Best Biodegradable K Cups That Are Great For Your Palate And Planet

Coffee lovers and general consumers alike enjoy Keurig K cups. They’ve been quite a revolution in the world of coffee and the wider industry. Their popularity also has a terrible side effect. These cups are generally single-use plastics and contribute immensely to environmental problems.

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There have been some attempts to change this situation, most notably with biodegradable K cups. These can potentially make a big change and have a huge environmental impact. It is also important that we, as consumers, encourage these forward-thinking products. 

Increased consumer interest in biodegradable K cups has had a positive impact on their development. However, a lot more needs to be done so they can be truly mainstream.

11 Biodegradable Coffee Pods For 2020

  1. Kauai Coffee Single-serve Pods Na Pali Coast Dark Roast
  2. Cameron’s Coffee Single Serve Pods, Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend
  3. SF Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest Blend
  4. GLORYBREW K Cup Variety Pack
  5. Boyd’s Good Morning Coffee
  6. Oakland Coffee Works Fourth Wave Blend Organic Coffee
  7. Tayst Decaf Coffee Pods
  8. OneCoffee Organic Breakfast Blend
  9. GreaterGoods Kcup Coffee Light Roast
  10. WILD JO: 12 Cup Organic Dark French Roast Single Serve Coffee
  11. Faro Roasting House Single Serve Compostable Variety Pack

Editor’s Choice: SF Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest Blend

SF Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest Blend

Good coffee and a fully biodegradable K cup earn SF Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest Blend our favor for this category. We certainly do want biodegradable coffee pods, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of good coffee!

These pods contain strong, delicious coffee that will satisfy your tastebuds. A medium roast brings out the full flavor of the coffee and makes it enjoyable and delicious. As for the pod, it is 100% commercially compostable. The lid, the filter, and even the ring can be composted.

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Reviewed: Top Biodegradable K Cups For You

1. Kauai Coffee Single-serve Pods Na Pali Coast Dark Roast

Kauai Coffee Single-serve Pods Na Pali Coast Dark Roast

This Hawaiian coffee marks its presence with a great aroma. It’s perfectly okay to be enchanted by the vivid aroma before you even take a sip of this coffee. Kauai Coffee Single-serve Pods Na Pali Coast Dark Roast doesn’t hold back on taste either. Its bold and rich flavor gives greater weight to the nutty notes and sweet chocolate overtones.

The coffee is sourced from the Na Pali Coast in Hawaii. It shows every bit of the tropical goodness that can be expected from this tropical paradise. 

Eco-consciousness is a big part of these K cups. The pods are made to be compostable, though they use “less plastic” rather than going plastic-free. The manufacturer says their pods use 33% less plastic than other brands. This change is accounted for by the use of the filter. Its ring is still plastic, which means the pod is not completely compostable.

K Cup Highlights

  • 100% arabica coffee sourced from Na Pali Coast in Hawaii
  • Excellent aroma
  • Bold taste with hints of nutty and chocolaty tones
  • Roast: dark
  • Commercially compostable filter

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2. Cameron’s Coffee Single Serve Pods, Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend

Cameron's Coffee Single Serve Pods, Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend

This is a flavorful blend that also works well for the environmental aspects thanks to the choice of pods. Cameron’s Coffee Single Serve Pods, Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend brews a smooth cup of coffee that’s flavorful and aromatic. 

Like most pods on this list, these pods do carry a fairly hefty price tag. However, the blend is masterful enough to beat some of the more expensive coffees you can find. The specialty coffee touch here shines through pretty strongly.

On the pod front, the good news is that these pods are fully compostable. The lid is paper and can be handled easily. Its filter is compostable as well. 

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What’s interesting with Cameron’s EcoPods is the ring. The ring has to be a sturdy plastic(ish) material. So these pods use a ring made from corn, beets, and wood!

K Cup Highlights

  • A masterful blend of delicious coffee
  • The pods are 100% compostable
  • Flavorful with a great aroma
  • Roast: medium dark

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3. SF Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest Blend

SF Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest Blend

SF Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest Blend is the editor’s choice for this category. As noted earlier, the taste of coffee and the quality of the biodegradable K cup both contributed in reaching this decision. 

Rainforest Blend is a full-bodied coffee that presents taste notes of sweet berry and dark chocolate. It’s quite a touch and makes this a fulfilling experience. The aroma goes along well with the taste and will have you asking for more. The high-grown coffee is sourced from Central America, grown on elevations of 1200-2000 meters.

Another highlight here is the OneCup pod, which is 100% compostable and biodegradable. The lid is made from paper and is biodegradable. Its filter is commercially compostable, as is the ring, which is made from plant-based materials.

K Cup Highlights

  • Flavorful blend of excellent coffee
  • 100% compostable K cup
  • Excellent taste and aroma
  • Certified organic and kosher
  • Roast: medium

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4. GLORYBREW K Cup Variety Pack

GLORYBREW – K Cup Variety Pack

GLORYBREW K Cup Variety Pack will get you some of the hottest flavors from this company. Interestingly named Duke, Knight, and Noble, each variant boasts of excellent coffee. The bigger difference here is the roast. Duke is a medium roast, the Knight is a dark roast, while Noble picks up an extra dark roast.

