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The environmental unfriendliness of K cups?

fldhkybnva Mar 19, 2013 11:35 AM

I wouldn't describe myself as the most environmentally conscious person, but as I emptied the K cup bin at work this afternoon, it occurred to me that this is quite the waste. It seems that in many other arenas from plastic bags at the grocery store to reusable coffee mugs that the pressure is on to reduce waste, but I haven't heard much argument against the massive spread of K cups or even encouragement for office buildings to potentially seek other options. I guess the convenience outweighs the criticisms. How do you feel about K cups in an environmental sense? Do you personally use them, your office?

  1. MGZ Mar 19, 2013 11:45 AM

    I was gifted one of those coffee makers a few years ago. I tried a dozen different cups and all I tasted from each was plastic. I gave the machine away and have not drank coffee from one of those vile things since. As to the waste, that is simply another reason to despise them. I'll stick with my French press or the old school percolator I sumtimes bust out when company's over.

    1. rockandroller1 Mar 19, 2013 12:38 PM

      I thought I was the only one that found the plastic waste abhorrent. I know they make reusable cups but I've never seen anyone using them, anywhere, and the makers are everywhere now - doctors' offices, etc. It's a huge step backward for the environment and for coffee as far as I'm concerned.

      1 Reply
      1. re: rockandroller1
        fldhkybnva Mar 19, 2013 12:55 PM

        Yea, there's a Keurig around every corner. In fact, my lovely mother has sent me 2 of the same machine. I guess she forgot and thought it was so fabulous that she sent another. I know at least where I work, most people drink at least 3 or 4 of their favorite beverage a day which for a hospital adds up!

      2. l
        lab5511 Mar 19, 2013 12:55 PM

        Honestly just get an Ekobrew. $12 on Amazon.com. You can use any coffee you want and have zero waste. I have 4 of them and we have not bought a k-cup in over a year. Best investment ever for my Keurig machine. I buy coffee from a local roaster so the cost per cup is about .27.


        2 Replies
        1. re: lab5511
          law_doc89 Mar 20, 2013 04:49 AM

          I got mine for $2 each when the local store dropped them for lack of sales! Works great if you put in stronger coffee. Most k-cup coffee is weak, so the reusable insert allows for better cup of joe anyway.

          1. re: lab5511
            LindaWhit Dec 10, 2013 06:49 AM

            As I noted below - my coworkers won't use them.

          2. y
            youareabunny Mar 19, 2013 01:02 PM

            It seems like a fad to me and the waste of plastic is disturbing. There is an artist that gathers random items - computer disk drives, for example - piles them up and takes a picture. The garbage of just that one item is a mountain.

            Anyway I hope reusable k-cups will become the standard. Or in the least biodegradable ones. If this thing won't go away...

            22 Replies
            1. re: youareabunny
              fldhkybnva Mar 19, 2013 01:04 PM

              I've never seen the reusable cups but makes sense and a great idea - convenience without the waste. I actually rarely use the k-cup machine but everytime I brew the occasional cup of tea it hits me that there are likely landfills full of these things

              1. re: fldhkybnva
                youareabunny Mar 19, 2013 01:12 PM

                Along with ecobrew as mentioned above, another one is available for $15


                I guess this would only work at home, as in the office it could get lost or broken easily. Still I wonder if people would bother, it's an extra step to fill and clean this cup and a big part of the attraction with the system is convenience.

                I'm all for convenience but if I can take 2 extra minutes and to contribute less trash, I'll do that. But for some people, the world is their oyster... or trash bin.

                1. re: youareabunny
                  paulj Mar 19, 2013 02:59 PM

                  What's the trade off between trash and waste water? One Kcup = ? gallons of wash water?

                  At home I often make coffee with a small sauce pan and strainer - plus the water to wash them out. But when camping, wash water is precious (especially it's disposal). There I prefer to use a paper filter, which goes into the trash, and requires little cleanup.

                  Similarly in an office, washing out a French Press requires a lot more water (in the washroom) than filter or Kcup.

                  1. re: paulj
                    youareabunny Mar 19, 2013 11:54 PM

                    Waste water is treated and either reused or returned to the ocean. Plastic involves the manufacturing, transportation, waste, etc.

                    1. re: youareabunny
                      RC51Mike Mar 20, 2013 04:08 AM

                      Yes but potable water requires a huge amount of energy to treat it and pump it then afterwards run it through a wastewater treatment plant before it goes back into the ocean. I'm not saying k-cups are the solution to our problems but one must consider the entire costs.

