Can I Use a K-Cup Twice? (Get the best flavor on a budget)


Many Keurig owners have wondered about reusing K-Cups, either for waste concerns or cost. Have you wondered can I use a K-Cup twice?

If you have, here’s what I’ve learned:

Reusing a K-cup will result in a vastly inferior flavor, so you should not use a K-Cup twice. 1 K-cup is good for a 6 oz cup of strong coffee. But Keurigs also have settings for 8 & 10 oz, so selecting a larger size weakens the flavor even more just on the first use. 

But it’s not quite a yes or no answer.

If you’re like me, you like a big, strong cup of coffee in the morning. But filling up a large 12 oz travel mug takes at least two K-cups. That can get really expensive and generate a lot of waste.

And then there’s the waste of tossing all those plastic cups into the trash.

So in this article, we’re diving deep into K-Cups. We’ll explore how to get the best flavor, how coffee tastes when you reuse a K-Cup, and if it’s OK to reuse them if you brew a smaller size cup.

Let’s dive in!

Check out all my coffee product recommendations (click to see my list) with additional features and direct links to Amazon for easy purchase.

I always hand-select items that I own, have used, or researched well. That way, I can ensure they are great items. I also give not only higher-end models but inexpensive alternatives as well. So my choices work for any budget.

What are K-cups and how do they work?

A K-cup is a tiny, sealed, plastic cup with ground coffee inside. It works by placing it in a Keurig coffee maker which has a metal needle that pierces the K-cup on the top and injects it with hot water which flows out a 2nd hole it makes on the bottom.

Even though a K-cup is sometimes referred to as a pod, a Keurig is not exactly a pod coffee maker. Confusing, huh?

To learn more about pod coffee machines and how they work, head on over to this recent article on my blog. Just click that link to read it on my site.

Now, on to the important question here. What exactly is a K-cup?

A K-cup is in itself, a tiny self-contained mini drip coffee brewer. It’s made up of four parts:

  • The outer plastic casing. The outer plastic cup is designed to keep out moisture, light, and air. This allows the coffee to remain fresh until you’re ready to brew.
  • A mini paper filter. This is just like the paper filter you’d use in a regular coffee brewer but in miniature form. It keeps the grounds out of your coffee.
  • Coffee grounds, of course. Each K-cup has a precise amount of coffee measured out for a consistently perfect cup of coffee every time.
  • And finally, the foil seal. Just like the plastic casing, the air-tight foil seal helps to keep out moisture, light, and air.

Brewing coffee is easy with the K-cup. Place the K-cup in the chamber of your Keurig and pull down the handle.

When the handle is pulled down, a small needle punctures the foil lid of the K-cup. At the same time, a needle also punctures the bottom of the K-cup.

The top needle delivers pressurized hot water to the coffee grounds. The freshly brewed coffee is then filtered out and delivered steaming hot into your mug waiting below.

How many times can I use a Keurig pod?

A Keurig coffee pod, known as K-cup is designed for single-use. Do not use it more than once and for the strongest coffee, set the brewing size to be 6oz. This is typically the smallest setting.

In the best-case scenario, reusing a K-cup more than once will result in very weak coffee.

Just like a regular coffee maker, K-cups are filled with coffee grounds. I supposed you could reuse your coffee grounds. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

You’re more likely just to get brown water.

If you are looking to reduce waste and save money, Keurig sells a reusable K-cup that you can fill with your own coffee grounds. This gives you the convenience of a single-use coffee maker without the waste or expense. It also allows you to try other coffees that may not be available in a K-cup.

If waste is your biggest concern, there are other ways to reduce waste such as:

  • Using the cups to start seeds
  • Buying a refillable K-cup
  • Using the cups for small craft projects
  • Using a compostable K-cup (click to see my favorite brand on Amazon)

While I do occasionally splurge and buy Peet’s Coffee K-Cups (my personal favorite), most of the time I use my handy reusable K-cups (click to see my favorite one on Amazon)!

Just rinse it out and toss it in the dishwasher and it’s ready to go next time.

If you have a Keurig at work, you can even recycle the K-cups for a fee by using this service. They’ll separate out all fo the parts, making sure they get recycled appropriately.

Does using a K-Cup more than once make the coffee weaker?

Using a K-cup more than once will make the coffee weaker as it has already had most of the caffeine and flavor removed when the first cup was brewed. With each subsequent cup brewed with the same K-cup, the color will get lighter and the flavor weaker.

K-cups are specifically engineered to provide the maximum amount of flavor in a single serving.

