Hi guys, if you’ve got your single cup brewer and only owned it for a short time, chances are you’re enjoying the wide K cup flavor selection, but you’re overhearing a great deal about those “my k cups” So you’re probably dying to try them!
No reason not to – it has been confirmed that if you’re only drinking 1 cup a day, in about a year you’ll have spent over $200 on those pods – (Source: Consumer Reports.org) Want to slash your java budget? Read on…Reason no. 2: doing your part to keep those little buggers out of landfills.
If you need more reasons…you can experiment with your favorite flavors, strengths, and even tea leaves. Now we’ve come to the question of what are the best reusable k cups for the brewer you own and convenience you deserve?
Table of Contents
The 5 Best Reusable K-Cup Brands
If you’re in a hurry, or just curious, here are the top contenders all in one place:
MaxBrew – Solofill (specifically the version K3 or K4) My K-Cup Universal Filter and the Perfect Pod
The Process We Used to Evaluate
Reusable k-cups are the exact size and shape as your typical k-cup. They are made from plastic with a mesh filter screen. The lid usually flips up and down. Some models, like the MaxBrew, have a hinge which makes opening and shutting more secure. Under the lid you can see different parts that affect coffee ground saturation. Some are designed with a “shower head” approach with multiple small holes, and others, like this set I have, have a single stem-shaped piece in the center.
These are the Brewooze Smart Cups, which comes in a set of 3 cups, a filter cartridge and a set of 20 paper filters. This set is made with BPA-free plastic with a stainless steel mesh inside layer.They have recently been discontinued, but if they were still available, I would wholeheartedly recommend them. Can you also see the o-ring around the rim in the right image? It helps to ensure they don’t come undone in the brewer.
If you’ve ever actually eviscerated a K-cup (I have!) you’ll notice that the inside is lined with a paper filter. Some brands (like these) of reusable k-cups include them , and some people use them although they are strictly optional. There are mixed opinions on how well they improve the taste of the coffee. I used one of them one time but I don’t feel that they brought the flavor out well.
Refillable k-cups can sometimes leave a small amount of sediment from fine coffee particles, as a result of this mesh screen instead of a paper filter. You may find it hardly noticeable. Some people say that small amount tastes good.
I did accidentally chip the outer rim on one of them, but it doesn’t affect overall use, the cup will open and close as it should. (It was probably caused by tapping them on the side of the sink to loosen the grounds)After some weak brews resulting from the 2/3 full originally, I fill these guys all the way to the top and push the grounds down gently but the end result is that used grounds get a little impacted.
The biggest challenge that I see, however, is choosing a brand that will be a good fit. This is not a one-size-fits-all kind of product. Fortunately, you can find out early on if your brewer will be compatible with the refillable cup you have your eyes on. Now, on with the list!
Solofill is by and large one of the most popular and best reusable k cups. They use a micro-foil chrome filter that is easy to clean and a good quality hinge with an o-ring seal. The other unique characteristic is the spray-head design in the lid which improves saturation of grounds. .There is another gold-plated variation available. If you have a 1.0 brewer you need the K3. Most all of the single cup brewers discussed on this site will work with the Solofill.
If you own a 2.0 brewer what you need is the SoloPod, which has a unique “double brew” chamber technology. The first reservoir is in the main cup area and pre-steeps the grounds while the second chamber beneath it acts as a reservoir to accelerate steeping. The 2 in 1 package includes a K-cup carafe size as well and a SoloClip. This is also an excellent option to consider if you enjoy tea, because your loose leaves will get the important saturation and steeping they need to come out great.
There is an option for the K3, to choose one or a package of 2 (red or black.) You can also look into replacement O-ring sealers as these need to be replaced periodically if they are not closing correctly.
Pros: Works as indicated well, Hinged lid that secures well, Shower head lid feature
Cons: Different types that fit different models – can be confusing
MaxBrew 24K Gold – Best for the 2.0 Series
This one seems to get the highest ratings with one distinctive feature: the use of 24K gold that is touted as more non-reactive than stainless steel, so you can be sure your coffee will taste its best, brew after brew. The construction is unique with a honeycomb design. The cup material (polypropylene) is deemed to be free of environmental toxins. The lid inlet is designed for good saturation.
The cup/lid are hinged together, you will have to insert them into your brewer compartment sideways with the hinged side facing on the right. The lid and body can easily be unlocked for periodic cleaning. You can do it by hand or the top rack dishwasher is considered safe.
Wow, it’s also got a lifetime warranty on it, sounds pretty sweet! If something happened to my Smart Cups I think I would consider this one….As you can see from the list below, it works with many models. But if you are unsure about one that isn’t listed, just call them up and they will be glad to help!
The MaxBrew pods are compatible with: B40, K45, B60, B70, B130, B140, K145, K150, K155, and all of the 2.0 series (K200, 300, etc.)
