November 27, 2006
Cost Per Single Serve Coffee Cup: Coffee Pods, Keurig K Cups, Tassimo T Discs, and Nespresso Coffee Capsules
Readers are always writing in asking the Single Serve Coffee staff how much the different single serve coffee systems cost to own and operate and especially how much each cup of single serve coffee will cost. We think the questions "what's best", or what's "cheapest," or what's "least expensive" all fall under this category of question as well, but starting with what type of coffee you'd like to make and how much it will cost is a good way to find out which single serve coffee maker is the least expensive to own and operate.
Are Senseo Coffee Pods, Tassimo T-Disks, K-Cups or Nespresso Coffee Capsules the best option for you? Which system falls in your price range? Does the single serve coffee maker or system match your coffee drinking habits? These are all good questions that go hand and hand with the price per cup.
The guide below should give you all the detail you need to know on what coffee system may be right for you. Depending on which type of single serve coffee maker you choose, be it coffee pods, k cups, t discs, or nespresso capsules, you'll be choosing the type of coffee you can get per system and also how much per cup your single serve coffee will cost, and how flexible that cost can be, and what types of coffee the single serve coffee maker can prepare.
If you look at the four major type of single serve coffee you can purchase there are essentially 4 main types:
- Coffee Pods - work with a variety of single serve coffee makers including: Senseo, Bunn My Cafe, Melitta One:One, Grindmaster, simplehuman, and Krups Home Cafe. Coffee pod brewers are the "open standard" of single serve coffee makers, with the largest variety of coffees available reaching over 250+ varieties of coffee pods.
- K Cups - work only with Keurig brewers. Models include: Keurig Elite B40 Brewer, Keurig B50, Keurig Special Edition Ultra Elite B60, and the newly released Keurig B70 Brewer. You can expect to get in the 150+ variety range for K Cup types of coffee as well as tea.
- T Discs: works only with the Tassimo line of single serve coffee makers. You can expect to get 30+ different coffees and teas for your Tassimo brewer.
- Nespresso Coffee Capsules: works only with the Nespresso line of single serve coffee makers. On average there are 12 regular varieties and 3-4 unique varieties per year.
Given the run down of each of the different types, how much does each cup of single serve coffee cost per system?
You have to start with the cost of entry of the single serve coffee machine. The average machine is in the $69-100 price range, with some machines like the Bunn My Cafe costing as much as $199+. We recommend getting a lower priced machine like the Senseo get started and keep your initial costs lower. As you start to enjoy single serve coffee more (and you will) you can move up to a more expensive coffee pod machine like the Bunn My Cafe or the simplehuman coffee pod brewer.
Since coffee pods are the most flexible and have the most variety, this is a good choice for anyone looking for the largest choice of coffees available. Also, since coffee pod machines typically only make a standard "American" cup of coffee, the standard coffee pod machine is for a straightforward, non-espresso drinking coffee person. Pricing of Senseo 7 gram pods packed 18 per box and in a 4 pack bundle will run you roughly $.20 cents per coffee pod. If you want to make a double cup using a 7 gram pod you'll need two coffee pods pushing the cost per cup to $.40. A typical 7 gram coffee pod will brewer a 4-5 oz cup of coffee, and using two will get you in the 8-10 oz coffee range.
You can also purchase larger coffee pods in the 10-12 gram range. These larger coffee pods can be purchased from online retailers like CoffeeWiz.com, Better Coffee, and others. Pricing can be in the range of $.35 to .40 per coffee pod. However, with sales the cost of a 10-12 gram coffee pod can be as low as $.25.
Coffee Pod Cost Per Cup Break Down:
- Cost of Average coffee pod machine: $69-100 dollars
- Cost of Average 4-5 oz Cup of single serve coffee: $.20
- Cost of Average 8 oz Cup of single serve coffee: $.40
Read our full review of the Senseo Supreme single serve coffee maker.
