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Home » Best Starbucks K-Cups (2023 Reviews)

Best Starbucks K-Cups (2023 Reviews)

Here at Home Grounds, we’re obsessed with a great cup of coffee. We love everything from bright, fruit-forward Yirgacheffe coffees to the warm, black cherry notes of a Hacienda la Minita medium-roast from Costa Rica.

But sometimes, nothing beats the convenience of a well-crafted Starbucks K-Cup. With over thirty varieties to choose from, there’s something for everyone.

Keep reading for Home Grounds’ pick of the top 9 best Starbucks K-Cups.

At A Glance:

  1. Best Overall: Pike Place
  2. The Runner Up: Holiday Blend
  3. Best Caramel Coffee: Creme Brûlée

The Top 9 Best Starbucks K-Cups

Though there are tons of delicious copycat Starbucks drinks you can make at home; sometimes, nothing beats the convenience of a K-Cup. And with over 30 different K-Cup options, there’s a little something for every palate.

So whether you’re partial to flavoured coffee or enjoy your coffee black, keep reading for the best Starbucks K-Cups of 2023.

image product details
Best Overall Best Overall Starbucks Pike Place Pike Place
  • Latin America
  • Blend
  • Chocolate and toasted oats
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Best Starbucks K-Cup with Desserts Best Starbucks K-Cup with Desserts Cinnamon Dolce Cinnamon Dolce
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • Cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar
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Best Single Origin Best Single Origin Sumatra Sumatra
  • Asia Pacific
  • Arabica
  • Herbs and spice
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The Runner Up The Runner Up Holiday Blend Holiday Blend
  • Latin America and Asia Pacific
  • Blend
  • Herbal and sweet maple notes
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Best Caramel Coffee Best Caramel Coffee Crème Brûlée Crème Brûlée
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • Custard, burnt/caramelized sugar, and vanilla notes
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Best Light Roast Best Light Roast True North True North
  • Latin America
  • Arabica
  • Toasted nuts, milk chocolate
SEE ON AMAZON
Best Medium Roast Best Medium Roast Breakfast Blend Breakfast Blend
  • Latin America
  • Arabica
  • Brown sugar, sweet orange
SEE ON AMAZON
Best Dark Roast Best Dark Roast Cafe Verona Cafe Verona
  • Latin America and Asia Pacific
  • Blend
  • Full body, dark cocoa, and caramelized sugar notes
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Best Seasonal Starbucks K-Cup Best Seasonal Starbucks K-Cup Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Spice
  • N/A
  • Arabica
  • Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg
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1. Pike Place – Best Overall

Specifications

  • Region of Origin: Latin America

  • Bean Type: Blend
  • Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: Chocolate and toasted oats

Home Grounds’ pick for the overall best Starbucks K-cup is their classic Pike Place, a Latin-American medium roast.

Pike Place is well-balanced and smooth and serves as their house coffee in over 33 thousand Starbucks cafes around the world. With notes of toasted walnut, praline, and chocolate, this rich cup is a brilliant choice for an after-dinner get-together or your afternoon coffee break.

2. Cinnamon Dolce – Best Starbucks K-Cup with Desserts

Specifications

  • Region of Origin: N/A

  • Bean Type: N/A
  • Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar

This sweet Cinnamon Dolce Starbucks K-Cup is for you if you like a spicy cinnamon kick. With buttery, brown sugar, and cinnamon notes, the Cinnamon Dolce K-Cup uses Starbucks’ lightest Roast, the blonde Roast. It’s a great complement to any dessert and a great K-Cup to start your morning.

3. Sumatra – Best Single Origin

Sumatra

Specifications

  • Region of Origin: Asia Pacific

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: Herbs and spice

Starbucks is mainly known for its Arabica blends, but the coffee giant does have a few single origins worth checking out – like these Sumatra K-Cups.

Sumatran coffee has a truly unique profile. It’s earthy with herbal and spice notes that are amplified by the dark roast. It pairs well with both sweet and savoury flavours, like a cheese Danish or cinnamon coffee cake.

