Here at Home Grounds, we’re obsessed with a great cup of coffee. We love everything from bright, fruit-forward Yirgacheffe coffees to the warm, black cherry notes of a Hacienda la Minita medium-roast from Costa Rica.
But sometimes, nothing beats the convenience of a well-crafted Starbucks K-Cup. With over thirty varieties to choose from, there’s something for everyone.
Keep reading for Home Grounds’ pick of the top 9 best Starbucks K-Cups.
The Top 9 Best Starbucks K-Cups
Though there are tons of delicious copycat Starbucks drinks you can make at home; Sometimes, nothing beats the convenience of a K-Cup. And with over 30 different K-Cup options, there’s a little something for every palate.
So whether you’re partial to flavored coffee or enjoy your coffee black, keep reading for the best Starbucks K-Cups of 2022.
Home Grounds’ pick for the overall best Starbucks K-cup is their classic Pike Place, a Latin-American medium roast.
Pike Place is well-balanced and smooth and serves as their house coffee in over 33 thousand Starbucks cafes around the world. With notes of toasted walnut, praline, and chocolate, this rich cup is a brilliant choice for an after-dinner get-together or your afternoon coffee break.
2. Cinnamon Dolce – Best Starbucks K-Cup with Desserts
Region of Origin: N/A
- Bean Type: N/A
- Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: Cinnamon, butter, and brown sugar
This sweet Cinnamon Dolce Starbucks K-Cup is for you if you like a spicy cinnamon kick. With buttery, brown sugar, and cinnamon notes, the Cinnamon Dolce K-Cup uses Starbucks’ lightest Roast, the blonde Roast. It’s a great complement to any dessert and a great K-Cup to start your morning.
If you’re like us, that after-lunch drowsiness makes it challenging to stay awake. Fortunately, there’s a Starbucks K-Cup for you.
Starbucks’ Blonde Roast with 2x Caffeine is a smooth, mellow cup. With complex notes of toasted malt and rich, dark baking chocolate, Starbucks blends their Veranda coffee with coffee extract for twice the caffeine.
Crafted as an all-around coffee for the holiday season, Starbucks’ Holiday Blend is Home Grounds’ pick for the runner-up.
With a medium body, mild acidity, slightly herbaceous, and sweet maple notes, this blend of Latin-American and Asia Pacific coffee beans is a great accompaniment to holiday treats, like classic baked Alaska or gingerbread cookies.
But this blend isn’t just great during the holidays; It’s a great year-round alternative to Starbucks’ Pike Place coffee, too.
5. Crème Brûlée – Best Caramel Coffee
Region of Origin: N/A
- Bean Type: N/A
- Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: custard, burnt/caramelized sugar, and vanilla notes
If you love the custard buttery caramel flavor of a rich crème brûlée, then this Starbucks K-Cup gives you all the indulgence without the work.
A traditional crème brûlée requires some severe understanding of French culinary techniques (1). In short, a hot vanilla and cream mixture is gently poured into whisked egg yolks, salt, and sugar. Then, all this is steamed in a water bath and finished with some turbinado sugar and fire.
Aside from accidentally scrambling your egg yolks with the hot cream, you could accidentally brûlée your hand with the blowtorch. And something tells us that’s probably not your idea of a good time.
Why not make your life much easier with these crème brûlée Starbucks K-Cups? Made with a medium-roast Starbucks coffee, this K-Cup is sweet, custard, and full of all the warm vanilla and caramelized sugar notes you love in a goodcrème brûlée.
Starbucks’ Blonde Sunrise roast is a well-balanced change of pace from their traditional Veranda blend. This Latin-American coffee blend is smooth with a medium body and mild acidity. Roasted slightly darker than its Veranda cousin, this Blonde Sunrise is chocolaty with subtle caramel notes, giving you a sweet, caffeinated kick-start to your morning without all the calories.
While Starbucks is mainly known for their arabica blends, these Starbucks single-origin Colombian K-Cups is Home Grounds’ pick for the best Starbucks medium roast.
With notes of toasted walnuts, fresh herbs, spice, and a nutty finish, this single-origin Colombian has a round body and fruity acidity. It’s the perfect medium roast to pair with pumpkin cream cheese muffins or banana loaves.
Starbucks’ Cafe Verona, aka. The 80/20 blend was created in 1975 as an after-dinner coffee for a Seattle-based restaurant. Over time, this Latin-American, Asia-Pacific dark roast developed such a following that Starbucks adopted it onto its regular menu.
Unlike Starbucks French roast coffee, these Cafe Verona K-Cups give you all the complexity of a dark roast coffee without the bland, caramelized flavor. With a full body, rich, dark cocoa, and caramelized sugar notes, this bold Cafe Verona Starbucks K-Cup is a great complement to chocolate-based desserts.
