Keurig coffee machines are some of the most popular ways to make coffee at home. After all, there’s something so incredibly simple about popping a k cup into the machine and letting it do its thing. There really isn’t an easier coffee maker on the market.
There is one problem with the Keurig machine though: they aren’t designed for regular coffee. If you try to add coffee grounds to your Keurig machine with a regular filter, chances are you’re going to end up with a big mess.
But, since a lot of people don’t like the extra waste from single-use k-cups, there are a lot of people who want to know if you can use ground coffee in Keurig machines.
Thankfully, there are a few options, whether you’re wanting to switch for environmental reasons or just because getting k-cup pods can be fairly expensive compared with regular ground coffee or coffee beans.
Let’s take a closer look at how to use ground coffee in Keurig machines, and what options you have if you want to use regular coffee.
Do You Have Use K Cups In Keurig?
First off, there are some alternatives that don’t involve using a k-cup in your Keurig, but most Keurig machines are designed to be as proprietary as possible. That’s one of the reasons so many people end up using a k-cup instead of an alternative, the machines are designed to make alternatives difficult.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t use something other than a k-cup in your Keurig, it just means that you need to be creative and careful if you want to get the same delicious cup of coffee.
It’s also worth noting that the coffee in your k-cup of choice might be flavored or otherwise altered from just plain coffee. You’ll need to try and get a similar flavor and roast of ground coffee if you want to get the same flavor from your coffee.
After all, most of us just want to get the same delicious coffee in our coffee mug, no matter how it gets there.
Are There Any K Cup Alternatives?
There are a few k-cup alternatives that are a good option if you’re looking for alternatives or need a backup plan for your k-cups.
Most of these alternatives are about reducing the environmental impact and cost of a k-cup though, not about eliminating them entirely. Here are a few options:
How To Reuse K-Cups
The first thing you might be curious about is whether k-cups can be reused. A single k-cup is actually probably good for 2-3 uses before the plastic will start to give out, so reusing them is one of the best ways to reduce your waste.
However, the coffee grounds inside your k-cup will need to be refreshed each time.
That also means replacing the aluminum foil top to make sure the k-cup still works as intended. Without the top, the cups can overfill and spill, which leads to more coffee grounds in your coffee mug. Not ideal.
All you need to do is dump the old coffee grounds by peeling back the aluminum topper. Then, refill the k-cup with finely ground replacement coffee grounds. You should probably fill to the bottom of the two fill lines, at least if you want a similar cup of coffee.
Next, cut a small square of aluminum foil. Fold that tightly over the top of the k-cup and you’re good to go! Remember, the size of your coffee grinds really matters with a Keurig coffee maker because they’re designed to give you fresh coffee with a shorter brewing time.
As an alternative to fine-grinding your coffee grounds, you can also use instant coffee. It’s much closer to the texture of k cup pods than most store-bought pre-ground coffee.
Mesh Filter Alternatives
There are also a variety of mesh filters that are designed to fit the same space as a k-cup. These aren’t branded Keurig, which is the biggest difference between a mesh filter and a reusable k-cup. However, they let you use your own coffee and still keep the grounds contained so none of them get in your coffee cup.
The biggest challenge with most mesh filters is that you need to experiment a little to find the right coffee ratio for your coffee maker.
It’s also important to make sure you have the right kind of coffee grounds for your filter and to make sure your reusable filter is kept clean.
We’ll talk more about those challenges in the how-to section, don’t worry.
Generic Cups Instead Of K-Cups
One k-cup alternative that isn’t actually any more environmentally friendly, but that can be easier on your wallet, is to go with generic cups instead of Keurig branded k-cups.
Generic versions of the k-cup and usually all but identical. It’s still a coffee pod that’s designed so you don’t need a filer, that holds coffee grounds, often flavored, and makes brewing coffee a little faster and easier.
They’re also still designed to be single-use, which means they produce just as much waste as using a k cup in your Keruig brewers.
Reusable K Cup
One of the best ways to use coffee grounds in a Keurig brewer is to get a reusable k cup filter. A reusable filter is good for using your own coffee grounds in a Keurig machine, which also means that you can use regular coffee or flavored coffee as you choose.
The filter basket is clearly marked with the fill lines you need to decide how strong you want your coffee and works as a great coffee filter. That’s important because Keurigs works best with fine ground coffee that needs a better coffee filter if you don’t want a little extra crunch in your coffee.
Advantages To Using Coffee Grounds In Keurig
There are a few advantages worth considering when you’re thinking about switching to a reusable filter or reusable k-cup so you can use coffee grounds in your Keurig.
