Which espresso K-Cup is best?

For coffee lovers, the enticing aroma and flavor of a freshly brewed cup of espresso is hard to beat. For those who have a Keurig at their fingertips, espresso K-Cups give you the freedom to brew your favorite drink on demand.

Buying individual K-Cups makes it easy to enjoy an espresso any time of day or night. Before you buy, there are a few factors to consider, including packaging, flavor and quantity.

For robust yet affordable espresso pods, choose Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style K-Cups.

What to know before you buy espresso K-Cups

As you shop, there are a few things to keep in mind. The number of K-Cups per box, machine compatibility and packaging options all make a difference when it comes to choosing your espresso.


K-Cups are not available for individual sale and are only available by the box. You can find them in boxes of eight, 12, 24, 32, 60, 96 or 120.

One K-Cup brews only one serving, so consider how often you plan to enjoy a cup and buy boxes accordingly. Keep in mind that bulk discounts often make larger boxes more affordable.


Before selecting the perfect K-Cup, you need to know whether they’re compatible with your coffee machine. All official K-Cups work with Keurig machines. If you have another brand, check the manufacturer’s specifications of the espresso pods to ensure they’re compatible. The last thing you want is a box full of espresso and no way to brew it.


K-Cups are disposable, recyclable or compostable. If they have no label, throw them out with the trash. Otherwise, you’ll notice clear labels on the outer packaging and the individual pods to guide you.

Recyclable K-Cups feature the recycling symbol on the bottom of the plastic pod. 

Compostable K-Cups are clearly marked. When tossing out compostable pods, be sure to put them in your area’s commercial composting bin, as the parts are not safe for backyard composting.

What to look for in quality espresso K-Cups

The overall flavor profile, body and crema make each espresso contrast with the next. To find the best drink for your tastes, research these factors before you buy.


The flavor of espresso largely depends on the roast level.

All coffees maintain elements of their original fruit flavors through the roasting process, including espresso.

However, deeper flavors are added with longer roasting times. Those darker espresso roasts bring out more flavors like caramel, brown sugar, molasses and chocolate, which the high-pressure extraction process enhances.

Since brewing with K-Cups isn’t identical to brewing with commercial espresso machines, espresso pod flavors are designed to mimic the taste of a classic shot of espresso.


Espresso’s “body” refers to its density and mouthfeel when you drink it. Generally, espresso has a thicker body than regular coffee. The concentration of grounds to water is higher, creating a richer, more robust drink.


The light-colored layer of espresso that sits on the top of a shot is called the crema. Carbon dioxide mixes with extremely hot water in the brewing, and it forms naturally. The color of the crema tells you the darkness of the roast.

For the most ideal layer of crema, use fresh medium- to dark-roast espresso.

How much you can expect to spend on espresso K-Cups

Most K-Cup espresso pods come in bulk packages from eight to 120 pods for between 20 cents-$1.50 per pod. Name brands such as Starbucks or Lavazza cost the most.

Espresso K-Cups FAQ

How much espresso is in a K-Cup?

A. The amount of coffee grounds in a K-Cup varies by brand, and the amount of water you use when you brew dictates the ratio of grounds to water, making the espresso either more or less robust. Most espresso roasts are designed to brew a single shot, which fills a 4-ounce cup. Espresso pods are also easy to use as a base for a specialty drink like a mocha or latte.

Are espresso K-Cups recyclable?

A. It depends. If K-Cups are recyclable, they will display their recycling instructions on the outer packaging and the bottom of each pod. If your pods are commercially compostable, be sure to toss them in your city’s compost bin, not your personal garden compost. If you don’t see any fine print about recycling or composting, throw your used pods in the trash.

What are the best espresso K-Cups to buy?

Top espresso K-Cups

Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style

Cafe Bustelo Espresso Style

What you need to know: This espresso-style K-cup offers rich tradition and beloved flavor in convenient and affordable pods.

What you’ll love: Households that cherish their cans of Cafe Bustelo can now enjoy the same brew on demand. This is a dark roast with a deep flavor, full body and enticing aroma. It is an ideal choice for sipping on its own or for brewing other beverages such as cortaditos or cafe con leche.

What you should consider: Some customers say the flavor isn’t quite the same as when they make stovetop espresso.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top espresso K-Cups for the money

San Francisco Bay Espresso Roast

San Francisco Bay Espresso Roast

What you need to know: This espresso pod comes highly recommended and offers robust flavor and eco-friendly packaging at a competitive price.

What you’ll love: If you’re looking for top-notch espresso on a budget, these K-Cups are for you. The medium-dark roast brings out flavors of dark chocolate and smoky brown spice. The rich espresso is a fan favorite on its own or in mochas, lattes and cappuccinos. The pods are made from plant-based materials, so they’re commercially compostable.

What you should consider: Some customers have had trouble with pods leaking or malfunctioning.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out 

Lavazza Espresso Italiano

Lavazza Espresso Italiano

What you need to know: These offer the flavor and body of professionally brewed espresso from the comfort of your home.

What you’ll love: If you’re looking for a rich at-home espresso, these deliver the most robust flavor when brewing 4 ounces or less. Floral notes take the lead with a medium-dark roast. It’s made of Arabica beans to recreate the traditional Italian espresso experience.

What you should consider: These K-Cups are more expensive than average.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Katy Palmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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