Did you know that 13% of the US population brew old stale (usually flavored) coffee that is shot through tiny little plastic cups each day? Of course, we are referring to the Keurig K-cups found in just about every business, hotel lobby, room and a good portion of restaurants are fully stocked with single cup machines.
There are definitely some important issues with Keurig machines that you should be paying attention to, concerning your health, your wallet and the environment.
Here are just a few reasons why we do not make or recommend using K-Cups and or the Keurig coffee brewing system.
BREWING STANDARDS – If you go to any high quality coffee shop, you will find your local barista using 19-21 grams of ground coffee per cup of coffee prepared. This is roughly the same for espresso, french press, or pour over. How much does Keurig put in their cups? Roughly 5-8 grams. The rest, as we’ve highlighted above, is a bunch of foreign substances your body isn’t meant to process.
The standard temperature for which the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) Golden Cup Award is brewed 200 degrees F. Keurig machines only get to 192 F. Ask any coffee purists and they will tell you a few degrees makes a world of difference. 192 F is not hot enough to extract enough out of the grounds.
The combination of not hot enough water, the low amount of actual coffee, and the low quality of coffee means that you’re getting a really weak and awful tasting brew.
SOURCING STANDARDS – Coffee can be beneficial for your health when sourced properly, but it is damaging when not. As is the case with most food items. The source of Keurig cups and other single cup coffee machines are questionable at best.
In addition to generally having very low quality standards, excessively mass produced coffee in these single cup coffee pods is destructive for the countries it comes from.
Coffee production on this scale usually takes over smaller family farms and leverages them to produce more coffee for less pay and poor working conditions. There could be books of information regarding coffee farm ethics, but simply put – coffee production on this scale is typically more destructive than beneficial for the farms that produce it.
ADDITIVES – You will notice that most of the single use coffee cups, or “pods”, are flavored. Where do you think that flavor comes from? Undeniably some questionable ingredients. Here is just one sample of many things you should never want to put into your body.
The Chai Latte ingredient list contains:
Sugar, Creamer (Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Glucose Syrup, Sodium Caseinate (from Milk), Sodium Polyphosphate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Stearoyl-2-Lactylate, Silicon Dioxide), Nonfat Dry Milk, Instant Tea, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Modified Food Starch, Salt, Sucralose.
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT– Although there are options to use Keurig cups that can be recycled, the vast
majority of cups being sold are still of the plastic variant. What is alarming is that Keurig claims the composition of these cups are #7 plastic, which is an “unknown” proprietary composition.
Sure, some of the containers are “BPA free” but that is like saying grains that are “gluten free” are also healthy for you. Not the case. There are still many other problematic chemicals in plastics and glues that are leached out with heat and are very damaging to your health and hormones. No one’s body was designed to process foreign chemicals. This daily chemical soup should be a huge no no to pregnant women, those breast feeding or anyone with hormonal imbalances.
So if 13% of the US population is using single cup coffee per day, how many cups per year is that? Unfortunately, a lot. There were over 8.3 billion officially endorsed “K-Cup” brand cups (there are additional knock off brands) that were sold in 2013 alone. Just in one year that is enough to wrap around the equator 10.5 times. Keep in mind, there are still plenty of other single cup coffee makers that have the same exact problem.
The bad news is all of that plastic isn’t going anywhere. 95% of the plastic used in the creation of these billions of cups per year is made from the same #7 plastic we talked about earlier, which is NOT recyclable. Even the 5% of cups that are recyclable, the mix of aluminum, plastic, coffee grounds and filtering system mixed with the fact that they are so small, leave them not getting recycled anyway. How many people do you know who use Keurig cups that dismantle them after each use and separate into their respective “trash” and “recycling” bins?
FAR FROM FRESH – Not only is the daily use of Keurig cups more expensive, the quality leaves much to be desired. Coffee is best kept in whole bean form, then ground and brewed roughly 48-72 hours after roasting. Of course this is a best case scenario, but the worst case scenario? Old stale coffee ground in plastic cups.This is the same thing as a jug of Folgers, except it costs much more per cup of coffee.