K Cup Coffee
K Cups work in your Keurig Elite B40 Brewer, Keurig B50, Keurig Special Edition Ultra Elite B60, and the Keurig B70 Brewer. You can only use K Cups in a Keurig brewer or use the re-useable K Cup filter to use your own coffee. K Cups come packed in two sizes: 18 per pack on shelf at a store like Bed Bath and Beyond and online packs that ship in quantities of 25 K Cups per box.
You can also buy K Cups in two varieties: Regular and Extra Bold. Extra Bold K Cups have 25% more coffee in them and are typically a bit more expensive. A typical online 25 pack box will cost you $9.95, putting each cup of coffee at about $.0.40 cents. You can expect to brew 5-7.25 oz cups of coffee with a standard K Cup, and up to a travel mug sized cup of coffee with the larger extra bold K Cups.
Expect from the Keurig coffee, strong coffee, and tea to be produced. The Keurig is much like it's coffee pod cousins, however the coffee produced since it's portioned in the K Cup standard, is a little more consistent. You can brew both strong and lighter fair in the coffee range, but don't expect espresso or other types of coffee drinks from the Keurig system.
Online the extra bold K Cups don't tend to cost more per cup, so you can expect to pay about the same at $.40 per cup of extra bold coffee.
Note: Even though you can't purchase K Cups as low as $.20 all the time. It's possible to get these deals on Amazon.com and other online retailers in multi-pack varieties.
K Cup Cost Per Cup Break Down:
- Cost of entry level Keurig Elite B40 Brewer: $99.95
- Cost of 5-7oz cup of coffee: $.40
- Cost of average 8oz + cup of coffee: $.40
Read our full review of the Keurig B70.
Tassimo T Discs
Update: Tassimo has two new brewers from Bosch. Check out our reviews of the Tassimo Bosch Brewers:
Also check out our continued updated Tassimo and T-Dics area of articles.
Tassimo T Discs will work only with your Tassimo line of single serve coffee makers. The Tassimo also is unique in the fact you can make hot milk with the milk T Discs and thus make a larger variety of hot beverages. The Tassimo entry level system will cost you $129.99 and the premium will set you back $169.99. The Tassimo also has a great variety of espressos as well as coffee.
Online you can expect to pay about $8.99 for a 16 pack of standard T Discs. That will put you at $.56 per cup of single serve coffee. You can also purchase a cappuccino pack that costs $8.99 for 8 T Discs of espresso and 8 T Discs of milk. You'll nee to use 1 of each per cup - putting you at $1.12 per cup of cappuccino that you make in the Tassimo.
Tassimo is a jack of all trades in the hot beverage world and can make the largest variety of drinks available. You can make coffee, espresso, hot chocolate, cappuccinos, and other hot beverages. The coffee produced is quite good, and the various espressos are good as well.
Tassimo Cost Per Cup Break Down:
- Cost of entry level Tassimo TA 1200 Hot Beverage System: $129.99
- Cost per T Disc making a regular cup of single serve coffee: $.56
- Cost of making a T Disc cappuccino: $1.12 per cappuccino
Read our full review of the Tassimo.
Nespresso Coffee Capsules
Nespresso coffee capsules will only work with the Nespresso line of single serve coffee makers. Pricing for a Nespresso Essenza C100 will set you back $199.99 and you can pay up to $800+ for a Nespresso coffee system like the Nespresso E350 Romeo. Unlike the other three single serve coffee choices, you can only purchase Nespresos capsules directly from Nespresso. You can order via phone or the online Nespresso store.
Pricing is set at $.49 cents for a regular variety coffee capsule and up to $.55 cents for a special Nespresso coffee capsule. If you are going to make a regular ~3.5 oz cup of Lungo single serve coffee (Lungo is what they call a larger cup), you will use one capsule. If you make a larger 4-6 oz cup of coffee, you'll need two capsules at $.99-$1.10 per cup. This may seem high, but Nespresso is really about making shots of espresso or smaller coffee drinks, so you could purchase this system if you are more inclined to drink espresso and keep your cost per cup down.