The pods used here are fully commercially compostable. Glorybrew’s compostable K cups are made from bio-based materials as a way to be biodegradable. The lid is the easy part, though the filter, and the more difficult ring, are compostable as well.

K Cup Highlights

  • Variety pack with great coffee and flavors
  • Certified by the Rainforest Alliance
  • 100% compostable pods
  • Roast: medium, dark, extra dark (varies with individual packs)

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5. Boyd’s Good Morning Coffee

Boyd's Good Morning Coffee

Boyd’s Good Morning Coffee sounds like the chipper name you want for the morning caffeine kick. Thankfully, it doesn’t disappoint and lives up to the expectations. This coffee is a medium roast designed to be crisp and smooth. The pleasing taste and aroma work really well to make this coffee desirable.

Its pod fairs well too. The compostable pod has a few touches that make it seem more impressive. For example, its ring is made using coffee chaff, a by-product of roasting coffee. That’s some intelligent reuse that every eco-conscious consumer can appreciate. The lid is made from paper and the filter is made from a bio-based material.

K Cup Highlights

  • Delicious and aromatic blend
  • Uses USDA certified organic coffee
  • 100% compostable pods (the ring is made from coffee chaff!)
  • Roast: medium

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6. Oakland Coffee Works Fourth Wave Blend Organic Coffee

A rich and smooth flavor with a touch of boldness defines Oakland Coffee Works Fourth Wave Blend Organic Coffee. The beans are sourced from Central and South America to create this pleasing blend.

The pods work well on the biodegradable front and are commercially compostable. A compostable bag is included with each box. As you brew the coffee, keep adding the pods to this bag, then drop it off at a composting facility/bin.

K Cup Highlights

  • High-quality and delicious blend
  • Certified USDA organic coffee
  • Includes a compostable bag and compostable K cups
  • Roast: medium dark

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7. Tayst Decaf Coffee Pods

Tayst Decaf Coffee Pods

Tayst Decaf Coffee Pods are our top choice for decaf coffee pods. Being “defiantly decaf” this coffee highlights the goods of a dark and rich touch that is worth enjoying. Though it gives up on caffeine, the flavor continues to be pretty rich for this coffee.

What I like is that they’re very thorough with the eco-friendly aspect. The use of plastic and similar materials is kept to bare minimum, even in packaging. The pods used are compostable and biodegradable. No plastic is used for these pods. The primary materials used for these pods are paper, bio-resin, and coffee chaff.

K Cup Highlights

  • Decaf coffee
  • Top-notch flavor and aroma
  • Biodegradable K cups made from bio-resins, paper, and coffee chaff
  • Certified by Rainforest Alliance

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8. OneCoffee Organic Breakfast Blend

OneCoffee Organic Breakfast Blend

A coffee for a vibrant start to the day, OneCoffee Organic Breakfast Blend is full of vibrant flavor and aroma. Sourced from the highlands of South America, the coffee exudes great flavor and brews a smooth cup. 

The pods used are biodegradable and fully compostable. They avoid the use of plastic and instead focus on compostable materials to be eco friendly. 

K Cup Highlights

  • Excellent coffee sourced from South American highlands
  • Non plastic K cups that are fully biodegradable
  • Certified USDA organic, halal, and kosher
  • Roast: medium

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9. GreaterGoods Kcup Coffee Light Roast

GreaterGoods Kcup Coffee Light Roast coffee shows itself as a coffee “made for good”. One part of this effort is the fully biodegradable and compostable coffee pods they use. Another part is that a portion of their profits goes to Pure Earth to clean up toxic pollution around the world.

The coffee itself is a delicious brew with vibrant acidity, floral undertones, and a clean cup. This mountain blend is a light roast that focuses on flavors. It might not feel strong and bold, but it does have a kick.

K Cup Highlights

  • Vibrant and delicious cup of coffee
  • Fully biodegradable and compostable K cups
  • Certified kosher
  • Roast: light

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10. WILD JO: 12 Cup Organic Dark French Roast Single Serve Coffee

Wild Jo Dark Roast Coffee

Wild Jo is amongst the strongest K cup coffee options available. It’s rich, bold, and flavorful with a caffeine kick that will knock your socks off clean. The blend is made from beans sourced from all around the world. However, they keep up with the quality. According to the company, only the top 2% of the world’s arabica beans qualify for a cup of Wild Jo.

A French roast gives this coffee a smoky touch. Though a bit of dark cocoa and dark brown sugar undertones survive and make their presence felt.

The strong coffee is packed in an environmentally-responsible K cup. Its soft filter is biodegradable, as are the lid and ring. Strong coffee with a strong conscience is exactly the way we want things to go!

