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One of the best features of having a Keurig is the huge choice of coffee pods available. Whether you’re a light roast, dark roast, or medium roast person there’s a ton of options for you. Plus there are all the exciting flavored pods to choose from!
I’m not really a flavored coffee person myself, but I have lots of friends who are. I like to have something in to suit them when they come over, and occasionally I might even enjoy a cheeky cinnamon roll coffee myself when I’m extra tired and grumpy and/or it’s raining out.
Anyway, whatever you’re into, however you take your coffee, there’s a K-Cup for you!
This is partially because Keurig allows third parties to make pods for their machines, meaning you can get coffee made by the brands you love that’s super easy to drink at home.
Do you want to get experimental and try new things? Or just find a new favorite coffee pod to drink on the daily?
Either way, I’m here to help you out with my rundown of the best light roast, medium roast, dark roast and decaf K-Cups. Plus, of course, those flavored cups you can tell absolutely nobody I sometimes enjoy…
Pick Your Favorite Roast K-Cup
Light Roasted Keurig K-Cups
Light roasted coffees tend to be more acidic and fresh as well as packing a higher caffeine content, and have become really popular in recent years.
Light roasts are also fruity, which is due to an organic compound called 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (spelling perfected courtesy of the National Coffee Association website). This compound breaks down during roasting but is a big part of the flavor of lightly roasted beans.
Because of its intense high notes, light roasted coffee is usually best without milk added.
1. Tully’s Coffee, Breakfast Blend
Tully’s Breakfast Blend is made from a mix of African and South African beans. This is another fairly easy drinker, with notes of blackberry and a floral finish. It’s not as bright and acidic as some of the other light roast K-Cups I looked at, which will be a plus for some.
This is small-batch, hand roasted coffee, and Tully have long been known for being a little more bespoke than larger brands!
2. Starbucks Veranda Blend
The only entry on this best K-Cups round-up from coffee giants Starbucks, this blonde roast really epitomizes what a light roast can do.
With malty back notes, this is a soft coffee with a smooth mouthfeel and almost a buttered toast quality. Another easy drinker, but all the same a thought-provoking mouthful that can really be savored.
3. Gevalia Signature Blend
This light-roasted blend is on the citrusy end of the spectrum. It’s made with Arabica beans, and has a light color and a mellow but sharp flavor. The signature blend is a coffee that can be drunk all day, perhaps because it’s a blend the flavors are subtle.
4. Breakfast Blend Melange Du Matin
This is a mild blend, and another real all-day sipping coffee. It’s light in color and lightly flavored, it’s got a nutty kick to it and a smooth and easy finish. This is one of the brand’s best-selling coffee blends, which probably tells you everything you need to know!
5. Peet’s Coffee Colombia Luminosa
This coffee lives up to its name, with a sweet and bright flavor profile. It’s mildly aromatic, smooth, and not too intense. Luminosa will wake you up without the shock to the system (and the stomach) that sometimes comes with a darker coffee.
6. Green Mountain Coffee
Green Mountain Coffee is used in restaurants and coffee shops across the USA as well as in many homes. This blend uses South and Central American beans, lightly roasted.
It’s bright and balanced, but due to the blend it’s not got that really intense light roast zing. In other words, this is a super drinkable coffee that will suit almost everyone to an extent. Our Blend is the go-to, trustworthy cup of Joe we all need sometimes!
Medium Roasted Keurig K-Cups
The most popular roast in the USA, medium roast coffees are a little darker than light and getting into very toasty, nutty territory in terms of flavor. They tend to be less oily than light roasts.
Despite being a little darker and in some ways stronger flavored, medium roasts are still soft to the mouth and probably the easiest drinking option.
1. The Original Donut Shop
This coffee claims to be ‘just right,’ and that kind of nails it. It’s got somebody and some color to it, along with just a touch of bitterness. These K-Cups from The Donut Shop are ‘extra bold’, which means they contain more coffee than regular pods and will therefore deliver a stronger, more intense cup.
