practical guide with tips for using reusable k cup pods

A reusable K-cup replaces thousands of single-use k-cups with just one that will last you years and delivers the same exact result over and over again. It couldn’t be more obvious that reusable k-cups are much more wallet-friendly than single-use ones.

That said, many concerns are raised over the right way to use refillable K-cup pods due to a variety of issues encountered when using these little thingies. Some of the main problems are:

  • Reusable K-cup pods producing weak coffee.
  • Reusable K-cups sediment and stray grounds.

In this detailed guide, I will share some of the best practical hacks I’ve learned about using reusable K-cup pods the right way.

Do reusable k-cups save money?

Other than the minimal cost of the reusable k-cup, your coffee expenditure will be reduced by a lot if you decide to make the change.

All you need to spend on is the coffee itself, and that compared to the boxes of single-use k-cups does not even come close cost-wise.

Think about it this way. A 48 k-cup pack from Green Mountain Coffee or a three-week supply costs about 30$ – that is about over 450$ per year spent just on the k-cups.

In comparison, the cost of a reusable k-cup is about 15$ and the average cost of a pound of ground coffee is $10 – leading to a yearly expenditure of just $255 assuming you use one bag in two weeks.

That’s basically your expenditure halved!

So, yes, I would say reusable k-cups save money – lots and lots of money. I know I sleep much better at night since I got one for myself. And even better since I did all these calculations.

Perhaps it’s time to splurge on some of the top-shelf quality coffee beans! What do you say?

How does a reusable k cup work?

A reusable k-cup replaces the single-use k-cup pods, it is mainly made with a stainless steel mesh strainer enclosed in a pod housing. 

Using a refillable K cup means that instead of buying heaps and heaps of pods all you need is your reusable k-cup and your favorite coffee. You may want to add a quality coffee bean grinder in the mix if you fancy a little more luxury.

But really, that’s all there is to it.

A reusable k-cup lets you make any coffee you want with the same convenience as a single-use one but without the expenditure.

It’s kind of like bringing your own water bottle instead of buying a plastic one every time you get thirsty – it saves you the money, the hassle, and the plastic waste.

How many times can you use a reusable k-cup?

A reusable k-cup can last you anywhere between a year to forever, depending on the quality of the k-cup you purchase and how you take care of it. Most reusable k-cups also come with money-back guarantees that range from a few months to a whole year in some cases.

As long as you buy a reusable k-cup that’s compatible with your machine and you clean it well, it will last you a long, long time – definitely enough to save you at least a thousand dollars.

Do you need filters for reusable k-cups?

No, all reusable k-cups come with filters – and that’s the beauty of it all. They function exactly the same way that single-use k-cups do, but without the strain on your finances.

You do not need to use or purchase an additional filter or any other extra accessories with your reusable k-cup, which means no extra expenditure.

Reusable K-Cup Pods Problems

Now that we have all the reasons to switch to a reusable k-cup out of the way, it’s time to talk about some of the issues that you may encounter.

Now, before you get a frown on your face, let me say this: yes, there are problems, but also, I have all the solutions ready for you, so keep on reading to find out.

Reusable K-Cup Weak Coffee Issue

One of the biggest complaints that I have heard from fellow reusable k-cup users is that a lot of the time the coffee just isn’t good enough.

And for the longest time, I felt the same way.

When I first got my reusable k-cup, I would often end up with a less-than-average cuppa and sometimes even one that completely ruined my day.

The reason for weak coffee is usually that your reusable k-cup is not allowing your machine to completely utilize the coffee within. The watery coffee could also be a result of the out-of-whack water to coffee ratio or simply because you used a light roast.

I have found that more often than not, switching to a darker roast, using slightly more coffee than recommended, and making sure you get your machine checked out resolves this issue.

This may take a little bit of trial and error depending on the type of machine you have or the kind of reusable k-cup you are using, but one of the three solutions mentioned above should definitely resolve your water coffee issue.

Reusable K-Cup Sediment and Grounds in Coffee

The other big dilemma with reusable k-cups is the issue of coffee sediment.

Horrified by the sight of leftover coffee grounds in your cup or that bitter last sip? Well, sometimes, reusable k-cups can make your worst nightmares come to life.

✘ This usually happens when you end up with a reusable k-cup that’s not the best quality and has an inefficient filtering system.

✘ It may also happen if you purchase a reusable k-cup that is not compatible with your machine and ends up being irreversibly damaged in the process.

Now, just like any other product in the market these days, there are the quality originals and then, there are the cheap, inefficient duplicates that may lure you in with the attractive prices but are actually not worth a single cent.

My recommendation here is either the Keurig My Cup Universal Reusable K-Cup Pod Coffee Filter or the Maxware Reusable Refillable Coffee Filters for Keurig Family.

It is best to leave the experimentation to coffee beans and grounds.

How to Use Reusable K-Cup Pods the Right Way

Whether it’s the weak coffee or the horrid taste of coffee sludge, as I said earlier, there is no problem big enough when it comes to reusable k-cups.

