Keurig & K-cups

February 8, 2012

The High Cost of the Single Serve Espresso and Coffee Habit


The NYTimes has a nice little rant article about the high cost of single serve coffee brewers, pointing out that people are paying about $50+ per pound of coffee when buying in a single serve format. Obviously you can get coffee for a lot less than that, even darn good coffee; the kind of micro lot coffee that would blow your socks off. Most people either get it or they don't - it's about consistency and convenience. It's not about amazing nuances in the cup that you can get from freshly roasted beans, and it's not about low cost, even though you can rationalize that you are wasting less.

Massive Revenue and a Total Shift in the Industry

What's interesting are a few tidbits in the article. Nespresso sells only 8% of the coffee in the world, as measured y weight, but 25% of the dollars spent on coffee is for Nespresso; that is a stunning number. I didn't realize that the franchise was that big.

Keurig sold 4 million brewers leading up to the Christmas 2012 holiday, and about $715Million in K-Cup coffee packs. Can you imagine what it will be next year after those 4 million brewers get cranking? Sure the there is a patent expiration coming, but at a couple of cups a day per brewer, that's about $300+ million in retail sales for Q4 2012. Can you say $1 Billion in retail sales per quarter?

The big market shift is in the reframing of the cost for coffee. Older people think in terms of cost per pound, can or brick bag of coffee. Younger people reframe the cost of coffee versus what it costs at the coffee shop. So while $50+ per pound is a lot versus that bag of whole bean at the store, $0.60 per cup versus that $4 Latte I had yesterday is cheap.

Competition for Keurig and Nespresso

Finally, what these folks need is a little competition for their brewers. That's coming.

I mentioned the patent expiration that Keurig is going to deal with as competitors may be able to make dents in their installed base of brewers.

Also good news for Nespresso fans too; Amazon is bringing Ethical Coffee capsules to the US later this year. Should get interesting as this maker of Nespresso compatible coffee capsules must be gearing up to take a dent out of this market, where Nespresso has a toe hold, but Keurig has the emerging standard locked down.

Read more on Single Serve Capsules at the NYTimes

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September 1, 2011

Starbucks Skips the Espresso Machine - Goes for KCups


Starbucks announced that they are going to be going the way of the KCup and starting in November, you can buy a select set of Starbucks Blends in the KCup format. So while they haven't ruled out the idea of introducing their own Nespresso type machine, the move into the KCup single serve format is certainly an acknowledgement that the KCup will offer a much more attractive return on investment.

Last year, there were 2.9 Billion KCups made, and even a fair share of that market is a pretty good return at about $0.60 each retail price. The work isn't going to be hard, and the returns should be all but guaranteed..... if Starbucks can capture even 20% of the market, that's 150,000,000 KCups, or about 5 million pounds of coffee, and if they made even $0.20 each KCup , that's $30 million gross revenue. Not bad for very little investment if Keurig/Green Mountain handles the KCup packing.

Starbucks expects to grow the business into a billion dollar franchise according to their press release. That means that they will need to roughly double the KCup market. That's pretty ambitious.

Starbucks will be selling KCups in the following varieties and configurations: Breakfast Blend, Pike Place® Roast, House Blend, Sumatra, and French Roast. In addition, two selections of Tazo® tea will be available in K-Cup® Portion Packs: Tazo® tea Awake and Tazo® tea Zen. Starbucks® coffee K-Cup® Portion Packs will be available in 10-count, 16-count, and 54-count packs. Tazo® tea K-Cup® Portion Packs will be available in 10-count and 16-count.

If Starbucks were to go the single serve espresso capsule route, the investment would be steep, and the market much smaller. I haven't seen the Starbucks Sirena tearing up the market, so if that's any indication, they face a tough road of trying to push out a new espresso machine that may or may not catch on. So while the logical thing would be to try to deliver the in-store drink experience in a proprietary espresso-based machine, the fastest route to market share and income is straight through KCup valley.

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August 25, 2010

A Review of K-Cups for the Espresso Drinker - Bold and Dark Coffee


If you are like me, you probably have a few coffee makers in the house, and the one that has stayed on our counter for years is our Keurig B-70 single cup brewer. So while I run through and rotate espresso makers on a regular basis a good back-up for regular coffee is the Keurig. It's not a pressure brew like an espresso maker at 15-bar, but a simple drip style brew that makes regular coffee. Easy, quick and allows users to pick their own style of coffee so that one person isn't stuck with an overly acidic Colombian blend when they really like a nice smooth Sumatra.

