The Solution to my K-Cup® Delemma.

The dark roasted, strong, freshly made coffee is filling my nose with it’s ‘morning is going to be just right’ smell.  Akemi’s light roasted, regular strength coffee is making as I sip mine.  We struggled for years across the light versus dark, strong versus weak divide, her forever making too-weak coffee and me forever making too-strong coffee.  We bought a Keurig® a decade ago and it transformed our coffee experience and as a consequence our mornings are less likely to start with a discussion about the unsuitability of the coffee.

The problem I have always had with single serving containers of anything is the ‘single use’ of plastic.  Until we figure out how to recycle all plastic instead of the pitifully small percentage we now recycle it is just creating a mess on our planet.  I don’t intend to start a debate, just express the feeling of unease I have about single use plastic.  For an unfathomable reason I don’t like the little baskets that are sold to get around this.  I just have never liked the coffee that comes out of them.  This left me in a quandary, to have the coffee I want and add to the plastic load of the world or accept the less-than perfect solution out of the store.

A few years ago, I accidentally found a solution that works for me.  I was researching inexpensive and small Keurig® machines to use when I was staying at a hotel for a long time for work.  The only Starbucks® was a few miles in the wrong direction for my fifteen mile commute.  The only local coffee shop open at the right time of the morning had air pots of cooling coffee that was made with too few grounds.  The solution was to buy a small office size Keurig® from the Navy Exchange.  While I was investigating those coffee makers, I found an article about reuse of single use coffee containers.

The simplicity of the solution to my moral dilemma was amazing.  Tear off the foil cover, empty and rinse the K-cup® then fill and use again (details below).  The grounds can then be put into the garden or flower bed and the container is no longer single use.  Oh, and did I say, it is way less expensive.  To date, I have reused K-Cups® as many as ten times, seriously, these things are over engineered.

So, save some money and the environment while still maintaining a happy, two-coffee-flavor household.  Here’s how

 

Pre-work:  The one thing you will want to do ahead is to make foil covers.  Simply pull a box width piece of foil out and tear it off.  Using scissors that you want to sharpen (cutting foil sharpens scissors (who knew)) cut the strip into squares.  I usually make several strips first, carefully stack them and cut a few at a time.

  1. After removing the single use container from the coffee maker, tear the foil top off of it empty the grounds into the trash or another container for future use as soil amendment.
  2. Rinse the container.  They don’t have to be sparkly clean, just pretty empty so the old grounds don’t affect the flavor of your next coffee.
  3. Let it dry.
  4. When you are ready for coffee fill the container (I just dip out and level off, but depending on how strong you like your coffee and how germ adverse you are will dictate how you go about this part.
  5. Lay the foil top over your coffee and pinch it to the edge.
  6. Line up the hole with needle in the coffee maker.
  7. Close and brew.

Just for the sake of full disclosure, I still make a cup of coffee with a K-cup® right of the box and then pitch it.  I usually pull out the grounds to throw under the bushes, but just the same I ain’t no environmental saint.  Also, if it is early and especially if I try to work in the dark, failure can occur.  Eventually, the cups will wear out or you will decide it has been used enough and retire it to the trash since these are not recyclable most places.  They can’t be recycled because they have multiple material types, even if it was stripped out, the plastic is unclean.

 

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