Technology has allowed us to change the way that we live our lives. Among the millions of things that have changed over time is the way that we consume coffee.
Typically, coffee would be brewed through some kind of machine and filtered before being consumed.
Nowadays, coffee can be consumed in a variety of methods. There are K-cups and pods, among other methods, that can deliver coffee into your cup with a variety of flavors and caffeine strengths to meet your own personal tastes and needs.
But there are some things that are generally misconstrued about K-cups and how they work. For instance, many people think that K-cups and pods are the same thing. In reality, there are some major differences.
Defining K-Cups and Pods
For starters, pods won’t work in a K-cup machine and K-cups won’t work in a pod brewer. They are definitely not interchangeable and probably won’t work unless you have a brewer that comes with adapters for both.
A K-cup is typically tea or coffee, though it has recently come to include cappuccino and hot chocolate. The mixture is sealed in a plastic cup that has an airtight lid over the top. Each of these plastic cups has a lining that is made of filter material.
When you put a K-cup in the appropriate brewer, needles puncture both the top and bottom of the cup. Water flows in through the top, pushes the coffee out through the filter in the lining of the K-cup, and then pushes the coffee out through the bottom.
K-cup pods are filled with ground coffee and some kind of flavor enhancement, typically a syrup of some sort that is mixed in with the grounds. This is very much the same way that traditional coffee brewing works, just in a more compact size and access to larger flavor profiles.
The Keurig or K-cup machine forces water through the pod and the mixture seeps down and starts to brew, creating the instantaneous, delicious single-serve cup of coffee that we have all come to know and love.
So, technically speaking, K-cups aren’t filled with instant coffee but it is much the same as brewed coffee.
The pods, meanwhile, are sealed inside of filter paper. They are generally either flat or round and tend to be both pliable and soft. They can come in an individually wrapped foil or loosely in a larger bag that reseals.
Pods have also been called coffee pads from time to time.
More About K-Cups
What’s funny is that the term “K-cup” is actually a trademark of the Keurig Green Mountain company meant to describe their own unique brand of single-serve brewing capsules.
The name has come to define the type of capsule and can be identified by that plastic cup with the ringed design.
When shopping for this style of coffee capsules, K-cups can be used to refer to just about any other brand. This type of capsule can work with Keurig machines of all varieties.
There is the brand name machine and several others that serve the same purpose but are made from different manufacturers.
There are tons of advantages to using K-cups as opposed to brewing coffee traditionally. For one, there is a vast array of blends and flavored coffee in addition to hot chocolate and even cappuccino options.
If there is a flavor out there that you can think of, it likely exists in K-cup form.
Even better, with the development of non-Keurig brands comes lower prices. These brands are also compatible with Keurig coffee makers for less expensive consumption than when the style initially debuted.
For most coffee drinkers, it brews coffee perfectly fine. There will always be some people who prefer to brew coffee in more traditional methods, but you can get a quality brew out of K-cups more often than not.
Most importantly, K-cups are super convenient. There is no preparing the filter like you would in a traditional coffee maker. Simply pop the K-cup in, make sure the water level is full, and let the machine go to work.
Other Information About K-Cups
The first thing is whether or not they are reusable. Technically speaking, yes, K-cups can be reused. Still, it is not recommended that you do so.
Each time that a K-cup is used, the flavor of the coffee will be reduced. Eventually, you will run into an issue of the K-cup becoming bitter, stale, or sour tasting.
The cool thing about K-cups is that they come in a wide range of sizes and flavors. You can find three different sizes starting at 6 oz, moving up to 8 oz, and finishing at 10 oz. Regardless of the size, you would want to use just one K-cup at a time.
Even better, Keurig coffee makers can come with a reusable filter. These reusable filter coffee makers are great for a few reasons. The first is that you won’t contribute an insane amount.
To put it into context, Keurig sold 10 billion K-cups in 2015. That’s enough plastic to wrap around the earth over 10 times.
Reusable filters, while still made of plastic, can help to reduce the amount of waste produced by K-cups drastically. The best thing about these filters is that they can drastically reduce your environmental footprint.
With reusable filters, there are also hundreds of different options available as far as flavors, but they can vary in terms of grade or bean flavor. Using reusable K-cups means that you can buy beans from the roaster of your choice.
This gives you access to thousands of beans that are super flavorful and of a higher grade.
How Can You Save Money on Your K-Cups?
K-cups are highly convenient and offer access to a wide range of flavors. Even though they aren’t terribly expensive on their own, buying enough of them over time can really add up. So, how can you save a little bit of money if you lean on K-cups on a regular basis?
You can save a bit by buying directly from the manufacturer. They tend to sell closer to cost than stores because there is no middleman involved.
There are a wide array of manufacturers that create these K-cup pods, so you have your options when choosing.
Some manufacturers will even sell their K-cup pods for as low as $0.33 per pod depending on where you go. This allows for frequent usage without the need to spend an arm and a leg to do so.
Still, there is a price to pay for convenience and it is more than worth the cost of not having to brew your own mixture. The traditional method means having to (at best) pour the grounds into the filter, add the water, and then add any flavoring later.
With a K-cup, you can enjoy all the flavors that you could possibly imagine with just the push of a button.
K-cups have changed the way that we enjoy coffee in single-serve form. No more having to clean up cold coffee that has been sitting in the pot for hours, no more having to go through the hassle of the brewing process. You can have coffee when you want it.
I have a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When I’m not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies…I’m at home with my wife, two daughters and a dog. Outside of family, I love grilling and barbequing on my Big Green Egg and working on projects around the house.