                      1. re: RC51Mike
                        youareabunny Mar 20, 2013 04:44 AM

                        I would guess similar energy is used to manufacture and transport said cups.

                2. re: fldhkybnva
                  ferret Mar 19, 2013 02:57 PM

                  I don't get the K-cups for tea or cocoa because they aren't traditionally "brewed". It's just as easy to run hot water through the Keurig and use a traditional teabag or packet of cocoa.

                  1. re: ferret
                    fldhkybnva Mar 19, 2013 03:28 PM

                    This is actually what I do, I use it for hot water but in the process run into the cup bin because it won't run water if it's full.

                3. re: youareabunny
                  meatn3 Mar 20, 2013 11:56 AM

                  I don't think they are a fad. The shelf space devoted to them grows every few months.

                  As much as I dislike the environmental aspects of the packaging I think they are here to stay. They offer enormous variety and minimize cleanup issues for offices. My cousin, who doesn't drink coffee but hosts many bridge parties, loves being able to offer exactly what each guest likes and not worry about perish-ability/storage/cleanup from week to week.

                  I see them in use in many waiting areas - my mechanics, my doctors, my accountant...I think that type of usage will just keep growing.

                  1. re: meatn3
                    fldhkybnva Mar 20, 2013 12:11 PM

                    I agree, it's likely to keep growing as it is so popular. I not only have 2 in my house, albeit which don't get used, but they are as you mention literally everywhere.

                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                      MGZ Mar 20, 2013 12:15 PM

                      But the end product is so lousy. Why does it keep growing in popularity? Is convenience that much more important than quality?

                      1. re: MGZ
                        fldhkybnva Mar 20, 2013 12:19 PM

                        I think so. At least at my office, no one really balks at the quality, they just need coffee, it's 4 steps away and so it wins over the coffeeshop downstairs which might offer better coffee but requires more effort and money. For me personally, the convenience does not outweigh the quality. I've never actually tried it as it just didn't seem like it'd make a very good pot of coffee and I usually either make coffee at home or buy before work. If I'm at work and feel the heavy eyelids I just brew tea or deal with it.

                        1. re: MGZ
                          rockandroller1 Mar 20, 2013 12:22 PM

                          We have free office coffee from a traditional brewing commercial type machine and it is SO SO BAD. Like airplane or hospital vending machine bad. I call it the "Desperation Coffee." I admit that when they installed the keurig on the other side of the floor I tried to resist it for awhile, but even though it's weak it's nowhere near as bad as the desperation coffee. It's free. That's why I drink it.

                          1. re: rockandroller1
                            fldhkybnva Mar 20, 2013 12:28 PM

                            I think you hit the nail on the head. Not only do my colleagues jump at the offer of free coffee, but free food as well which often resembles dog food, but it's free so they eat it. No judgments here, just highlighting that convenience and price is likely a big factor here.

                            1. re: rockandroller1
                              paulj Mar 20, 2013 01:17 PM

                              Isn't there a way of adjusting the strength of Kcups?

                              1. re: paulj
                                fldhkybnva Mar 20, 2013 01:26 PM

                                I think so. The machine has different cup sizes so presumably if you brewed with less water it would be stronger.

                                1. re: fldhkybnva
                                  pine time Aug 26, 2013 01:57 PM

                                  I not only select the smaller cup size, but we're also buying the Italian roast, bold K-cups. Better than most fast food coffees.

                                2. re: paulj
                                  ferret Mar 20, 2013 01:26 PM

                                  Depends on the machine. We had a commercial unit at work that needed frequent re-calibration. Otherwise there are machines that offer different cup sizes from the same K-Cup which will obviously decrease strength as size increases (and vice versa).

                              2. re: MGZ
                                juliejulez Mar 21, 2013 03:19 PM

                                Some people think a mediocre cup of coffee was just fine. Prior to me bringing the Keurig into my relationship (I won it in a contest), my SO was drinking Folgers. So for him, the K-cups work out just fine.

                            2. re: meatn3
                              blackpointyboots Dec 9, 2013 08:48 PM

                              It may be planned marketing rather than consumer demand. Target cut back on selling other coffee makers and stocked a ton of those various cup machines. Then almost all the regular coffee went away including the espresso I used to buy there. Now there is an entire aisle stocked mostly with 101 varieties of k cup type coffees. Target makes a ton more money selling people coffee in tiny plastic cups at an inflated price than they ever did selling bulk coffee. Companies don't start selling these new systems because they love customers. They come up with new ways to make more cash. I consider the whole k cup thing to be like Swiffers. They make consumers part with more cash repeatedly, put more waste into the system for a small convenience.

