Let me start by saying that I am most definitely not a fan.
K-cup or pod coffee is the ultimate in paying an exorbitant price for convenience, to say nothing of how much they add to our plastic waste problem.
The whole trend started with the arrival of the Keurig coffee machines. These machines quickly became very trendy, despite their size and their price tag.
Even though they cost a lot and take up a rather large amount of counter space, they are ubiquitous in office kitchens and lounges around the country. And in home kitchens now, as well. They are one of the latest must-have household gadgets.
You could say that they are to coffee what Burger King burgers were to grilled ground beef – fast and convenient. And they have about the same negative effects on your budget health as those burgers do on your physical well-being.
And that doesn't even begin to cover the cleanliness issue that can arise when nobody does a regular, thorough cleaning of the machines. Which is exactly the reality in almost every employee lounge that I’ve ever seen.
If you are serious about a budget, you need to skip these little single use convenience packs of coffee. As you can see in the pictures below, the unit prices - shown here in orange - reveal that they can easily cost almost 10 times the price of regular coffee per pound. That’s simply not justifiable for anyone on a budget.
And the waste of the plastic cups makes it pretty much indefensible for anyone at all.
Some alternatives to use instead:
Filter Coffee Machine - Use an inexpensive filter coffee machine to make your brew. You can even buy one for your office or cubicle. They are very compact and quick, about 5 minutes for a single cup.
Cone Filter - Another even cheaper option is the Melitta cone filter, or similar product that fits over a coffee mug. You simply pour hot water through. It takes a bit longer than the K-cup method, but it’s a whole lot cheaper and more sustainable. Either of these methods is usable at home, but of course you need a place to heat water for the Melitta method. A hot plate can do the trick, of one of the plug-in pots and carafes that heat water very quickly.
K-Cup Alternatives - But if, for some reason, you have no other option for a fresh cup of coffee except a k-cup machine, then I recommend looking into some of the innovative products on the market that address some of the cost and waste issues.
Here are two examples:
Reusable K-Cups – These come from a variety of manufacturers. They are relatively expensive to begin with – around $10-11 -- but pay for themselves in no time at all. You simply measure your own coffee into them instead of buying the pre-packaged ones. This is a huge savings in the long run.
Reusable K-Cup Lids – these are meant to be used with k-cups that you buy pre-packed with coffee. Once the cups are empty, you can rinse them out and re-use them, using your own coffee and these lids.
The point is that new-fangled appliances and devices continually come along, such as the Keurig machine, and the brilliant marketing campaigns that accompany them make them seem indispensable for modern living.
Savvy consumers should view these fads with skepticism and avoid buying into them too much. In most cases, you'll find that the “old-fashioned” ways work just fine, and are in fact often still the best ways.
Coffee is just such a case in point.
To see what I mean, just go ahead and try a cup of coffee freshly perked over a camp or kitchen stove. It's coffee at its absolute best. Seriously. In my opinion, nothing rivals the full, dark flavor produced by a percolator.
And it doesn’t get much more old-school than that.