Nespresso Capsule Cost Per Cup Breakdown:
- Cost of entry level Nespresso Essenza C100: $199.99
- Cost per Nespresso Capsule: $.49-$.55 cents
- Cost of making a 4-8 oz cup of coffee: $1.00+ if you use two coffee capsules
Read our full review of the Nespresso C90 and the Nespresso Romeo.
It's easy to now see the price per cup of the different single serve coffee makers. Coffee pods have the most variety and can get you a cup of single serve coffee as low as $.20 per cup, and the higher priced systems like the Tassimo and Nespresso can be ~.50 cents per cup. K Cups that are used with the Keurig are more on par with the lower priced coffee pod systems, as you can get prices as low as $.40 for an 8 oz+ cup of coffee.
The cost you pay per cup will really be based on how large of a cup of coffee you want to drink and how strong you will want the coffee. Sure, coffee pods can be as low as $.20 for a 4 oz cup of coffee, but how many of you really drink that small of a cup. We like any of the sytems that you can get in the $.40-$.50 cent price range, making any of the above a pretty good choice depending on the type of coffee you want.
Read More in: Coffee Pods | General News | Keurig & K-Cups | Nespresso | Reviews | Single Serve Coffee Machines | Tassimo & T-Discs
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Posted by Jay Brewer at November 27, 2006 7:44 AM
A decent coffee - ground at home or at the store - plus a small drip coffee machine, using nonbleached coffee filters, and you've got a good, hot, fresh, INEXPENSIVE cup of coffee with minimal impact to the environment! It's totally insane to be wasting 40c a cup (and, yes, that adds up) and adding all that trash to the landfills, just to be able to boast you made that cup of coffee in a Keurig or Tassimo or whatever Coffee Beast you use. The amount of extra processing and energy used to give you that cute little cup or pod of individually produced coffee, not to mention the cost to this precious earth in little plastic NONcompostable and NONrecyclable waste, is self-serving, in my opinion.
Does anyone have any tips on the "use your own coffee" keurig attachment? The coffee does not even get completely wet, and the result is a weak cup of coffee. Would like to use dunkin donuts bulk coffee ( altho the cups are out now and are great) but the cost sure seems higher than the .40 cents noted on this site. Are the single serve paper filters better for brewing? Doesn't seem like the water is "held" long enough to brew properly in the plastic single serve attachment.
I wanted to know how many grams of coffee are in the K-cups to try to figure out how much the cost per cup would be if I buy/grind/fill the filters on my own, to calculate if it is really worth going the use-your-own coffee route with the Keurig for filtered coffee. I also own a Nespresso, but as I love their coffee, so I don't really mind the per cup cost for the pods when it comes to that machine.
Anyone know where I can get coffeeduck for a tassimo, cost of use and review.
Bravo, Don!! I couldn't agree more. Over the long haul nature will have far more to do with the sustainability of this planet than human beings...gosh, we've been here for maybe 1/1,000,000th of the time the earth has been in existence, and we're going to determine its fate? I don't think so...drink up and enjoy! On an unrelated noted (related to this thread though), I'd be interested to see the comparison of cost between the single cup and regular coffee brewers.
Worried about throwing out a small plastic cup? why are you drinking coffee? Labor intensive, roasted, shipped thoursands of miles means that just having the coffee in your home means that you have left an environmental scar. Oh, sorry, you might be growing coffee in the steam heated green house in your back yard.
I toss my K-kups in the trash and think "there is another thing that did not require water to wash.
