Can K Cups Be Used As Instant Coffee? All Coffee Lovers Should Know!

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By Mi37

Most people love grinding beans and brewing coffee in a traditional coffee maker. However, having a hot K-Cup on a hectic morning is a good idea.

The Keurig K-cup is a single-serve cup that holds precisely calculated amounts of coffee ground and brews coffee beans in approximately a minute.

K-Cup pods’ widespread availability of flavors and brands, and their reasonable brewing times, are responsible for their rising popularity.

Because this beverage makes flavorful coffee instantly, you may wonder: Can K-Cups be used as instant coffee?

Let’s dive into this article to get the exact answer!


What Is Instant Coffee?

Instant coffee is mainly made from brewed beans. It can be spray-dried or frozen, and the granules or power undergo dehydration to make a coffee cup.

Spray-Drying Process

It can take as little as 5 to 30 seconds to spray-dry the ingredient, making it as rapid as pouring boiled water into a cup.

As its name suggests, the barista will spray brewed coffee into hot air.

When the coffee returns to the chamber’s bottom, it has already dried into tiny crystals because the air, which has been heated to around 480℉, is overly hot.

Due to the dried powder’s fineness, many companies add a step at the final stage in which they utilize steam to compress the crystals into larger granules.

Freeze-Drying Process

The second method is slightly more complex, and the cost of such instant coffees can increase significantly.

However, it maintains much of the taste because it employs low temperatures instead of high ones.

Coffee is boiled to get an extract. Next, it is chilled at around 20℉. The manufacturers freeze this slushy extract on a belt or tray at 40℉ for frozen coffee slabs.

After that, they break these slabs into smaller crystals and place them in vacuum chambers.

When these chambers heat up, the frozen liquid evaporates, and they can get dried granules. That’s all done.

Since many consider instant coffee to be weak, it is a highly controversial option among coffee connoisseurs.

However, other brands, like Starbucks, have capitalized on this convenience element to advertise more expensive coffees.

Compared to traditional coffee, instant coffee is quicker, cheaper, and simpler to make. Like instant tea, you can make it by mixing the powder with hot water.

Instant coffee. Can K-Cups be used as instant coffee?
Instant coffee

What Is The K-Cup?

The word “K-Cup” is now used to refer to all single-use coffee pods that employ the same technology as Keurig.

K-Cups are manufactured with precisely the proper quantity of coffee ground in one cup.

Moreover, you can adjust your brew’s strength using the machine specially designed for this drink.

Besides using K-Cups to make coffee, you can add it to other beverages, such as hot chocolate.

K-Cups’ popularity is widespread all over the world. Almost all coffee brands, like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Gloria Jeans, have their K-Cups.

Keurig may have created K-Cups and registered the name for patent purposes. Keurig specifically designs K-Cups to use with single-serve machines.

A K-cup is composed of plastic that has obtained FDA approval and is tin foil sealed. They look like coffee cups since they include internal filters and inserts.

The filter prevents particles and leftover materials from pouring into your beverage.

The tin foil prevents oxygen from entering the brew and inhibits the degradation process after usage.

Arabica beans used to make K-cup coffee offer a rich, pleasant flavor without being harsh and bitter.

Can K-Cups Be Used As Instant Coffee?

The answer is No. Contrary to popular belief, K-Cups and instant coffee are not the same. K-Cups contain ground coffee with filter paper for brewing.

As shared above, K-Cups contain fresh coffee grounds. If you pour hot water into the cup, it will filter through the coffee ground and brew your beverage.

After you make K-Cups, you can see the leftover grounds inside the cup.

On the other hand, instant coffee is finely ground crystals, so it dissolves when you add hot water, creating a hot coffee cup.

Generally, it’s faster to make instant coffee than K-Cups. As you see, the brewing methods of these drinks are entirely different.

Here are the main differences between K-cup and instant coffee to consider:

Coffee Taste

K-Cups contain freshly ground beans, and you can brew directly into a cup. Therefore, it tastes fresh with exceptional flavor.

On the other hand, instant coffee has already been prepared, so it may be slightly bitter or even sour. Therefore, you can dilute it to have a better taste.

Coffee Beans

K-Cups use the most widely used coffee beans – Arabica. However, instant coffee contains Robusta beans, the world’s third most popular coffee bean.

Grind Size

Medium to coarse-ground coffee is used in K-cups, which must be brewed in a coffee maker.

Nevertheless, instant coffee comes in a powdered or crystallized form and dissolves fast in milk or hot water.

Brewing Method

To make coffee using a coffee maker, K-cups include ground and roasted bean granules inside.

On the other hand, instant coffee undergoes spray-drying or freezing-drying methods to become dissolved.

The Price

The average cost for this pod is around $1.24. Also, it requires a specialized Keurig machine to make the drink.

