it didn’t taste very good. I’ve noticed that if I don’t add sweetener, berry teas are a little bitter. So, if you’re dying to try this or if you catch it on sale, get something sweet to add to it.
Good for: When you don’t want to pay $3.75 for a shaken tea drink from Starbucks.
14. Celestial Green Tea
I don’t have too much to say about this, because it tastes like water. Maybe add lemon.
Good for: Curing a sore throat. Or for serving to your enemies.
13. Café Escapes Dark Chocolate Flavored Hot Cocoa
Full disclosure: I never drink hot chocolate because it makes me break out. So, I was hesitant to try this one, but I did it for the sake of my ~craft~. Unfortunately, this also tasted watery. I suggest sticking with Swiss Miss.
Good for: …
12. Joe Coffee Wake Up Joe Medium Roast
I was pretty pumped to try this, because I got it on sale while I was in line at TJ Maxx. This Maxxinista swooped up the artsy package without thinking twice. The coffee comes inside one of those mesh pods (not the plastic ones), and it smells really sweet, which I didn’t expect. This must be ~hip~.
To my disappointment, it tasted watery. If you don’t like strong coffee, definitely buy this. If you like Coffee Mate in your coffee, definitely buy this. I’m not mad at it, but I expected more from this brand because the packaging is so minimalist and artsy. This is art hoe coffee, which is good, because it won’t make you gag in front of all the museum curators you are currently meeting with.
Jokes aside, I found a way to enjoy this Joe — by dipping the rest of my Samoas in it. Thanks, Girl Scouts.
Good for: Dunking cookies.
11. Starbucks House Blend Medium
I’ll admit, Starbucks coffee never has been and never will be my favorite. A lot of the time, their coffee tastes burnt. It definitely doesn’t help that I studied abroad in Italy, where Starbucks is basically outlawed. Similar to my overall opinion of Starbucks, these K-Cups were not my favorite. I would serve this to people if it was all I had to offer, but if all I had to serve people was Starbucks K-Cups, I would have to rethink my grocery and life choices.
Good for: Chugging before you have to leave for work.
10. Barista Prima Coffeehouse Italian Roast
Dark roast coffee is my favorite coffee. I like to think it matches my soul. Plus, it makes me feel badass when I order a dark roast without any room for cream. I pretty much buy dark roast because I don’t know the difference, and I buy Italian roast because it tends to be a little bit sweet. At least that’s what I thought.
This coffee tasted weirdly savory, and I was not into it. My Girl Scout cookies couldn’t even make this one delicious. It might taste good if you cook with it, which is why I’ve given this some extra points for potential.
Good for: When you want to try a new recipe.
9. Tully’s French Roast (Decaf)
Since some people drink coffee for the taste and not the buzz, I decided it would be suitable to throw a decaf cup into the mix. Western Europeans sure like to name coffee blends after themselves.
I was a little wary about this pod in particular because it seemed to be one of the less-full ones. Turns out, less-full K-Cups yield watery cups of coffee. If you want to sound like a coffee connoisseur (is that a French word?), just tell people you like drinking French roast. The name itself suggests sophistication. The best part of this cup was that it was hot, and I was cold.
Good for: Feeling fancy.
8. Kirkland Pacific Bold
This coffee isn’t super delicious, but it’s not horrible. It’s the kind of coffee you can expect to be served at a work meeting. Ironically, I tried this at work, and it was readily available in the staff room. It got a few bonus points because I could drink as much as I wanted for free.
Good for: When you wanna be hella office.
7. Celestial Seasonings English Breakfast Black Tea
To make sure I covered all the bases, I decided to try a tea. I usually have a hard time with brewing loose leaf or tea bags. I like to see the color change from dirty water to a deeper brown, so I often end up brewing my tea for much too long. This K-Cup might be just the solution.
It tasted surprisingly good, per my American standard of breakfast tea drinking. For all of you who stockpile K-Cups (I can’t be the only one), I’d recommend throwing some of this tea into the mix.
Good for: Spilling, duh.
6. Green Mountain Coffee Caramel Vanilla Cream
So, I’m not super into flavored coffee for both health and taste reasons. However, this smells SO GOOD. And it’s fair trade. After I brewed this, my apartment smelled like a sweet, caramel-y candle. If you’re into caramel, you’ll be into this.
Good for: Making your roommates jealous.
5. Green Mountain Coffee Sumatran Reserve
This tastes like restaurant coffee, and I’m into it. As I drank this, I couldn’t help but wish someone would come by to top off my cup as I enjoyed a tall stack of pancakes. Don’t be fooled, I definitely drank this at my desk while putting my makeup on and eating a piece of toast. #college
Good for: When you need more than one cup.
4. Green Mountain Coffee Dark Magic
The name of this coffee alone scored it major points. If Elvira was the judge of this coffee competition, I’m sure she would choose this one. It looks close to black in the mug, and it tastes best when its really hot. If you let this cool down too much, you’ll regret it.
For those of us who aren’t into strong coffee, a drop of cream will transform the flavors of this one. It’s adaptable and delicious. (Almost) 10/10, would recommend.
Good for: Magicians, mistresses of the dark.
3. Marley Coffee Organic Espresso
If you haven’t noticed by now, I really appreciate strong coffees. This brand is also environmentally conscious, and you can recycle the pods and remove the grounds for compost.
Good for: A 4:20 pick me up.
2. The Original Donut Shop Dark
Surprise, there’s another dark roast on this list. Since I got my very own single-cup coffee machine, these cups have been my go-to favorites. This brand is just good. I don’t usually feel tempted to mix cream or sugar or anything into my coffee, and I definitely don’t when I drink this one.
I don’t really know what “donut shop” coffee tastes like, but if this is it, I will always order coffee with my maple old fashioned. The only thing that would make this coffee better would be the presence of actual donuts.
Good for: All day every day.
1. Green Mountain Coffee Hazelnut (Decaf)
I am just as surprised as you that I chose this as my number one favorite. It’s flavored and it’s decaffeinated — both factors were usually a turn-off. However, the second after this coffee was brewed, I changed my mind.
It smells like my absolute favorite coffee from the best bagel shop in my hometown. Sweet and spicy, this hazelnut blend warmed my heart. You know how happy people are in those Folgers commercials? That was me as I drank this. The only thing that was missing from this close-to-perfect cup was caffeine, but they sell caffeinated versions of this. Sold.
Good for: Everyone.
Go forth and get your buzz.