The best K cup coffees in 2024

Not all K cups are made the same. If you're in a rush or on the go, you don't have to sacrifice taste for convenience.

Best Value

Newmans Own Organics is the best K Cup Coffee.

Newman's Own Organics

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Extra-Caffeinated

Death Wish is the best K Cup Coffee.

Death Wish Coffee

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Best Decaf

Community Cafe Special is the best K Cup Coffee.

Community Cafe Special Decaf

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When it comes to making coffee, it doesn’t get easier than slamming a K cup into a Keurig machine and letting that little pod work its instant-brewing magic. That convenience is key when you’re trying to resist the allure of pricy cafe brew or nasty-but-easy gas station swill. But just because K cups are easier than traditional coffee makers doesn’t mean they can’t be delicious. The best K cup coffee matches your particular tastes and habits without costing more than your monthly Hulu subscription for each mug.

How we selected the best K cup coffee

For this test, we scoured the options while considering the most crucial variables, including price-per-cup, roast, flavor, and even how sustainable those little pods are. We consulted with a small crew of die-hard coffee drinkers who, after they were done lecturing us about the superiority of drips and pour-overs, helped shed some light on what to look for. We also consulted with a few long-time office workers who have tried every K cup their corporate overlords agreed to order them. The resulting list includes a variety of flavors and roasts to meet just about any preference.

The best K cup coffees: reviews & recommendations

Best overall: Atlas Coffee Club

Best overall

Atlas Coffee Club

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Why it made the cut: This handy delivery service ensures that you’ll never run out or get bored of your coffee stash.

Specs

  • 24, 48, and 72-cup subscriptions
  • Comes every two, four, or six weeks
  • Light/Medium, Medium Dark, and All Roast options

Pro

  • Lots of options for trying new things
  • Simple shipping means you never run out
  • Ample frequency and quantity options
  • Attractive packaging looks good on the counter
  • Price-per-serving is solid, especially with larger quantities

Cons

  • You may not love every flavor

For many people, coffee is a ritual, but it doesn’t always have to be exactly the same (unless you want it to be). This coffee delivery service will ship you 24, 48, or 72 coffee pods every two, four, or six weeks depending on how fast you can plow through it. Each shipment comes with your single-source coffee, a post card from its country of origin, and tasting notes to let you know what to look out for. We particularly enjoyed the Rwandan grind, but the service delivers a new coffee each month. These coffees aren’t available in stores, so there’s a bit of mystery and exclusivity that comes with your morning cup of joe.

If you eventually switch off of pods and go to another kind of machine, you can change your subscription over to beans or ground coffee to meet your needs. It’s also easy to pause or change your subscription if you’re going on a trip of you get a backlog of coffee sitting around because you’re not drinking it fast enough. (That has not been a problem for us). There are cheaper ways to get coffee pods, but it’s hard to match the quality, variety, and ease that comes with the Atlas subscription.

Best value: Newman’s Own Organics

Winning taste

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Why it made the cut: Truly cheap coffee tastes like an ashtray. This affordable option provides much fuller flavor for not much more cash. 

Specs

  • Four available flavors
  • Recyclable cup
  • Quantities up to 96

Pros

  • Cheap unit price
  • Good taste
  • Recyclable cup

Cons

  • No flavored options

Like we said above, K Cups should only be part of your balanced coffee consumption. If you’re only looking to supplement your fancy java, you don’t want something that strikes a balance between taste and cost. 

Newman’s Own offers four different flavors, including the middle-of-the-road special blend (which also comes in decaf), a darker French roast with a richer flavor, and a lighter Sunrise blend. Even if you have two at a time in order to get your day started off, it will still be cheaper than even gas station coffee. 

Plus, the cups are made from number 5 polypropylene so they’re relatively simple to recycle if you have curbside pickup. Just be sure to empty the coffee (preferably into a compost pile), then peel off the lid, and recycle the cup.

Best extra-caffeinated: Death Wish Coffee

Hyper juice

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Why it made the cut: With double the caffeine in each cup, this strong brew doesn’t take much to get you going in the morning or before that 3 p.m. meeting.

Specs

  • Available in two flavors
  • Roughly 200 mg caffeine
  • Available in 10, 20, and 50 packs

Pros

  • Double caffeine
  • Attractive cup design
  • Bold taste

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Only two roasts are available

A regular cup of coffee will get you roughly 100 mg of caffeine, but each Death Wish K Cup Coffee has around 200 mg for a two-times increase. That’s roughly the same amount of caffeine as two 12-ounce red bulls. It’s no joke. 

Despite its scary name and intense stimulant content, Death Wish coffee comes in both dark and medium roast depending on your personal taste. The medium roast is a newer release brought on by customer requests. 

Both blends have a strong flavor profile that stands up nicely to cream or creamer, but you can keep it black for maximum wake-up effects. Recently, the company worked with NASA in order to create a freeze-dried version of this peppy beverage to send to the international space station. 

Best decaf: Community Cafe Special Decaf

Calm cup

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Why it made the cut: Even without the caffeine, this medium-dark blend has a smooth, powerful flavor to help satisfy the routine. 

Specs

  • Zero caffeine
  • Packs of 36
  • Medium-dark roast

Pros

  • Delicious
  • Caffeine and decaf options
  • Affordable

Cons

  • No additional flavors are available

Coffee isn’t always about caffeine. Sometimes it’s about the morning ritual or maybe you just like the taste. These totally decaffeinated pods provide a medium to dark taste that has very noticeable hints of chocolate in it. The company also says it has notes of caramel, but in our tests, the chocolatey flavor overshadowed that. 