I typically get asked other coffee questions in addition to espresso, and thought I would pass along my observations on several bold dark blends that might also appeal to espresso drinkers. If I haven't tasted them or reviewed them, I'll shoot you over to our sister site where they definitely have.

My two favorites - the Caribou Obsidian - complex layering of flavors here, and the Tully's French Roast - good solid roast without burnt overtones and a great full bodied flavorful finish.


checkmarkGRN.pngObsidian - "Bold wild berry flavors combine with precious high tones of bittersweet chocolate to create this velvety smooth, dark gem of a blend," says Caribou of one of their darkest coffees. Just bought some at Target, in 18-packs for $9.99. I like it black for its dark roast without the ashy burnt flavors of the darkest Italian Roasts. There is a bit of dark roasted burnt flavor that comes through in the lingering aftertaste (not a bad thing), but is swept away upfront by the floral acidity that comes through. A nice well balanced cup with a clean finish. Brew a couple up on the 5.25 ounce cup size and you've got a good cup either black or standing up to milk and sugar. Ideal for the 100% arabica Espresso drinker. More at

French Roast - The French Roast is sufficiently acidic, with some brightness in the cup to make things lively without being grassy. The roast is dark without being burnt. The body on the Caribou French Roast isn't quite as rich as other's I have tasted, namely the Tully's French Roast. Net the Caribou is a clean, dark roasted coffee with a nice flavor profile, but lacks some of the complex mystery that creates a more exciting flavor experience in the Tully's. On the thin side but not a bad choice if you like a bold cup with a clean finish. - My Original Review

Green Mountain

Dark Magic - A well balanced espresso style roast that is not so overwhelmingly dark that they burnt all the flavor off and sent it up the smokestack. The profile is balanced, smoky and dark enough to offer a strong flavor profile in the cup with a bit of balanced sweetness and caramel flavors. Net a good cup and good flavor up front with a clean finish. I originally reviewed it as an espresso and then have since put it in my regular rotation on K-Cups. My Original Review

Fair Trade Organic Espresso Blend - Very similar to the Dark Magic, but with a bit more body and a bit more rounded sweetness in the finish either black or with sugar/milk. I like it for its ability to add just a bit more depth of flavor to the blend over Dark Magic and would urge you to pick this over the Dark magic. Again, I originally reviewed it as an espresso and then have since put it in my regular rotation on K-Cups. My Original Review

Double Black Diamond Extra Bold - Their darkest roast with a heavy body and slightly smoky. The slightly sweet flavors indicate that there is still some goodness here that didn't get burnt off. A quick and clean finish. - Original Thoughts on Double Black Diamond


Rainforest Espresso Extra Bold - Rich sweet notes and a caramel lingering taste from this Rainforest Alliance coffee. A light roasted aroma comes through in the upfront, but also converts to a lingering reinforcement of the darker roasted notes in the finish. Full Review at our Sister Site -

Timothy's Italian Blend - Has a moderate body for such a blend, with low acidity and a good round roasted flavor from this cup. The roasted flavors come together for a punch in the finish. Not bad but not my favorite.


checkmarkGRN.pngFrench Roast - This is my go-to blend. It's smoky, full bodied and balanced enough to offer a slightly sweet flavor through the profile that I like. The finish isn't as crisp as others, which I like, but is still fairly clean in this 100% Arabica blend. Always stocked here at SingleServeEspresso Kitchens. Full Review at our Sister Site

Italian Roast - Definitely dark with a smoky charred wood flavor throughout. Big and bold and a dark roast to bring the flavor home. A little sweetness, but the dark roasted flavors dominate. Good choice if you love the darkest of darks; a bit one dimensional though.

Available Brewers

K-Cups can be brewed in various Keurig brewers, including the B-40 entry level brewer, The B-60 Elite Step Up with 3-cups sizes and auto-shut off, the B-70 Platinum Brewer with an Iced Brew setting, 4-cup sizes, programmable on/off times and a larger reservoir, and the Cuisinart SS-700 stainless brewer with a great look and a huge reservoir.