This is a cool site with a wealth of info anc comments. I have to make one comment about the Mellitta brand pod coffee maker. It was our 1st type of pod coffee maker and while we had good results.(we are not very demanding...) It almost burnt our host down. While this sounds like I am being overly dramatic... it is a true story. We starting smelling fumes from the plastic burning and headed to our kitchen in time to see it catching on fire... we unplugged it and through it in the sink just before it got to the window curtains. We replaced it with a Senseo and have been generally pleased. The Melitta was about a year old. I did try and call the company to tell them of the issue... but really got nowhere in there phone system. As an aside... My sister was telling me all about her tassimo.. which led me here. Once again thanks for all the great info.
re Nespresso Capsules. I was interested to read the price quoted was 49c to 55c. In New Zealand the capsules were 65c average each but only 3 months after we brought the machine, the capsules went up to NZD0.95c and NZD0.99c. This makes a very expensive cup of coffee. The problem we have is that the machines are still being promoted with a $50 cash back offer and we think that increase funds this marketing ploy. Once you have the machine, you have to use these capsules.
Thanks for all the info. My wife and I have the Kuerig B66, though a top line, it is a nice, programmable model. We have experimented with the Kcups which have come in mostly around .50 a cup when purchased. My wife and daughter are VERY recycle conscious and noted the plastic content going into the trash. It would be good to learn if these naturally break down in soil. But to get around using many Kcups, we re-used them by cutting the tops out of a few, marking the side with the hole, loading them with our favorite quality brand, placing a smal piece of foil over the top and voila', a great cup of joe. We also bought the MyCup, which is good but a little messy to clean the filter. I researched the web and found the Perfect Pod site sells a special "EZ" cup and filters that are "perfect" they work very well, producing a quality brew. this leaves only a small paper filter to go into the trash.
A side note: I researched using the POD in the EZ cup, not so good. the system requires a certain pressure build up that the perfect filter provides, the pod filter paper is more porous. I could not get it to produce good, bold coffee on my first day of trials. I shall endeaver to persevere;good brewing to ya.
everyday is a gift . . .
Are there any single cup brewers that don't require purchacing k-cup like inserts, but will take you store bought coffee.
When I wake up in the morning, I think about getting a cup of coffee, not the environment. Keurig provides me that cup of coffee as fresh as possible with the easy to recycle K cups. When, I'm done, I just throw it in my recycle bin and know I've done my part.
NexPod® compatible with Nespresso® is a system of single use capsules, made to fill in an easy and clean way to be used with your Nespresso® coffee machine.
The single use NexPod® for Nespresso ® allow to use your Nespresso® machine with the coffee (or tea) of your choice. You can fill them with ground coffee as you wish. The capsules are easily closed with the joined cap and inserted in the Nespresso® machine as normal Nespresso® capsules.
Fill and use the capsule
The pods are easily filled with ground espresso coffee of your choice.
Insert the circular paper filter in the cap of the pod
Use the pod itself to gather the coffee and close the capsules directly in the coffee bag to avoid spilling
Press the ground coffee in the pod
Please clean the edge of the capsule before closing it
Insert the NexPod® in the Machine as a normal Nespresso® pod
For a stronger espresso use finer ground coffee.
To the NexPod® capsules price you have to add the price of 5 gr. of ground espresso coffee.
If 1 Kg of ground espresso coffee costs 6 €, than 5 grams will cost 3 cent €. Added to the price of the Nexpod® of 20 cent € you have an espresso for 23 cent €.
I have been shopping for the one cup coffee machine and decided on the Melitta. The fact that one may make pods from bulk coffee gives greater flexibility to flavor and using a vacuum sealer it is not problem to make several at a time them seal them so there is not drying out between uses. Also the fact that all is biodegradable is a plus.
You forgot to add the Breville as an option for K-Cups.
A great machine that is not only gorgeous to look at and has a multitude of settings, but it also makes a truly fine cup of coffee.
I have a Krups Home Cafe pod machine and can't seem to find the recommended F054 descaling solution anywhere. Is it OK just to use white vinegar for descaling this machine as you would with any regular automatic drip coffeemaker?
Where can I get K Cups for $0.20 in quantity? Please post a sample URL where I can get that price.
Thank you to those who cited the reusable Keurig My K-cup 5048. I just ordered it on Amazon for $18 including shipping & tax. My office mates pressured me into buying this coffee maker for the office and I have had buyer's remorse ever since. I am a big recycler and compost at home, and it pains me to think of the number of plastic pods going into the landfill as these things become more popular. We are supposed to be getting more green, not less so! I encourage other pod-people to consider the reusable filter!
