Coffee drinking is, I suppose, the curse of the educated class. But I suppose one should not forget coffee lovers who just like the taste, and I guess they could describe all kinds of people. I love the flavour, and the caffeine “buzz”, when it happens, is a distant second in what I consider a to be a good coffee experience. That being said, I am somewhat fussy in my choices of coffee.
There has been a recent trend in single-serve coffee makers. I brew for myself, so that is about the kind of coffee maker I would likely buy. For the longest while, I used a “gold” (possibly brass) basket, which was fine, it lacked smoothness. I also experienced paper single-serve filters, such as those made by Melitta and others. However, I didn’t like the environmental idea of disposable filters (the reason for going to gold filters).
K-Cups (and all cups like them) are a bad idea on two fronts. K-Cups themselves are not recyclable, and enough of them have been sold by Keurig (the inventors of the system) alone by the start of this year to reach 401,000 kilometers when placed end-to-end. That’s far enough to reach the moon and still make it a quarter of the way back. This is a serious waste disposal problem for all of us. This is changing slowly, but newer concoctions of K-cups depend on the recycler (meaning you) disassembling the cups before disposal. It is unlikely that enough people will want to do that. But at any rate, the aggregate amount of money spent pound for pound is more than double that of high quality ground coffee sold in pound bags: nearly $50.00 per pound. This is true regardless of the make of the coffee pod.
The attraction of coffee pods for coffee afficionados, I would suppose, is that the amount of cleaning is greatly reduced compared with an espresso machine. In addition, Keurig machines and their ilk are much less expensive than espresso machines. They produce a better coffee than ordinary perk, since each airtight packet is packaged using what is called a “modified atomosphere” to keep the grounds fresh. A modified atmosphere is usually nitrogen infused into the packet to reduce oxidative degradation in a harmless way (our atmosphere is 70% nitrogen, so you breathe in huge gulps of it all the time).
I compare them with espresso machines, since they too make one cup of coffee at a time, but usually cost hundreds of dollars and take up more counter space than single brew coffee makers like Keurig.
I have seen some manufacturers now offering a K-cup compatable adaptor for ordinary ground coffee, usually offered as an optional add-on. Hamilton Beach has it as a basic feature of their “Flex-Brew” line. The latter also offers the option of doing away with K-cups altogether.
The single serve coffeemakers such as Hamilton Beach Flex Brew, feature a way to avoid K-cups and brew your own grind, and come with a gold-ish metal filter much smaller than the illustration above, but it provides a sane way to reliably measure how much ground coffee to add compared with a Melitta filter. I have tried it, and am happy with the coffee flavour, as well as the idea that I can use any ground coffee I like, and am not limited to whatever it is K-cups have on offer, nor need I pay their exorbitant cost.