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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Affordable Coffee from a K-Cup?

Posted by Tim Stobbs on February 25, 2015

Over the holidays I have a well meaning gift to my wife and I of a Kurig coffee machine.  It’s just one brand of several types out that that use disposal coffee pods and at first I’m completely admit my first thought was: what the hell am I going to do with this?

You see I already know from using K-cups at work that the little pods are not cheap like around $0.75 to $0.80 per pod.  So when you have already been drinking dripped brewed coffee for years why the hell would I want to spend a small fortune buying little expensive coffee pods?

Yet cost isn’t everything in life so when my wife suggested we give it a try before making up our minds I thought: oh why not?  If it is bad, we just get rid of it.

Anyways, during our initial use of the machine I had to admit it was handy to have around when you just want a single cup of coffee.  My wife particularly liked it after lunch since she usually just heated up the old coffee that was made that morning…which is you ever microwave old coffee you know that isn’t that good.  For her she was getting a much better cup of coffee after lunch and since she only drank that one cup it didn’t make sense to make a second pot of coffee.

Yet the cost of those K-cups was driving me nuts…there had to be a better way.  So I turn to good old Google for a solution and come across reusable K-cup pods (which apparently won’t work with the new 2.0 machines unless you hack them…just Google it).  I’m like, oh ya!  More less waste and you can use your own ground coffee in them so you can even have the same old coffee that I’m used to in my morning pot of coffee.

Except it appears some of them by design are a bit of pain to use as you have to replace one section of the machine to use them, which seems sort of pointless to me.  Anyway after digging around in Amazon’s website I come across one that looks just like a regular K-cup.  No parts to change out, just put your coffee in close the lid and brew.  Also you can get two of these little reusable K-cup in a package for around $15.  So I decide to give it a try and order them.

Well when I get them I had a look at them and it seemed fairly easy to use them.  We played with the amount of coffee you need to add to get a damn close copy to the taste of my morning drip pot of coffee. Yet after that is is all good.  The reuseable is easy to use and saves you a small fortune in buying all disposal K-cups.  The only real downside the reuseable K-cup is you end up using a bit more coffee per cup than you would with a traditional drip brewer.   So there is a bit of an increased cost to using them, but it isn’t huge by any means perhaps 1/2 tsp extra per cup, but this mainly because we like our coffee strong.  I don’t have exact values, but I would approximate our savings as 60% less than a regular K-cup.

In our case this is saved by making a smaller pot first thing in the morning, so overall it likely not much more coffee usage in the house by having the machine in the house.  I estimate the reuseable K-cups are about 20% more expensive than our usual drip pots of coffee.

Then my wife has a brain wave which I love…why not just buy flavour coffee in disposal K-cups.  After all you never really want more than a cup of flavour coffee at a time (ok, at least we do).  Also to limit our spending on this we choose to only buy the disposal K-cups with our spending cash.  It should be a treat, not a everyday thing.

So all in all, I have to say I’m surprised to be agreeing to keeping the machine in the house.  I noticed in the instructions that it can go from stone cold water to ready in just four minutes.  So rather than keeping it on and plugin all the time I put it on a power bar and shut it down when we aren’t using it.  That helps keep the power bills down from just leaving it plugin all the time.

In the end, it is possible to have one of these machines in your house and not spend a small fortune on K-cups.  Just buy one of the reusable K-cup and take the extra 15 seconds to fill it up and empty after you are done.  Does anyone else use these machines regularly?  Any other tips to share?  I’m still mostly new to this.

Comments

10 Responses to “Affordable Coffee from a K-Cup?”
  1. Frugal in Edmonton says:

    We have a keurig at home. We’ve had it many years. When we first started using it, when I wasn’t so frugal, we use to buy coffee online. However as the exchange rate has changed and we became more frugal we did buy the refill-able pods. It has worked great for us. Reduced our costs substantially. Making our own coffee is what we do 95% of the time. I feel fortunate as we have an “original” machine. We don’t have to hack it. I was disappointed when the 2.0 was released.

