There are two good reasons why you might want to use a coffee pod twice: For environmental purposes or because you’re getting low on your pod supply. I was curious to know what would happen if I ran coffee pods more than once through a Keurig, Dolce Gusto, or Nespresso, so I did some experimenting to find out.
According to coffee pod manufacturers, the answer is no. In reality, if you’re in a pinch, yes you can. However, since the grounds in that pod were used before, expect a much weaker and more “watered down” tasting coffee which is more similar to tea or a really lightly roasted blend.
We did our own experiment to see for ourselves if coffee pods can be used twice and if so, how it affects the taste. We’ll also explore using reusable K-cups and the advantages they bring.
Can K-cups be used more than once?
Keurig is by far the most popular single serve coffee maker. They’re in tens of millions of homes and offices across the US so for that reason, we decided to use this machine for testing.
On Keurig’s website, their official answer to this question is “K-Cup® pods are intended to be used only once. Most of the flavor has already been extracted from the grounds when first brewed.”
But is that just the company trying to get you to buy more of their pods? We decided to put it to the test.
For this experiment, we used an Eight O'Clock Hazelnut Flavored coffee pod. It’s a medium roast and was recently featured as our top pick for the best overall Hazelnut Flavored coffee <LINK to post>. Using an intentionally flavored coffee will help us really test the difference between the two distillations.
Our method was very simple; we ran one K-cup pod back-to-back to compare the cups it brewed. We also used the medium setting on the coffee machine which gave us two 8 oz drinks.
Here are the results visually:
As you can easily see, the second cup is noticeably lighter than the first.
The big difference isn’t just in how the brew looks. Unsurprisingly, the taste was different also. The first cup had a rich and bold taste and aroma of hazelnuts. The flavors were still there in the second cup but the punch was gone. It’s certainly not something I would serve a guest who came over to visit but if I was in a pinch and had nothing else, I might be able to stomach it once.
Again, this was a medium roast - the results might be slightly better if you’re using a dark roast where the beans give off bolder tastes.
How many ounces of coffee does a k cup make?
Here, you’re limited to the settings on the Keurig machine.
The K-cups are filled with ground coffee to be able to brew at the three machine settings of 6, 8, or 10 oz. That’s 180, 240, and 300 ml for my metric friends.
Of course, the less water sent through the pod, the stronger the taste is going to be.
How many cups of coffee does a k-cup make?
K-cups are intended to make just one cup of coffee. You can use it for more but as mentioned before, you’re going to get a very watered-down cup of coffee.
Can you refill k-cups?
The question here is, can you remove the film on the top of the plastic pod, fill it with new ground coffee, and use it again?
Technically, yes, you can. That being said, the filter in the pod will eventually get worn with use and with cleaning. Once this happens, you’ll start getting coffee grounds in your cup. Thus, reusing your K-cup pods will work in a pinch but it’s not a good long-term solution. If you plan on brewing your own ground coffee in a Keurig, we highly recommend picking up a reusable K-cup (more on these soon).
Can you use Dolce Gusto pods more than once?
For those of you not familiar, Dolce Gusto pods are used with NESCAFÉ coffee machines.
Here, the same theory applies as with Keurig K-cup pods. Since the ground coffee in the pods have already been used once, most of the flavor has been extracted. You technically can use it again, but don’t expect it to be a good cup of coffee.
Are reusable K cups worth it?
For the low price of a reusable K cup, yes, they are absolutely worth it. They’re fantastic for three reasons: protecting the environment, cost saving, and the range of coffee you can brew.
Let’s talk a bit about each of these.
Reusable K-cups dramatically reduce plastic waste. Just think about how many cups you go through in a day. For me, I usually drink between 2-3 cups daily. Times that by 365 for the year, and you get over 900 coffee pods I’d be throwing away a year! And yeah, more and more companies are making their pods recyclable (as long as you clean out the grounds) but it’s not always guaranteed that your local plant will accept pods for that purpose, especially since most people do not clean them out after use. It’s great to recycle but it's even better to reduce; and that’s why believe going reusable is the best.
Second, is the cost savings. Single serve K-cups can cost you anywhere in the range of $0.50-$1.50 per pod. That is the same price as one ounce of ground coffee. The problem is that each pod actually only holds about half an ounce (10-12 grams) of coffee in it. A reusable K-cup will also only hold half an ounce. This means that for every one cup of coffee a K-cup makes, you can make two cups for the same price using a reusable pod. In other words, when you use K-cups, you’re paying double for convenience.
Lastly, the range of coffee you can brew using a reusable pod is endless. Not every company has their coffee in K-cups so your choices are limited. When you using a reusable pod instead, it opens you up to the entire worldwide selection of coffee.
Secret bonus advantage: it is better for your health. Reusable K-cup pods (specifically, those made from stainless steel and not plastic) leech fewer chemicals into your cup than single-use pods do. This is because the hot/scalding water that runs through your grounds will also heat the pod, and if it is not made of heat-resistant material, you risk drinking more than just the coffee. BPA was all the rage a few years ago in the public eye and has been largely reduced in commercial products since but it is not the only chemical found in plastics that can wreak havoc on the human body. Chemical-free might also taste better for those with extremely sensitive palates.
How many times can you use a reusable K-cup?
If handled and washed correctly, standard quality reusable K-cups can easily last years and thousands of brews. I’ve used both stainless steel and plastic reusable K-cups and I prefer using the stainless steel one. It just feels sturdier and I don’t have any concerns about toxins seeping into my brew.
I hope you enjoyed our experiment to answer the question: Can Coffee Pods Be Used Twice? Comment below and tell us if you’ve ever used a coffee pod twice, or even more. What were your results?