keurig k cups in a brown basket, best keurig k cups

The Best Espresso K Cups: Our 7 Favorite Options

Starting my day with an amazing cup of coffee is a must. Saving time by getting that fantastic cup of coffee by using a K cup makes me even happier.

All I have to do is pop in the K cup while I am doing other things in the morning and in just a few minutes, my divine elixir is ready.

Good espresso can be complicated, but by using espresso K cups I can have my fix in no time. Here is a look at some of the best espresso K cups.

  • Non-GMO, single-origin, specialty coffee
  • Low acidity
  • Commercially compostable espresso Keurig cups
illy medium kcups
  • Low acidity
  • 100% Arabica beans
  • Rich yet smooth tasting
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B008YDVYGO&Format= SL110 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pageonecoffee 20&language=en US
  • Commercially compostable espresso Keurig cups
  • Company offers satisfaction guarantee
  • Coffee is ground and packed fresh
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00MA5LA48&Format= SL110 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pageonecoffee 20&language=en US
  • Bold Latin flavour
  • The flavour is intense and is delicious
  • This brand has been around a long time
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07BL6ZHQ2&Format= SL110 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pageonecoffee 20&language=en US
  • Full flavour without bitterness
  • Experienced Italian company
  • Smooth
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B074QRJ2LK&Format= SL110 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pageonecoffee 20&language=en US
  • Starbucks quality at home
  • Grounds are packed fresh
  • Is authentic, high-pressure espresso
q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B071Y32YCD&Format= SL110 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pageonecoffee 20&language=en US
  • Creates a cappuccino with real milk at home
  • Gevalia is a well known Swedish tradition
  • Made of 100% Arabica beans

How to choose the best espresso K cups

There are many things to consider when choosing an espresso K cup. These include flavour, coffee pod design, the beans that are used, if you want a true espresso drink or a cup of coffee, which machine you own, and the company that produces the K cup.


Espresso roast will generally be a dark roast. Each specific kind may have different notes that come through. These include things like:

  • caramel
  • chocolate
  • vanilla bean
  • orange
  • spices

Coffee Pod Design

A basic K cup is made of an outer plastic casing, which blocks air, moisture, and light until used, a paper filter, and a foil seal. The K cup holds enough coffee for one cup.  

If you are concerned about the amount of waste created by using basic K cups, some companies are getting more creative. Look for fully compostable K cups made of plant-based materials.


There are several types of beans used in espresso K cups, with the most common being Arabica coffee beans.

Other things to look into are if the beans are kosher, and if the coffee is ground and packaged fresh. Beans that are ground and sit around for a while before packaging will not be as fresh.

Certified kosher coffee means that it adheres to Jewish religious standards for eating and drinking. Coffee can be certified kosher only if it is free from chemicals, dairy, or flavouring additions. It also can’t come into contact with any of these items during the manufacturing or packaging process.

True Espresso or Cup of Coffee?

In most cases, the espresso drink produced by these K cups is going to simply be a cup of coffee. It will have the flavour of espresso, but most coffee machines cannot produce the proper amount of pressure required by a true espresso drink.  

If you are interested in a true espresso beverage, shop around for a K cup machine that can create one.

Type of Machine

You will need to shop for K cups that are compatible with whichever machine you own. Popular machines include the Keurig, Verismo system by Starbucks, and Nespresso machines.

Many other companies manufacture single serve coffee makers, just be sure to do your research on which type of pod is used in the machine.


It is no secret that some coffee companies operate at a higher level of ethical standards than others. If this is important to you, research the company and see how they treat their farmers, employees, and the environment.

Companies that put profit over everything else usually do not abide by the most ethical practices.

What are the advantages and benefits of using espresso K cups?

The biggest advantage of using espresso K cups is convenience. It is easy and takes little time to make a great cup of coffee.

It is also cost effective. If you are the type of person who likes to stop off at the local coffee shop on the way to work, you will quickly realize how expensive this habit is. Investing in a single serve coffee machine and making your own coffee can save you a lot of money.

If you already have a single serve coffee machine at work, great! It might just be a good idea to invest in your own quality K cups instead of using whatever the office has available.

Choosing a quality K cup espresso will enhance your experience and make a trip to the coffee shop less tempting.

Purchase K cups anywhere coffee is sold. These little cups are also convenient because you can order them online. Set up a subscription to make sure that you never run out.

What’s the best way to use espresso K cups and how do they work?

The instructions will differ based on the type of machine that you are using and the K cup that you purchase. Be sure to read all instructions thoroughly and follow them carefully.