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February 13, 2009

Green Mountain Cafe Express - Deals Help Save Money on K-Cups

Extra-Bold Ssheet68781

I just got a mailer today that reminded me of the deals at Green Mountain; $2 off each box of K-Cups, Free shipping with 4 or more boxes each time, and a free two boxes of K-Cups when you start. For me it was a $35+ savings on the sign-up and free shipping on-going.

I use the K-Cups in my Keurig B70 K-cup brewer when I am not cranking out a few espressos. The single serve life is just too easy, with each cup fresh.

Check out the Café EXPRESS and see if it works for you.

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December 30, 2008

More Extra Bold K-Cups at

OK - one can't live on espresso alone; I love coffee and drink a fair amount of it. If you are filling in the spaces between espressos with drip coffee, you should consider a Keurig K-cup machine. I have the Keurig B-70, and love it; fast and tons of different varieties. I am always interested in the Extra Bold varieties or the darker blends while others in and around our house, appreciate the lighter ones. Good news for those of us at the bold end of the scale, as the folks at Coffee Wiz are offering the Green Mountain Extra Bold Sampler (Kenya AA, Double Black Diamond, Fair Trade Espresso and Dark Magic) - a good choice for experimenting and enjoying the variety with a stronger bent. They are also offering Timothy's Nicaraguan Free Trade Organic Extra Bold - another one that is worth checking out.

Coffee Wiz usually offers free shipping over $50, and it makes sense when you're tired of blasting through K-cups and are always running out.

At CoffeeWiz

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December 1, 2008

$500 Shopping Spree at CoffeeWiz

Got this in my email - if you buy K-Cups, or regular (non-ESE) pods, is a great place to get a wide selection of brands. They even have a few ESE pods that I have tried and like. Buy today and you are entered in a drawing for a $500 shopping spree at the site. Drawing is to be made Tuesday 10AM.

Good Luck - at CoffeeWiz

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March 12, 2008

Coffee Prices on the Rise

tullyslogo.jpgCoffee prices are on the rise, and two favorites in our house are not immune. With the costs of the raw material - quality green coffee going up, the cost to me, a big coffee consumer are going up too.
Recently the cost of my Nespresso capsules went up; a whole 3 cents, from $0.49 each to $0.52, but hey it's an increase. I think that I can afford it though, especially if it keeps me away from Starbucks for just one day, I'll be good for a few months. I brew in the Nespresso Essenza C100, shots of espresso mostly.

Long time readers also know that we run on a Keurig B-70 in our house and for us, it's allowed everyone in the household to get a cup of what they want. I mean hey, I like the regular stuff too, it's just got to be a pretty hefty roast. Our sister site, just reported on some price increases coming for K-cup coffees too. I went over to Coffeewiz and picked up some Tully's French Roast; a pretty popular flavor in our household.
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February 20, 2008

Timothy's Rainforest Espresso K-Cups


If you're looking for a bold alternative to the espresso shots, a cup of Timothy's Rainforest Espresso might just do it for the weekend. I took a look at these last year, and I continue to thow these into the rotation these days still. Right beside the espresso machine is our Keurig B70 brewer.

Pretty bold and dark, the Timothy's Rainforest espresso K-Cups are a good little choice. Not quite the full body of an espresso shot, but hey, a good sipping coffee.

Free shipping if you spend more than $25.

Timothy's at Amazon

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January 12, 2008

Quick Pick: Double Black Diamond K-Cup - Bold Stuff


It's ski season and I just had to pass this along. The folks at Green Mountain have a dark roast that is bold enough to stand up and ski some Giant Slaloms on it's own so I figured that it's going to appeal to a few espresso lovers out there. The stuff is roasted dark and has a pretty bold body and finish; it's an "Extra Bold" K-cup, so it's not going to be accused of being a lightweight.

I have been cruising through a box of "Double Black Diamonds" for a while now and I have to agree. Dark roast, not sharp or hollow, but fairly full bodied, without as much smokiness as the Tully's French Roast I have been drinking. Has no problem standing up to milk, and is a nice bold cup for the winter season.