OZAN -- best comment on this page. Everyone needs to consider the environment here. We're not just talking about a cup of coffee, we're talking about a plastic cup that gets used once for 10 seconds and then sits in a landfill for hundreds of years. I can't believe how wasteful this is. I checked Keurig's website, and they respond to this issue on an FAQ page. They claim that they have to use a non-recyclable plastic to keep their coffee as fresh as possible. They also say that the "coffee industry" is working hard to find more environmentally friendly alternatives to using these disposable cups. I say, however, that as long as people keep buying their machines, they'll only work as hard as they have to to maintain good public relations.
If you want fresh coffee, why not buy a very small drip coffee machine -- like the kind you find in hotel rooms? The paper filters are recyclable, or you can compost them if they aren't made from bleached paper.
Someone else mentioned the accessory that allows you to use ground coffee in the k-cup machines. It's called the Keurig My K-cup 5048 (available on Amazon for $15). It received 3 and a half out of 5 stars. I think this isn't a bad alternative, but again -- as a consumer, you have tremendous power. Use that power to tell manufacturers like Keurig that until they start using recyclable cups, you won't have anything to do with them. Amazon sells dozens of small, drip coffee machines for under 40 dollars.
To conclude, until manufacturers of single-serve coffee machines like Keurig find a way to serve fresh coffee, without adding to the landfills one cup at a time, I see it wise to stick with what has worked for over 125 years -- the drip coffee machine.
My wife and I just got the Keurig B70 Platinum as a wedding gift...woohoo! We ordered quite a few of the smaller 5 packs from the Keurig website to sample before we buy more packets. Also, if you purchase 4 24-25 boxes, free shipping and a discount. We have toyed with the sizes and I feel as though the teas (I'm not normally a coffee drinker) are fairly potent. My wife never really had an 'adjustment period' to the K-cup line and she LOVES the replacement filter....recycling being a primary reason. Great machine....especially in the bedroom.
KEURIG HAS A REUSABLE FILTER BASKET that can be used in place of the K-CUP... you can use-any-loose-coffee- using the insertable k-cup-size filter basket, you can brew loose coffee or tea that you buy instead of the k-cups...this lowers the cost below 10 cents a cup and answers the RECYCLING question - don't even need a coffee filter, the basket is very finely woven and it rinses right off for re-use. I love mine, it cost around $19 for this attachment. Here is a link to it:
I just recently purchased a Keurig B60, my son had one and turned me on to it, I Love the fact that I get a great fresh cup of coffee each time I want one, and there a enough great varities to choose from. No more stale coffee or reheats in the micro.. There are enough sites that sell a and offer great prices on the K cups.. If I want a larger than normal cup I can use the same k cup twice and it does not take away from the flavor of the coffee. The Keurig is a great buy I used a discount coupon and got it for $30.00 less. Great machine...
To add to the environmental concern discussion, the "pods" can be composted just like regular coffee grounds & filters, while the plastic containers can only be tossed. (But perhaps they can be opened and the grounds composted if you're so committed.)
Actually - coffee pods aren't really any less environmentally friendly than using a paper filter for coffee. For single-serve, pods are the way to go I think when it comes to environmental concerns. The paper used in most pods I know of is completely bio-degradable. I can't speak to T-Discs or K-Cups... but my hunch would be that they're not that environmentally friendly.
Not a fanatic, just trying to be environmentally-aware and wanted to address the post by Ozan in case others might be concerned. Pods are the greener way to go (of course, putting anything in a sealed plastic garbage bag has it's own problems... but another story.)
I've been using the Tassimo for about 2 months, and my wife and I love it. We use coffee carmel syrup in the Maxwell House latte for a delicious drink. Sometimes I mix 1 espresso disk with 1 hot chocolate, wow is it good. I just wish Seattle's Best would make a Cinnabon T disk, then I would be in heaven.