In fact, Keurig brews cups in sizes of 6, 8, and 10 ounces. So, if you like a strong cup of coffee, you’ll most likely choose the 6-ounce size.

That’s a really small cup of coffee.

Assuming you like coffee that tastes like coffee, even at the smallest brew size, using it again will not result in a drinkable second cup of coffee.

However, I have read a few articles and posts where people swear the second cup of coffee is just as good as the first.

It certainly won’t hurt the machine, so if you are so inclined to try it, then knock yourself out. If you do try it, let me know how it goes and share your results with me!

If you’re anything like me, you like your coffee strong and hot.

To find out what coffee makers produce the hottest coffee, read this recent article on my blog. The findings just might surprise you.

Just click that link to see which one is the hottest (and yes, I even compare it to McDonald’s hot!)

If I use a K-cup again, does selecting a smaller size help it to taste better?

A reused K-cup will produce better and stronger coffee if the brew size is set to a smaller size. But the K-cup is already supposed to only be used once for 6 oz, so it will still be a lighter and weaker cup of coffee. But it will taste better than if the 8 or 10oz settings were used.

But it’s still not going to be good. Now if you’re used to Folgers or Maxwell House, maybe it will work for you.

But if you own a Keurig, you shelled out at least $60 bucks, so chances are you also like to buy decent coffee. So no, it’s not going to taste great brewing a 2nd cup from the same K-cup, even at a smaller size.

Think about a traditional coffee maker, would you ever consider reusing the coffee grounds in your machine?

I really hope not.

All of the delicious flavors are extracted out of the coffee the first time it is brewed. When you use the same coffee grounds more than once, the coffee becomes over-extracted. The result will be bitter and thin.

Weak, bad coffee. If you want that, I bet there’s a gas station on your corner,

Just throw it away or use reusable K-cups (click to see my favorite one on Amazon). Or see the above section for ideas and suggestions on reusing your K-cups.

How can I get the best flavor from a Keurig coffee maker?

Here is how to get the best flavor from your Keurig coffee maker:

  • Use a high-quality brand of K-cup made from 100% Arabica beans
  • Don’t use a K-cup more than once
  • Use clean fresh water for your Keurig, avoiding distilled water and well water
  • Change the water filter in your Keurig every 2 months
  • Descale your Keurig as needed, but at least every 3 months. You can use Keurig’s descaling solution or citric acid, lemon juice, or white vinegar
  • Set the brew size to 6oz and for a larger cup of coffee, brew another 6oz with a 2nd K-cup.

Finding the right coffee to suit your taste is vital. K-cups come in lots of flavors. You may want to try many flavors before you find the perfect one.

You also want to use the right water at the right temperature. With Keurig specifically, the water temperature will be adjusted by the machine.

However, you need to pick the right water to put in your machine.

Some types of water can cause the inner workings of your Keurig to corrode. Others don’t taste good due to the mineral content.

Others have so much stripped away there’s no flavor to enhance the coffee grounds. Luckily, I cover everything you need to know about the best water to use for coffee in a recent article.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Finally, and most importantly, you want to make sure your machine is well maintained. If you’re using good coffee and water, but are still having trouble getting the best flavor from your Keurig, your machine may just need some maintenance.

Head over to this recent article on my blog where I talk about how to descale your machine. You’ll also find some great tips on making your coffee taste great.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

How many coffees can you get out of a K-cup?

One K-cup is only good for 1 cup of coffee, ideally at the 6oz. setting. Using a K-cup more than once or at a larger brew size will result in a weaker and lighter cup of coffee.

So while I know it’s tempting either from a cost or waste standpoint, if you really want to enjoy your coffee, just brew 1 6oz. cup of coffee with that K-cup.

Concerned about cost?

I get it! In that case, look for a budget brand of K-cup. There are plenty of brands out there that make decent coffee that won’t break the bank. And yes, I’m still talking 100% Arabica coffee.

One of my favorite budget coffees is from Cameron’s on Amazon.

For just over $30 bucks you get 12 boxes of 6 K-cups. That’s 72 cups of coffee for just a little over $30 bucks. Try that at Starbucks! And their K-cups are totally compostable too!

They have a ton of flavors too and even tea. Just CLICK HERE to check out the current price and flavor options on Amazon.

Concerned about waste or the environmental aspect of K-cups?

I get that too! After all, most K-cups are plastic with a mesh net inside. And while most brands of K-cup say they’re recyclable, most recycling centers that pick up curbside don’t actually take them.