Here are all the weapons and knowledge you need, and then some more great tips, to wake up from all the reusable k-cup nightmares once and for all.

How to fill a reusable k-cup?

Of course, the most common reusable k-cup out there is the Keurig My Cup, and Keurig recommends using the lower “cup” fill line when brewing beverages below 10 ounces and the top “mug” fill line when brewing beverages above 10 ounces.

If your reusable cup does not have the markings, I would usually recommend getting a measuring spoon.

As a rule, you need 2-2.5 tablespoons of coffee grounds to serve between 6-8 ounces of coffee drink, depending on your personal taste.

Reusable k-cup capacity

Most Reusable K-cups will hold about 2 tablespoons of ground coffee.

With that in mind, If you fill up your K cup completely, I would recommend staying under 6 ounces of water in order to avoid a watered down cup.

As usual, coffee to water ratio remains subjective, start with this golden ratio, and from there, it’s a trial and error until you hit that sweet spot of favorite cuppa that is balanced in flavor and acidity.

What kind of coffee for reusable k-cup?

From personal experience, I would also always recommend using a medium or dark roast because even the best quality reusable k-cups tend to water down coffee a little bit.

So, using a light roast coffee is essentially asking for a weak cuppa. Between medium and dark roasts, it is ultimately your choice – choose the darker for a bolder taste, and medium for a slightly more subtle one.

Regarding the right brand of coffee to use, if you don’t already have a preference that’s working, or maybe you’d like to try something new. Here are my top picks for the best ground coffee brands to fill your reusable K-Cup with.

Remember! The worst thing you can do when it comes to reusable k-cups is using finely ground coffee, and regardless of the quality of your reusable pod. If you use a fine grind, you should definitely also prepare for lots of sediment and the horrible taste of coffee sludge.

What size coffee grind for reusable k-cup?

I am sure you have already figured this out, but with reusable k-cups, the grind size has to be finer than coarse grind but coarser than fine grind. So, essentially your grind has to be somewhere in the middle of the two extremes.

If you grind your coffee yourself, go for the medium setting. For store-purchased pre-ground coffee, go for a medium grind or a medium-fine grind.

Pro Tips for using reusable K cup Pods:

Hopefully, those few solutions resolved most of your major issues with your reusable k-cup and k-cup coffee. However, if you still have some concerns, I’ve summarized all the useful pro tips below:

✔ Pro Tip 1: Go with the trusted brands. Always.

It is always best to choose the tried and trusted brands when it comes to purchasing a reusable k-cup. As mentioned above, Keurig and Maxware are probably the best ones I’ve seen on the market so far.

For more details, you might also want to check my guide on the Ultimate Best Eco-Friendly K Cups (Reusable & Disposable)

✔ Pro Tip 2: Always check for compatibility.

Regardless of the reusable k-cup you decide to buy, what’s more important is to check for compatibility between the pod and the machine model that you have. It just doesn’t work out if you end up buying the wrong kind of reusable k-cup.

✔ Pro Tip 3: Use quality beans.

This is true for not just k-cup coffee, but for every type of coffee ever. If you want a quality cup, you have to buy quality beans.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to go for the most expensive bag of beans, but just do your research and make sure you choose the best ones within your budget.

✔ Pro Tip 4: Choose a medium or dark roast.

Using a light roast in a reusable k-cup is basically setting yourself up for a watery cup of coffee. As mentioned above, always go for a medium or a dark roast. If you ask me, the darker the better.

✔ Pro Tip 5: Experiment with your beans. Go crazy!

The best part about reusable k-cups is that it doesn’t limit you to flavors and lets you try all kinds of uber-flavorful coffees. Don’t forget to make full use of that great benefit.

Brew coffee of all types and enjoy the array of wild and rich flavors available to you.

✔ Pro Tip 6: Use freshly ground coffee.

Now I know that k-cup coffee is the beverage of your choice because it is convenient and takes no time at all. But, if you’re looking to improve the taste of your daily cuppa, add a coffee grinder to the mix.

Freshly ground beans always taste so much better and are definitely worth the 2-4 extra minutes.

✔ Pro Tip 7: Do not tamp your coffee.

Remember, for the water to be able to extract all the flavor from the grounds, it needs proper passage, which can be disrupted by tamping or very tightly packing in the coffee grounds.

Therefore, you can lightly tap your grounds into place but never tamp.

✔ Pro Tip 8: Find the balance by trial and error.

As I mentioned, the perfect grind size for reusable cups is somewhere between fine and coarse. This process will take a little bit of experimenting whether you grind your beans yourself or buy pre-ground coffee, but don’t forget to enjoy the process.

And trust me, once you find that balance and hit that sweet spot, it will all be worth it.

✔ Pro Tip 9: Use filtered water.

Like the quality beans rule, the filtered water rule also applies to all types of coffee or beverages. The acidity in tap water and the number of minerals may affect the taste of your coffee for the worse, and therefore, filtered water is always the best choice.