                              1. re: blackpointyboots
                                paulj Dec 9, 2013 09:16 PM

                                Except Target is a discount store, in the mold of Kmart and Walmart. It was their parent department store, Daytons (in Mpls) that aimed for margin. I doubt if the profit margin for the retailer is any higher on Kcups than on bulk.

                                A while back I bought a manual Kcup 'machine' at Target. It was clearance priced. I also bought reusable cups. So far the only prefilled cups that I've used were a set of 3 from Target ($2), and a package of 7 from Trader Joes. The TJ cups are are from Canada, and have a slightly different design. The basic Kcup patent has expired, though some improvement patents are still in force.

                                1. re: blackpointyboots
                                  bagelman01 Dec 10, 2013 05:41 AM

                                  Just think about disposable razors...that's where it all started

                            3. paulj Mar 19, 2013 01:12 PM

                              Are you looking at the big picture or just K cup bin?



                              1 Reply
                              1. re: paulj
                                fldhkybnva Mar 19, 2013 01:24 PM

                                Thanks, I hadn't read much about the advantages of K cups, interesting.

                              2. RC51Mike Mar 19, 2013 01:44 PM

                                I did, and felt that piles of coffee grounds and filters in a landfill aren't really much different from piles of k-cups in the landfill. Coffee and filters can go to the compost heap but in the landfill where the overwhelming majority of it goes, it makes no difference. One of the links posted here sounded like a PR piece for Green Mountain but it is true when you look at the whole environment you need to factor in the cost of power to heat coffee makers, provide water, etc. for normal coffeemakers. In the end, it is likely a wash.

                                I hate throwing out tiny empty containers too and if k-cups were the only thing we were wasteful at, I'd say go at them. However, we have become a society of waste and need to tackle that bigger issue. Then the tiny containers will take care of themselves.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: RC51Mike
                                  Justpaula Mar 20, 2013 10:56 AM

                                  Not to mention the many, many people who only drink one cup in the morning and would be buying a paper or styrofoam cup, retail, - also likely to end up in a landfill - instead of brewing a K-Cup at home, like my husband. I don't drink coffee, and he has his one cup a day, so we never had a coffee maker. Before our Keurig, he picked it up "to go" at a deli or 7-11 every morning in a disposable cup. Now he uses his thermal travel cup. And, yes, I did buy him a Melita One-Cup pour over thing at one point, on reccomendation from my Mom, but he didn't like how it tasted. So, the Keurig works for us. I also have a three year old, so sometimes I need me tea STAT, before I forget about it. I just use regula tea bags, but like having the hot water at the ready. I have no idea whether turning on the gas to bing a pot of water to boil, or using the electric for two minutes uses more energy. I have never thought about it.

                                  My sister and father (a SAHM and a retiree) are the types that drink coffee all day long. They would never use a Keurig, because that would be a lot of money and a lot of waste.

                                  1. re: Justpaula
                                    pine time Aug 26, 2013 01:58 PM

                                    We also got the fill-it-yourself-reusable k-cup, and it works fine, no waste.

                                2. jen kalb Mar 19, 2013 01:52 PM

                                  I wouldnt buy one of these myself, but it is infinitely better tasting coffee than the urn or hotplate or heaven forbid instant stuff otherwise available in an office and that has to factor in. My office only allows this type (not keurig, a competitor at this time) and as a coffee consumer Im glad.

                                  A lot of these environmental issues tend to need deeper analysis to really know what solution is the least wasteful. Any way, while I dont care for plastic waste, it didnt hit my hot button.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: jen kalb
                                    sr44 Mar 19, 2013 02:07 PM

                                    Plus, in my office, the men maintained the Keurig machine and coordinated coffee ordering.

                                    1. re: sr44
                                      jen kalb Mar 19, 2013 02:34 PM

                                      well that nicer than always coming to an empty or boiled pot and having to make it yourself!

                                  2. f
                                    ferret Mar 19, 2013 02:47 PM

                                    We've been buying San Francisco Bay's "OneCups." They fit the Keurig and are basically a plastic ring supporting a paper filter "cup". They use a fraction of the material of a K-Cup, are much cheaper and the only downside is that, not being fully sealed, they need to used quickly or stored in a sealed container (the 80-pack boxes contain 10 8-count plastic bags).


                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: ferret
                                      scarsdalesurprise Mar 20, 2013 12:36 PM

                                      These are what I use, and they are great. I think the coffee is nice and strong, but what do I know?

                                      1. re: scarsdalesurprise
                                        ferret Mar 20, 2013 12:45 PM

                                        I really like the coffee, the design is clearly less wasteful and the price is unbeatable (about 33 cents a cup). Win-win-win.