I am not a heavy espresso/coffee drinker but would like to drink a nice cup of it from time
to time. With killer design and the convenience, I am looking into purchasing Nespresso's Le Cube.
The only holdback is that I can only use their capsules and they are only available online.
Has anyone used this machine and/or tried their coffee selection? Would I be able to purchase
the capsules outside US? (BTW, thanks for great
articles on this website!)
I was woundering does anyone have the new Lavazza Blue? and if so how do you think it matches to the Nepresso Le cube if you know? I understand that Lavazza just finished a deal with Hilton Hotels to provide machines and coffees. I have tasted the espresso and it was the best I have had. The Lavazza Blue is costly at $799. Vs le cube at $299 + a frother. I would like to make the jump just once if possible, and not have to upgrade every 6 months. Thank you in advance.
Great information on this site.
You can brew multiple cups of coffee from one K-cup, depending on the strength you want/require. Which extends the use of one K-cup instead of needing to use two.
will K cups ever come in expresso and milk options???
Where is the recycling info on these coffee pods disks etc.??? Probably none... They are all plastic. Did you see the disection of the t-disk? It has more plastic parts in it. Imagine the harm to the environment these systems will produce when they get really popular. I will buy a system that gives me satisfactory recycling information. Otherwise, I'll go on with filter coffee.
I started out with a Senseo and loved it, and DO only drink four ounces of coffee once or twice a day, but my husband wasn't enthused about the selections. So, for awhile we still had a regular coffee pot going (for him) and the Senseo (for me). We he started to realize how much coffee he was wasting (and nuking - yuck!) he got his gadget mojo going and talked me into a Tassimo. I was skeptical because I do not care for any of the Gevalia coffees, espresso or otherwise. I'll drink the cappucino, though :) At any rate, after four months we've been extremely pleased with our Tassimo and the ever-increasing select of high-quality coffee selections. The Hot Chocolate is pretty good; adding a shot of half-and-half takes it from good to terrific. Recently a guest raved about a slug of the Mastro Lorenzo Espresso. I'll receive my first shipment of SBC in a few days but until now my personal favorite has been the Mastro Lorenzo Crema. Yummy!
We'd love to include all the systems but felt these represented a good start to get your feet or "coffee" wet. :-) More comparisons to come.
Why didn't you include the Flavia Fusion in this comparison? I would have liked that.
Is the accessory that allows use of bulk ground coffee (other than pods) available for the Krups
What machines, other than the snesco and the B&D is this accessory available for?
Jay -- you did a very nice job with this article. It is certainly timely given the holiday season and interest in single serve coffeemakers as gifts.
Kevin -- kupokoffee sells single K-Cups in their eBay store, Keurig sells 5-pack samplers at their online store. These are great ways to try KCups without the big commitment you mentioned. I've had around 60 different KCups this way without breaking the bank.
I have pod and K-cup machines. The costs of the two mediums are comparable, per unit, but the right pods can make a good 8-9 oz cup while most K-cups are better at 5.5 or 7.5.
If you do not like extra strong coffee you can easily make 8 ounce cups from 7 ounce pods. The Douwe Egbert's Dark Roast is plenty strong enough for me with just one pod. I don't think I could drink a two pod cup of that.
Also keep in mind the "minimum commitment cost" for purchasing a pack of coffee pods/cups/discs. I chose the Keurig over the Tassimo for its flexibility in doing other things (like give me plain hot water, or the ability to brew my own using the My K Cup). At $10 a box for K-cups, it "feels" more expensive than $3.99 for T-discs, especially when just starting out and wanting to branch out, or stock a variety of flavours for guests. With the Keurig I will be more inclined to just pick up a few cartons of my favourite types, whereas with T-discs I could have picked up a few more different varieties for the same price.
One clarification.....the comparison states that Cappuccino T-Discs for the Tassimo are $8.99. But it doesn't state that only the Gevalia are that price. The Maxwell House line is $4.99 - which makes a big difference in price. They also have coffee t-discs for as low as $3.99 at Target.