8 Best Coffee Pods in 2023: Something for Everyone
Even if you run late, there is always time to brew a quality coffee! Coffee pods exist to make our lives, and most notably our coffee, easier for us via their sheer convenience. There is the best quick-brew choice for everyone, from light roast lovers to dark roast drinkers.
At A Glance:
- 50% OFF (EXCLUSIVE TO HOME GROUNDS): Atlas Coffee Pods
- RUNNER-UP: Folgers
- BEST FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: Nespresso
Coffee Pod Reviews: The 8 Best Coffee Pods In 2023
Home Grounds has compiled a review of the best coffee pods in 2023. We’ve dug deep into different types of coffee pods for you (needless of the coffee pod machine you have), including the roast, bean type, tasting notes, and any possible allergens to watch out for.
1. Atlas Coffee Pods – Best Overall
If you want the world’s best tasting Keurig® Compatible Coffee Pods shipped fresh to your door monthly, look no further than 100% recyclable Atlas Coffee K-Cups!
Atlas Coffee is famous for their Coffee World Tour®. Each month they highlight and deliver specialty coffee from a new country. Their coffee pod subscription provides a convenient and fun way to discover quality single origin coffee options with your K-Cup machine. You can choose if you want to discover 1 or 2 new countries per month. And you can select your roast type preference, desired delivery, and shipping frequency. This subscription works with you. Each shipment comes with a Postcard and Coffee Country Card highlighting the featured country’s single origin coffee and its trajectory plus its tasting notes and regional information.
Atlas coffee club and Home Grounds have secured a unique 50% DISCOUNT for our readers. Use it while you can!
The Coffee World Tour® features countries’ coffee cultures that may otherwise go untasted, including Ecuador, India, and Tanzania. Atlas roasts their premium findings to optimize each coffee region’s flavors, which vary monthly with notable examples including almond, berry, chocolate, maple, and vanilla.
Atlas Coffee members are proud perfectionists developing noteworthy single-origin coffee experiences. They painstakingly look into optimal gram fill ratios, grind sizes, and flavor profiles via roast experimentation to curate the best brews in a delicate balance of art and science.
Atlas Coffee prioritizes global sustainability projects, compensates farming partners with above fair trade prices, and maintains affordable costs for coffee consumers.
There are no allergens: the only ingredient is coffee.
2. Folgers – Runner-up
If you want high-quality K-cups that stand out in this guide, Folgers is a great choice. These K-cup pods are single-serve and Keurig-compatible. This is the only coffee with a tasty blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans in a Mountain Grown style. That means you get the best of both worlds. This medium roast blend balances the smooth sweetness of Arabica with the strong bitterness of Robusta. Robusta also has more caffeine than Arabica, so your coffee is guaranteed to wake you up in the morning, brewed in just under a minute.
There are no allergens in these K-cups; however, that should not dissuade you from adding any milk or sweetener of your choice to complement this rich and exotic taste. These K-cups also have an empowering and fresh aroma that matches their pure notes.
3. Gevalia Coffee Pods – Best for Milky Drinks
If you want to make the highest quality brew and make milky coffees when you like, then the Gevalia Coffee Pods would suit your needs.
These are some of the best coffee capsules featuring a dark roast with 100% Arabica beans sourced from the Central and South Americas (1). The sweet sugar notes from these Arabica beans work to enhance the inherently present nutty cocoa notes of a typical dark roast brew. The result? Rich, velvety, and chocolate-tasting darker coffee (2).
The best part, Gevalia pods come with a kit that allows you to brew a rich mocha latte from the comfort of your home with a simple two-step brewing process. First, add the included froth packet to your cup of coffee, and then you brew a coffee pod over top of it, set to 8 oz. size. All that remains is for you to stir the contents together after it finishes brewing and enjoy the creamy beverage as it is or with a sweet syrup of your choice to compliment its smooth taste.
The latte froth for these coffee pods contains natural milk and soy, so these are not a suitable option for lactose-intolerant or vegan coffee lovers (3). However, for those who can enjoy milk, this yields a coffee shop-style delicacy.
4. The Original Donut Shop – Budget Pick
Not only is this a quick-and-easy way to make coffee, but it is also the most cost-effective. The Original Donut Shop has some of the best-tasting pod coffee K-cups with its smooth blend of Arabica beans. These K-cup pods are single-serve and Keurig-compatible, brewing up to 12 oz, or a full cup and a half of freshly ground coffee, and it lacks that characteristic bitter taste found in a lot of other coffee.
This smooth coffee has sweet and full-bodied notes that encourage the dunking of your donuts into their delicious medium roast brew. If you think that seems like an odd feature for K-cups, it is because The Original Donut Shop is affiliated with Dunkin’ Donuts, and “Dunkin’” donuts into their coffee is their whole thing.
There are no allergens nor any artificial ingredients present in these K-cups. However, they pair excellently with any milk of your choice, as well as cream, sugar, and Dunkin’ Donuts’ donuts. These K-cups are Certified Orthodox Union Kosher.
