The Top 20 Keurig Coffee K-Cups Compared: Dark, Medium or Light?

by | Oct 8, 2019

Anyone who’s ever savored a beverage made with a Keurig coffee maker knows that the range of drinks available is pretty staggering. There are hundreds of drinks to choose from, produced by dozens of the world’s market leaders in coffee, tea, cocoa, and other beverages.

So no matter what your taste in coffee, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find one that will suit you. The single-serve format means you can try out different flavors and strengths whenever you like, chopping and changing as it suits you.

How do you decide where to start, though, with such a wide range? Well, in the interests of science (ahem!) we’ve forced ourselves to try some of the best flavors available. Here, for you, is our rundown, from dark to light, from Death Wish to Cream Mountain Caramel Vanilla and beyond.

At A Glance: Our Top 5 Keurig Coffee Pods Of 2023

Whatever you choose, you know that using a Keurig means your coffee is always fresh-tasting. For those of you who don’t have the time right now to read our complete guide, check out our top picks just below.



Which Keurig K-Cups Are The Best?

The Coffee Lovers’ Collection was our favorite of all the different varieties we sampled, and we’d give it a hearty five stars. It scored well on both range of blends and strengths of coffee and was excellent value for money. The pack contains a delectable selection. You get 3 K-Cup pods from 20 very popular choices, including Tully’s Coffee Italian Roast, Newman’s Own Organic Special Blend, Krispy Kreme, of course, Green Mountain.

The Green Mountain choices in the pack are Breakfast Blend (light roast), Columbia Select Fair and Nantucket Blend (both medium roast) and Dark Magic (yep, you guessed it – dark roast). There are also a couple of Laughing Man varieties, including the medium roast Dukale’s Blend and the darker Colombia Huila.

If you’re a Donut Shop fan then the two blends included are Regular and Dark, and the Newman’s Own Organics choices are the medium strength Special Blend and the stronger French Roast. If you’d like to give Caribou a try, you can select the “big-bodied” Caribou Blend or the lighter Daybreak. Tully’s Italian coffee will please those who like their coffee at the stronger end of the scale, while the Hawaiian blend is in the middle.

Heading now towards the unapologetically decadence-in-a-coffee-cup side of th\\e house, if you like your coffee with extra undertones of flavor, then you have a choice of Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll, Kahlua Original or Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee or Hazelnut. And if you’d just like a great-tasting cup of plain and simple coffee, then Krispy Kreme smooth light roast coffee is included in the pack as is Revv’s much darker No Surrender.

This would make a great additional purchase if you’ve just bought your first Keurig as well as a great sample pack as a gift (for yourself or a friend or family member). There is a good range of coffee strengths from light to dark roasts, some with fruitier overtones and some with a more nutty flavor. And speaking of coffee strengths, read on for our analysis of the best of the rest, from strongest to mildest.


Death Wish is one of the strongest coffees out there, and we’re ecstatic that it’s now available as a Keurig K-Cup. If you like your coffee roast to be the darkest of the dark, give this one a go. These are compatible with Keurig 1.0 and most Keurig 2.0 machines.

There’s a hint of cherry and a touch of chocolate in this blend, which is made from a combination of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. The blend has low acidity, meaning you don’t get that bitter after-taste sometimes associated with very dark roasts.


For those who like a darker roast that isn’t quite as terrifyingly strong as Death Wish, Peet’s Coffee Dark K-Cup pod is an excellent choice. It’s a very rich, full-bodied blend, and the story goes that the idea was brought to Mr. Peet by a retired army officer in 1969. Not only did Peet take the idea on board, but he also promoted the officer to Major.

Peet’s was founded in Berkeley, California, and takes great pride in the skill of its roasters, who tend to stay with the company for many years. We’re pretty sure once you’ve given this roast a try, you’ll stay with Peet’s for a while too.


You might also see Café Bustelo Dark described as Café Bustelo Espresso, which gives you an idea of how strong and luxurious-tasting this Keurig K-Cup coffee pods are (or Keruig, as some prefer to say). It’s a robust dark blend with an enticing aroma. Even if you add copious amounts of cream and sugar, the taste filters through.

It also makes a great base for cortados, Americanos, and other espresso-based drinks. This Cuban coffee will definitely get you going! We’d certainly recommend this one for those of you who like your coffee smokin’ strong.


Staying with the dark roasts, this robust French Roast offering from the Solimo stable has a deep, rich flavor. Made from 100% Arabica beans, there’s also a slightly smoked undertone to this blend.

This pleasant, distinctive tasting blend is similar to some stronger coffee shop offerings. If you like strong coffee but aren’t quite in the mood for an espresso or a cortado, then this is a great option.


This rich, intense brew, Green Mountain Sumatra Dark, from Keurig Green Mountain uses 100% Arabica beans from Indonesia. There are no artificial flavorings or preservatives. As with most of the Keurig K Cups, it will take you less than a minute to make a brew.

This blend isn’t one for the faint-hearted: it’s a strong coffee with a bold flavor. It’s Certified Orthodox Union Kosher and is also USDA Certified Organic and Fair Trade Certified.