You don’t want any unnecessary elements getting in the way of the perfect cup of coffee!

✔ Pro Tip 10: Keep the water hotter than hot.

Sometimes, the culprit behind weak coffee is not the reusable k-cup but the temperature of the water. If the water isn’t hot enough, it will not be able to extract the flavors from the coffee grounds properly.

To make sure the water temperature is optimal, run a cycle of water in your machine before you brew your coffee. This will warm your machine up and the water.

✔ Pro Tip 11: Don’t let the machine water down your cuppa.

Always pull your cup away from those last few drops of water trickling down the machine. You may not notice it, but they can significantly affect the taste of your coffee. With a k-cup, and especially with a reusable k-cup, every drop counts.

✔ Pro Tip 12: Filter out the coffee sediment.

If for some reason (Most probably because your grind is too fine), you end up with sediment in your cuppa, do not fret. Simply run your coffee through a filter and the sediment should be gone.

✔ Pro Tip 13: Take it with a pinch of salt.

Speaking of post-disaster fixes, if your coffee turns out too bitter, add a pinch of salt to it. No, I am not kidding and yes, I was also as surprised as you are. But I tried it, and it really works.

The salt in the coffee neutralizes the bitter taste and makes the beverage a lot more drinkable.

✔ Pro Tip 14: Always brew for two.

A great hack that I discovered while researching was to always brew coffee for two in your machine. It seems to always give you the bold, balanced taste that you are looking for and plus lets you share your morning cuppa with someone.

If you live alone, just get a bigger mug or take your machine to your workplace.

✔ Pro Tip 15: Take care of your k-cup.

Like with any other appliance, if you take care of your reusable k-cup it will last you for several years and save you tons of money.

Not sure exactly how to go about that? There is no need to worry because that’s exactly what I’ve written about below ?

How to Clean Reusable K-Cups?

Keeping your reusable k-cup clean is an integral part of enjoying great coffee. The durability of your k-cup also depends on the amount of care you give it. Like any other appliance, if you look after your reusable pod, it will look after you, for years to come.

→ A daily clean or a clean after every use is recommended.

The reusable k-cups are extremely easy to clean. All you need to do is throw out the used grounds and rinse the pod thoroughly with water. Let the k-cup dry completely before storing it in a cabinet or on a shelf.

For a deeper clean, which is recommended at least once a week, you can use warm soapy water to thoroughly clean all components. Again, let the k-cup air dry before you put it away.

If your k-cup looks stained or has some tough grounds stuck in it, you can soak it in vinegar or lime juice for a few minutes and repeat the deep clean process. It should be good as new by the end of it.

Are reusable k-cups dishwasher safe?

Yes, most reusable k-cups are dishwasher friendly. In fact, it is recommended that you use a dishwasher to clean your pod if you have access to one.

That said, while most brands make their pods safe to be used in a dishwasher, make sure to always double-check this in the manual or on the instructions in the box.

You never know when a wrong assumption could cost you great coffee.

So, Are Reusable K-Cups Worth It?

I’d say, they’re totally worth it! If not for the lower expenses and the better coffee, it’s for the planet.

Did you know that the number of k-cups consumed up till today could be used to wrap up the entire planet more than 10 times? (Source)

In America alone, over 75 million homes are making use of k-cups on a daily basis.

That is an insane amount of plastic waste being generated every day and an even more shocking amount of money being spent on k-cups – more than 4 billion US dollars to be very precise.

Let me put it this way, your choice to switch to a reusable k-cup can significantly cut down on the plastic waste that we generate every year. Seriously, we are all facing an urgent need to change our ways and do our part in reviving mother earth.

Moreover, the k-cups pods that don’t get recycled will take thousands of years to decompose all the while adding to the massive plastic crisis we are all facing right now.

And that’s not all, k-cups are also most likely responsible for that giant hole in your wallet. So, why continue using them? The answer is good old convenience – k-cups produce mediocre coffee, but they do so with literally just the touch of a button.

There is no need to wait around for the aromatic liquid to drip through filter paper or painstakingly time your seeping coffee. All you have to do is pop the K-cup in, and out comes liquid energy that will carry you through the rest of your day.

Now, Let’s look at it this way if you could have the convenience, save your money and help save the planet? That’s the stuff dreams are made of, except all your dreams have come true in the form of reusable k-cups.

The Takeaway

According to the hours of research I have done while drinking hundreds of k-cup coffees (made lovingly with my reusable k-cup), there are practically no cons to switching to a reusable k-cup.

They are cost-efficient, environment-friendly, and might even improve the taste of your daily coffee a little.

With this detailed guide, I have included everything you need to know to transform your coffee situation for the better.

Let a reusable k-cup be that first step. Change your coffee routine from a watered-down, expensive, and mediocre cup of coffee to a better, cheaper planet-saving cuppa.

Need I say more?

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