For those among us who are dedicated coffee drinkers, we know this universal truth: it’s all about the quest for the perfect cup of delicious java. From the morning brew that wakes us, to the afternoon and evening cups that keep us alert and moving-- and everything in between. Coffee is part of our lives, our culture, and heck-- we aren’t shy that we love it.
But how well do you know the coffee that you’re drinking? Are you missing out on unique ways to enjoy your K-Cups? Perhaps the best ways to store them?
This article is all about the cup, and we revisit some coffee 101, from cup to cup, to help us truly appreciate the drink that holds such a coveted spot in our lives.
Know Thy K-Cup
Okay, so it’s a morning like any other, and you need a delicious cup of coffee to get you going. So you grab a K-Cup and pop it into your Keurig as usual. And then, just like magic, you have a cup of perfectly brewed coffee almost an instant later. But… how? We use K-Cups every day and yet we don’t know much about their inner workings. So, what are the different parts of a K-Cup, and how in the world do they work?
The Outer Shell
Though they look non-descript, the outside of a K-Cup is a marvel of modern technology that’s designed for long shelf life and ultimate freshness.
- The plastic used is food-safe, and is part of the polystyrene family (remember that one for trivia night). It’s designed to keep out light, moisture, and heat so the contents can be as fresh as possible.
- These little guys are about an inch and a half high, and about two inches across at the top. Their thinner bottoms are around one and a half inches as well.
- All of that is topped off with an aluminum foil, air-tight lid that keeps the contents within the K-Cup sealed. Kept on by a food-grade adhesive, nothing is getting in here until you puncture it in your Keurig.
The Inner Sanctum
Within this little pod crafted from food-safe plastic lies a complex scientific wonder. K-Cups have two main components all hidden neatly within them.
- The Filter: This is at the very bottom of the K-Cup, and filters the hot water that runs through the coffee. It’s typically made of abaca fiber (the same type of paper that most tea bags use).
- The Coffee: The most crucial (and delicious) ingredient in the K-Cup, it’s positioned above the filter. Different flavored coffees are roasted and then allowed to expel the gasses they absorbed while they were roasted (known as degassing). Then they’re ground and injected into the plastic K-Cup with nitrogen (which keeps the ground coffee in the K-Cups fresh).
Store Thy K-Cup
You have to store your K-Cups properly for them to keep their insanely long shelf-life. The 101 for storing K-Cups is just like storing most other dry food. All you have to do is follow the trinity when choosing a place:
- Not in the Sun
As long as you stick to those rules, you’re golden. So what are some nifty ways (abiding by those rules) to store your K-Cups?
Pop Box, Put In Pantry
Okay, so seriously, some of us are lazy (or maybe we’ll call it… utilitarian). We don’t really have an interest in showcasing our K-Cups near our Keurigs, we just want simplicity. While it isn’t fancy, it gets the job done, and we would be remiss if we didn’t mention that popping open your K-Cups box and storing it on a pantry shelf is a totally viable option.
Use a Third-Party Shelf, Rack, or Drawer
There are almost countless custom K-Cup holders that you can find in stores and online easily. These third-party storage options come in a variety of styles to fit your needs. Some of the popular styles are:
- Carousels - These come in many sizes, and let you store your K-Cups on a spinning rack that looks great, and is easy to peruse.
- K-Cup Drawer - These little wonders are like file drawers for K-Cups. They’re built to hold a single layer of pods, and often sturdy enough to n set your coffee maker on (which is a huge space saver).
- Wall Mounted Pod Holder - These are typically acrylic, and perfect for locations that are limited on space. You top-load your pods sideways and grab one out of this thin, flat, wall-mounted holder when you need it.
- Custom Drawer Inserts - There are custom drawer inserts available online that you can place into any drawer in your home. These wooden inserts have circular holes that fit K-Cups perfectly. They cut them to order based on size, and before trimming some can hold up to 30 pods.
Jar or Basket
A simple middle ground between the luddite “pantry with box solution” and the more refined “third party solution” is finding a decorative holder.
In any self-respecting home goods store, you’re likely to find any number of things you can use to hold your K-Cups. Some ideas are:
- An old-timey glass jar with a lid - These are more and more common, and you can often find them with the word ‘coffee’ etched on the side, or a blank portion that you can use chalk to write on (should you so desire). One downside to these is if you have multiple flavors and some find their way to the bottom.
- A fun basket that matches your decor - There are myriad baskets and kitchen containers available in a number of styles. Choose a wire basket, or a fabric-lined or wicker option-- it all depends on your taste and current decor. Baskets are great because it lets people dig around for the flavors they want like a little treasure chest.
- A boutique container - Rather than going for what “matches the decor” go with something fun that matches your personal style. From wireframe teapots, to weathered metal boxes, or even a conversational piece that looks like pop art.
Improve Thy K-Cup
Let’s round out this coffee 101 with some tried and true methods to make your cup of K-Cup coffee taste even better.
Brew Small - You can typically choose the size of the cup you brew on your Keurig. For extra concentrated flavor, brew the smallest amount possible. (If that’s not enough coffee, brew two pods to keep the flavor intact.)
Darken Things Up a Bit - If you feel like the flavor of your K-Cup isn’t quite strong or full-bodied enough, here’s a trick: switch to a dark roast. Medium and light roasts are already softer in flavor, so some feel they taste “watered down.” Avoid this by starting out with a strong, richer roast so the end result is the balanced, flavorful cup of coffee you want.
Use Distilled Water - I know it seems a little hoity-toity, but if you’re using tap water, your coffee will definitely taste like tap water. Just try some clean, distilled water and see if you can taste a difference.
Give it a Test Run - For your K-Cup to taste awesome, you should run a cycle without your pod in it to get the water as hot as possible. This’ll pull more flavor from your pod when you pop it in.
Get Salty - It probably sounds strange, but if you drop a pinch of salt in your cup of coffee, you’ll see a pop of flavor. This is because salt is built to increase sweetness and savory while cutting down on bitterness. Give it a shot-- trust us.
Clean Your Machine - As you use your Keurig, gunk builds up in all of the places that the water runs through. You should clean your machine every few months for a more fresh-tasting cup of coffee. This is called “descaling”, and Keurig has a specific solution they make for the job (though others use DIY solutions like vinegar).
JOJO Java is the Perfect K-Cup
If you start with a sub-par K-Cup, it doesn’t matter how much you know about it, how well you store it, or what flavor hacks you try to use -- it will taste sub-par.
That’s where JOJO Java comes in. We’re delicious enough for you to feel like you have some standards, but not so elite that you’ll feel uppity or snobbish.
You should love the taste of the coffee you're drinking. With our different types of coffee, we’ll provide you with the flavor and quality you’ve been missing.
Give it a shot-- you might find your new favorite coffee. Enjoy a cup of coffee as awesome as you are. Try JOJO Java today.
Written by: Tim Kearney