Sip Better: Our Favorite K Cups and Coffee Pods

Chug that liquid sunshine, friend.

Yellow ceramic coffee mug.
Cute latte art is optional (but encouraged).Hannah Wei, Unsplash

If you like to have a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning and don’t want to wait, chances are you have already invested in a Keurig, Nespresso or other pod-based coffee brewing machine. Coffee pods aren’t just convenient, they also offer a consistent cup of coffee. Pods use about two tablespoons of ground coffee and hot water to deliver your desired type of coffee directly to your favorite mug every morning. But not all pods are created equal. Read on to find out what makes a great coffee pod.

The Original Donut Shop Keurig Single-Serve K-Cup Pods, Regular Medium Roast Coffee, 72 Count
This brand of brew delivers dependable, rich flavor that pairs best with baked goods.The Original Donut Shop

Choosing the right coffee pod for you also means choosing the right roast. Once coffee beans are harvested, they are dried and then roasted. Light roasts are mild, smooth and easy to drink, and pack the highest caffeine content. Dark roasts are hallmarked by their bold, acidic and earthy flavors and pack a lower caffeine content than a light roast. If you don’t know what roast you like, opt for a popular medium roast to start and then explore from there to determine your own preference.

Starbucks K-Cup Coffee Pods — Blonde, Medium & Dark Roast Variety Pack for Keurig Brewers — 1 box (40 pods total)
Try different kinds of flavor profiles with this sampler that is bound to have the perfect perk for everyone.Starbucks

If you’re a coffee novice, or just want to know more about what makes a great cup of coffee, consider the difference between whole bean coffee and pre-ground beans. Whole bean coffee beans require grinding before you brew, but freshly ground coffee releases all of the brightest flavors and sips smooth. Pre-ground beans are much more convenient because they don’t require a coffee grinder or any extra work, but they do lose some of the subtle, fresh flavors. A great coffee pod will grind their beans and then immediately vacuum seal their pods to maintain freshness. You can also grind your own coffee beans and store them in a reusable pod.

Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Double Espresso Scuro, Dark Roast Espresso Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 2.7oz
Intense, deep flavors that make an excellent base for cappuccinos and lattes, or just to sip for a wide-awake feeling.Nespresso

Before purchasing your coffee pods, be certain to only buy pods that are compatible with your machine. For example, K-Cups have a squat, cylindrical shape while Nespresso pods have a half-dome design. Each pod is designed to fit the corresponding machine exactly, and using the wrong pod could result in hot water burns and big mess. Some pods have a code on the top cover that the machine reads before initiating the brewing sequence as a safeguard against accidents.

Also Consider

Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason's Blend K-Cup Coffee Pods for Keurig Brewers, Dark Roast, 75 Pod
More than six dozen pieces per box, with deep rich flavor.Peet’s Coffee
Nespresso Capsules VertuoLine, Flavored Variety Pack, Medium Roast Coffee, 30 Count Coffee Pods, Brews 7.8 oz, Flavored Assortment
Rich with a bit of sweetness, each capsule produces a perfect mug. Choose from hazelnut, vanilla or caramel.Nespresso
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