5. For Wellness – Healthiest Choice
It’s all in the name – these coffee pods are the coffee For Wellness! Each box comes with 24 USDA Organic and Fair Trade USA Certified 100% Arabica recyclable coffee pods. Use these coffee pods in any Keurig 2.0 brewing system. These coffees are naturally anti-inflammatory and are loaded up with the good stuff – antioxidants. Not only that, but it’s recommended to drink these coffee pods with The Good Stuff™. It’s a performance supplement, replacing your calorie-laden sweeteners with health-promoting ingredients, like collagen and L-Theanine.
Who knew health could be so sweet? And the tastes are even more nuanced than that! The bold For Wellness dark roast offers intense smoky tasting notes of dark chocolate and caramel, whereas its light-bodied medium roast has clean, smooth, and balanced tropical fruit flavors.
6. Tim Hortons – Best Medium Roast
No true Canadian-at-heart can start their morning without a Tim Hortons original blend or medium roast coffee, eh? This roast is well-known for its consistent, smooth finish and balanced flavor. These popular K-cups are made with 100% Arabica beans sourced from the Central and South Americas and are compatible with Keurig single-serve coffee brewers.
Tim Hortons K-cups are best enjoyed black, with 2% milk, or the “True North Canadian way” by adding two creams and two sugars to recreate Tim Hortons’ signature “Double Double” at home. The prevailing taste is balanced and the most standard cup of coffee you can find.
There are no allergens present in these pods. However, adding oat milk to this coffee results in a smoother and more velvety drink with an enhanced nuttiness. If you like this, two other similar medium roasts are offered on Amazon: a sweetened french vanilla flavored medium roast and a decaf medium roast made via the Swiss Water decaffeination process.
7. McCafé – Best Light Roast
If you want a K-cup that will pack a powerful punch for tough mornings, McCafé will do the trick with its best light roast coffee pods. These popular K-cups are made with 100% Arabica beans and are compatible with all Keurig K-Cup coffee makers. These unique coffee pod flavors feature a spicy note of citrus that adds a hint of fruitiness to your brew without too much sharp acidity, better to enjoy the underlying natural coffee taste (4).
Lightly roasted coffee can be clean, bright, and full of delicate floral and fruit notes with great acidity. They’ll have a lighter body. It’s in light roasts that the natural characteristics of the coffee can be tasted.
There are no allergens in these K-cups. However, adding milk to coffee with citrus or floral notes enhances the resulting flavors. These K-cup pods are also Certified Orthodox Union Kosher.
8. Nespresso – Best For The Environment
This sought-after medium roast coffee from Nespresso is made with 100% Arabica beans sourced from the Central and South Americas. The double-shot espresso Chiaro is one of the best top rated coffee pods for Nespresso, leaving you with 2.7 oz. of a delectable drink featuring intense earthy and woody tones. There are no allergens contained in these pods. However, adding milk to this coffee results in a creamy texture that elicits lighter blond caramel notes.
The biggest appeal of Nespresso pods lies in their sustainability, so regular coffee drinkers do not need to feel guilty about their frequent use. Nespresso capsules are Climate Pledge Friendly, Rainbow Alliance Certified, B Corp certified, and have a part in their own AAA Sustainable Quality Program (5).
Every country housing a Nespresso boutique has a unique recycling system.
In the US, you can drop off your used pods to any designated collection point, return them to any Nespresso boutique, or have the local postman pick them up (6).
Reusable capsules have been developed to tackle waste issues and make using a coffee capsule machine more environmentally friendly
The used coffee grounds are composted (7). The grounds are extracted to produce green energy and the tables in Nespresso boutiques, and the aluminum from the pods is recycled into bicycles, potato peelers, and coffee machines.
Nespresso VertuoLine pods are only compatible with Nespresso VertuoLine machines.
How To Choose The Right Coffee Pods for You
When choosing coffee capsules, it ultimately comes down to personal preference. To discover what that is, consider the following factors: desired roast, bean type, tasting notes, and the presence of allergens that should help guide you in making your choice. You can also check different types of coffee pods.
How Dark Do You Like Your Roast?
Knowing how dark you like your roast is key to finding your favorite coffee as a coffee drinker. Different roast types yield a different coffee flavor profile. For example, a light roast has a lighter body and more acidic after-taste experience: a green mountain coffee breakfast blend, french vanilla, or any other weak coffee. A dark roast has a characteristic boldness to produce a stronger full-bodied coffee best enjoyed black with a longer-lasting taste. Milk also pairs well with dark roasts, and a medium roast finds a smooth balance between the two. These roasts have a rich complexity and feature origin characteristics.
Team Arabica Or Robusta?
Most coffee capsules are made with 100% Arabica beans, yet some blends also incorporate Robusta beans. Each of these two main types of beans yield different flavors. If you are looking for a smooth, sweet, and sugary taste with notes of chocolate, fruit, or berries in your coffee, then seek out any Arabica-only pods on this list. However, suppose you prioritize a higher-caffeine content, a more impressive-looking crema resulting from hot water being pushed through the coffee grounds within the coffee pods, and a more traditional bitter espresso coffee taste. In that case, an Arabica-Robusta blend like Folgers is the way to go.
