December 10, 2013

Are Keurig K-cups a Good Deal?

I keep seeing deals to buy k-cups.    K-cups fit into a Keurig compatible coffee brewer.  The K-cups contain coffee and a built in filter so they will brew you a single serving of coffee.   Its a neat idea.  I've wondered if catching a good deal on K-cups might be a frugal way to buy coffee.  

K-cup brewers are pricey
First of all you've got to have a Keurig coffee brewer.   The cheapest model I could find was about $80 on Amazon. : Keurig B130 DeskPro Brewing System Thats pretty pricey for a single cup coffee maker.  I'd expect to spend more like $20 for such a simple appliance.   Right off the bat then you're spending money extra on an over priced specialty coffee maker.   But I suppose if k-cups were cheap enough you could recoup that initial investment.

K-cups are pricey per serving
K-cups themselves often run 50¢ to $1 each bought in multi-packs.   An example of a relatively cheap deal would be 80 count San Francisco Bay Coffee Breakfast Blend for $26.75  which comes out to about 33¢ each.   So your cost per cup of coffee would be 33¢ for that brand.    I checked cheaper brands like Folgers, Millstone and Maxwell house and none of them were cheaper.  I looked up a couple more popular brands and found Starbucks French Roast Dark 54-Count for $46 or 85¢ each and Green Mountain Coffee, Breakfast Blend 50-count for $33 or 66¢ ea.   Maybe you can find cheaper K-cups than the 33¢ San Francisco Bay ones but I couldn't.

Even gourmet ground coffee is cheaper
Get that same brand in ground coffee San Francisco Bay Coffee Ground Breakfast Blend, 12-Ounce Bag is $9.08 for a 12 oz bag.    According to Starbucks website : "A 1-lb bag of coffee yields approximately 64 5-oz cups* (320 oz)."   So by that math 16 oz. of coffee = 320 oz of brewed coffee.    1 oz. = 20 oz.  If a standard cup is 6 oz. then that means we can get about 40 cups of coffee out of that 12 oz. bag.    That means each cup runs about 22¢.

You can certainly find much cheaper ground coffee.   Something like basic Folgers in bulk : Folgers Classic Roast Coffee, 33.9 Ounce (Pack of 6)    will only cost you about 3¢ per cup.

Course if you brew with normal ground coffee you also have to buy the filters.   But if you buy a multipack of filters like Melitta Basket Coffee Filters is only about 1¢ per filter.

No matter how I compare it, K-cups are not cheaper than simply buying regular ground coffee.

K-cups may be a little more convenient and tidy but thats about their only benefit as far as I see and it comes at a pretty steep price premium.

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