May 8, 2012

Review: Kienna Kup Coffee Pod Adapter for Keurig K-Cup brewers

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Our Canadian correspondent SH recently reported that more and more pods are starting to make an appearance in specialty shops across Canada after the introduction of the original SunCafe pod brewer a year or 2 ago and one of the brands which quickly started popping up was Kienna.

They're a Canadian coffee roasting company based out of Calgary and since it's known that pod brewers aren't as common throughout Canada as they are in USA, the company decided to create their own pod adapter for machines which WERE widely available across Canada... Keurig K-Cup brewers. Dubbed the Kienna Kup, this adapter allows you to use any 8 gram pod (and MAYBE some 10 gram pods) with any Keurig K-Cup brewer. It should be noted that 12 gram pods & ESE espresso pods are NOT compatible with this adapter.

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If ordered online via Tweed & Hickory, early adopters only received the adapter itself & nothing else, but since then, retail packaging has shown up which includes the adapter along with 3 pods of Kienna Colombian coffee, so at least you now feel like you're getting your money's worth. The first thing you'll notice about the adapter is that it's got a unique slat design arranged in an almost starburst-like pattern. There's a central support section underneath which allows the pod to be lifted-up close to the lid while the large surface area exposed by the open slats allows for maximum coffee extraction during brewing. Included instructions advise to first "pinch" the pod in one direction, then "pinch" it in the other direction in order to create a dome-like shape. You then insert the pod into the adapter and close the lid making sure that the top of the dome sits flush against the hole where the piercing needle will make contact with the pod. You can also view various promotional demo videos via YouTube in order to see more details.

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Unlike when using most pod brewers, we highly recommend NOT to pre-wet the pod before inserting it in the adapter. If you do so, the paper filter becomes too soft and sinks away from the underside of the adapter's lid. This results in the piercing needle not piercing the pod properly and will yield a disappointingly weak cup of coffee which can best be described as "light brown tap water". Use dry pods and you'll achieve better results. Now, keep in mind that you likely won't get the same results as you would via an actual pod brewer, but that's not the goal of this adapter. The goal is to allow users (who don't have easy access to pod brewers) a chance at tasting a reasonably comparable version of coffee produced by the same pod via a Keurig K-Cup brewer.

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We recommend using the default 8oz cup size setting on your Keurig K-Cup brewer in order to get the best results from most pods. If we had to complain about anything on this adapter, it would be the lack of a silicone gasket/seal around the edge of the inner lid. The company's opinion is that "no gasket is required" although we're wondering if perhaps Solofill has a patent on this type of gasket which would make it an exclusive for their ground coffee K-Cup adapter. After having coffee leak out of the lid edges during brewing on a few occasions (despite properly using the adapter), we think Kienna should strongly reconsider adding a gasket to version 2.0 of the Kienna Kup should they decide to release a revised edition in the future.

So, let's get to the main questions most of you are probably wondering...

  • Does this adapter actually work compared to some of its competitors? YES
  • Can I use 12 gram or ESE espresso pods with it? NO, not recommended.
  • Does it produce as strong a cup of coffee as you'd get via a pod brewer? PROBABLY NOT
  • Will I get any crema in the final cup? NO, there's just not enough bar pressure in a Keurig K-Cup brewer to achieve this.
  • Do you recommend buying one of these adapters? YES, but only if you don't have access to a good pod brewer.

Since the only pod brewer which seems to be available across Canada is the SunCafe (the recently revised SunCana model has yet to appear anywhere at the time of this review), we can appreciate Kienna's decision to fill the void and to give Keurig K-Cup brewer users a chance at tasting the growing number of pods which are starting to appear across various retail & online stores that side of the border. As noted above, you won't get the same results as a pod brewer, but at least you'll get to taste the pods & get an idea of what they're like. This is something which most Canadians were previously unable to do, so our hats off to Kienna for making pod coffees more accessible to a wider range of single serve coffee users.

The Kienna Kup pod adapter will work in all Keurig K-Cup brewers and is available for $8.99 CAD & $8.99 USD at TweedandHickory.com.

A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that we purchased this adapter on our own for the purpose of this review, and we were also sent KiennaKup adaptors to try out at the Single Serve Coffee headquarters from Kienna.

Read More in: Coffee Gadgets & Accessories | Coffee Pods | Reviews

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Posted by Jay Brewer at May 8, 2012 7:23 AM

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