Kuerig K-cups: How to Recycle Them Using Your Own Favorite Coffees
Save money, protect the enviroment, and get better coffee
My wife, Elly, and I love the convenience of our Kuerig coffee machine, and we love the fact that it's lasted longer than any other coffee machine that we've owned.
The problem is that buying the K-cups that the machine is designed to use is expensive, as the K-cups generally run about $.50 apiece.
The alternative to buying K-cups used to be to buy the Kuerig adapter designed to let you use your own coffees. (The problem with this is that the adapters do not allow you to use enough coffee to get good flavor.)
Try recycling the K-cups that you buy! It takes about 30 sec. to clean the cups to get them ready for reuse, and about 30 sec. to fill the cups with your own favorite coffee, recover them and crimp the aluminum foil covers.
Step # 1 - Clean the used K-cups
Simply tear off the cover on the cups, wash them and set them aside to dry.
Hold the used K-cups over a wastebasket, tear off the covers, dump the used coffee grounds into the basket, and tap the cups against the side of the basket to get rid of any stuck on grounds.
Using a kitchen sink sprayer and hot water, quickly spray the inside of the K-cup, until all the grounds stuck to the sides and bottom are removed.
Set the cleaned K-cups aside overnight to dry.
Step # 2 - Cutting Aluminum Foil Covers
When cutting aluminum foil covers for the K-cups, do as many as you can, so you don't have to do them as often.
To make the aluminum foil covers, simply cut 3" squares, which will crimp easily, with little-wasted foil.
Cut several at a time, so that when it's time to have a cup of coffee, you have some squares made ahead of time, and the whole process goes quickly (approx. 15 - 30 sec. per cup).
Step # 3 - Filling The K-Cups
If possible, find a spoon or scoop that fills the K-cups as fully as you want each time.
I like a little more intensely flavored coffee, so I grind my beans finer than for a coffee brewer, and fill the cleaned and dried K-cups to about 1/16" from the top.
I have a scoop that gives this amount each time, so the process is relatively quick and very easy.
(Use your favorite blend, find a grind that gives you the flavor intensity that you like, and you'll be amazed at how delicious your coffee can be!)
My current favorite coffee for my refilled Kuerig K-cups is the Starbuck's French Roast, which I buy in 3 lb. bags, in bean form, at Costco, and grind myself. (It is a wonderful, smokey, full-bodied dark roast, with tons of flavor! The cost works out to about $.12 per cup, which is a far cry from the $.50 sale pricing for the pre-packaged K-cups.)
Step # 4 - Covering And Crimping The K-Cups
This is such an easy process that we don't bother making up K-cups ahead of time. We make them as we use them!
Once you have your preferred amount of your favorite coffee in the k - cups, simply center one of your 3" X 3" pre-cut aluminum foil covers over the k - cup, encircle the cup with your fingers, and push your fingers down, surrounding the cup with the cover.
Now, using your fingers, push the excess aluminum foil upwards towards the rim of the cup, to create a uniform seal around the cup. (As I mentioned in the module about cutting the aluminum foil covers, the whole process of completing a refilled K-cup, from start, to brewing your cup of coffee, will take no more that 15 - 30 secs.)
Insert the K-cup into your machine as usual, and within seconds you will have a delicious cup of coffee at a fraction of the cost of a factory-made cup.
Step #5 Aligning The Cup In The Machine
It's very easy to align the original hole in the bottom of the K-cup with the machine.
Simply line up the hole in the bottom of the K-cup with the arrow in the machine, and you will be able to maintain the K-cups for much longer, and possibly prevent a messy pour from the machine to the cup.
Note: We've Tried 3 Different Refillable Replacement K-Cup Substitutes With No Success
In an attempt to find a refillable K-cup substitute that would allow us to to simply refill it and close a lid, we've tried 3 different variations, with very little success.
The problem that each refillable cup has had, is that they didn't produce a cup of coffee with any flavor to it. (I think that the reason is partly that they don't hold enough coffee, and also that the water runs through them too quickly.)
Ultimately, we keep going back to refilling and recrimping our factory K-cups, and have 3 refillable K-cup substitutes sitting unused in our cabinet!
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We particularly love suggestions that are somewhat outside the box.
- Glenn Conant
Questions & Answers
What about the hole in the bottom of the K-cup?
It doesn't prove to be a problem. Some of my K-cups end up with multiple holes in the bottom and still work fine.Helpful 16