However, instant coffee is significantly less expensive and does not require any specific machine to brew a cup.

You can look at the table below to briefly know the differences between these drinks:


Instant Coffee

Coffee taste

fresh taste

slightly bitter and sour

Coffee beans



Grind size

Medium to coarse

powdered or crystallized

Brewing method

using a coffee maker

dissolving when added to milk or hot water

The price



Can You Use K-Cups For Whipped Coffee?

After getting the answer to the question: Are Keurig pods instant coffee? You may wonder whether you can use it for whipped coffee.

The short answer is yes! It is a fantastic complement for making whipping cream or other coffee.

This recipe is relatively straightforward. You only need to have your favorite K-Cup pod and brew it in a specialized coffee machine.

Remember to leave your coffee to cool for a couple of minutes. Prepare any heavy whipping cream in a big bowl.

Use an electric mixer to whip the cream and gradually add the coffee. This process may take some minutes to create soft peaks.

Add ice cubes and enjoy your beverage!

How To Brew K-Cups?

If you have never made K-Cups, the following guides will be helpful for your brewing. Let’s take a closer look!

  • Step 1: Pour water into the water tank.
  • Step 2: Turn on the Keurig machine.
  • Step 3: Look for the power button and press it. The coffee maker will heat up gradually. If the water is boiling, you will notice the heating light turns off.
  • Step 4: Locate the drip tray. Put a mug on it.
  • Step 5: Look for the lever. Lift it.
  • Step 6: Insert your favorite K-cup pod into the right place. Ensure the foil lid faces up.
  • Step 7: Push down the lever. Remember to close it correctly.
  • Step 8: Select the suitable cup size and place it on your Keurig machine. The brewing process starts! It will take around 60 seconds.
  • Step 9: If this process is complete, air will burst from the coffee maker.
  • Step 10: Lift the machine’s lever. Take out the capsule. Enjoy your cup of coffee!

If you don’t have a machine, you can still brew K-Cups. Check the tutorials in this video:

Is K-Cup Bad For You?

As you can see, K-Cups use foil and plastic packaging materials. Hence, you will be concerned about the negative effects of these products on your health.

Don’t worry because the plastic substance in these coffee products does not contain a toxin called bisphenol A (BPA).

Furthermore, it is manufactured using food-grade elements approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

When you utilize hot water to make K-Cups in a Keurig machine, the temperature is not hot enough to melt the plastic substances or leach into your beverage.

Some people report that they smell the plastic note in K-Cups, but not K-Cups are the root cause.

The water tank may be the culprit rather than the plastic material of K-Cups. Follow the simple steps below to remove this unpleasant flavor:

  1. Clean your water tank thoroughly using lukewarm water and a cleaning solution.
  2. Pour enough distilled vinegar into the tank.
  3. Return this tank to your machine. Start the brewing cycle. Keep going until the water tank is thoroughly empty.
  4. Take the water tank out. Wash it.
  5. Add hot water and brew it for a couple of minutes to remove vinegary remnants.
  6. Insert a K-Cup and brew to check whether the unpleasant plastic flavor disappears. If not, repeat the steps above.

Is K-Cup Reusable?

It’s a controversial question! While some suppose this product is designed for a single serving, others prefer to utilize it several times.

Coffee lovers believe the first shot is relatively strong when served in a big cup. On the other hand, the second offers a weaker flavor.

Understanding the intensity of the debate, Keurig has produced K-Cup pods with reusable stainless steel filters.

People who love bold coffee flavors highly appreciate these products, while those striving for the environment protection movement don’t.


Are K-Cups Stronger Than Regular Coffee?

K-Cups are brewed at higher temperatures than regular coffee. Therefore, they are bolder and more intense.

What Is The Main Difference Between A K-Cup Pod And A K-Cup?

K-Cups are cups packed with fresh coffee grounds with a filter. However, K-Cup pods are sealed directly inside filter paper.

Can You Just Add Hot Water To the Coffee Pods?

The short answer is no! Remove the coffee pods from their packaging and place them in a mug. After that, you can use hot water to pour over them.

How Many Times Can You Use 1 K Cup?

You should only use this product one time for a single serving.

Is K-Cups Healthy?

The answer is yes. These products don’t contain toxic chemicals such as BPA, so they are relatively healthy.

How Many K-Cups Can I Have In A Day?

You can drink about four cups of K-Cups (945 ml) daily.

The Bottom Line

Can K-Cups be used as instant coffee? These products have fresh coffee grounds with filter paper to brew, while instant coffee will dissolve when added to milk or hot water.

Moreover, as we’ve listed above, the two beverages are different regarding taste, coffee beans, grind size, brewing method, and price.

If you want to know more about K-Cups, please send us an email to get more information. Thank you for reading!

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