Which Companies Make the Best Biodegradable K-Cups?
Single-serve coffee makers have completely taken over the home brewing market. While convenient, conventional plastic K cups and pods are terrible for the environment. To solve the problem, many brands now offer biodegradable K Cups and compostable pods that help reduce the environmental impact of our coffee obsession.
But which companies make the best compostable K cups? And what exactly are compostable K cups made out of? We’ll explore the best brands and explain how these pods are made, so you can choose the right coffees for your taste and preference.
What are Compostable K Cups?
Compostable coffee pods are an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional K cups.
Instead of plastic, they’re made with organic materials that can be thrown right into your compost pile.
Not into composting?
Don’t worry – these K cups are still better for the environment than their plastic cousins. They’ll naturally break down in far less time than it takes for conventional K cups to decompose.
It’s important to note that most compostable K Cups are BPI certified compostable. BPI stands for Biodegradable Products Institute, and this certification simply means that the pods are commercially compostable. In other words, they need to be brought to a commercial composting facility.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t use them in your backyard composting bin, but these pods aren’t certified for that purpose.
Biodegradable vs Compostable
Some K Cups are both biodegradable and compostable. Others are just compostable. And then you have ones that are just biodegradable.
What does it all mean?
Biodegradable and compostable are not the same thing.
- Biodegradable means that the pods will naturally decompose.
- Compostable means that the pods will break down when placed in a composting bin or facility.
Composting is usually faster than the breakdown process with biodegradable pods.
What are Compostable K Cups Made Of?
Conventional K Cups are made of plastic, but compostable versions are made of organic material that naturally decomposes.
Most compostable pods consist of:
- A lid that’s made from a biodegradable or compostable material, such as paper.
- A ring, which sits between the lid and the bottom filter, made of coffee chaff or some other organic material.
- A filter made of plant material that holds the coffee grounds.
Some brands may use other materials, but virtually all will follow this construction.
The Best Recyclable K Cups Brands
Although the concept is still relatively new, there are many brands that are now offering environmentally friendly K Cups. The best – and most popular – brands include:
San Francisco Bay Coffee
San Francisco Bay is one of the most popular coffee brands out there, and their collection of compostable coffee pods (called OneCup pods) are best-sellers.
All of their compostable K cups are compatible with Keurig coffeemakers and are made from plant-based materials. OneCup pods are certified commercially compostable by BPI and feature a paper lidding. Each pod holds 11 grams of coffee.
San Francisco Bay uses only 100% arabica and Kosher coffee beans, which are freshly ground just before packaging.
SF Bay’s compostable pods come in a variety of flavors/roasts:
- French Roast: A blend of beans from South and Central America. Roasted until oils rise to the surface for a full-bodied, rich taste.
- Espresso: A medium-dark roast blend with flavors of dark chocolate and smoke. Great for cappuccinos, mochas and lattes.
- Fog Chaser: Balanced and full-bodied, this medium-dark roast features a blend of Central and South American beans.
- Decaf French Roast: A blend of water-processed, decaffeinated beans from South and Central America. The flavor is bold and full-bodied, but without the caffeine.
- Dark Roast Variety Pack: Includes four SF Bay compostable K cup coffee varieties: Fog Chaser, Espresso Roast, Extra Dark Italian, and French Roast.
- Extra Dark Italian: SF Bay’s darkest roast, with notes of dark chocolate and brown spice. A smoky finish and full-bodied flavor.
With Cameron’s Coffee pods, you enjoy premium flavor in an environmentally friendly package. Their pods are made from compostable plant-based materials, such as:
- Compostable ring made from beets, corn and wood
- Paper lidding
- Compostable filter
All of the pod’s components have been certified for industrial compost facilities. This means that they’ll break down with the right combination of heat, oxygen and moisture.
Cameron’s Coffee pods are made for use in K-Cup brewers and feature premium coffee. Because they are brewed through a real coffee filter – not plastic – the flavor is richer and never bitter.
Composting aside, these pods are worth buying just for the flavor alone. Cameron’s Coffee is specialty-grade, 100% arabica that comes from the top 10% of coffee beans in the world.
A variety of flavors and roasts are available:
- Breakfast Blend: A blend of South and Central American coffee beans, which are slow roasted to a mild but rich flavor.
- Vanilla Hazelnut: A blend of premium arabica beans, hazelnuts and vanilla.