2. Eight O’Clock Coffee
The Original pods from Eight O’Clock coffee pack a punch. The medium-roast, 100% Arabica blend is bold and forward-facing, and really full bodied.
This is a somewhat complex cup of coffee — perhaps suitable for an afternoon pick me up, or an after-dinner cup.
3. Newman’s Own Organics
The name gives nothing away here, except that the beans used in this blend are organic. This coffee from Newman’s Own is full-bodied and hearty, with a darker than usual color for a medium roast when poured. It’s still pretty smooth and easy to drink, despite being somewhat oaky.
4. Caribou Coffee Caribou Blend
This is a sweet, woody coffee. There are notes of berry and a hint of brightness in its sweet, spicy flavor profile. The finish is a little bitter, like dark chocolate. It’s a rich, thick feeling coffee and is a little more oily than many medium roasts.
5. Peet’s Coffee Big Bang
A blend of Ethiopian beans, Big Bang was developed to celebrate Peet’s 50th birthday. It’s a fruit cup, and brighter and more citrus nosed than you might expect from a medium roast but it also boasts the sweetness and floral edge of soft fruit for balance.
6. Folgers Classic Roast Coffee
Good old Folgers delivers as usual, with their Classic Roast K-Cups. To be honest, we all know what a cup of Folgers tastes like — rich and medium bodied, a slightly sharp note to the end. A classic, like it says on the box!
Dark Roasted Keurig K-Cups
As coffee beans roast, they take on a lot of color and develop an intense and woody flavor. They tend to be bold and full-bodied with a bitter sting in their tail. They’re not very caffeine heavy, but they are oily and make a thick, dark cup of coffee.
1. Death Wish Coffee
This extremely bold, intense and smooth blend is made from a mix of Arabica and Robusta beans for a more intense flavor. It doesn’t have much of a bitter kick to it and, as per Death Wish’s slogan ‘The World’s Strongest Coffee’, it’s got a high caffeine content unusual in a dark roast.
2. Barista Prima Coffeehouse
This Italian roast is super robust, with loads of depth. It has fruity notes, with some smokiness. The finish is somewhat unexpected — clean, crisp and bright, and just a little bitter. This was a much more complex cup than I expected!
3. Timothy’s World Coffee Rainforest
The Rainforest Espresso blend makes a smooth, sweet and strong cup of coffee. It’s pretty full-bodied and syrupy, meaning for many people it might not be a go-to morning K-Cup. But, if I wanted a flavor to wake you up then I’d reach for the Rainforest Espresso!
4. Green Mountain Dark Magic
A dark, deep and intense coffee. Dark Magic has chocolate notes and a lot of bitterness that’s countered really well by the dried-fruit flavors of the coffee, leaving a sweet end to every sip.
5. Java Factory Da Bomb
A slightly gimmicky offering from Java Factory, Da Bomb is a double-caffeinated dark roast. It’s a very dark coffee, but not bitter. Despite the warning label and the name, Da Bomb is pretty drinkable. Obviously you should stop at one cup, though.
6. Peet’s Coffeehouse Blend
This is a rich, full bodied blend. It’s made from a mixture of Central and South American, high-grown beans which are slow roasted for a smooth intensity. It’s a little smokey, but still pretty lively and bright.
Artificially Flavored Keurig K-Cups
Often looked down upon by the coffee establishment, flavored coffees are made by adding oils to coffee beans. Natural oils are extracted from cocoa, fruits, nuts and vanilla, and then they are used to coat coffee beans.
Flavored coffee can be a great way into coffee for newbies, and is also just fun. Flavors range from subtle and sophisticated, to party in your mouth territory.
1. Green Mountain Coffee Caramel
With a light roast base, this coffee has notes of caramel, brown sugar and vanilla. It’s not as cloyingly sweet as the name suggests it might be, but it has an air of ice cream and caramel sauce about it.
