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7 Best Coffee Pods in 2023

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:

  1. 50% OFF (EXCLUSIVE TO HOME GROUNDS): Atlas Coffee Pods
  2. GREAT VARIETY: Eight O’Clock Discovery Box
  3. BEST FOR THE ENVIRONMENT: Ethical Bean Lush

Coffee Pod Reviews: The 7 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, including the roast, bean type, tasting notes, and any possible allergens to watch out for.

image product details
Best Overall Best Overall atlas k cups Atlas Coffee Pods
  • Light, Medium, Dark Roast
  • Arabica & Robusta Bean
  • Vary monthly Taste
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Best Value For Money Best Value For Money Eight O’Clock Discovery Box Eight O’Clock Discovery Box
  • Roast: Medium
  • Bean Type: Arabica & Robusta
  • Tasting Notes: Rich
SEE ON AMAZON
Budget Pick Budget Pick Tassimo Carte Noire Americano Tassimo Carte Noire Americano
  • Roast: Dark
  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Tasting Notes: Smooth and rich
SEE ON AMAZON
Best Light Roast Best Light Roast Timothy’s Breakfast Blend Timothy’s Breakfast Blend
  • Roast: Light
  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Tasting Notes: Sweet, smoky
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Best Medium Roast Best Medium Roast Tim Hortons Original Blend Tim Hortons Original Blend
  • Roast: Medium
  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Tasting Notes: Balanced
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Best Dark Roast Best Dark Roast Balzac’s A Dark Affair Balzac’s A Dark Affair
  • Roast: Dark
  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Tasting Notes: Smoky, spiced
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Best For The Environment Best For The Environment Ethical Bean Lush Ethical Bean Lush
  • Roast: Medium-dark
  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Tasting Notes: Fruit, smoke
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1. Atlas Coffee Pods – Best Overall

Specifications

  • Roast: Light, Medium, Dark

  • Bean Type: Arabica & Robusta
  • Tasting Notes: Vary monthly!
  • Contains Allergens: No

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! 

To get these wonderful coffees, you’ll need to subscribe. Atlas Coffee subscribers try 2 coffees from 2 different countries every month. Choose your delivery and roast preferences, and adjust the shipping frequency and roast type whenever. Pause, skip, or cancel your subscription anytime. Each shipment comes with a Postcard and Coffee Country Card highlighting the featured country’s coffee origins and trajectory with 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!

Atlas Coffee is on a quest to source and share the top 1% in the realm of single origin coffees, drawing inspiration from their popular Coffee World Tour®. This features countries’ coffee cultures that may otherwise go untasted, including Ecuador, India, and Tanzania. They roast their premium findings to optimize each coffee region’s flavours, which vary monthly with notable examples including almond, berry, chocolate, maple, and vanilla.

Atlas Coffee members are proud perfectionists developing noteworthy coffee experiences. They painstakingly look into optimal gram fill ratios, grind sizes, and flavour 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. Eight O’Clock Discovery Box – Best Value for Money

Specifications

  • Roast: Medium

  • Bean Type: Arabica & Robusta
  • Tasting Notes: Rich
  • Contains Allergens: No

The individual wrapping on K-Cups does have its issues, but one of the positives is that it keeps each portion fresh until you open it. So why not make the most of this with a variety pack, which lets you switch up your flavours from day to day – or keep the peace at home when two of you have very different tastes. 

This discovery box contains three of Eight O’Clock’s best-selling medium roast varieties, all made from 100% Arabica beans. Inside you’ll find:

The Original – The company’s first blend which continues to be a fan favourite. It’s sweet and fruity with a balanced finish. 

100% Colombian Peaks – Beans cultivated in volcanic soil at high altitudes create a full-bodied coffee with a wine-like finish. Bonus points for the Rainforest Alliance certificationHazelnut – Perfect for a Sunday morning treat (or even a midweek pick me up) this buttery coffee with toasted hazelnut flavours will add something special to your day.

3. Tassimo Carte Noire Americano – Budget Pick

Tassimo Carte Noire Americano

Specifications

  • Roast: Dark

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Tasting Notes: Smooth and rich
  • Contains Allergens: no

Tassimo machines aren’t nearly as well known as Keurig or Nespresso coffee makers, so you can’t expect to find the extensive range of flavours that you do with the bigger brands. Thankfully, you don’t have to miss out on great-tasting coffee, and the best news is that t-discs can often be cheaper than K-Cups or other capsules.

The Home Grounds pick of the lineup is the Tassimo Carte Noire Americano. As the name suggests, these coffee pods are made for those who like their coffee a little longer. Each one will make a 215 ml coffee without losing any of the bold and rich flavours. Carte Noir was apparently inspired by French-style coffee, made with 100% Arabica beans sourced from Latin America.

