March 07, 2011

Juli's Top Five Favorite K-cups, and How to Store Them

Keurig B30 Mini Personal Single-Serve Brewing System, BlackI got a single serve Keurig coffee maker for Christmas, and it's probably been the most used and appreciated kitchen gift I've ever received!  Jeffrey makes me a quick cup of coffee in the morning while I'm getting ready, which I transfer to a travel mug on my way out the door.  We don't have to worry about the pot being left on, and there is almost zero cleanup.  There are over 200 total varieties of K-cups on the market, which include coffee, cocoa, tea, and cider.  I've tried lots of varieties, and I thought I would highlight my current favorites.
Let me first tell you that my preference is for a light roast, and that I love flavored coffee.  So- if a midnight black cup-o-joe-no sugar-no creamer is your thing, you probably won't feel the same fondness I do for my picks.  I should also note that I add CoffeeMate's French Vanilla or Hazelnut liquid creamer to each cup I drink. 

I have linked my coffee picks to some of my favorite online vendors, but I want to let you know that I'm not receiving any compensation for doing that.  These are just the least expensive places I've found to order my coffee, and for me the online service is great, since most stores in my area don't stock a big selection of the K-cups.

Fiesta 10-1/4-Ounce Mug, Turquoise
Fiesta 10-1/4-Ounce Mug, Sunflower

First up is Wolfgang Puck's Hawaiian Hazelnut, which is easily the best Hazelnut coffee I've tasted so far.  Other varieties I've tried have included Gloria Jean's Hazelnut and Millstone's Hazelnut Cream.  The Hawaiian Hazelnut, charmingly subtitled Aloha Noisette for French speaking coffee drinkers, is smooth with a strong hazelnut flavor.  It's a great start to a hectic day.
The next really superior coffee flavor on my top five list is Green Mountain Coffee's Wild Mountain Blueberry.  The blueberry flavor is pronounced, but not overpowering, and not artificial-tasting in any way.  This coffee also has an undercurrent of cinnamon which is  decadently rich!

I also like Green Mountain Coffee's Southern Pecan.  This is a great everyday cup of coffee.

When we have Indian food, I like Cafe Escapes Chai Latte.  It's very, very sweet, but it comes closest to replicating the chai made at my favorite Indian restaurant in Des Moines, India Star.

My favorite cocoa is Cafe Escape's Milk Chocolate Hot Cocoa.  It doesn't compare to making cocoa at home using Droste's Cocoa, but for a quick cocoa fix when you don't want to stand at the stove warming milk, it's excellent.  I can find the Cafe Escapes brands sporadically at Des Moines area groceries for a lot less than it's sold for online.  But if you need to get it online, I recommend Bed Bath and Beyond, Amazon, or Office Depot.  Shop around to get the best price you can.

Bonus pick:  My biggest regret is that I often crave a hot cup in the evening, and coffee (or even cocoa) would keep me awake all night.  I can resolve that craving and still get my sleep when I brew up a mug of Green Mountain's Hot Apple Cider.

Second part of the story:  If you have a coffee maker that uses the Keurig-cups, how do you store the darn things?  If I make an online order, I want to get free shipping, and that usually means making a largish order.  I like variety, so in the beginning I usually had 7 open boxes of various flavors, and the storage space required was pretty significant. 

I looked around online and found a few people who'd posted how they store their coffee.  The method most appealing to me involved a Sterilite plastic drawer system, and I was excited to find the one that had been featured in the blog post at my local Walmart.  However, the guy who'd done this using Sterilite's mini 5-drawer system must have had the patience of Job!  I could get 9 K-cups in each drawer- barely.  I had to wiggle, jiggle, and pull to get the drawers to open and close.  There just wasn't enough clearance.  Also- most K-cups come 24 to a box.  So one flavor would fill up about half of each container. 

I searched for a larger container that wouldn't be too unwieldy on our pantry shelves.  I found the Sterilite 3-drawer organizer (Item number 1791).  Measurements for the product are 13 1/2 x 11 x 9 5/8 inches (34.3 by 27.9 x 24.4 cm).  Each drawer is big enough to hold  8 1/2 x 11 sheets of paper.  I can get 24 cups in each drawer, and the drawer height gives enough clearance so that each drawer opens easily.  I currently have 3 of these, so I can store over 200 K-cups at any given time.  I also have to admit I love seeing the labels I made for each drawer.  So orderly.  Unlike most of the rest of my life!

I hope that manufacturers keep coming out with new and interesting flavors of K-cups.  I was afraid I might be buying into a gimmick, but it seems like more and more stores are carrying the coffee, so I think at least I'm in on the beginning of the trend.

Please leave me a comment with your favorite flavors, or if you have a storage method you'd like to share.  No Big Whoop.  Just Coffee Talk!  (channelling Linda Richman, aka Mike Myers, vintage Saturday Night Live).

Reading comments makes me all verklempt!  But in a good way! 


  1. Ah, K-Cups. A subject I'm passionate about. So, I'm going to start off saying if you love your single serve machine, you'd really love the Platinum. It's worth every single penny.

    I'm not one for flavored coffee but I've tried several of the K-Cups. The coconut from Green Mountain is uber delish. I like Pumpkin Spice and Gingerbread too. I'll have to try the Blueberry. That sounds yummy.

    Now, my favorite unflavored is Tree Hugger. It's phenomenal. I've never really "got" coffee, it all tasted the same to me, that is until I got the Tree Hugger. Oi vey. It's good with creamer, too!

    As for storage, I keep them in the boxes in a cupboard until I have room in the wire basket that sits on my baker's rack with my Keurig. I also have one of the spinner holder things (nice technical term, eh?) that sits on my counter top. They are a pain to store, but I'll gladly take that pain for the great coffee!

  2. Oooooh, the coconut flavor sounds great...haven't tried pumpkin spice or gingerbread either. If they're as good as blueberry I will be very happy!

    I tried some coconut creamer this morning. It was just average. Maybe I enthusiastically put a little more than I should have done into the travel mug...but still. :)

    I have a spinner too, sitting on the countertop next to the coffeemaker. I refill it every week with a good variety of the K-cups I have on hand.

    I probably would like a bigger coffee maker like the Keurig Platinum, but one of the things I noticed people complaining about seemed to be related to the minerals from the water in the larger tank clogging up the works, and since mine has to be refilled every time with just enough water for a single cup, I figured that would be a safer choice. I do use filtered water, though, and I haven't had any probablems so far. If/when mine does fail, I was thinking maybe the Cuisinart K-cup brewer would be my next choice.

    Thanks for commenting!