Monthly Archives: April 2014

You’re doing it wrong: K-Cups

K-Cup photo credit: Michael Dorausch, Creative Commons license

K-Cup photo credit: Michael Dorausch, Creative Commons license

I’ve been known to drink K-Cup coffee every now and then. I think it is way better than the normal worker joe that most companies provide as their free coffee.

K-Cups are consistent. You get the same cup of coffee every time. Not bad. Many of my family members have these machines and I find them to be very convenient whenever I visit.

That said, the convenience comes at a cost – in both dollars and in the amount of waste produced.

Do the math

As of April 5, 2014, a 12-pack of Newman’s Special Blend K-cups cost $8.49 at Stop and Shop. That’s $8.49 for 4.87 oz of coffee.

By weight

K-Cup math:

\(\frac{$8.49}{4.87 oz} \times \frac{16 oz}{pound} = $27.89\) per pound K-Cup coffee

And that’s not even including the weight of the plastic!

Compare that to a 12 oz bag of Starbucks espresso roast @ $7.99:

\(\frac{$7.99}{12 oz} \times \frac {16 oz}{pound} = $10.65\) per pound of Starbucks.

The K-Cups can be almost 3 times as expensive as Starbucks coffee by weight.

…that would probably be ok if the K-Cup coffee was 3 times as good as the Starbucks (or insert name of other favorite here) coffee.

By the Cup


\($8.49 \div 12 \space cups = $0.708 = $0.71\) per cup of K-Cup coffee

If one uses the same 11.5g of Starbucks we get:

\(\frac{$10.65}{16 oz} \times \frac{oz}{28.3495g} \times \frac{11.5 g}{cup} = $0.27\) per cup of whole bean coffee

The Takeaway

K-Cup coffee can be almost 3 times as expensive as whole bean or pre-ground coffee.

Why spend up to 3 times more?

Would you spend 3 times more on gasoline if you could???

Using whole bean or pre-ground coffee can get you the following benefits over K-Cups:

  • (arguably) better coffee
  • you can adjust the coffee concentration
  • save $$$
  • create less waste (think of the little mountain of plastic cups wasted every year!)

Consider using whole bean or ground coffee instead of K-Cups.

I’ll share my coffee brewing techniques in future posts.