4. Timothy’s Breakfast Blend – Best Light Roast

Specifications

  • Roast: Light

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Tasting Notes: Sweet, smoky
  • Contains Allergens: no

Not everyone needs the kickstart of strong coffee to start the day. If you prefer to be woken gently, then a light roast coffee is the answer. While it still has the same amount of caffeine as a dark roast, the flavours will be less like a slap in the face. Giving beans a light roast also allows you to better enjoy the underlying natural coffee taste (2). 

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.

Timothy’s Breakfast Blend K-Cups contain a blend of Arabica beans from Costa Rica and Guatemala. The result is a sweet but slightly smoky cup that pairs perfectly with a pastry. 

5. Tim Hortons Original Blend – Best Medium Roast

Specifications

  • Roast: Medium

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Tasting Notes: Balanced
  • Contains Allergens: No

No true Canadian 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 flavour. 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-flavoured medium roast and a decaf medium roast made via the Swiss Water decaffeination process.

6. Balzac’s A Dark Affair – Best Dark Roast

Balzac’s A Dark Affair

Specifications

  • Roast: Dark

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Tasting Notes: Smoky, spiced
  • Contains Allergens: no

A dark roast coffee isn’t for everyone, but those who enjoy it will appreciate the intense flavours of beans pushed to their limit. Balzac’s has taken a blend of Arabica beans and roasted them in small batches in their Ontario headquarters. After reaching the second crack (3), they take on notes of spice and smoke, which adds depth to your cup.

Balzac’s A Dark Affair is the perfect way to warm up on a cold winter’s day. It’s 100% coffee, so there are no allergens involved, but the rich bold taste does stand up well to the addition of milk or creamer.

These pods are designed for use in Keurig machines, so you’ll get a bigger cup of this rich coffee. Balzac could also take out the Home Grounds pick for the most sustainable coffee capsules – these pods are 100% compostable. 

7. Ethical Bean Lush – Best for the Environment

Specifications

  • Roast: Medium-dark

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Tasting Notes: Fruit, smoke
  • Contains Allergens: no

Although Canadians now have a number of ways to recycle Nespresso pods (4), the responsible disposal of K-Cups is not quite as easy (5). So if your tastebuds are loyal to Keurig, your most sustainable option is compostable pods. 

These pods from Ethical Bean are created using 100% renewable, bio-based materials, and break down in as little as 5 weeks in a commercial composter. It’s not just the pod that makes Ethical Bean a great choice for the environment. They have a recycling program for their bags, and the company uses 100% renewable energy. The coffee is certified organic and Fairtrade, and each batch can be traced back to the source using a QR code on the packaging.

So how does it taste? This Lush selection is the brand’s best-selling coffee. It’s a blend of Arabica beans that have been given a medium-dark roast to bring out a balance of both sweet and smoky notes. It’s rich enough to pack a punch, but has a fruitiness that makes it very approachable.

How To Choose The Best Coffee Pods

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.

BestCoffeePods

How Dark Do You Like Your Roast?

Knowing how dark you like your roast is key to finding your favourite coffee as a coffee drinker. Different roast types yield a different coffee flavour 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 flavours. 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.

Noteworthy Flavours

Certain roasts elicit specific noteworthy flavours. A light roast has citrusy, floral notes, and flavoured 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, flavours ranging from plum to sweet caramel to maple.

Vegan-Friendly?

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.

The Verdict

All these different types of coffee pods are easy-to-use. Home Grounds’ favourite is good-old Atlas Coffee Club and their new release: a fully recyclable Keurig compatible coffee pod. However, the right coffee pods for your first brew of the day are the ones that appeal to your flavour 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.

atlas k cups

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FAQs

The most popular coffee pod machine in 2022 is the Nespresso Vertuo Next (4). 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 (5). 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 aluminium (6). Chemicals in plastic may disrupt endocrine, leading to weight gain, fertility issues, and hormonal imbalances. Certain aluminium exposure contributes to anxiety, Alzheimer’s, and depression. As with everything, use coffee pods in moderation.

Yes, you can recycle Nespresso capsules in Canada. There are 3 types of recycling bags available to order online or receive in-store free of charge: red bags, to recycle used coffee pods via any Canada Post location; black bags, to return used Nespresso pods back to any Nespresso boutique; and green bags, to drop them off directly into recycling bags specifically in Quebec.

  1. Clayton, L. (2022, March 18). What is Honey Processed Coffee? Sprudge Coffee. https://sprudge.com/what-is-honey-processed-coffee-184876.html
  2. 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/
  3. Owen, T. (2021, May 19). First Crack FAQ: What is First Crack? What is Second Crack? – Sweet Maria’s Coffee Library. Sweet Maria’s Coffee Library. https://library.sweetmarias.com/first-crack-faq-what-is-first-crack-what-is-second-crack/
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
Dasha Toptygina
I am a writer who delves into all manner of things related to coffee, cats, and characters. I started drinking coffee daily in university and now my entire work, life, and personality all revolve around procuring the perfect brew. I start every morning with yoga, French Press coffee, and some special creative time devoted to working on a magical cat café story... but, more on that later.

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