                                      2. re: ferret
                                        pine time Aug 26, 2013 02:00 PM

                                        Thanks, ferret. I saw these, but didn't do the research to know that they do work with Keurigs. We drink a lot of coffee, even tho' it's just 2 of us, so this would work well for us.

                                        1. re: pine time
                                          ferret Aug 26, 2013 02:35 PM

                                          The coffee is very good it's priced well and packaged well enough to not feel guilty about plastic waste (the collar is the only plastic part, so it's about 1/6 the plastic of the normal K-cup).

                                          1. re: ferret
                                            coll Aug 27, 2013 03:52 AM

                                            They have two flavors of San Francisco Bay at my BJs; Fog Chaser is strong without being too strong, and Rainforest Blend which is a perfect taste to me. Very well rounded. Both better than any Green Mountain flavor I've tried.

                                        2. re: ferret
                                          al b. darned Aug 29, 2013 02:40 PM

                                          the only downside is that, not being fully sealed, they need to used quickly or stored in a sealed container
                                          Actually, it is a HUGE downside.Even in a sealed container they go stale quickly. Once you expose the pods to air the deterioration starts. We've tried these and were not sufficiently impressed to use them again.We stored them in a Tupperware container but the last two were practically undrinkable.

                                          1. re: ferret
                                            shanagain Dec 9, 2013 05:22 PM

                                            And they've changed the plastic ring to some corn-based thing, so basically everything but the foil top and the mesh (IIRC) is compostable. I love the Fog Chaser, it's my daily go-to, and I wouldn't buy anything but the 80ct for both convenience and price (at Amazon 80 cups is like $26).

                                            We use a tall plastic container for storage.

                                          2. bagelman01 Mar 19, 2013 03:34 PM

                                            I use a Keurig at home and in the office. At home I am the only one that drinks coffee and it makes sense. I am NOT concerned about the environmental effect of my 2 K Cups per day as opposed to the environmental cost of the detergent and hot water to clean a coffee pot morning and night for my 2 daily cups.
                                            In the office, again the Keurig is just for me and an occasional client. Much better than bringing in Dunkin Donuts coffee in the styrofoam cups they use.

                                            ALSO>>> I have been buying a dark roast decaf for my MIL for the Keurig. There is no little plastic cup. The coffee is in a net bag suspended from the foil seal, and the cupless K-cups come in a sealed plastic stay fresh bag within the box. Less waste.

                                            1. t
                                              ThanksVille Mar 19, 2013 05:55 PM

                                              Yes the k cup waste is mounting like tons of disposable diapers but the machine itself is a vampire power sucker to the tune of nearly $200 per year just keeping it plugged in. Power usage is a bit more than double that when counting the active brew time power usage. But the biggest deterrent to k cups is the fact that they make marginal instant coffee

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: ThanksVille
                                                boogiebaby Mar 19, 2013 09:31 PM

                                                Where did you get this info from? A Keurig uses the same amount of energy as a light bulb. They also come with an auto shut off so you can set the timer and it will turn itself off to conserve even more energy.

                                                If you search online, various people have estimated it costs between .04-.10/day to use.

                                                1. re: ThanksVille
                                                  ferret Mar 19, 2013 09:46 PM

                                                  That's just wrong. It's far more efficient than a standard cofee pot with a warming tray. Our Keurig is on for maybe 4 minutes a day (getting to temp from "off" takes 3 minutes). I'd be shocked if it cost $20 a year to run.

                                                  1. re: ThanksVille
                                                    al b. darned Aug 29, 2013 02:49 PM

                                                    It may depend on the machine. We have a B145 which takes about two minutes to warm up in the morning. After I make my morning cup I turn it off, after which uses no more energy. Even if I forget to turn it off it will turn itself off in two hours

                                                    Unlike our Cuisinart coffee maker, which has a clock timer, uses considerably more power during the brew cycle because it heats a lot more water, and has a plate warmer that stays on for four hours.

                                                    While we won't go on an island vacation with the money we save, it definitely uses less power.

                                                  2. s
                                                    sandylc Mar 19, 2013 06:25 PM

                                                    It's terrible. Second only giant plastic laundry detergent jugs. And bad coffee, besides.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                      youareabunny Mar 20, 2013 12:03 AM

                                                      An ex of mine once ordered me the breakfast meal of McDonald's (classy dude) and I could not believe how much plastic I got. The utensils, a plate with top and bottom, then the drink with plastic straw and cover. And I believe one portion of the meal came in its own plastic container. All that for a $6 breakfast...

