No matter how many different techniques and brewing methods there are, coffee lovers are united by one thing- the search for the perfect cup of coffee.
And in this post, I want to look at a question asked by owners of one of the biggest brands of coffee making machines in the world- Keurig.
Which is the best reusable K cup for stronger coffee?
Many reusable K cup fans are struggling to make a decent cup of coffee with their reusable cups and are getting frustrated.
I mean, it can’t be that hard can it?
Is there a reusable K cup on the market that will guarantee a full bodied and tasty cup of coffee that is worth getting out of bed for?
And the answer is? “Yes (almost)” and here it is.
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Further down, I compare this cup with two other reusable K cups.
However, just relying on a well designed and made cup to guarantee you a strong cup of coffee, would be a bit naive because there are other factors to consider.
After all, as well as wanting a stronger cup of coffee you are also interested in making a perfect cup of coffee?!
How To Make Strong Coffee With a Reusable K Cup?
There are four basic principles that you should follow in order to make a stronger cup of coffee with your K cup.
And they are to use;
- finer coffee grounds
- less water
- darker roasts
- grind your own beans
I have also included a bonus tip at the end, which involves a bit of a DIY hack.
Use Finer Grounds
The first principle is to make your coffee grinds finer.
If everything else is equal the smaller the coffee grind, the faster that it releasing its flavours, oils and compounds into the hot water.
But it isn’t as simple as grinding your beans as finely as possible.
There is a trade off to be made.
If your grind is too fine, it will either just block the filters in your cup or the coffee in your cup will taste very bitter indeed.
This bitter taste is caused by over extraction- when the coffee grind has released not only all of its beautiful flavours but also some of their nasty tasting by products.
And so the important thing to do is to gradually grind your coffee more finely, cup by cup.
This gives you the best chance of hitting your cup’s “sweet spot”- when the grounds are small enough and have had enough time to only release their best flavours and nothing more.
Use Less Water
The next principle of good coffee making that we can use in our search for stronger coffee is to make sure that your Keurig machine is set to brew it’s smallest cup- preferably 4 oz or 6 oz.
Use Darker Roasts
Our third principle of strong coffee making is to select darker roasts.
Dark roasted coffee beans are roasted for longer than light roasted coffee beans.
Darker roasted coffee beans not only carry the natural flavours from the coffee bean but they also carry flavours from the roasting process.
These beans have a stronger flavour.
A traditional dark roast are French Roast beans.
My favourite variety of them is this one.
But over time people’s tastes have changed and many of us like foods with much stronger flavours than was the case a few decades ago.
If this is you, and you like the idea of very, very strong coffee you might want to try Death Wish Coffee.
Grind Your Own Beans
Our fourth and last good principle for making stronger coffee is to buy whole beans and grind your own.
Coffee is a perishable item that begins to go stale as soon as the beans have been roasted.
As part of this process, coffee loses it flavour.
Ground coffee stales much more quickly than whole beans.
You will have a much better chance of making a better tasting, stronger coffee.
Bonus Tip- DIY Hack
My bonus tip is actually a simple and popular DIY “hack” that makes a stronger cup of coffee by adding a second filter into a reusable K cup.
This is achieved by modifying a clean used K Cup so that it sits inside a reusable cup.
Having looked at few general tips to help us brew a better cup of coffee, let’s move and discuss factors that relate directly to your Keurig machine.
Best Keurig Tips
The four tips that I shared with you above should help the overwhelming majority of you make a stronger cup of coffee with your K cup.
However, there might be some of you who have followed that advice and are finding that their Keurig machine with the reusable cups is still not making coffee that is strong enough.
And so, in this section you will find three more tips that should help you make a better and stronger cup of coffee.
#1. Clean/ Descale Machine
Just like any other machine that we use in our kitchens, Keurig coffee makers need a bit of TLC every now and then in order to “stay in the best shape”
The video above takes you step- by- step through how to thoroughly clean every part of your Keurig coffee machine.
The main highlights from this video are;
- What cleaning liquids and equipment that you will need.
- How to disassemble your Keurig safely.
- What parts are dishwasher safe.
- What parts to wipe with white vinegar
- How to reassemble it
- Running a descaling brew using white vinegar
- Running a vinegar rinsing brew with water
You will want to wipe and clean the different parts of your machine much more often than you will need to run a descaling cycle.
But both will have a role to play in making you better cups of coffee.
Now, let’s think about another machine focused tip…
#2. Preheat machine
Many coffee loving Keurig owners are disappointed that their machines don’t make coffees that are piping hot.
They believe this makes for a poorer tasting cup of coffee.
In fact, it is only on a few Keurig models that you can adjust the temperature of the water manually.
And so, in order to try and boost the brewing temperature for their coffee, some users preheat their machines by running a “dummy” brew before putting their reusable k cup in.
Now that we have looked at the best things that you can do with your Keurig machine to make yourself a stronger coffee, it is time to move on.
In the next section, I will explore what features of a reusable K Cup we need to make a better, stronger coffee.
Best Reusable K Cup
I have identified 7 key features that a reusable cup should have to help us make a stronger coffee
The first feature is the size of the mesh, which needs to be micro mesh. These meshes release as many good compounds and flavours as possible into the coffee while blocking bigger particles.
The second feature is a metal mesh. There are lots of debates about the differences between paper, nylon, stainless steel and gold filters and which ones are better.
Stainless steel and gold meshes are the most durable- with gold being the longest lasting of all.
BPA Free Plastic
This next feature doesn’t relate directly to the strength of the coffee that is brewed.
BPA (bisphenol A) is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics since the 1960s.
It is thought by many people to be potentially harmful.
Plastic objects that are BPA free are much safer.
Built within the lid of a reusable K cup is a diffuser.
This is the hole that the hot water flows into the K cup.
Any reusable K cup needs some kind of diffuser in order to make sure that as the water enters the cup it is being spread over all of the coffee grounds, dissolving them all.
Making sure that the water dissolves all of the grounds is a very important factor in brewing the best tasting or strongest cup of coffee.
If the reusable cup is dishwasher safe it makes it easier to clean and more likely that it will be cleaned more often.
Any reusable K cups that we buy need to be as simple as the original K cups to install and operate.
If any modifications or additional steps that we need to take in order to make them work will make them unattractive to use.
Once again, having multiple reusable K cups does not directly relate to the quality or strength of the coffee that is brewed.
But it does make them much easier to use because you are not having to clean the cup out after every cup of coffee.
Instead you can drink 4 cups and then clean all of the cups out at once!
Why Use a Reusable K Cup?
In this section I want to look at the reasons why reusable K cups are so popular.
And I have come up with four
The first reason to use a reusable K cup is that compared to single use K cups, you will save lots of money.
The next reason to use them is that you will save lots of “plastic waste”, which is better for the environment.
Single use K cups, if they can be recycled, can’t be recycled easily.
Your Favourite Coffee
There are over 200 different varieties of coffee in K cups, which provides you with a huge choice.
But, you still can’t drink any coffee that you want.
But with a reusable K cup you can.
Earlier in the article we talked about the connection between strong coffee and fresh coffee.
You have no idea how fresh the coffee is in your favourite single use K Cup.
But you do if you grind your own beans or buy freshly ground coffee.