You can’t go far wrong with a nice medium roast, and this option from high street favorite the Donut Shop is a robust yet smooth beverage. As it’s “Extra Bold”, it contains a little more coffee than the usual K-Cup pod. This pack of 72 K-Cup pods means you will always have your favorite flavor to hand, guaranteeing you a fresh cup of coffee every time.

This flavor may take a little longer than usual for your Keurig to brew your favorite beverage, but you still get a great-tasting cup of coffee in around a minute. We also love the fact that they come boxed in packs of 12, so if your workplace has a Keurig coffee machine, it’s super-easy to take them with you.


This is Caribou’s signature rich medium roast blend, with a mild, smooth taste. The Caribou blend is 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified and Kosher. The Arabica beans in this brew come from Indonesia and Central and South America. The taste combines a slightly bitter, slightly sweet chocolate flavor with a fruitier overtone.

This coffee is low in acidity and it would be a great choice to serve to guests or as an accompaniment to breakfast. And since it’s associated very strongly with the state of Minnesota, we thought we’d throw in a “fun fact” about the state – you might know it as the North Star State but did you know it is also sometimes called the Gopher State, the Bread and Butter State, and The Land of 10,000 Lakes?


There’s a clue in the name as to the perfect time of day to enjoy this medium roast from Eight O’Clock. It’s surprisingly smooth, made from 100% Arabica beans and makes a perfect breakfast (Though we have to admit we’re pretty keen on it at lunchtime and tea-time too.)

The manufacturer has been producing great coffee since 1859. This mellow variety is also Orthodox Union Kosher. It’s a good all-round coffee if you get our drift.


This Amazon brand Fresh Columbia Medium coffee combines a full-bodied blend with a mild, balanced, well-rounded finish. Only Arabica coffee beans are used, so you know you’re pretty much guaranteed a pleasant-tasting, smooth drink.

This brand is similar in taste to several of the high street coffee shop brands available. For a subtle start to your day, or a pleasant mid-morning lift, pop an Amazon Fresh Colombia Medium K Cups in your Keurig. Even without milk and sugar, it’s a very palatable option.


Okay, what’s better than doughnuts? Coffee and doughnuts, that’s what – and this Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Classic blend is a perfect companion for those sweet treats we all love. This is an ultra-smooth medium roast, sweet and clean and with a fresh, fruity taste.

So if what you’re looking for is a great breakfast coffee, or a pick-me-up mid-morning or mid-afternoon, this blend will suit you down to the grounds, as it were. Fire up the Keurig, make sure the water is fresh, pop in the Krispy Kreme K-Cup pod, and simply brew away, for that coffee-shop experience in the comfort of your own kitchen.


Well, we’ve already checked out a rival doughnut chain’s coffee, so it’s only fair that we give Dunkin’ Donuts Medium a try too. It’s a mild, smooth coffee with a relatively full-bodied taste, made from medium roast Arabica beans.

This blend really does taste like the coffee shop version, and as with pretty much all the Keurig K-Cup pods, you can get yourself (or your family, or your colleagues, or your clients) a fresh cup of coffee in under a minute. If it’s “drinkability” you’re after, then you can’t go far wrong with this pleasant and authentic Dunkin’ Donuts blend.


Sticking with the coffee shop theme, we also enjoyed the Keurig K-Cup for Tim Hortons. Those of you who know your beans will probably already be aware that this chain started in Hamilton, Ontario. If you know any Canadians, you know they really love their coffee, so you probably have a fair idea of how this coffee will taste.

This light-tasting and refreshing blend is made from 100% Arabica beans (yes, they’re the milder ones, generally). It’s a great coffee to start the day or to finish a meal, or just to enjoy, on its own or with a cheeky slice of cake.


If there’s a flavor of the decade, salted caramel must be one of the contenders, so it’s not really surprising that there are coffees available that incorporate this delicious flavor. The Panera Bread Coffee Salted Caramel is a light roast, with the caramel delivering the sweet aspect and the salt (obviously) delivering the salty, or slightly umami, flavor.

Brewed from Arabica beans, this coffee is 100% “clean”: there are no artificial sweeteners, flavorings, colors or preservatives used in this blend. It’s a subtle-tasting coffee with a buttery undertone.


There’s just something so enticing about the scent of cinnamon, and when you combine it with coffee, it’s pretty much irresistible. This light-roast Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll coffee also has a hint of brown sugar and frosting, and if you’re wondering about the origin of that sweet, light spice, it’s Makara Cinnamon. Not sure where exactly that is on the coffee map of the world? Head for Indonesia, and locate Sumatra.

This coffee is made only with Arabica coffee beans, and you probably already know they’re used in the mildest tasting blends. While there’s a hint of sugar in this coffee, you’ll be delighted to hear it’s sugar-free, so go on, indulge yourself!


Caramel and vanilla? Seriously? Oh my, this one has to be a contender for coffee heaven if you like your coffees mild, smooth, and with those additional flavors to add a touch of real luxury. The clue’s in the name too – Keurig Green Mountain produces coffee that is literally made for your Keurig.