                                                    2. juliejulez Mar 19, 2013 08:11 PM

                                                      My SO uses them at home (I don't drink coffee) and I hate how much waste it creates (he has 2-3 a day), and don't get me started on the cost. I purchased an Ekobrew to put regular coffee into, but so far he hasn't really used it. I'm hoping once we run out of the K-cups he'll just use the Ekobrew. My boss also uses K-cups, 1-2 a day despite having an Ekobrew that his mother gave him.

                                                      8 Replies
                                                      1. re: juliejulez
                                                        paulj Mar 19, 2013 09:21 PM

                                                        Have you had to schedule an extra garbage pickup to handle all of this waste?

                                                        1. re: paulj
                                                          youareabunny Mar 20, 2013 12:00 AM

                                                          Every little bit adds up. Smaller plastics are actually more hazardous because they easily get knocked away, carried by wind, and end up in the ocean.

                                                          The pacific garbage island, dead birds with bellies full of plastic, it's pretty sick stuff.

                                                          1. re: youareabunny
                                                            paulj Mar 20, 2013 10:02 AM

                                                            I don't see how a Kcup would end up in the middle of the Pacific. If I used one (which I don't), it would go into a garbage bag under the sink. From there to the dumpster to the garbage truck to the transfer station to the engineered landfill many miles from the ocean.

                                                            The plastic rings that hold pop cans together are much more likely to end up in the ocean. A careless person could take the pack to the park, strip of the plastic and throw that to the wind ... But kcups are used at home and in the office, not in the park. A plastic cup from a vending machine is more likely to end up as litter.

                                                            1. re: paulj
                                                              MGZ Mar 20, 2013 10:27 AM

                                                              Can't speak about the Pacific, but I've seen K-cups floating in the Atlantic when I've been in it. Then again, I've also seen soda cans, Big Gulp cups, fast food wrappers, and even a bag of weed. I retrieved 'em all and discarded each but the last.

                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                youareabunny Mar 20, 2013 10:39 AM

                                                                Bags get ripped open all the time. Also, some people don't tie their bags tightly. The garbage truck overturns the can, some garbage spills onto the street, ends up in the storm drain and straight into the ocean.

                                                                1. re: youareabunny
                                                                  coll Mar 20, 2013 10:40 AM

                                                                  If you live on a barrier island maybe!

                                                                  1. re: coll
                                                                    MGZ Mar 20, 2013 10:43 AM

                                                                    Happens here at the Shore all year long. You shoulda seen the sh*t that found it's way into the ocean after Sandy. Foul!

                                                            2. re: paulj
                                                              juliejulez Mar 20, 2013 10:22 AM

                                                              No, but I still don't like to throw things away if it's not necessary. Sure, 1 doesn't seem like a big deal, but considering my SO drinks 2-3 a day, every day, that's 60ish-90ish kcups, and a decent amount of waste... maybe a garbage bag full? There's just a lot of unnecessary waste out there (not just with k-cups) that could be curbed.

                                                          2. law_doc89 Mar 20, 2013 04:56 AM

                                                            Everything comes at a cost, but there is always a human tendency to make people feel guilty for living, some dort of mortification. Recycling is largely nonsense:



                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: law_doc89
                                                              youareabunny Mar 20, 2013 05:27 AM

                                                              Some good points there but too many fallacies/poorly drawn conclusions by PandT, not just in that ep but their entire series.

                                                            2. Motosport Mar 20, 2013 07:27 AM

                                                              Nespresso has a recycle program for its used pods. Several convenient locations in the NYC Metro area.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Motosport
                                                                ferret Mar 20, 2013 09:37 AM

                                                                Any Sur la Table location will take your used Nespresso pods for recycling.

                                                                1. re: ferret
                                                                  Motosport Mar 20, 2013 09:47 AM

                                                                  That's where we bring them.

                                                              2. eLizard Mar 20, 2013 09:06 AM

                                                                i think the coffee is bad and expensive and wasteful. other than that, can't beat em for convenience!

                                                                4 Replies
                                                                1. re: eLizard
                                                                  Motosport Mar 20, 2013 09:20 AM

                                                                  I've never been a fan of the K cup coffee.
                                                                  I do love my Nespresso espresso coffee!!

                                                                  1. re: Motosport
                                                                    ferret Mar 20, 2013 09:45 AM

                                                                    We own both (have had a Keurig for 3 years and Nespresso for one). I understand people's resistance to Keurig but saying "I don't like Keurig coffee" is a bit dismissive when I would presume that most people have given it a few tries at most (and there are scores of options out there). We actually tried several varieties before buying the Keurig and went in with a couple of favorites (now expanded to several). Is it the best cup of coffee I've ever had? No, but it serves a function of filling a to-go cup on the way out of the house in the morning at a cost of less than a third of take-out coffee.