- Kona Blend: A bright Hawaiian coffee blend with subtle hints of nuts and chocolate.
- Highlander Grog: Features flavors of caramel, rum, butterscotch and vanilla.
- Donut Shop: An American gold roast.
- Chocolate Caramel Brownie: Sweet caramel and chocolate.
Organic Coffee Co
If you’re looking for USDA Organic coffee in a compostable K Cup, Organic Coffee Co has you covered. Their OneCup pods feature:
- Paper lidding
- Compostable ring made from plant material
- Commercially compostable coffee filter
Each pod has 11 grams of fresh coffee made from 100% arabica beans that are certified USDA Organic.
Like other compostable K cups, these are designed for use with all K cup style brewers, including the new Keurig 2.0.
The OneCup pods are certified commercially compostable by BPI.
The Organic Coffee Co offers several roasts and flavors in their compostable pods:
- French Roast: A blend of South and Central American coffee beans that have been roasted until the flavorful oils rise to the surface. A smoky finish with a full-bodied flavor.
- Breakfast Blend: A blend of Central American coffee beans. Medium roast for a smooth flavor.
- Java Love: A medium-light roast with a subtly sweet taste. A blend of Central American coffee beans. Hints of cinnamon, milk chocolate and caramelized spices.
- Gorilla Decaf: Water processed decaffeinated beans. A medium-light blend with a mild, smooth flavor.
There are many reasons to give Beaniac coffee a try. Not only are their pods compostable, but their coffee is Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Beaniac coffee pods are commercially compostable and BPI certified. Each pod features:
- Lids made of paper and other compostable materials.
- A brown ring made with coffee chaff and compostable materials.
- A filter made with plant-based material.
Unlike other K Cup pod brands, Beaniac only offers a few roasts and flavors:
- Kickstarter Columbian: Features 100% organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee from arabica beans. A medium-light roast coffee with smooth, rich flavor.
- Flavor Freak Madagascar Vanilla: Made with 100% organic arabica beans naturally flavored with vanilla.
- Daily Dose Donut Shop: Made with 100% organic arabica beans. A light roast with a medium-bodied coffee.
- Full On French Roast: Features 100% arabica beans. A dark roast with a rich, full-bodied flavor and a hint of roasted praline.
Tayst Coffee Pods
Tayst offers compostable coffee pods filled with coffee that’s Rainforest Alliance Certified. Their 50-count sampler allows you to taste the best of the Tayste brand.
These coffee pods contain no plastic, and they are 100% biodegradable and compostable. Their PurPods feature:
- Lids made with paper and other compostable materials.
- Rings made with coffee chaff and bioresins from renewable sources.
- Coffee filters made with a compostable bio-based substance.
Tayst’s 50-count sampler includes the following flavors:
- 10 x Bold and Brazen: A rich, bold flavor with a smoky finish.
- 10 x Medium and Heroic: South American blend that’s slightly sweet and acidic.
- 10 x Bold and Brilliant: Medium-bodied coffee with caramel undertones.
- 10 x Vintage Vanilla Cream: A blend of medium South American beans and natural vanilla oils.
- 10 x Medium and Magnificent: Slightly fruity mocha with a flavorful body.
Boyd’s 100% Compostable Coffee Pods
Boyd’s coffee pods are 100% compostable and are certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute. Their coffees are USDA Certified Organic and Rainforest Alliance Certified.
Boyd’s is passionate about the environment, which is why they ensure that all of their coffee is grown using sustainable standards.
All of their pods feature:
- A lid made with biodegradable paper.
- A filter made with a porous bio-based material.
- A ring made from coffee chaff.
Boyd’s coffee pods are available in three distinct flavors:
What are the Benefits of Compostable K Cups?
Why should you buy compostable coffee pods? Can’t you just recycle the plastic versions? Not always.
The primary benefit of choosing compostable K cups is that you’re doing your part to help the planet. If you prefer the convenience and taste of single-serve coffee, compostable pods are the way to go.
Plastic pods will stay in the landfill for hundreds of years before they fully break down. Compostable pods, on the other hand, will break down long before their plastic counterparts.
In addition to the composting benefits, many of the brands also use coffee that is certified USDA Organic and/or Rainforest Alliance Certified. These coffees are also better for the environment because they help protect the rainforest and don’t use pesticides to grow their coffee beans.
Ultimately, compostable K Cups allow you to enjoy your Keurig or other single-serve coffee maker while doing your part to protect the environment.