Food and Drink

The 19 Most Popular K-Cups, Ranked By a Coffee Expert

This barista would even pay money for one of these at a coffee shop.

Ted McGrath/Thrillist
Ted McGrath/Thrillist
Ted McGrath/Thrillist

K-Cups are practically inescapable these days. They’ve invaded every lazy human’s kitchen counter and half of the aisle space at all suburban Bed Bath & Beyond locations. Hell, even staunch environmentalists desperate for caffeine have compromised their morals and used a K-Cup at some point.

And nearly every brand is making a single-serving coffee pod these days. Starbucks? Check. Dunkin’ Donuts? You betcha. Even Cinnabon, the maker of mall food court cinnamon rolls, makes K-Cups. But with hundreds of coffee K-Cups out there — and at least a few dozen in your office pantry — which one’s really worth the (minimal) time?

We asked Josh Taves, a 12-year coffee industry vet (who has spent time working as a barista as well as training them) and the director of business development for Denver’s Novo Coffee — one of the finest coffee shops in the country — for help. He did a blind tasting of 19 of the most popular K-Cups like a true (and highly caffeinated) hero. In the end, few proved to be worth drinking, though a couple did impress our judge. Here are the results:

Keurig
Keurig
Keurig

19. Tully’s French Roast Extra Bold

“It tastes like 90% dark chocolate or baker’s chocolate. Most dark chocolate is only 65 -70%, so this is much more bitter. The coffee also tastes old, and a little fishy.”

Keurig
Keurig
Keurig

18. Diedrich French Roast Blend

“Unfortunately, this was not an enjoyable experience. It tastes chemically, tarry, and pungent.”

Keurig
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Keurig

17. Folgers Classic Roast Coffee

“It tastes like wet cardboard, which is a sign of old, raw product. Not old, roasted product — it’s pre-roast. Old, green coffee is harvested and sat too long before it was roasted.”

Keurig
Keurig
Keurig

16. Barista Prima Coffeehouse Italian Roast

“It tastes a little like curry or móle. It’s very gamey and overwhelmingly roasted in flavor.”

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Keurig

15. Laughing Man Colombia Huila

“This one has some peanut and cashew flavors to it. While it has a medium body [and doesn’t taste too heavy], it does taste old.”

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Keurig
Keurig

14. Starbucks Caramel

“It tastes like sugar-free flavoring.”

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Keurig

13. Green Mountain Dark Magic

“It’s a little thin — it’s a little dusty tasting. There’s dark chocolate and shoe leather. And a little bit of raisin sweetness, but also some leguminous vegetable notes mixed with some roastiness. It’s all right. It’s drinkable, but not enjoyable. For a K-Cup, it’s fine.”

Keurig
Keurig
Keurig

12. Gloria Jean’s Butter Toffee

“This one tastes like caramel without milk, I don’t mind it. The coffee also has some vegetal flavors like that of sugar snap peas.”

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Keurig

11. Caribou Coffee Caribou Blend

“This tastes like hotel coffee. It’s less offensive than some other ones I tried, but only because it’s so weak. It’s like brown water.”

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Keurig

10. Newman’s Own Organics Special Blend Extra Bold

“It tastes like a low-quality coffee, as there’s not a lot going on flavor-wise. Even though there is a little bit of cinnamon sweetness in the finish, overall it’s weak and old when you drink it.”

Green Mountain Coffee Hazelnut
Green Mountain Coffee Hazelnut
Green Mountain Coffee Hazelnut

9. Green Mountain Coffee Hazelnut

“This doesn’t taste like coffee at all. Instead it tastes like a hazelnut milkshake. If you put hazelnut syrup in water and heated it up, this is what you’d get. It’s not bad, but it’s also not coffee.”

Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Cole Saladino/Thrillist

8. Cinnabon Classic Cinnamon Roll

“It tastes like a cinnamon roll! There’s still a little bit of coffee flavor, however, unlike the [aforementioned] hazelnut coffee. But still, it’s mostly flavoring.”

Keurig
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Keurig

7. Starbucks Sumatra Coffee

“This tastes like an old dark roast. The darker the roast the more it’ll taste old faster. It’s fine [overall], it’s probably on par with most things you get at the grocery store and make in your home coffeepot.”

Keurig
Keurig
Keurig

6. The Original Donut Shop Coffee

“It has a nice body to it and it’s nutty and chocolatey.”

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Keurig

5. Folgers Black Silk

“This is alright — it tastes like a dark roast. It’s a little chocolatey and a little nutty. It’s also weak. There’s a little bit of sweetness to it. If I had to guess, it’s a poorly roasted Colombian coffee. It’s not bad, especially as it cools off. It gets a little sweeter. There’s a little more coffee flavor and a little less roast flavor.”

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Keurig
Keurig

4. Starbucks Pike Place Roast

“There were very few negatives to this coffee. It started with good flavors and it didn’t taste old.”

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3. Eight O’Clock The Original

“I’m getting some sweetness and caramel. Compared to the other K-Cup coffees I’ve tried, this has a heavier body, which is a good thing.”

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Keurig
Keurig

2. Green Mountain Coffee Breakfast Blend

“It’s very clean in flavor. It lacks bitterness and astringency in the finish, which is nice. I wouldn’t be upset drinking a cup of this, but I would be upset paying for it.”

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Keurig
Keurig

1. Dunkin’ Donuts Original Blend

“It’s not bad! It has some moderate sweetness and it has some acidity that pops. I can see an importer sending us this coffee [to try to get us to sell it], and us saying, ‘It’s OK, but no.'”Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Lee Breslouer is a senior writer for Thrillist, and needs some coffee. Follow him to caffeine @LeeBreslouer.

Food and Drink

Red Rooster Is Serving Free Chicken and Piping Hot Cash This Christmas in July

Get your early dose of festive cheer.

Red Rooster Christmas in July
Instagram / @redrooster_au

The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.

From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.

Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.

Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.

Terms and conditions apply. Visit Red Rooster’s Christmas in July to see all the deals.

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