    The only real advice I have.
    (1) For us we buy the pods at Costco – they usually advertise when the sale will happen, and we buy the “mixed” box. We use this for when company comes by.
    (2) follow the maintenance instructions. We clean our machine every 3-6 months as minerals will settle inside slowly choking off the machine. All depends on how hard the local water is.

  2. Andy says:

    I really hate those K-Cups because of the incredible amount of waste they generate. In 2013, Keurig sold enough K-Cups to circle the planet 10.5 times (8.3 billion), and sales increased to 9.8 billion last year. By Keurig’s own admission the cups won’t be recyclable until 2020 at the earliest.

    I use a kettle with a plain old pour-over cone and filters for full pots and single cups, but I have friends who rave about the Aeropress (aeropress.com). Many people say it’s one of the best ways to make a single cup of coffee, and reusable filters are available.

  3. Jay says:

    French Press is my method of having better coffee with less work than a Keurig. It’s the original work around for reusable K-Cups. Electric Kettle on a timer (or regular kettle) for hot water. While the water heats you have enough time to grind the beans.

    Long term the French press will be cheaper. It should outlast several Keurig machines. You can usually find them for under $20; close to the price of reusable K-cups. It’s splitting hairs; either way coffee isn’t a huge budget issue.

  4. Tawcan says:

    This reminds of of Kerry’s post on Squawkfox

    http://www.squawkfox.com/2014/04/03/kcup/

    We don’t have a Keurig at home but do have a Nespresso machine. We love it because we can make great espresso or latte at home instead having to go out. It’s a little luxury that we can have at home and at $0.70 or so a pod, it’s a lot cheaper than ordering a latte at a cafe.

  5. Theresa says:

    Regular drip in the morning for us and if we want a single cup at anti other time it’s a melitta drip single size (have had that since university!). Honestly, one cup in the morning suffices.
    I just don’t have any reason, at this time, to buy what I see as a glorified kettle.
    We took our little drip cone to Mexico with us and made the best coffee!

  6. Dale says:

    I checked the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1. I really thought Tim was having us on.

  7. James Brown says:

    We use a cone and filter on the stove, and have a french press for the times we only want a cup or two. I’ll admit, I despise the Kuerig machines – they’re practically the poster child for wasteful consumerism. When I was still working in an office, and they switched to K-cups, I brought in my french press.

    A friend of ours has a funky thing which is a single-cup cone with a washable filter. Should our press ever die, I may try to track one down.

  8. jcfontrio says:

    I think that this time I may be more frugal than Tim (a rarity, I know!). While I like a fresh cup of coffee, I just do instant on week days and then do drip on the weekends when I have time at home to savour a good cuppa.

    I guess that I have a mental/fiscal block on K-cup machines. As Theresa said, I can’t see spending that kind of money for a glorified kettle, especially if I lose the flexibility of using different coffees that are not the ones marketed in their pods. A couple of years ago, I stayed in a condo that had one of these machines, but it also had a reuseable wire mesh cup where you could add your own (presumably better) coffee. Are they still offered? While it would not get me to buy one, it would be a better option than having to buy those damned expensive pods.

  9. diharv says:

    I bought a basic Keurig machine a couple years ago and it quit after a few months. I called them and they replaced the machine , they actually sent two so I have one at the office and one at home. I used the 50% off coupon when you register a machine and bought several cartons of k cups. I would never pay full price for them and the only coffe that I like out of these environmental disasters is Starbucks. I bought a My K Cup reuseable pod and found the best coffee to put in it is Starbucks French Roast bought in the large bag of beans at Costco. It seems to me that the dark roasts turn out the best. Timothy’s Colombian roast is the worst I have tried. I have not bought a K cup in over a year now and use my machine almost every day.

  10. jon_snow says:

    French press coffee for the win! For taste and economics!

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