                                                                    1. re: ferret
                                                                      Motosport Mar 20, 2013 09:50 AM

                                                                      We've got a Keurig machine at work and our neighbor has one. I've tried many of the offerings. Not bad but not great I.M.H.O..
                                                                      We are very picky about our coffee.

                                                                      1. re: Motosport
                                                                        coll Mar 20, 2013 10:38 AM

                                                                        Not thrilled either, although I recently tried the 8 O'Clock and they were pretty decent.

                                                                2. coll Mar 20, 2013 09:23 AM

                                                                  Without reading all the answers, my biggest objection is that it is really hard to compost the coffee grounds. I do occasionally but not always. I am afraid my garden this year will be lacking.

                                                                  And mine too was a gift, not requested but since they were visiting not long after, felt the need to put into usage. I hate it but too lazy to change back at this point (I have my Gevalia set up, actually a couple of them, in the basement still, you can't call me a connoisseur).

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: coll
                                                                    Motosport Mar 20, 2013 09:50 AM

                                                                    We'll just call you a gourmet!!

                                                                    1. re: Motosport
                                                                      coll Mar 20, 2013 10:39 AM

                                                                      I'm actually not too picky about my coffee, but I do like to taste it!

                                                                      1. re: coll
                                                                        Motosport Mar 20, 2013 10:45 AM

                                                                        For regular coffee we use whole beans from Porto Rico in NYC, grind them and brew in a French press.
                                                                        It makes an excellent cup o' Joe!!
                                                                        We compost the grounds.
                                                                        For espresso we use the Nespresso and recycle the pods.

                                                                        1. re: Motosport
                                                                          coll Mar 20, 2013 10:51 AM

                                                                          I'm such a dweeb. I used 8 O'Clock almost exclusively until I received the K cup, then switched to San Francisco Fogchaser at BJs, partly because of the price. But when I get into Nassau County, I have to stop at Fairway for a bag of Blue Mountain at $50 or so, which is why I am so cheap the rest of the time! I wonder if compost is better when you use better beans ;-)

                                                                  2. s
                                                                    sandylc Mar 20, 2013 09:37 AM

                                                                    Hubby does french press. Fast and easy. Kid does pour-over. Fast and easy. Both friendly to the environment, easy to store, convenient, and make much better coffee.

                                                                    Me? Tea!

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: sandylc
                                                                      ferret Mar 20, 2013 09:47 AM

                                                                      If you use the same ground coffee in the Keurig as you do the pour-over or French press how can you conclude it's "much better coffee"?

                                                                      1. re: ferret
                                                                        sandylc Mar 20, 2013 10:32 AM

                                                                        No plastic, for one.

                                                                    2. Bacardi1 Mar 20, 2013 10:50 AM

                                                                      Sorry folks, but while I'm environmentally responsible in MANY ways, I'm NEVER giving up my K-cups. I did get a reusable K-cup that I've yet to try, but until then (& probably afterwards anyway) will still use the regular K-cups. I only have 1-2 cups of coffee/day, love the ease & versatility of K-cups, & life is way too short to give up everything one loves in the name of green correctness.

                                                                      7 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                        coll Mar 20, 2013 10:56 AM

                                                                        I received the reusable one with my original gift, and I use it when I run out since I still have some regular coffee hanging around. It's a pain, especially to clean afterwards, so to me it's just for emergencies. I used to make a full pot before, and then microwave the cupful to warm as necessary; a pot would last me two days. I am very lazy when it comes to coffee, just looking for a jolt of caffeine.

                                                                        1. re: coll
                                                                          Bacardi1 Mar 21, 2013 05:47 AM

                                                                          I'm the opposite, which is the reason I wholeheartedly embraced single-serve brewers - first a "Senseo", & now the "Keurig". I can't stand coffee that's been sitting/warming for even a little while. Used to drive my parents crazy & they used to make fun of me all the time, as in "I'd offer you another cup of coffee, but it's been on the warmer for 10 minutes. . . .". I just can't stand the taste of anything but freshly brewed. So back in the days when all coffeemakers made pots only, I was always throwing coffee away.

                                                                          This way, I have my freshly-brewed cup or two in the morning, & I'm done. Plus, I love being able to enjoy different brands/types of coffee without having to have bags of grind or beans all over the place. And I can just run plain hot water through the machine for cups of tea or bouillon if I want - even some quick super-hot water for a recipe if I need it. I get more daily use out of the Keurig than I ever did out of my old maker.