4. Holiday Blend – The Runner Up

Specifications

  • Region of Origin: Latin America and Asia Pacific

  • Bean Type: Blend
  • Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: Herbal and sweet maple notes

Crafted as an all-around coffee for the holiday season, Starbucks’ Holiday Blend is Home Grounds’ pick for the runner-up.

With a medium body, mild acidity, slightly herbaceous, and sweet maple notes, this blend of Latin-American and Asia Pacific coffee beans is a great accompaniment to holiday treats, like classic baked Alaska or gingerbread cookies.

But this blend isn’t just great during the holidays; it’s a great year-round alternative to Starbucks’ Pike Place coffee, too.

5. Crème Brûlée – Best Caramel Coffee

Specifications

  • Region of Origin: N/A

  • Bean Type: N/A
  • Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: custard, burnt/caramelized sugar, and vanilla notes

If you love the custard buttery caramel flavour of a rich crème brûlée, then this Starbucks K-Cup gives you all the indulgence without the work.

A traditional crème brûlée requires some severe understanding of French culinary techniques (1). In short, a hot vanilla and cream mixture is gently poured into whisked egg yolks, salt, and sugar. Then, all this is steamed in a water bath and finished with some turbinado sugar and fire.

Aside from accidentally scrambling your egg yolks with the hot cream, you could accidentally brûlée your hand with the blowtorch. And something tells us that’s probably not your idea of a good time.

Why not make your life much easier with these crème brûlée Starbucks K-Cups? Made with a medium-roast Starbucks coffee, this K-Cup is sweet, custard, and full of all the warm vanilla and caramelized sugar notes you love in a good crème brûlée.

6. True North – Best Light Roast

True North

Specifications

  • Region of Origin: Latin America

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: Toasted nuts, milk chocolate

This easy-drinking coffee was created especially for the Canadian market. Starbucks started with their popular Verandah blend, but gave it a lighter roast for a smooth and mellow brew.

A light roast doesn’t mean light on flavour, however. These K Cups deliver notes of cocoa and toasted nuts that pair beautifully with milk and sugar. 

7. Breakfast Blend – Best Medium Roast

Breakfast Blend

Specifications

  • Region of Origin: Latin America

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: Brown sugar, sweet orange

As the name suggests, this blend of Arabica beans was created with mornings in mind. If you want to wake up gently, rather than with a jolt, this is the coffee for you. 

The medium roast offers sweet notes of brown sugar, with a tangy citrus finish. Pair it with a blueberry muffin or lemon loaf for a sweet start to your day. 

8. Cafe Verona – Best Dark Roast

Specifications

  • Region of Origin: Latin America and Asia Pacific

  • Bean Type: Blend
  • Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: Full body, dark cocoa, and caramelized sugar notes

Starbucks’ Cafe Verona, aka. The 80/20 blend was created in 1975 as an after-dinner coffee for a Seattle-based restaurant. Over time, this Latin-American, Asia-Pacific dark roast developed such a following that Starbucks adopted it onto its regular menu.

Unlike Starbucks French roast coffee, these Cafe Verona K-Cups give you all the complexity of a dark roast coffee without the bland, caramelised flavour. With a full body, rich, dark cocoa, and caramelised sugar notes, this bold Cafe Verona Starbucks K-Cup is a great complement to chocolate-based desserts.

9. Pumpkin Spice – Best Seasonal Starbucks K-Cups

Pumpkin Spice

Specifications

  • Region of Origin: N/A

  • Bean Type: Arabica
  • Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: Pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg

Is there a seasonal flavour that creates more excitement each year than Pumpkin Spice? The blend of pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg is a combination that sees queues every fall for the famous Pumpkin Spice Latte.

But if you want to enjoy the taste of autumn without the crowds, Home Grounds suggests stocking up while these K-Cups are available, as they’re only around for a limited time.

How to Choose the Best Starbucks K-Cups for You

Choosing the best Starbucks K-Cup is a bit daunting, with over thirty varieties of K-Cups. What’s the difference between a blend and a single-origin coffee? Why does a coffee’s region even matter? Before buying your next pack of K-Cups, keep reading for a few things you should consider.