2. Starbucks Flavored Coffee
This one is a general rather than a specific recommendation. Starbucks flavored coffee variety packs are great, with toasted graham, toffeenut, hazelnut, caramel, vanilla and cinnamon dulce K-Cups included.
You know what they taste like — like a Starbucks flavored coffee!
3. Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee
A medium-roast is the base for Dunkin’s French Vanilla K-Cup. It’s a nutty, smooth coffee with a little richness. The vanilla flavor is quite strong, and overall it’s quite a sweet cup of coffee. It’s a pretty good imitation of what you’d get from a Dunkin Donuts store.
4. Wolfgang Puck Coffee
This flavored coffee is, as you can see from its name, something of a wildcard! It’s actually a coconut flavored coffee.
I’m not personally a fan of coconut flavors in coffee, so had to go with the opinions of others who love this one.
It’s a medium roast blend, which is in itself a little nutty, with the sweet aromatic coconut picking up the end of that natural nut flavor. It tastes quite natural, which is tough with coconut flavorings as they have a tendency towards tasting artificial.
5. SF Bay Coffee French Vanilla
This is one of the less over the top flavored coffees available in K-Cup form. The vanilla flavour enhances the nuttiness of the medium roast, which is really nice. It also comes in a compostable cup, which is a real plus when you have a Keurig as they can be terrible for the environment.
6. Cinnnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll
My personal favorite, this flavored K-Cup takes no prisoners. Based on the flavor profile of the iconic breakfast baked good, light roast coffee provides a bright base for cinnamon and brown sugar flavors and, the icing on the cake, frosting!
Obviously this is a really sweet coffee, and probably not an every day indulgence, but it’s really good when you’re in the mood.
Decaf Coffee Keurig K-Cups
Decaffeinated coffee is made from the same kind of beans as coffee with caffeine, but the caffeine is removed before roasting (usually by soaking the beans in a solvent).
Decaffeinated beans are very difficult to roast, so for a long time decaf was seen as inferior coffee. Recently, though, some very good decaf or low caffeine options have emerged.
1. Eight O’Clock Coffee
Like the Dark Magic, this is a decaf version of another K-Cup I tried. It’s a strong cup of medium-roast coffee, with quite a lot of body and a smooth feel. A good sipping coffee for any time of day.
2. Green Mountain Coffee
This is the decaf version of Green Mountain’s Dark Mountain. It tastes just as good as the original, with the same depth, sweet intensity and dried fruit notes.
If you like Dark Magic, then this might be great for an evening option if you don’t want to be up all night (and don’t have the caffeine tolerance of a coffee blogger…).
3. Barista Prima Decaf
This is an Italian roast, so it’s dark. The blend is smooth and full bodied with a little nut and smoke on the tongue. As is often the case with Decafs, it’s easy not to miss the caffeine in a rich, dark roast.
4. Newman’s Own Organics
A blend of light and dark roasted coffee beans, Newman’s Special delivers a very drinkable but somewhat richer than you would expect coffee. It’s a little fruity, and verging on syrupy. And there’s no caffeine to be seen!
Whatever kind of coffee you love, you’ll be able to find a K-Cup that delivers.
A real advantage of Keurig coffee machines is that you can try things out, or have a medium roast cup of Joe most days and get wild with flavors come Saturday!
Lots of these coffees come from long-trusted brands, so you’ll have some idea what they taste like anyway. Increasingly, though, even the most stalwart and traditional brands are bringing out new, more artisanal options.
There’s no harm in trying something new, right? You might love it, and have your whole coffee-world changed.
I would recommend trying some good light roasts if you haven’t already, especially if you’re usually a flavored coffee lover. I mean, I go the other way — I’m a light-roast lover, and occasionally I go over to the dark (and sweet) side and have a flavored cup.
Whatever you want from your coffee, there’s bound to be more than one K-Cup that fills that need! Really, the options are almost endless and ever changing so there can be no definitive list.
What’s your favorite K-Cup we haven’t mentioned?
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