                                                                          1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                            pine time Aug 26, 2013 02:06 PM

                                                                            I'm with you, Barcardi--I can tell if coffee is more than say, 20 minutes old, and can't drink it. So, altho' I said Keurigs were nuts, we succumbed, and so far, we're both enjoying the heck out of it. Mr. Pine prefers a more medium roast, and I like a smack-me-upside-the-heck-bold one, so we're both happy.

                                                                        2. re: Bacardi1
                                                                          youareabunny Mar 20, 2013 12:07 PM

                                                                          Fair enough. I live my summers completely at the beach so I've come to appreciate a little tree hugging especially when it comes to unnecessary garbage.

                                                                          1. re: Bacardi1
                                                                            fldhkybnva Mar 20, 2013 12:14 PM

                                                                            I think this is the reason that we don't hear more about it even from the more environmentally friendly of the world, it's just so darn convenient.

                                                                            1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                              ferret Mar 20, 2013 12:31 PM

                                                                              Consumers consume and that consumption creates waste, be it adding to landfills, wasting energy or whatever. It's easy to point the finger elsewhere, but it's the very smallest minority that can claim the smallest footprint. For the other 98-99%, there are wasteful skeletons in all our closets.

                                                                              1. re: ferret
                                                                                paulj Mar 20, 2013 01:24 PM

                                                                                Surely you jest. I bet half the people on this thread are locavore coffee drinkers! ?)

                                                                          2. t
                                                                            tastesgoodwhatisit Mar 22, 2013 12:05 AM

                                                                            I think the environmental sense depends on what you are comparing it to.

                                                                            Certainly, they are much worse than making French press coffee, drinking it out of a ceramic mug, and composting the grounds (this is what I do at home).

                                                                            On the other hand, they're a much better option than buying a drink at a coffee shop in a disposable cup.

                                                                            For offices I think they're a fantastic idea. I've experienced many of the alternatives - you tend to get a lot of burnt tasting, cold or just plain bad coffee, there's never a pot on when you want a drink, the strength of the coffee depends on the person who made it last. Our office has one of those individual shot grinder coffee machines. It's not bad, but it's best at the setting of "watery espresso". It doesn't make a good espresso, but it even the highest water setting doesn't produce a decent cup of basic drip/press style coffee.

                                                                            The K cups are cheaper and more environmental than going to a coffee shop, they're customizable, and easy to use. You don't waste coffee with half drunk batches being poured out, you don't end up with every person owning their own set of coffee making equipment, and it's not going to start a fire by being left on.

                                                                            For meetings and conferences, when you need a lot of coffee at once, you're still back to the old methods, though.

                                                                            1. paulj Aug 26, 2013 09:05 AM

                                                                              Waste: The Dark Side of the New Coffee Craze

                                                                              1. j
                                                                                jujuthomas Aug 26, 2013 11:53 AM

                                                                                I'd be more tempted now that Peet's is doing K cups, however my Zojirushi does just fine for me for 1 cup or 10.

                                                                                1. weezieduzzit Aug 27, 2013 06:44 PM

                                                                                  I just can't do it. I've never had a good cup of coffee made from a k cup, the price per cup is really high for a very mediocre cup of coffee, and I can't help but think about all of those coffee grounds that could be in someone's garden or compost bin.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: weezieduzzit
                                                                                    paulj Aug 27, 2013 08:24 PM

                                                                                    those poor starving compost worms :-(

                                                                                    1. re: paulj
                                                                                      coll Aug 28, 2013 02:06 AM

                                                                                      I rip the cups open and feed my worms.

                                                                                  2. al b. darned Aug 29, 2013 05:06 PM

                                                                                    Okay, I've read all the replies up till now but I'm not giving up my Keurig. Yes, mine too, was a gift. I doubt I would've bought one on my own but now that I have it I'm never going back.

                                                                                    First off, I don't drink a lot of coffee. Secondly, having limited mobility makes it difficult to bring a cup of coffee from the kitchen into my home office. Having the Keurig next to my desk makes things a lot simpler.

                                                                                    How do I justify my Keurig? Well, first of all, I don't feel I have to, but I also look at it this way: I don't smoke, I don't chew, I don't hang out in bars, I don't chase wild women, I don't gamble, and I don't play golf. My Keurig is my bad habit. Though I usually find a sale on my favorite K cup, even at full price a single K cup is cheaper than a good golf ball. If I did play golf I would spend more money on golf balls than I do on K cups, because I'm sure most of my balls would end up in the woods or in the pond. And golf balls are equally environmentally unfriendly.