How do K cups work?

Single serve coffee makers use a large water reservoir so refilling after every cup is not necessary. It will only need to be refilled occasionally.  

Here is the process of using a K cup:

  1. Place the coffee pod in the designated spot in the machine and place your mug on the cup stand.
  2. Press the brew button, this releases the water to be pumped into pressurised hoses to the heating chamber. At this point, the water is heated to the best temperature for brewing.
  3. After the water is heated, it moves into a hose at the top of the brewer.
  4. A small pin pierces the top of the K cup and the heated water is sent into the cup and over the coffee.
  5. At that same time, a hole is made in the bottom of the K cup to allow the freshly brewed coffee to flow out into your mug.

Check out this animation to see the basic principle of how a K cup works.

What About all of that Plastic Waste?

Although K cups are convenient, they create a lot of waste. Many people have problems with them for this reason. Coffee makers are recognising this fact and many are coming up with ways to make the experience more green.

Consider using a reusable filter, looking for recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable K cups, or considering a K cup free single serve coffee system.  

To tell if your K cup is recyclable, check the gauge of plastic in the pod. Recyclable K cups are made from #5 plastic which is polypropylene. Non-recyclable K cups are made from #7 plastic.

What are Some of the Best Espresso K cups?

1. Lifeboost Medium Roast K Cup – Our Top Pick

The Lifeboost Medium Roast K Cup gets our nod as the top pick for the best espresso K cups out there in the market. It is non-GMO, single-origin specialty coffee which has proven to be less acidic than common store-bought coffee. The low acidity is an important aspect especially for those who are sensitive to acidity in coffee.

Lifeboost coffee has also claimed a considerable number of certification such as the USDA organic, fair trade, pesticide and chemical free. The coffee is shade-grown and sun-dried in the mountains of Central America, producing a pure antioxidant-rich coffee.

The Lifeboost medium roast yields a smooth, earthy and well-balanced coffee flavor. Expect a coffee with a pleasant aroma of chocolaty and nutty undertones.

These coffee pods are 100% compostable (plant-based) and are compatible with Keurig and Keurig 2.0.


  • Non-GMO, single-origin, specialty coffee
  • Low acidity
  • Commercially compostable espresso Keurig cups
  • Fair trade, pesticide and chemical free
  • Compatible with both Keurig and Keurig 2.0


  • Quite pricey
  • Can go out of stock at times

2. Illy K-Cups Medium Roast – Runner Up

The runner up for the best espresso K cups goes to Illy K-Cups Medium Roast. Illy has a well-known reputation for producing one of the best-tasting coffee out there. This coffee is roasted to a medium profile in Italy and packaged in single-serve K cups.

illy medium kcups

The Illy K-Cup Medium Roast delivers a full-bodied flavor with little to no acid. A perfect cup of coffee to wake up to in the morning. The coffee is smooth and pleasant, with delicate tasting notes of caramel and chocolate.

The coffee emits a strong and pleasant aroma that fills up your home.

Illy reputes itself as a company that produces premium coffee, which is largely built on the use of only 100% Arabica beans in all their products. And the Illy K-Cup Medium Roast is one of them – so you can be assured that you are receiving great quality coffee.


  • Low acidity
  • Can be used in Keurig K-Cup brewers
  • 100% Arabica beans
  • Rich yet smooth tasting with caramel and chocolate notes


  • Quite expensive
  • Each pod produces plastic waste

3. SF Bay Coffee Espresso Roast K Cup

If you are bothered by the waste of K cup espresso pods, take a look at SF Bay Coffee Espresso Roast K cups. These are commercially compostable.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B008YDVYGO&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pageonecoffee 20&language=en US

The lid is made of paper, the ring under the lid is made of plant based materials, and the coffee filter is commercially compostable. There is no plastic used around the entire pod.

These pods are made to be used in a Keurig.

Find 11 grams of fresh ground coffee in each pod. The 100% Arabica coffee beans are certified kosher and come from Central and South America.

The espresso roast is a medium-dark coffee that offers notes of chocolate, vanilla beans, orange, and spice. It can be used on its own or incorporated into cappuccinos, lattes, or mochas.  

SF Bay Coffee Company is family owned and the coffee is American made. There is a satisfaction guarantee if you are not pleased with the product.

The company also strives to enrich the lives of farmers and practice innovation in coffee producing methods.