9. Peppermint Mocha – Best Seasonal Starbucks K-Cup
Region of Origin: N/A
- Bean Type: N/A
- Cup Profile/Tasting Notes: Chocolaty and minty
Last but not least, Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha is Home Grounds’ pick for best seasonal, flavored K-Cup.
Made with their lightest roast, this mellow peppermint mocha is minty, chocolaty, and delicious alone or as a base for a peppermint mocha.
But if you like those flavors together, Home Grounds suggests stocking up while these K-Cups are available, as they’re only around for a limited time.
How to Choose the Best Starbucks K-Cups for You
Choosing the best Starbucks K-Cup is a bit daunting, with over thirty varieties of K-Cups. What’s the difference between a blend and a single-origin coffee? Why does a coffee’s region even matter? Before buying your next pack of K-Cups, keep reading for a few things you should consider.
Region of Origin
While bean variety, elevation, soil composition, processing method, and roast level impact the final cup, each coffee-growing region has a unique flavor profile (2). For example:
Colombian coffees are known to have a smooth, mild flavor, low in acidity…and the aromas tend to be fruity…
On the other hand, single-origin coffee from Sumatra is low in acidity, with a heavy body and earthy, woody, spicy, and even tobacco notes.
If you’re in the mood for whole-bean coffee, Starbucks offers single-origin coffees from Guatemala, Rwanda, Zambia, Vietnam, and other coffee regions via its Starbucks Reserve brand. But as of this writing, only the Sumatran and Colombian single origins are available as K-Cups.
Blends Vs. Single-Origin Coffees
Once you’ve chosen your region of origin, decide whether you’d like a single origin coffee or a blend. According to JayArr Coffee:
In most blends, tons of flavor notes mix together, making it hard to appreciate any one note.
However, as in Starbucks’ Holiday Blend, a well-crafted blend of different coffee beans can yield an interesting, complex cup. Also, if you’re looking for consistency, blends yield a more consistent flavor from cup to cup.
On the other hand, single-origin beans have the advantage of providing more high-quality and ethical coffees across the board. Also, each region’s distinct flavor profile comes through in every cup.
In short, choosing a single origin or blend comes down to whether you want a reliable breakfast brew or a distinct, regional cup.
Cup Profile/Tasting Notes
Another way to choose the best K-Cup for your coffee selection is to read the tasting notes. Starbucks includes the roast level, region of origin, and a few of the aroma and tasting notes for each K-Cup.
Keep in mind that tasting notes on the package are just a guide. While there are some similarities across beans, everyone will taste something different.
While you won’t be grinding or brewing your coffee straight from the bean, finding your ideal Starbucks K-Cup flavor is a lot like cupping. Pay attention to the coffee’s:
- And finish
From there, decide which K-Cup variety works best for the type of coffee drink you enjoy.
Black Coffee vs. Flavored Coffee Drinks
The best Keurig coffee makers give you plenty of options for customizing your K-Cups. For example, the Keurig K-Cafe allows you to control your brew strength, cup size, and includes a milk frother.
When deciding on the best Starbucks K-Cups for your coffee bar, pair specific K-Cups with the drinks you plan to make.
For example, while Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha is enjoyed on its own, their Cafe Verona blend might be the perfect coffee base for your cappuccino.
After trying some of the best Starbucks K-Cups, Home Grounds chose Starbucks’ classic Pike Place K-Cup as the best overall. With its well-balanced flavor, it’s great on its own or as a coffee base for a cappuccino or flavored latte.
How Do You Recycle Starbucks K-Cups?
To recycle Starbucks K-Cups, simply peel off the foil, discard the used grounds, and recycle the cup according to local recycling instructions (2).
Can You Use Starbucks Reserve Coffee in K-Cups?
Yes, you can use Starbucks Reserve coffee in K-Cups. To do this, place 2 to 3 teaspoons of medium-ground coffee into a reusable K-Cup filter. Then brew normally.
Can You Create Your Own Coffee Blends with Starbucks K-Cups?
Yes, you can create your coffee blends using any Starbucks K-Cup. In creating customized blends, combine no more than two Starbucks K-Cup varieties at once.
- Epicurious. (2019, March 5). Classic Crème Brûlée. Epicurious; Epicurious. https://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/classic-creme-brulee
- Coffee, J. (2019). What’s Special About Single Origin Coffee? [YouTube Video]. In YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97Km9NktaFE
- Frequently Asked Questions. (2021). Starbucks. https://athome.starbucks.com/frequently-asked-questions