An example of K-Cups.
An example of a coffee pod.
When it comes to single-serve coffee, there are a variety of solutions that let you say goodbye to fussing with filters, ground beans and left-over liquid sitting in the pot. Like coffee dispensing machines, K-Cups and coffee pods give you press-and-brew simplicity.
How do K-Cups work?
A K-Cup is a plastic container that resembles a creamer cup that contains ground beans sealed air-tight with plastic and a foil lid.
The Keurig brewer forces hot water through the K-Cup and into your mug or cup. There are two main manufacturers of K-Cups: Green Mountain and Van Houte. K-Cup brewers have been on the market for over 10 years. Regardless of the manufacturer, each relies on micro-processor technology to control the temperature and the amount of coffee brewed.
When it comes to single-cup brewers, Tassimo gives you a choice of your cuppa: brewed coffee, cappuccino, latte, hot cocoa and even tea. Think auto-espresso with push-button simplicity at a fraction of the cost of what you’ll pay at your neighborhood Starbucks or competitor.
Keurig K-Cups offer single-origin coffees from Africa, Latin and South America including organic and fair trade coffees. You can also choose from a wide selection of blends and roasts including decaf. If you are a tea drinker, you can use the K-Cup with Bigelow, Cafe Escapes, Celestial Seasonings, Gloria Jean's Tea, Timothy's Tea and Twinings Tea. English Breakfast, Chamomile or Earl Grey decaf, Chai, Peppermint and Mango. Hot chocolate drinkers can revel in the fact that there are Ghirardelli Chocolate brands as well as Green Mountain, Café Escapes and Timothy’s.
What is a coffee Pod?
Coffee pods – also known as coffee pads in other parts of the world – are the coffee version of a tea bag and have been around for over 20 years. They contain ground beans inside a filter. Just like K-Cups, coffee pod brewers run hot water through the single-serve coffee pods. There are more manufacturers to choose from: Wolfgang Puck, Melitta, Senseo, Reunion Island, Fratello and many others.
Coffee pods offer the same simplicity and one-touch convenience as K-Cups.
Either way, you can forget about grinding coffee beans, measuring them, throwing in a filter, or cleaning up the subsequent mess. You can give away your grinder and forget about having to stock up on filters.
Regardless of whether you choose the pod or K-Cup, you still need to shell out for a specialized brewer.
And what you make up for in convenience you lose in terms of control. If you don’t like the richness or flavor, you can’t doctor it.
For those who are worried about plastic ending up in land fills, the K-Cup is less friendly to the environment. With coffee pods, all you throw away is the bag and its grounds, which can go into your compost heap.
When it comes to the price tag, coffee pod brewers can be half the cost of K-Cup brewers. Once you’ve shelled out for the brewer, you have to shell out for the coffee itself. In total, this adds up to more than the cost of buying and grinding your own beans.
For the occasional single-serving coffee drinker, both K-Cups and coffee pods provide the simplicity of instant coffee or a coffee dispenser but with a huge taste advantage. The bottom line is whether cost-savings trumps selection.
Image Credit (K-Cups): Randy Read