  • Commercially compostable espresso Keurig cups
  • Company offers satisfaction guarantee
  • Coffee is ground and packed fresh
  • Enough coffee in pod to produce full flavour


  • Filter can break and leave grounds in your cup or in your Keurig since there is no outer casing
  • Paper can separate from ring to leak grounds in machine and cup

4. Café Bustelo Espresso Style K cup Pods

For those who love Cuban coffee, Café Bustelo is one of the best options. These K cups are compatible in a Keurig K cup brewer and are made of 100% pure coffee beans.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B00MA5LA48&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pageonecoffee 20&language=en US

The flavour is intense and is delicious when paired with milk and sugar. Spend your mornings feeling like you are sitting at a little café in Havana sipping your cafecito with a friend while listening to the sounds of the city.

This brand takes pride in the authentic Latin flavour and this coffee can be used for making cortaditos, café con leche, or a variety of other treats. It is versatile and tasty.


  • Bold Latin flavour
  • This brand has been around a long time and is known for producing fine Latin-inspired coffee


  • Not authentic, high-pressure espresso
  • Each pod produces plastic waste

5. Lavazza Perfetto Single-Serve Coffee K cups

Lavazza coffee beans are blended and roasted in Italy. This espresso roast offers a bold, velvety flavour with hints of caramel. 

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B07BL6ZHQ2&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pageonecoffee 20&language=en US

These K cups are only for use in a Keurig brewing machine. The coffee is made from Arabica beans from Central and South America.  

Lavazza has been roasting coffee for more than 120 years. It has proved to be one of Italy’s favourite coffees by keeping a firm commitment to quality.  

Many Italian restaurants serve Lavazza, why not brew it yourself in the comfort of your own home?


  • Full flavour without bitterness
  • Experienced Italian company 
  • Smooth


  • Not authentic, high-pressure espresso
  • May be weak for some tastes
  • Each pod creates plastic waste

6. Starbucks Dark Roast Verismo Coffee Pods

Anyone who loves Starbucks should think about looking into their at home brewing options.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B074QRJ2LK&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pageonecoffee 20&language=en US

These Starbucks espresso K cups are made for the Verismo brewer system. This system can produce authentic, high-pressure espresso as well as other coffee drinks.  

Pods are available to make brewed coffee, espresso, or lattes. Be sure to use the correct pod with the correct brew cycle to prevent damage to the machine.

These espresso pods will not work with any other system.

Verismo espresso pods are made with Arabica coffee beans that are roasted, ground, and packed fresh. The flavour is intense and includes a hint of sweet caramel.   

Save money by brewing your own Starbucks espresso instead of swinging into a retail location each day.


  • Starbucks quality at home
  • Grounds are packed fresh
  • Is authentic, high-pressure espresso


  • Can only be used in the Starbucks system
  • Creates plastic waste with each pod

7. Gevalia Cappuccino Espresso K cup Coffee Pods & Froth Packets

These espresso pods for Keurig produce a delicious cappuccino made with real milk.

q? encoding=UTF8&ASIN=B071Y32YCD&Format= SL250 &ID=AsinImage&MarketPlace=US&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&tag=pageonecoffee 20&language=en US

They use a simple two-step brewing process.  

  1. Empty the cappuccino froth packet into your mug and place it on the cup stand.  
  2. Put the k-cup into the Keurig brewer and choose the 8 ounce size. Stir and sweeten to taste.

The K cup espresso is made of 100% Arabica beans that come from all over the world. When mixed with the creamy foam, an elegant and delicious coffee is made in the comfort of your own home.  

Skip a trip to the coffee shop and save money by creating fancy coffee drinks with your Keurig espresso cups.


  • Creates a cappuccino with real milk at home
  • Gevalia is a well known Swedish tradition and has been around for 150 years


  • The “real milk” is in powdered form and can be lumpy
  • Packaging creates extra waste

What are the Best Espresso K cups?

I love the convenience of K cup espresso. I’m a little of a health fitness freak. Therefore, my favorite espresso K cup is the Lifeboost Medium Roast K Cup.

I appreciate that they are commercially compostable and also deliver a bold and fresh tasting cup of coffee. After the beans are roasted, they are ground and packaged fresh. This helps ensure a good taste.

I also believe that coffee companies need to be ethical. I look for companies that seek to enrich the lives of their farmers, not try to exploit them for profit. Lifeboost fits this perfectly as they are fair trade certified.

Their satisfaction guarantee is also helpful and puts my mind at ease.  

My morning coffee routine is made easier by K cups, it seems that new advancements are constantly being made to ensure a simple and delicious cup of coffee.