One of the most popular posts on this site is the one I did on refilling K-Cups, the single-serve coffee “pods” used in Keurig brewers. I outlined a method for re-using K-Cups by using plastic wrap. It works, but the amount of time it takes to clean out a used K-Cup and then cut and properly apply the plastic wrap really defeats the purpose of the whole Keurig system, which is speed and convenience.
Later, I reviewed the Keurig My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter, a product designed for the Keurig brewers that avoids the use of the K-Cups altogether by allowing you to use your own freshly ground coffee in the brewer. (Update: see also this post on the Solofill reusable coffee filter.)
Now along comes another product that allows you to re-use K-Cups with your own ground coffee: the My-Kap Kap. It’s pretty simple — a plastic cap with slightly beveled edges that fits snugly in the top of a used K-Cup, once you’ve removed the foil, cleaned out the filter, and refilled the cup with ground coffee. It already has a hole in the center for the Keurig brewer’s piercer/water dispenser.
The main thing you need to do differently when using a used K-Cup topped with a My-Kap is hold down the handle of the Keurig brewer while the coffee is being brewed. This allows a snug fit. It will work if you don’t, but you will get leakage within the brewing “basket” (K-Cup holder assembly) which will spray and/or drip from not only the exit hole, but also the seams of the basket, depending on your brewer and its structural integrity. Even holding down the handle, using the My-Kap is slightly drippy. You may have to clean your brewer more often.
That being said, the My-Kap works like charm, as advertised. Some thoughts:
- Putting the My-Kap on the used K-Cup is, without a doubt, much faster and easier than fiddling with plastic wrap.
- Both when refilling a K-Cup using plastic wrap, and when using the My K-Cup Reusable Filter, I had a hard time getting the proper grind and filling the K-Cup or filter with the right amount of grounds. The brewer forces water through the K-Cups under pressure, and the K-Cups are designed and filled so they won’t create problems (overflow, blowouts, etc.). The My-Kap fits tightly enough to circumvent most of these problems. The instructions say to fill to 3/4 full, but it seemed quite forgiving through variations in grind size and amount of coffee used, taking the guess work out of reusing a K-Cup.
- You don’t have to remove the K-Cup holder assembly from your Keurig brewer, as you do with the My K-Cup Reusable Filter.
- The cap is stiff and sturdy, and can be washed (dishwasher safe) and used indefinitely.
- Be careful prying the cap off after you brew a cup of coffee with a My-Kapped K-Cup. An odd little plastic tool is provided. I’m not sure if it was actually made for this application, because it looks a bit like some sort of peg board hanger. No matter which way you use it (I believe it is meant to be used as shown on the right), the My-Kap is snug and unless you are very careful, it will pop off suddenly, and soggy ground coffee will fly everywhere. Do it over a sink or wastebasket.
- Although I have heard of people doing so, I wouldn’t recommend preparing many refilled K-Cups using My-Kaps ahead of time. There is a hole in the center of the My-Kap itself (nearly as large as the diameter of a pencil), and coffee will spill out of it if it falls over. There are also one or more holes in the bottom of the K-Cup from the brewing process. Ground coffee gets stale fast enough, and all these holes will just speed that process along.
- The usual caveats of reusing K-Cups apply. The inner paper filter can’t be completely cleaned of coffee grounds and oils, and in addition to trapping flavors will also eventually become clogged. Nor can coffee oils be cleaned from the inner sealed space between the bottom of the filter and the bottom of the K-Cup. Frankly, I also wonder how often the plastic K-Cups should be exposed to high heat.
- My-Kap is made of polycarbonate plastic, and as such may contain BPA. If you are concerned about possible exposure to this chemical, this product might not be for you.
When I wrote my first post in May 2007, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters (which purchased Keurig in 2006) was working on more sustainable or recyclable materials for use in the K-Cups. They are still working on this (here is a June 2008 post from the Green Mountain blog on the topic), as they are facing the challenge of finding materials than can withstand heat and pressure, as well as protect the coffee from light, heat, moisture, and oxygen while being stored. I was recently told by a Green Mountain rep that they have “had some promising results in this area and hope to be selling a tea product in a K-Cup made from renewable materials in the first part of 2010 and portion packs with more substantive improvements in the not too distant future.” Keurig has an environmental policy on its web site, where it explains the construction of the K-Cup in more detail, and other actions the company is taking to reduce environmental impact.
The My-Kap can be ordered from Amazon, and other online retailers. Typically, you get three caps, a removal tool, and/or a brush to clean out the K-Cup.