The Green Mountain Caramel Vanilla Flavored option combines the lovely, smooth, buttery taste of caramel, an edge of slightly scorched brown sugar (no, we don’t mean burned, just slightly caramelized), and the luscious lightness of vanilla. And best of all, it’s really low in calories: around 2 per cup, so if you’re watching your weight, it’s an indulgent treat that won’t break the calorie bank.


This limited-edition offering is another gorgeous drink from Keurig Green Mountain, and as you’d expect from the name, it’s scented and flavored with cinnamon. We’re sure we’re not the only ones thinking of autumn, Hallowe’en and Christmas as soon as we scent this fragrant Cinnamon Light fall offering from Green Mountain.

This is a light roast, gentle tasting and Certified Orthodox Union Kosher. You wouldn’t think something that smelled and tasted this good could be so low in calories, but like many of the other flavored coffees in the range, it only has around 2 calories per cup.


This wonderfully energizing coffee is a blend of African and Latin American Arabica beans, with a lovely, nutty scent. The Solimo Breakfast Light K-Cup is a medium-bodied drink, with medium to low acidity.

This is a mild and gentle blend, a great way to bring yourself round in the morning. It’s similar to some of the coffee shop blends, and you can drink a couple of cups very easily, almost without realizing. (Of course, we’d never do that. Ahem.)


Okay, so we all know Keurig is pretty much another name for coffee of the single-serve variety, but what if you don’t fancy a coffee? What if you need to wind down? Well, fear not – Solimo Chocolate Flavored K-Cup pods, also sometimes called Solimo Hot Cocoa Pods, Milk Chocolate Flavored are just the thing. We thought we’d round off our review with a sneaky hot chocolate.

If you’re keen to compare the Chocolate Flavored pods with coffee from a calorie perspective, then there are 60 calories per cup and around 6 grams of sugar. They’re compatible with Keurig 1.0 and 2.0 machines. They work well with the 8 ounce option on the Keurig, or for a stronger tasting cup, use the 6-ounce setting. This product contains milk, cocoa and corn syrup solids.


We’re going to round off the coffee part of our review with another variety pack, this time from high-street favorite Starbucks. You get four different blends in this Starbucks Black Coffee Variety pack.

The strongest blend is the rich, robust and rounded French Roast, with a touch of smoke. Those who like a milder coffee will enjoy the Pike Place Roast and the Veranda Blend, while the Breakfast Blend is also mell

ow and energizing.


Packing It In: The Best K-Cup Coffee

All of the Keurig pods are great value for money, and if you find a blend that is just right for you it’s one of the most economical ways to enjoy your favorite beverage whenever you feel like it. The typically long shelf-life means you can often buy in bulk, and while many of the varieties come in packs of up to 72, the convenient internal packaging means you can also happily take a pack of pods to work or on vacation.

The variety packs are a great way to discover new blends, to ensure your store cupboard is well stocked, or to introduce friends and family to the joy of Keurig. All of the packs would be especially convenient if you’re a family that loves coffee, or if you’re a business owner offering your clients that little touch of luxury in the reception area, say.


From Darkness Into Light

We sampled a range of blends, from super-strong to extremely light, and everything in between, and we’d recommend them all. Many of the drinks we tried were from well-known high-street coffee chains and were pretty authentic-tasting. It’s hard to beat a Keurig coffee maker for speed and convenience, and new flavors and producers are being added to the range all the time.

We also love the limited edition drinks and those with the added spices and flavorings for different times of year. While the high-street names are delicious, don’t discount some of the own-brands like Solimo and Amazon: they offer a very palatable alternative.


Which Keurig K-Cup Are Worth The Hype?

It’s a very personal matter, choosing the best K-Cup. Some people prefer coffee strong enough to make their hair stand on end, while others prefer the gently spiced and fragranced modern blends. Others like a nice, medium, palatable coffee, while there are some who (whisper it) may even prefer chocolate. And of course it often depends on the time of day: a strong roast might be great after lunch or dinner, but not so appropriate if you like a gentle start to the day.

To some extent, it might also depend on which Keurig (or Kuerig, Keruig or Kerig, Kurig, Kureg, as some prefer to say) coffee maker you have, although all of the Kcups we used should work in either a 1.0 or a 2.0 coffee machine. Depending on the choice of brew sizes on your machine, and whether you can select the strength of your drink, results may also vary slightly.


Do K Cups Expire?

The K-Cups are packaged with Nitrogen and sealed for freshness. If you store them in a dry and cool place away from the sunlight, the pods might remain fresh for 8-12 months. Once you open and use the K-Cups, we highly recommend not reusing them as the taste is less flavorful and could actually be a bit acidic.


Conclusion: What Are the Best Keurig Coffee Pods?

Are we allowed to say, all of them? Seriously, all of these K-Cup packs are just great. If, however, we absolutely have to choose one, then our vote is for the aptly named Coffee Lovers’ Collection.

Keurig K-Cups are a great way to treat yourself, say thank you, or give as a present at Christmas, for Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, graduation, anniversaries, or, well, any event. Alternatively, buy them as a gift to let someone know you’re thinking of them, any time of year.

  Last update on 2023-06-02 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Related Links:









Partner Links