Region of Origin

While bean variety, elevation, soil composition, processing method, and roast level impact the final cup, each coffee-growing region has a unique flavour profile (2). For example:

Colombian coffees are known to have a smooth, mild flavour, low in acidity…and the aromas tend to be fruity…

On the other hand, single-origin coffee from Sumatra is low in acidity, with a heavy body and earthy, woody, spicy, and even tobacco notes.

If you’re in the mood for whole-bean coffee, Starbucks offers single-origin coffees from Guatemala, Rwanda, Zambia, Vietnam, and other coffee regions via its Starbucks Reserve brand. But as of this writing, only the Sumatran and Colombian single origins are available as K-Cups.

Blends Vs. Single-Origin Coffees

Once you’ve chosen your region of origin, decide whether you’d like a single origin coffee or a blend. According to JayArr Coffee:

In most blends, tons of flavour notes mix together, making it hard to appreciate any one note.

However, as in Starbucks’ Holiday Blend, a well-crafted blend of different coffee beans can yield an interesting, complex cup. Also, if you’re looking for consistency, blends yield a more consistent flavour from cup to cup.

On the other hand, single-origin beans have the advantage of providing more high-quality and ethical coffees across the board. Also, each region’s distinct flavour profile comes through in every cup (2).

In short, choosing a single origin or blend comes down to whether you want a reliable breakfast brew or a distinct, regional cup.

blends vs single origin starbucks k cups

Cup Profile/Tasting Notes

Another way to choose the best K-Cup for your coffee selection is to read the tasting notes. Starbucks includes the roast level, region of origin, and a few of the aroma and tasting notes for each K-Cup.

Keep in mind that tasting notes on the package are just a guide. While there are some similarities across beans, everyone will taste something different.

While you won’t be grinding or brewing your coffee straight from the bean, finding your ideal Starbucks K-Cup flavour is a lot like cupping. Pay attention to the coffee’s:

  • Aroma
  • Body
  • Acidity
  • And finish

From there, decide which K-Cup variety works best for the type of coffee drink you enjoy.

Black Coffee vs. Flavoured Coffee Drinks

The best Keurig coffee makers give you plenty of options for customizing your K-Cups. For example, the Keurig K-Cafe allows you to control your brew strength, cup size, and includes a milk frother.

When deciding on the best Starbucks K-Cups for your coffee bar, pair specific K-Cups with the drinks you plan to make.

For example, while Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha is enjoyed on its own, their Cafe Verona blend might be the perfect coffee base for your cappuccino.

The Verdict

After trying some of the best Starbucks K-Cups, Home Grounds chose Starbucks’ classic Pike Place K-Cup as the best overall. With its well-balanced flavour, it’s great on its own or as a coffee base for a cappuccino or flavoured latte.

Starbucks Pike Place

SEE ON AMAZON

FAQs

To recycle Starbucks K-Cups, simply peel off the foil, discard the used grounds, and recycle the cup according to local recycling instructions (3).

Yes, you can use Starbucks Reserve coffee in K-Cups. To do this, place 2 to 3 teaspoons of medium-ground coffee into a reusable K-Cup filter. Then brew normally.

Yes, you can create your coffee blends using any Starbucks K-Cup. In creating customised blends, combine no more than two Starbucks K-Cup varieties at once.

  1. Epicurious. (2019, March 5). Classic Crème Brûlée. Epicurious; Epicurious. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/classic-creme-brulee
  2. Coffee, J. (2019). What’s Special About Single Origin Coffee? [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97Km9NktaFE
  3. Frequently Asked Questions. (2021). Starbucks. https://athome.starbucks.com/frequently-asked-questions
Iris M. Pang
One of my first childhood memories of coffee was in Montreal, Quebec. Every time my family and I walked through the mall, the aroma of fresh, brewed coffee and Belgian waffles permeated all the stores. Whatever that delicious smell was, I had to have it. And the rest is history. When I'm not writing or touring local coffee shops, you'll find me on social media, trying out different ethnic cuisine at local restaurants, and having deep discussions over coffee and pastries.

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