With Keurig's K-Cup patent having expired, a multitude of soft-bottomed One Cup flavors have been released within the past year. When the first One Cup company (Rogers Family Coffee) started releasing their products, they came packaged within a non-resealable plastic bag inside a cardboard box for outer packaging. The main problem that quickly arose once you'd open the bag would be two-fold... the coffee aromas were so strong, that they'd permeate through the box and into whatever surrounding items you had nearby + you'd quickly lose freshness in the ground coffee since the filter provided no oxygen barrier whatsoever and left the grinds exposed to the elements.
Other companies (Club Coffee, Melitta) tried resolving this issue with some success by creating cookie bag style foil packaging that had bendable tabs near the top of the bag which allowed you to roll the bag up and secure the tabs in order to prevent the bag from opening again. This still resulted in another problem since it meant you had to keep the entire bag nearby if you wanted to use that particular brand/flavor. Not an ideal solution if you aren't a frequent coffee drinker or like to drink a different flavor on a regular basis.
Having a K-Cup knock-off that didn't use a sealed plastic base also meant that you couldn't store One Cups inside fancy K-Cup carousels or storage racks since the coffee would go stale after being exposed to oxygen over a period of time. So how could one solve this issue? Wrapping the One Cups in plastic wrap seemed like a ridiculously awkward, ugly and time-consuming process while storing them in Ziploc bags proved useless as the aromas permeated right through the plastic. The only solution was to use air-tight storage canisters which took up a considerable amount of counter top space.
When ECS Coffee started selling One Cup products to Canadians, they also ran into this issue and realized that this was a major concern for their customers. After thinking things through, they decided to take it upon themselves to find a permanent fix. As a result, today we're reviewing their unique creation which they've named Single Cup Fresh Seals.
Starting with a custom-molded plastic base, the Fresh Seals tuck under the plastic overhang on the sides of the One Cups to fit securely into place (we loosened a Fresh Seal partially in order to show this in one of our photos). The fact that this also compresses the coffee filter to fill the entire cavity of the Fresh Seal means that a greater portion of oxygen is being pushed out thereby ensuring the coffee will stay fresh longer since it's being protected from outside elements. This is done in a way that doesn't damage the filter or the plastic One Cup lid, plus the filter expands back to full size during brewing, so you don't need to worry about flavor or water filtering performance being affected.
We also like the design since it makes the One Cups look more like compact K-Cups and makes for a nicer, cleaner look overall. Another added benefit is that you can now use One Cups in any K-Cup carousel or storage rack just like you would use any other K-Cup. This means you can now mix & match single servings of your favorite One Cup flavors as you desire. No more foil bags, boxes or large storage canisters cluttering-up your counter top.
Best of all, these Fresh Seals are sold in 12-packs and since most One Cups are sold in 12-packs as well, this means you'll have enough seals to cover an entire One Cup box at a time, so you won't have to worry about any One Cups going stale when you open non-resealable bags. If need be, you can also hand-wash the Fresh Seals and use them over and over again.
Using these Fresh Seals are as simple as ever. You just pop on a Fresh Seal when you're ready to store your One Cups, then when you're ready to brew, just remove the Fresh Seal and re-use it again on your next One Cup. It should be noted that the Fresh Seals MUST BE REMOVED BEFORE BREWING as they were never intended to be used during the brewing process.
Failure to remove them before brewing could result in all forms of chaos such as possible damage to your Keurig brewer, scalding hot coffee leaking out of the machine and who knows what kind of insane mess due to pressure build-up inside the One Cup. So just remember to remove before brewing and you should be good to go. You can even view a quick demo video on ECS Coffee's website for more info on how to use this product.
So, to recap the things we like about the Fresh Seals...
Provides a clean look which makes for a nicer appearance overall
Compresses the filter without damaging it so that One Cups remain fresher longer when outside their original packaging
Allows for One Cups to be used in any K-Cup carousel or storage rack thereby eliminating counter top clutter
Sold in 12-packs so you'll have enough to cover an entire box/bag of One Cups at a time
Can be hand-washed and re-used over and over again
We'd like to take a moment to thank ECS Coffee for sending us samples of their first batch of Fresh Seals so that we could test them out for ourselves. We put these things through their paces and they stood up to whatever we could throw at them... drop tests, compression tests, etc. The Fresh Seals emerged without a scratch, crack or dent which just goes to show that you're getting a quality product. At first we were concerned by adding plastic to a product that went to great lengths to remove it in order to be more eco-friendly, however, when we realized that Fresh Seals were designed to be used over and over again vs. being thrown out after just 1 use (like a regular K-Cup), then the ecological impact was pretty much eliminated as we're intending to re-use these for as long as One Cups continue to be produced.
We were also curious to see just how fresh One Cups could remain after a long period of time, so we left a few of them sit around in our K-Cup storage rack for OVER 3 MONTHS and guess what? The One Cups were just as fresh as the day we bought them. Outstanding performance for a product that was designed specifically with freshness in mind! At just under $5.00 for 12, we think that's more than reasonable of an investment which any One Cup fan should strongly consider purchasing. Not only will your One Cups remain fresh, you'll be enjoying all the benefits we've noted in this review and saving money in the long run by preventing your One Cups from going stale.
A special thanks to SH for providing this Single Serve Coffee staff review. We would also like to note that samples of these Fresh Seals were supplied by ECSCoffee.com for the purpose of this review.
ECS Coffee Single Cup Fresh Seals will work on any One Cup product and are available in 12-packs for $4.99 CAD at ECSCoffee.com. This product is not currently available for shipping to USA (So make sure to have your Canadian friends or relatives order a pack for you).This product is available in the USA from CoffeeIcon.com
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