Certain roasts elicit specific noteworthy flavors. A light roast has citrusy, floral notes, and flavored coffees also tend to fall into this category. Typical notes in a light roast range from sweet vanilla and honey to more sour lemon and lime. A dark roast has sweet notes that vary from a woody, earthy, and cocoa taste to more pepper, brown sugar, and smoky qualities that are far more bitter than acidic. A medium roast combines a dark roast’s creaminess with a light roast’s fruitiness. The notes in a medium roast feature a unique sensation for your taste buds, flavors ranging from plum to sweet caramel to maple.
Coffee pods themselves do not contain any allergens. They are safe for any coffee lover to consume regardless of their dietary restrictions outside of moderating their caffeine intake.
If you see a creamy top layer forming over your brew, this is not an indicator of the presence of dairy products.
This is just the crema, which is vegan-friendly. However, it is important to take into account add-ons like latte froth that are included in fancier coffee pod kits as these accompaniments do contain allergens such as milk and soy. Use oat milk for a lighter, creamier, and healthier substitution or almond milk for a richer and denser one.
All these different types of coffee pods are easy-to-use. Home Grounds’ favorite is good-old Atlas Coffee Club and their new release: a fully recyclable Keurig compatible coffee pod. Still, the right coffee pods for your first brew are the ones that appease your flavor profile. Fortunately, the variety of coffee pods available allows for much experimentation.
Even home baristas benefit from the convenience of brewing coffee pods. Life gets busy, but that should never be an excuse to compromise the quality of your daily brew. You still get great coffee from pods with the push of a button.
GET 50% OFF (EXCLUSIVE TO HOME GROUNDS)
The most popular coffee pod machine in 2022 is the Nespresso Vertuo Next (8). The Double Espresso Chiaro is compatible with this Nespresso machine but not with Keurig brewers. To see more variety, look at some of the best-tasting Nespresso capsules, including the Lavazza pods for Nespresso.
Nespresso machines are more popular than Keurig K-cup brewers as they are higher-quality and lower maintenance (9). However, it is worth noting that Keurig is more cost-effective, with more significant savings on its coffee makers and pods. It is up to you to choose a good pod coffee machine and decide for yourself.
The healthiest coffee pods are organic, made of stainless steel, free of BPA plastic, and made from paper or other compostable materials. However, coffee pods come with risks if they are made from plastics and aluminum (10). Chemicals in plastic may disrupt endocrine, leading to weight gain, fertility issues, and hormonal imbalances. Certain aluminum exposure contributes to anxiety, Alzheimer’s, and depression. As with everything, use coffee pods in moderation.
You can recycle coffee pods and regular K-cups. To recycle ESE pods, coffee pods that look like tea bags, you can safely dispose of them via compost. Some of the best ESE pods for recycling are made by Illy Medium Classico. Not all communities offer recycling for used coffee pods, so check locally. If you like coffee and are concerned about the effects of plastic pods in the environment, perhaps consider using regular whole coffee beans or any of the best coffee bags here.
- Gevalia. (n.d.). Mocha Latte K‐Cup® Pods, 6 Count. Retrieved July 30, 2022, from https://gevalia.com/products/mocha-latte-6ct
- Coffee Stylish. (n.d.). Coffee Roast Levels – Everything You Need To Know. Retrieved July 30, 2022, from https://coffeestylish.com/coffee-roast/
- U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2022, June 23). Food Allergies. Retrieved July 29, 2022, from https://www.fda.gov/food/food-labeling-nutrition/food-allergies
- Storr, T. (2022, January 9). Light, Cinnamon, City: What Do Coffee Roast Names Really Mean? Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/01/light-cinnamon-city-what-do-coffee-roast-names-really-mean/
- Nespresso. (n.d.). Force For Good: Because How We Make Coffee Matters. Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://www.nespresso.com/us/en/sustainability
- Nespresso. (n.d.). Responsibility means recyclability. Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://www.nespresso.com/us/en/how-to-recycle-coffee-capsules
- Pipunic, A. (2022, April 26). Are reusable coffee pods a viable option? Retrieved August 1, 2022, from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2022/04/are-reusable-coffee-pods-viable/
- Warwick, S. (n.d.). Best pod coffee machines 2022: for low-maintenance mornings. Retrieved July 30, 2022, from https://www.realhomes.com/buying-guides/best-pod-coffee-machines
- De Luca, B. (2022, January 20). Nespresso vs Keurig: The ULTIMATE Guide (Updated For 2022). Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://www.thecoffeemaven.com/guides/nespresso-vs-keurig
- Coffee Addict. (n.d.). Are Coffee Pods Healthy? Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://fullcoffeeroast.com/are-coffee-pods-healthy/#the-final-word-on-are-coffee-pods-healthy