K Cup Highlights

  • Excellent, strong coffee
  • Certified USDA organic, fair trade, and kosher
  • Biodegradable K cups and filter
  • Roast: Dark

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11. Faro Roasting House Single Serve Compostable Variety Pack

Faro Roasting House Single Serve Compostable Variety Pack

This variety pack includes the best of coffee in the Faro Roasting House. There’s quite a touch of variety here, going from a light breakfast roast to the strong French roast. Plus, some of the pods offer flavors and blends. If you like variety and want to mix things up, this is an excellent pick.

K cups used here are the same compostable pods that are a hallmark of the biodegradable niche. The pods are 100% compostable and made with a good choice of materials. The lid is made from paper, the ring is sourced from corn starch, while the filter comes from renewable bio-based materials.

K Cup Highlights

  • A well-balanced variety pack with good range
  • Certified by the Rainforest Alliance
  • Biodegradable/compostable K cups and filter
  • Roast: Varies with individual K cup, ranges from light to French roast

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A Better Understanding Of The Biodegradable And Compostable K Cups

The small plastic K cup seems like it won’t be a big deal. But remember, millions use several of these K cups each day – and that adds up. These single use plastics contribute a fair chunk to the landfills and have become an environmental problem. Even the creator of K cups has expressed regret at the damage his creation is capable of.

So it stands to reason that we should be more circumspect in our usage of these pods. Keurig biodegradable k cups would remove this problem. However, that is easier said than done, as the industry struggles to find materials that can overcome the convenience of single use plastics.

The emergence of compostable K cups is a step in the right direction and can prove to be more useful.

The Tale Of Compostable Coffee Pods

While we gush over compostable and biodegradable coffee pods, it is important to understand the current offerings are just the first step. There is a lower reliance on plastic but the job is not yet fully done. 

Hopefully, increased customer interest will continue to push these changes in the right direction.

It is worth noting that the currently available biodegradable pods are commercially compostable. This means they need a commercial/industrial composting facility to be put into use. 

However, these facilities are somewhat rare and available only in a few towns/cities. If you live in a place with commercial composting programs, you’re in luck. Otherwise, these pods make just a small difference.

Should I Pick Recyclable K Cups?

Many companies are moving to the use of recyclable K cups as a way to lower their eco-footprint. This is done as a way to give the plastic in K cups to have a greater life after they’re done their coffee duties. 

Unfortunately, the positive effects continue to be questionable. Most recycling companies rarely deal with this type of plastics. Besides, K cups are likely to have impurities like coffee or a filter, and are unlikely to be fit for recycling. So, check the devil in the details before you actually buy one of these for being “eco friendly”.

Put Your K Cups In An Airtight Container

Since compostable pods don’t use a plastic outer body, their body has a “soft” filter. While this is no problem in practical use, it does pose a small issue in storage. 

Moisture and air may travel through the filter and affect the coffee and its taste. Choose an airtight container for storage of these pods, not the classic K cup drawer or similar systems. 

5 Ways To Green Your K-Cup

1. Get Cozy With Reusable Filters

If you are going to use a pod, the best way to lower your environmental footprint is by employing a reusable K cup. These are simple, straightforward options that lower waste, put savings in your budget, and remain surprisingly convenient. They’re quite easy to master and you can learn how to use reusable K cups.

2. Get Compostable K Cups

Using compostable K cups removes most of the associated problems with K cups. If they are biodegradable, the associated problems are minimized. However, the current generation of compostable pods are only commercially compostable. The industrial facilities that can achieve this are somewhat rare. If you have access to such a facility, the environmental impact of your K cups is significantly lower.

3. On Using Recyclable K Cups

Many major brands make recyclable K cups available. If you use them, ensure that they remain recyclable. Proper cleaning of the K cups and removing non-recyclable bits before dropping them is a fruitful approach.

4. Pick A Different Coffee Maker

Sure, K cups are convenient and awesome, but it is worth considering making a switch for environmental necessity. If single serve convenience is all you want, there are several machines that work with soft coffee pods. These don’t have the same environmental impact of K cups and can be a useful option.

5. Going Back To The Classics

Here’s the nuclear option: give up on K cups. Going the route of the classic drip coffee maker or French press can rid you of the environmental issues associated with K cups. Many modern coffee makers have a ton of options and you can use them to brew a cup to your specific preferences. 

Honestly, I don’t think there are other coffee brewing options as plastic intensive as pod-based machines. So whether you pick a drip machine or a French press, you’d be adding a touch of green to your coffee habit.

The Bottom Line In Choosing The Right Compostable K Cups

Any way you look at it, the use of single-use plastics is wasteful and unsustainable. With K cups contributing a huge amount of single-use plastics, it is important that those of us who enjoy these take a more conscientious approach. If the customers push for biodegradable K cups, the companies will listen intently.

It’s also important to vote with your wallet and encourage companies that are taking steps to move in the right direction. Moving to compostable pods is useful and can have a big impact on our carbon footprint.

Our list and reviews here include K cups that are at the top of the game in the biodegradable pods arena. Our top choice here is the SF Bay Coffee Organic Rainforest Blend. However, the others are as useful, so let your palate guide you to the right pod.