                                                                                    As for the quality of the coffee, it depends on what you buy. Yes, there are plenty of crappy K cup varieties. But there also some very good ones. Now that the patent on the K cups has expired there are even more varieties available.

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: al b. darned
                                                                                      ferret Aug 30, 2013 06:41 AM

                                                                                      I actually did give up my Keurig. For a Nespresso.

                                                                                    2. Kajikit Dec 9, 2013 03:51 PM

                                                                                      That's why they sell all those little k-cup shaped little plastic doohickeys so you can use your own bulk coffee in the machine.

                                                                                      I wish we could afford one of those machines! My sister-in-law and her husband loved 'toys' and they got one years ago. It was soooo easy to make a nice cup of tea with it. (my SIL had the refillable gizmo too...)

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: Kajikit
                                                                                        jujuthomas Dec 10, 2013 06:47 AM

                                                                                        my brother in law has a couple of the refillable doohickeys, he can't be bothered to use them. :(

                                                                                      2. LindaWhit Dec 10, 2013 06:34 AM

                                                                                        I was forced to buy one for coworkers to use. I despised how expensive these things are (even though I buy them in bulk from BJ's Wholesale Club) so I even bought the little hard plastic reusable K-cup with lid and paper filters, so they could use the regular coffee - that got used by 2 people (out of about 12 that drink coffee at work) for about a month, and then everyone just went to the pre-filled K-cups.

                                                                                        The waste from a monetary and environmental standpoint grates on me. But I don't drink coffee at work, so I'm not contributing to it.

                                                                                        1. PattiCakes Dec 10, 2013 06:54 AM

                                                                                          We used to have at least one "industrial" Keuring machine on each floor in my center city Philadelphia company. The coffee was free, and there were a number of varieties of cups to choose from. There were some of us who ordered our own k-cups because we wanted more exotic varieties, but the company got rid of the machines because the theft of the company-purchased k-cups was so great.

                                                                                          I can't remember what the brand was, but my son just purchased boxes of pods to be used in a Kuerig-like machine, but they had a body made from stuff that looked like a very heave tea bag or a coffee filter. Much better, I think, that the plastic.


                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: PattiCakes
                                                                                            bagelman01 Dec 10, 2013 08:45 AM

                                                                                            Many companies are using this design. I just tested 'Manhattan Blend' for Chock Full of Nuts and it was packed this way. It comesin a resealable foil pouch. You have to be really careful to keep the pouch tightly seled as they go stale quickly. Even if you seal the pouch the manufacturer recommends using within 30 days of opening to assure freshness.
                                                                                            I have an additional problem with this design:
                                                                                            The full plastic K-Cups get pierced on the bottom and let the coffee flow into the cup in a single stream. The mesh design off-brands allow the coffee to flow out all over which causes splashes on the counter and more clean up. Also, the water has longer contact with the coffee in a K-Cup giving a heartier cup of the same strength blens than mesh.

                                                                                            1. re: bagelman01
                                                                                              paulj Dec 10, 2013 09:29 AM

                                                                                              The original Kcup patent has a filter inside the plastic cup. The cup with lid is a sealed unit, and does not need any other packaging.

                                                                                              The cups that TJ just started carrying come individually wrapped in plastic. They have this exposed mesh filter, bonded to a plastic framework. The top ring has a snugger fit. Overall the 'cup' is not as deep, so it is not pierced by the pin. They are Canadian in origin.

                                                                                              Next time I get some regular Kcups I should do a flow test in my manual 'machine'. By letting them drip without pressure I should get a good idea of how they compare in flow resistance.

                                                                                              A problem with reusable cups is cleanup. At home, with a sink, trash and lots of running water that's no big deal. But at work that could be a significant issue.

                                                                                              In that past, when I've made coffee at my desk, I've used #2 paper filter and just tossed that in the trash. A french press requires more water to clean.

                                                                                              1. re: paulj
                                                                                                bagelman01 Dec 10, 2013 12:06 PM

                                                                                                I will not use a refillable K-Cup. That defeats the premise of the machine, make a cup and no cleanup, just toss.

                                                                                                I am a self employed person in a 1 person office. I am not interested in washing a pot, or a reusable K-Cup. I don't want a coffee can getting stale, sometimes I might not be in the office for weeks on end.

                                                                                                At home I'm the only coffee drinker on a daily basis, oldest daughter is home now for two months, then gone for 6. I want a cup at 5am, next cup at 10am. I won't drink 5 hour old coffee. K-Cups suit my needs.

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