One of the biggest advantages of switching away from using a k cup every day is that regular coffee is almost always more affordable than the k cup version. Whether you’re looking to save a little money now and then or want to make your coffee habit significantly cheaper, one of the best ways to start is to start using your own coffee instead of a k cup.
You can even use a Vitamix blender to grind your coffee, which can be very convenient!
More Coffee Options
One of the best things about fresh coffee is that there are so many different flavors (like French vanilla coffee), types of grinds, and types of coffee beans. That means that when you switch away from a k cup and start using your own coffee instead you actually have a lot more options.
K cups might come in a lot of different flavors, but there isn’t a k cup for every type of coffee or every roast. That means that any time you’re using your own coffee instead, you have the option of getting more flavors or combining flavors in new ways.
This way you can use your favorite coffee, whether they have their own k cup version or not!
Better Control Over Your Coffee
In addition to giving you more flavor options, using a reusable filter and your own coffee is also a great way to get better control over the coffee in your cup. After all, you can control how much coffee grounds you add, as well as the ratio of coffee to water.
All of that means that you’re going to get a lot more control over the flavor, and a lot more freedom to experiment than you get with a typical k cup and Keurig brewing cycle. You might not have as much control over the brewing process itself as you would from using a french press or another brewer, but this is the best way to get versatility from Keurig brewers.
More Environmentally Friendly
Because a k cup is a single-use cup, and is often designed for single cups instead of making a full pot of coffee, they’re incredibly wasteful. Even a single cup of coffee represents a lot more waste if you’re using a k cup.
Using a reusable coffee filter instead makes it a lot greener to brew your favorite coffee.
Cup Size Control
The other advantage that using a reusable k cup or reusable filter is that you can usually fit more coffee inside, which is great if you want a larger cup of coffee in a single brew cycle. A k cup is typically designed for an 8oz cup of coffee, which is about the smallest cup most people have at home.
If you want a larger cup, or to fill a large travel mug, you often need to use multiple brew cycles or even more than one k cup. That gets wasteful and expensive quickly. Using a reusable filter you can get a good cup of coffee even if your mugs are a bit bigger than average.
How To Use Coffee Grounds In Your Keurig Machine
If you want to use ground coffee in your Keurig, it’s important to know a few things about setting it up and making sure your filter does a good job. Here’s what you need to know.
Keurig Grind Size
The first thing is that the grind size of Keurig coffee grounds is smaller than what you’re likely to find in a store. You’ll want to get a coffee grinder, even if you’re already using ground coffee, to get a finer grind. If you’re using coffee beans instead of ground coffee, you’ll need to grind them longer to get the right texture.
Using Reusable K Cups
Using reusable k cups is probably the easiest way to get a good cup of coffee, and it’s better for you than reusing old k cups. A reusable k cup is also a good option if other filters were giving you under-extracted coffee that didn’t taste as strong as you’re used to.
These reusable cups fit inside the k cup holder and brew the same ways as a k cup. However, they do need to be filled to the right level to work properly. Overfill them and you’re more likely to get coffee grounds leaking when you brew.
Coffee To Water Ratio
Every Keurig is a little different when it comes to the right coffee to water ratio. Because these machines brew faster they tend to have less of the water evaporate, which means you might not need as much as with other coffee machines.
It’s okay to experiment with your coffee to water ratio, but remember that adding too much coffee is a good way to get grounds in the bottom of your mug.
Can You Use A Paper Filter?
There are some paper filters designed for Keurig, but they deliver mixed results. Generally, we recommend going with a mesh filter or a reusable k cup instead of the paper filters.
But, you can use a paper filter to make your reusable k cup or mesh filter more effective or to make cleanup easier.
What Kind Of Coffee Should You Use?
You can use whatever kind of coffee you want in your Keurig filter basket, but the texture of the coffee does matter. Keurigs are designed to use a finer grind size than other brewers, which means that your coffee grounds should be more like instant coffee in texture than typical ground coffee.
Of course, you can also use instant coffee if you want to! Instant coffee just tends to be a bit weaker than ground coffee.
Keep Your Reusable Filter Clean
If you’re using a reusable filter it’s important to keep it clean, no matter what type of reusable coffee filter it is. The easiest way to clean off your coffee filter is to put it in the top rack on your dishwasher, however, they usually last longer if you hand wash.
You should wash your filter at least once a week for the best flavor from your coffees.
Related: How To Start Liking Coffee
Final Thoughts on Using Ground Coffee in Keurig
If you own a Keurig machine but you’re tired of paying for overpriced brewing pods, using coffee grounds is a great way to save money on coffee.
By purchasing a mesh filter insert, you can use ground coffee in your Keurig with no problem!