If you like the taste of this specific brew, the company also sells a caffeinated version, so you can keep both on-hand and even mix them together for a half-caf when you want just a little boost. 

Best for flavored coffee: Crazy Cups Decaf

Flavor fave

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Why it made the cut: With more than a dozen flavors, you get a ton of choice for your cup. 

Specs 

  • More than a dozen flavors
  • All decaf
  • 20 count variety pack

Pros

  • Tons of flavor options
  • Extra coffee inside for stronger flavors

Cons

  • Decaf only

Die-hard coffee snobs turn up their noses at flavored coffees. That’s especially true for flavors like Death By Chocolate or Bananas Foster Flambe. Luckily, we’re not all coffee snobs and sometimes a fun flavor is just what you want. All of the flavors are zero-calorie and caffeine-free. Each pod comes with roughly 30 percent more coffee than a typical K Cup coffee to make the flavor extra bold. That means it will stand up to ice if you want to have it cold instead of hot. 

Not all the flavors are winners, but that’s why we’re recommending the variety pack first. Give the flavors a go, then pick the one you like best to order more. You’ll likely want to stick to the familiar flavors. The Vanilla Pumpkin Spice is a safe bet. White Chocolate Strawberry may sit in the cabinet for a while. 

Best compostable: Cameron’s Coffee Single Serve

Composter child

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Why it made the cut: There’s no plastic cup component to go with these coffee pods, which makes nearly the whole package compostable.

Specs

  • Packs from 12 to 72
  • Compost-friendly cups
  • Dozens of flavors

Pros

  • Easily compostable pods
  • Excellent flavor
  • Small pods take up less space

Cons

  • Limited flavors
  • Needs airtight storage

While recyclable plastic is fine, these compostable cups cut down on overall waste considerably. Compost loves coffee because of its nitrogen content, which helps the pile thrive. Each one of these pods includes a paper lid (as opposed to foil), a compostable structural ring to keep it all together, and a filter that will quickly deteriorate into your pile. It’s a very strict upgrade over the plastic stuff. 

That’s all moot if the coffee isn’t good though. Luckily, that’s not the case here. The company offers a wide range of flavors from light to dark roasts and into the flavored coffee territory. The breakfast blend is solid if you’re looking for an easy flavor to start with. 

Note that you will have to keep these pods in an airtight container since there’s no plastic cup to keep it sealed in. That gives you the added bonus of wafting coffee air every time you open the receptacle. 

Things to consider before buying the best K cup coffees

Before you grab a random pod, there are a few things to consider. After all, these little buckets of ground-up beans will set the tone for the whole day. It’s worth doing a little research before committing. 

Caffeine

For some people, morning coffee is more about the taste and the ritual than it is the shot of caffeine to the dome. A typical cup of coffee will net you just shy of 100 grams of caffeine, but that obviously varies between brands and flavors. Some offer to double that, while others nix the stimulants completely. Be sure you know what you’re getting in terms of caffeine content before you let that hot water flow. 

Compatibility

When someone says the phrase “K cups,” it evokes the iconic Keurig machines, which really kickstarted the pod coffee enthusiasm. There are other machines out there, though, so be sure to check and make sure the cups you buy work with the machine you own. If you don’t see the information directly on the box, check the company’s official site. Sometimes it will list the compatible machines. 

Price

While opting for a K Cup will almost always be cheaper than opting for takeout coffee, the prices do vary. Buying in large quantities typically saves you some cash on each one. Be sure to check that unit price before you buy. Even a little saving can add up after a long period of time and lots of cups. 

Sustainability

We recommend you keep K Cups as a part of your coffee consumption since they’re not the most environmentally friendly way to enjoy a cup of brew. Most K Cups are recyclable, but you can up the ante by opting for those that are compostable. Compost actually loves coffee because it’s high in nitrogen and it will help your pile thrive just like you after your third dose of caffeine before your 11 a.m. meeting. 

FAQs

Q: Which K Cup has the least caffeine?

Any K Cup marketed as “decaf” will typically offer very little to no caffeine. You can check the box to see if it lists the amount of caffeine per cup (the average is around 100) or check the manufacturer’s website if you want to be sure. 

Q: Which K Cup has the most caffeine?

At roughly 200 mg of caffeine per cup, the Death Wish coffee on this list is definitely among the top. There are others out there with soaring caffeine levels, but we recommend moderating your stimulant intake no matter how boring that staff meeting is going to be. 

Q: Can you use the same K Cup twice?

You can, sorta. But you shouldn’t. They’re only meant for one-time use. There’s already a hole in the lid, which means you may end up making a mess when you try to run it through again. The coffee also likely won’t taste good the second time around since it will be watered down and, frankly, kinda gross. 

A final thought on the best K cup coffees

K Cup Coffee can’t replace a carefully crafted cup of coffee made by a hip barista at a cool cafe. They can, however, provide a quick, easy cup of coffee that provides a shot of flavor and caffeine into your morning with little hassle. 

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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Stan Horaczek

Executive editor, gear and reviews

Stan Horaczek is the executive gear editor at Popular Science. He oversees a team of gear-obsessed writers and editors dedicated to finding and featuring the newest, best, and most innovative gadgets on the market and beyond. He lives in upstate New York with his family, a three-legged dog, and a truly unreasonable collection of hundreds of vintage film cameras and lenses.