Pros: Easy and fast... plus delicious with the "My K-cup" accessory
Cons: Expensive per brewed cup if you use factory K-cups
Okay, so I got my Keurig just last week and have been brewing single serve coffee furiously-- perhaps too furiously, but caffeine manifests its effects in certain indisputable ways.
Anyways, I ordered the reusable, refillable "My K-cup" adapter along with a total of 5 filter baskets. This accessory, which you can order directly from the manufacturer, allows you to use fresh ground coffee in your keurig. The difference in taste is amazing!
The idea is to grind up some Starbucks the night before and load up the little baskets (the $15 kit comes with one basket, but you can order additional filter baskets in sets of two for $10) so that come morning, the entire family can have their fresh cup of joe at the various times that we start the day. This might sound a bit over the top, but, hey, when it comes to attaining that perpetually elusive perfect cup of coffee, giving up any sort of semblance of normal, reasonable behavior is a prerequisite.
My first impression is that the factory packaged K-cups that came with Keurig can be summed up in one word as "blah". I don't mean to offend anyone out there who loves these things. Be that as it may, I never intended to buy commercial K-cups and end up paying $24/pound for coffee.
So I quickly popped out the K-cup holder after trying my first Timothy's sample, and inserted the My K-cup adapter. I ground up some Starbucks Columbian, setting my grinder for the medium setting (same as you'd use for drip coffee a la Mellita). I then filled the filter baskets almost to the top of the mesh, which I understand is about 12 grams.
The result was a very good, fresh and robust cup of coffee. Can't say it was any better than freshly brewed drip, but it certainly was better than the drip coffee after it sat around for 80 or 90 minutes, which is what I was used to since our son starts the pot before 6 am.
My only wish is that Koenig made a plastic airtight container to hold the pre-loaded cups overnight so the fresh grinded coffee would stay super fresh- but-- who knows?-- it probably wouldn't actually make a perceptible difference.
Or would it?
UPDATE: I had a great idea and put all five filter baskets, locked 'n loaded, in a plastic sandwich container (you know, the kind they sell in supermarkets) with a lid, which kept them reasonably airtight. Now if I could only figure out a way to economically inject the box with inert nitrogen...
Bottom line: These easy to use, refillable My K-cup coffee holders are indispensable. I wouldn't bother with a single serve coffee maker without this option.
UPDATE: Here's the latest of my teeth-clenching, white-knuckled experiences using the refillable K-cup. Just bought a 12 ounce bag of pre-ground Archer Farms French Vanilla coffee at Target. Personally, I'd rather drink a glass of undiluted Lestoil, but my son likes flavored coffee, so I indulged him.
The coffee in the bag was grinded somewhat coarse, maybe a couple of notches finer than standard French press. This grind, therefore, should have been optimal for the K-cup do-it-yourselfer, since their instructions call for a French press grind.
Up to now, I've been grinding my coffee medium or medium-fine (autodrip setting), filling the basket about 90%. With Starbucks Columbian I get a good, quite strong 9 oz cup (one cycle, plus a bit extra to top up the mug). However, we could not get a drinkable cup of coffee using the French Vanilla, even after filling the basket almost to the tippy top.
The coffee looked extremely watery and tasted very dilute. Totally undrinkable. I wasn't about to pour any of the flavored coffee into my burr grinder for further grinding and contaminate it with that awful vanilla, so we'll just use the rest of the bag in my old French press.
So, be aware that you probably can't happily use SOME pre-ground coffee with these K-cup refillables, unless you can custom grind it more finely. I'd recommend medium-fine-- the mesh on the filter basket seems tight enough to prevent any grounds from getting into your cup.
By the way, I broke down and ordered some flavored coffee K-cups, despite my earlier resolution to do it myself from whole beans. We got an assortment of regular K-cups in five different flavors from Timothy's and Green Mtn. My teenage boys like the Hazelnut and French Vanilla. I tried the Green Mtn Dark Magic Extra Bold and it's not too bad... but it can't compare to grinding my own the night before.
And for Decaf, the regular K-cups make a lot of sense for us since we don't drink it very often-- it's easier to keep the K-cups around since they have a decent shelf life.
I really don't mind setting up the 4 or 5 filter baskets the night before-- it takes just a few minutes and connects me to the coffee beans in a sort of transcendental way. So I get the spiritual experience in the evening grinding the coffee, and the convenience in the morning with the My K-cup insta-brew. What could be better?