Hinged closure that’s more secure, Works with many Keurig models, Don’t have extra parts to fuss with,Customer service is excellent, Holds up well, Lifetime warranty!
Unsure if it works with the Mini/Plus series
Keurig My K-Cup Universal Filter
Well you can’t go wrong by going with the proprietary brand; that way you’ll know for sure that you are getting a device that will fit and not cause unnecessary headaches. There are a few models that actually include it as a bonus, one that comes to mind is the K15 Mini.
This version has been upgraded from a simple model that consisted of a brew basket and holder with a twist-off top. This one is still available and will fit most all of the 1.0 generations, but if you want the adaptability that comes form the extra anatomy this upgrade has, this is the one to get. I’m including both versions below for your convenience:
The newer version is made with several parts – there is the brew basket which is a little more generous in size and will hold 2.5 tablespoons of grounds (it has a max fill line so you don’t accidentally overfill it.) The adaptor base that sits on the bottom, is used if you have a 2.0 or brewer in the “Plus” series.
The lid is designed uniquely with five small strategically placed holes. Most refillable k cups you see have one hole in the center. There’s a reason for this, though. The five holes were designed to accommodate the new K-Supreme model which has a unique “Multi Stream” feature.
Under the lid is a red plug that blocks the four other holes. This part can be detached, as most Keurig models have “single stream” (and one piercing needle)
Works with all Keurig brewers, Adaptor to use for 2.0 series,Fits securely
Multiple parts can be cumbersome to some people
Refillable K-Cups for Other Brands
This model will fit the Hamilton Beach Flexbrew…
You don’t need me to tell you that finding a replacement for a more obscure, or less common model, is no easy feat. If you saw the replacement basket for the Flexbrew that exceeded $30 and thought, you could do better, you too are onto something, and you were right.
So if you’ve misplaced (or accidentally damaged) the holder that came with the original OEM, pick up one of these instead. It has been confirmed to fit the Flexbrew models 49979 and 49976 (and there are others on the list) It is sturdy and not as gawky without the apparatus the machine originally came with. Be sure not to overfill it (its mentioned don’t exceed 20 grams) When inserting it, be sure to line the tabs up correctly.
The Perfect Pod: Best all around
As I close with this list, let’s not forget the Perfect Pod. Why does everyone love this one? Well, it’s versatility, for one thing, it fits in many Keurigs as well as a few Cuisinart models too. So without a doubt whatever model you own, you’re going to have little trouble getting this baby to work. The price is great, too, and you can choose a set of four or six.
For an even better experience, I suggest you also consider picking up the bonus that includes the E-Z pod maker -this handy hinged scoop ensures you get the right amount of grounds each time.
The way it works is you fill the bottom compartment with the grounds and close it The top has a funnel opening. Flip the device over into your k cup to dispense them, no mess, no fuss. Of course, it’s a nicety, not a necessity.
But back to the Perfect Pod cup itself…It works well, makes great coffee, and few performance complaints abound. What else can you ask for? One small thing and that is a few comments on how it didn’t fit the K-Slim or Mini.A few people who had one of those models said otherwise…who am I to believe? It may have all been a matter of lining it up correctly. From reading the leaflet info I got the impression it will fit ANY Keurig with the exception of the K-Supreme which has a totally different brew head design.
Compatible with: All of the Keurig 1.0 and 2.0 models, Cuisinart SS-5, SS-10, SS-15, SS-20
Pros: Compatible with a wide variety of maker models, no extra parts like adaptors, etc. needed
Cons: Not compatible with the K-Supreme
Best Practices for Basic Use
If you’re new to refillable k-cups, here are some guidelines to follow to get the most out of them:
- Most of them are made of plastic/polypropylene, but a few stainless steel. You’ll want to exercise caution with the latter as they get pretty hot to the touch (since anything metal retains heat)
- It is best to use medium coarse grounds, as you drop them in do NOT tamp, this causes them to be impacted, it’s not espresso! You can use a measuring spoon or scoop, how full to fill them is up to you, I fill mine to just below the rim. Some people have learned to be careful as too much grounds has left a mess behind. Refilling k-cups is a cinch, it’s just a matter of experimentation to see what strength suits you best.
- You may need to remove your brew holder assembly, in the case of my I do not (I like that…not always easy to get that thing out) as some are designed for this not to be necessary. Your brewer manual should tell you.Make sure you close the top securely.
That’s the gist of it, anyway…
Once you do find the right k-cup filter, the next big step will be getting the right strength and taste. So you may need to experiment with paper inserts, different amounts of grounds, and different ground densities. Which I can’t explain fully in this post – as some of it is purely subjective.
Did you find this list and guide to the best reusable k-cups helpful? Have you tried any of them yet? If so let me know by leaving a comment. Or if you find one I haven’t included that was also good.
Good Luck…Happy Brewing!
Top Photo Attribution: Images Courtesy of Twan Hines