So what’s the best alternative if you like the convenience of a Keurig?

While you can go with the Cameron’s I mentioned above, which is compostable, an even better way to go is to get a K-cup that you just refill every time.

Give it a quick rinse at the sink and pour ground coffee into it every time!

And for the best flavor, buy whole bean coffee and just grind a little bit at a time when you need it. That will not only address the environmental concerns but grinding it to order will produce a far better cup of coffee as ground coffee being exposed to air (even inside a K-cup) is what makes it taste stale.

CLICK HERE to see the very best reusable K-cup on Amazon.

Can you double brew coffee in a Keurig?

You can double brew coffee in a Keurig, but 1 K-cup is ideal for one 6oz cup of coffee, the smallest setting on a Keurig. While it can be tempting to think that running a 2nd batch of water through the K-cup might extract more flavor, it will just result in a weaker and lighter cup of coffee.

A better option is to simply use 1 K-cup on the 6oz setting and then repeat with a 2nd K-cup.

That will ensure the strongest and fullest-flavor coffee. And after all, if we drink coffee, don’t we want it to taste great? The Keurig definitely puts convenience first.

But that doesn’t mean Keurig coffee has to taste bad.

Want to know all the best tips and tricks to maximize the flavor of your Keurig coffee? I get into all of that in a recent article. I cover not only what to do to always have a great cup of coffee, but how to prevent scale buildup from eventually making every cup taste bad.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Which Keurig makes the biggest cup of coffee?

The Keurig Classic, K-Elite, and K-Duo coffee makers now offer a 12oz brew setting which is the largest brew size available on a Keurig.

Traditionally, Keurig coffee makers only had a 6, 8, or 10oz brew size option.

But as you probably know if you’ve owned one, only the 10oz option really fills a standard-size coffee cup. And if you have a thermos or travel mug, forget about filling it up!

But do remember that no matter what brew size you select, 1 K-cup is only good for 6oz. 

So unless you care about quantity far more than quality, skip the 12oz setting and just brew the 6oz setting twice with a new K-cup for the 2nd run.

Still want that 12oz option?

CLICK HERE to check out the K-Duo on Amazon.

This is called a Duo because you can use the K-cup option or brew regular coffee into a carafe just like a regular coffee maker.

So it’s great if there’s a bunch of coffee drinkers in the house or at a party.

And the K-cup option means you can still grab a cup of pumpkin spice while everyone else drinks French Roast.

It’s also worth noting that the Duo only offers 8, 10, and 12oz and not 6oz.

CLICK HERE to check out the Keurig K-Select Classic on Amazon.

This is the machine that put Keurig on the map.

So if you’ve ever seen a Keurig, this is probably what you saw. 4 brew size settings from 6, 8, 10, and 12 oz.

Lots of color choices too!

But it also features a strength control, so if you like strong coffee but want the option for that 12oz. brew size, make sure to set that strength control knob to the maximum. And then enjoy the best possible large cup of Keurig coffee.

Hot water on demand and a 52oz water reservoir round out the features.

What’s hot water on demand? It’s a button you press when you just want hot water (tea, oatmeal, etc) with a temperature range of 187° F to 192° F. It’s a great option!

CLICK HERE to check out the Keurig K-Elite on Amazon.

This one looks a lot like the Classic Keurig except the controls are on the top in the center instead of off to one side.

So what makes this thing, well . . . elite?

Well this one actually has 5 brew sizes! You get 4oz, 6oz, 8oz, 10oz, and 12oz! So if you REALLY like strong coffee, brew a few at the 4oz setting with a new K-cup each time.

And like the Classic, it also has a strength control also.

But, it also does iced coffee too which is fairly unique among all the Keurig models. And, like the classic, it has a hot water on demand.

And lastly, it boasts the largest water reservoir of any Keurig, so less refilling. It holds 75oz. unlike the Classic which holds 52oz.

Final thoughts

In this article, I talked about what K-cups are and how they work.

I discussed how many times you can use a Keurig pod and the taste of the coffee when you do reuse a K-cup. But, I also discussed how to reduce waste and save money on K-cups.

Then I went over how to get the best flavor out of your Keurig coffee maker. Most importantly, I answered the question of whether a K-cup can be used twice.


Check out all my coffee product recommendations (click to see my list) with additional features and direct links to Amazon for easy purchase.

I always hand-select items that I own, have used, or researched well. That way, I can ensure they are great items. I also give not only higher-end models but inexpensive alternatives as well. So my choices work for any budget.

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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