K-Cups: They Don’t Have to Be Expensive

K-Cups are coffee-filled cups that the Keurig company sells to use with their Keurig coffee makers. Although the majority of the cups are filled with different varieties of coffee, K-Cups are also sold with an assortment of teas, hot cocoa and even iced-tea flavors. Keurig makes over 200 different types of K-Cups offering the consumer a wide choice in both hot and cold beverages.

A K-cup comes with a plastic bottom cup and a heavy foil sealed lid. When you place the cup into your Keurig coffee maker, the bottom of the cup is pierced by a needle to keep it in place. When you lower the lid to the coffee maker, a second needle pierces the foil top to allow the hot water to flow into the cup.

The ease of using a K-cup in your coffee machine is unbeatable, but the price for purchasing these single-serving cups can be off-putting. If you love your Keurig coffee maker, but hate to spend the money on cups, there are ways to be more frugal. You can save money on K-cups and choose a more environmentally friendly way to use your coffee maker at the same time.

Refillable plastic cups

Keurig and other manufacturers make refillable cups that will fit into a Keurig coffee maker. These cups allow consumers to use regular ground coffee you buy in a can or vacuum packed bag. These cups have a lid with a hole so that the water can seep into the body of the cup. Many refillable cups come with a fine mesh screen so that the coffee grounds won’t escape into your cup during the brewing process.

Refillable cups are not very expensive to purchase and give the user a wide choice in coffee brands from gourmet blends to discount coffee purchased in bulk.

Snap caps

If you hate throwing away the plastic K-Cups after each use, you can reuse the cups. Remove the entire foil lid, and rinse your cups thoroughly. Allow them to dry including the paper filter insert that is attached to the cup. Once the cup and filter is dry, you can fill the cup with ground coffee and snap on the plastic lid. This allows you to reuse the cup many times. Do try to position the used cup so that the original hole made by the bottom needle slips over the needle a second time. If you get too many holes in the bottom of the cup, the coffee will become too weak. You can also cover the old hole with a bit of cellophane tape and that will also work. Don’t fill the K-Cup to the very top but leave some room for the grounds to expand when wet.

Aluminum foil lids

If you want to reuse your K-Cups almost indefinitely, cut a small 2 1/2 inch square of aluminum foil and use that as a lid. Clean your used K-Cup as described, tape over any bottom holes, and add your ground coffee to the cup. Cover the top with your aluminum foil square and pinch it closed around the circumference of the cup. You can then reuse the original K-Cup numerous times until the filter is too dirty, or the bottom of the cup has too many needle holes.

Tea and hot cocoa

A Keurig machine will deposit hot water into a cup if you have no K-cup in place. Why spend money on tea-filled K-Cups when you can just put a tea bag into a mug and press the button? Boiling water will flow into the cup and make your tea just as easily as if you used a K-Cup. You can also spoon cocoa into your cup, and then press the brewing button for hot cocoa.

K-Cups deliver delicious coffee, tea and cocoa in a very convenient pre-mixed throw away container. However, if you recycle the K-Cup, you can save money and the Earth at the same time.