Check them out at Green Mountain - Double Black Diamond Extra-Bold K Cups

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October 26, 2007

Quick Pick: Timothy's Midnight Magic K-Cups

A quick K-cup pick heading into the weekend this weekend is the Timothy’s Midnight Magic K-cups. The Midnight Magic blend is a dark roasted coffee that has a spicy flavor; with a mild sweetness and a fairly powerful punch. In our
Keurig B70 brewer brewer I tend to brew these on the small cup setting and brew a couple at a time to get a very full large mug of coffee in the mornings when I am not brewing up espresso. Life’s busy, not much time in the morning, and I always get freshly brewed coffee with the Keurig.

A Two-pack of 25 K-cups each for $20 - special now on shutterfly cards - through 10/31.

At Timothy's Midnight Magic K-Cups

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August 24, 2007

Coffee People Black Tiger K-Cup Review


Well it's been a while since we grabbed a couple of boxes of Coffee People Black Tiger K-cups, so I thought I would get back to you on them. We've blown through the two boxes by now and overall enjoyed them.

Coffee People describe them like this: " Full bodied, earthy, and dark. Our answer to a customer request for a blend with the rustic taste of the old country. Rules were broken, but - oh well! Here it is. Totally unique and ferocious!"

I didn't exactly describe them as ferocious, but we generally liked them. The flavor is definitely dark roasted, and bright, but not overly acidic. The back end is not overly bitter, a good sign considering the dark roast; they didn't over do it. I will say that the back end runs away a bit and is reminiscent of a Sumatran coffee with their classic upfront flavor and a clean finish.

I am constantly comparing the K-cups we get toe Tully's French Roast (see my Review of Tully's French Roast K-Cups) which is what we are drinking day in and day out around here, and the Black Tiger is comparable, just not as ferocious late in the flavor profile; clean, not lingering.

Net if you like the dark roast, full flavor and a clean finish, the Black Tiger is a very good choice.

Coffee People Black Tiger is available at Amazon

I'll point out that when the Coffee People Black Tiger boxes arrived from Amazon, they had this big orange sticker across the edge of the box: "Do Not Open Ship as One Piece". which was put there to prevent people from opening up the box and shipping one K-Cup to fulfill the order for "1 - Coffee People Black Tiger K-Cups". I would be pretty upset if I bought a two boxes for about $20 and they sent me 2 K-cups instead......


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July 27, 2007

CoffeePeople Black Tiger K-Cups


OK - so wrap up the Caribou French Roast Review and receive the CoffeePeople Black Tiger Bold K-cups for the next one. So idle time around here, and definitely no days without a cup of coffee or espresso around

CoffeePeople Black Tiger is a dark roasted K-cup that the describe like this:

" Full bodied, earthy, and dark. Our answer to a customer request for a blend with the rustic taste of the old country. Rules were broken, but - oh well! Here it is. Totally unique and ferocious!"

I don't know, we'll see in our Keurig B-70 brewer. We'll check it out over the coming weeks, and get back to you.

Black Tiger K-Cups at Amazon

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July 24, 2007

Caribou French Roast K-Cup Review


So, I have been dipping into the Caribou French Roast K-Cups recently and all of a sudden found myself at the bottom of the box realizing that I hadn’t really written anything up on them. The K-cups came to us a few weeks about 6 weeks ago, and have been in rotation ever since. When I drink K-Cups, I have a lot of varieties available, but do tend to keep coming back to the Tully’s French Roast as a favorite morning coffee with it’s smoky boldness. So, it was a natural to compare the Caribou to the Tully’s.

Caribou is a pretty popular chain in the upper Mid-west, where I think it gives Starbucks a good run for its money. I like the outside nature and feel of the Caribou design concepts and their coffee is pretty good.

Caribou's website describes the French Roast this way:

ArrowContinue reading: "Caribou French Roast K-Cup Review"

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June 7, 2007

Caribou French Roast K-Cups

If you haven’t heard, Caribou Coffee has a line of K-cups out which includes a good looking Caribou French Roast K-Cup. The Caribou website says that the French Roast is “A combination of coffees from Costa Rica, Guatemala, Colombia, and New Guinea is blended and roasted to a beautiful dark brown with an even development of surface oils. This produces a decadent, bittersweet flavor with a smooth, heavy body - an utter indulgence. Perfect for chilly mornings and flavorful enough to stand up to a touch of milk after dinner.”

Not bad. I have some on the way and will let you know how it fares in this espresso crazy household.

Caribou French Roast K-Cups at Coffee Whiz

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