How Many Times Can You Use a Keurig Cup? K-Cups Explained

Anyone with a Keurig knows that K cups can quickly add up.

Sure, it’s just a few bucks for a box of ten. But if you drink multiple cups of coffee a day, those ‘couple of bucks’ can easily turn into ‘hundreds of bucks.’

So, what do you do? Can you reuse K cups to save some cash? And, how many times can you use a Keurig cup?

As a fan of frugal living, I’ve done the research and put together a guide. 

Let’s take a look at how many times you can reuse K cups before they kick the can!

How Many Times Can You Use a Keurig Cup?

Any K cup coffee pod manufacturer would tell you not to use K cups more than once. They’re designed for single use, meaning that they should be thrown away after making a cup of coffee.

The first reason for this is that there’s no way to refill these cups. So, when you reuse them, the coffee comes out watery and under-extracted.

On top of that, many newer Keurig models will automatically detect when a new pod is placed in the machine. Keurig brewer can tell when you’re reusing an old pod.

If they pick up that you’re reusing an old pod, the machine won’t run the brew cycle. That makes it impossible to reuse the Keurig K cup even if you wanted to!

On older models, you might be able to get away with reusing your coffee pods. But, just remember not to use it more than three times.

By the time you run the third brewing cycle, you’ll notice that the coffee is basically just bitter water. All the coffee aroma and flavor profiles are gone.

How to Use a K cup More Than Once?

If you’re dead set on using your K cups more than once, there is a way to do it.

Just remember, you might have problems if you’ve got one of the newer Keurig machines.

Still, if you’re set on giving it a try, here are the steps to take:

  1. Remove the K cup from your Keurig coffee maker.
  2. Peel back the foil you can see on top of your K cup.
  3. Remove the old coffee grounds.
  4. Rinse the cup.
  5. Refill the cup with your chosen coffee ground.
  6. Cut a piece of aluminum foil that fits the cup.
  7. Secure and close the K cup with the foil you cut.
  8. Place the Keurig pod back in the dispenser.
  9. Check that the hole is aligned with the punch in the machine’s holder.
  10. Brew and enjoy.

Because this method involves reusing the pod and not the coffee itself, the brew won’t come out super weak.

Still, some machines will refuse to brew if you reuse your coffee pods like this.

I recommend trying it out to see whether your coffee maker will run the brew cycle or not. If not, you can always just place a new pod in the Keurig machine.

Can You Recycle K cups?

Even though K cup coffee pods are single-use, that doesn’t mean they’re 100% wasteful.

You see, you can actually recycle K cups!

Just remember that K cups are made up of a few different materials, including plastic, aluminum, and coffee. You’ll need to pick them apart to separate out the different materials.

You can throw the aluminum and plastic parts into your local recycling bin.

As for the grounds, you can actually use them as fertilizer for your garden or house plants. That way, no part of the pod goes to waste!

Alternative to Using K cups More Than Once

reusable K cup

Okay, so we know that reusing K cups might not be the best idea.

But, that doesn’t mean that you’re doomed to spend tons of money purchasing single-use K cups all the time.

You see, Keurig actually created reusable K cups.

These K cups have mesh filters that you can open up. To use them, just fill the filter with your favorite ground coffee and then pop it in the machine like normal!

How Long Does a Reusable K cup Last?

Reusable K cups, although they won’t last forever, are pretty sturdy. You can usually reuse them for about three or four months before you need to replace them.

Of course, you can extend the life of your reusable K cup by cleaning them out regularly. Doing so every couple of weeks can help keep them in good condition.

So, how do you know when it’s time to toss the K cups?

When your coffee starts coming out weaker than before, it might be time to throw them away.

Pay attention to the flavor of your coffee when you use the reusable K cup to make sure you don’t overuse them.

How to Clean a Reusable K cup?

Cleaning your reusable K cup regularly prevents bacterial colonies from accumulating in the pod. That way, they can’t contaminate your drink.

Regular cleaning also prevents mold from growing on the K cup.

Both mold and bacteria can cause infections and sickness, so cleaning out these pods is super important.

So, how do you clean a reusable K cup? The easiest way is to use white vinegar and water.

Here’s a play-by-play on how to do so:

  1. Remove the reusable K cup from your Keurig coffee machine.
  2. Dump out any coffee grounds that are currently in the pod.
  3. Rinse the cup under running water. This dislodges any stuck coffee particles.
  4. Fill a large bowl with one cup of white vinegar and two cups of water.
  5. Place the reusable K cup inside the bowl.
  6. Let the K cup soak inside the mixture for 30 minutes.
  7. After 30 minutes, lift the reusable K cup out.
  8. Rinse the pod using warm water.
  9. Let it dry.

The whole process will take about 35 minutes from start to finish. Once you’re done, you’re ready to use your K cup again!

What Kind of Coffee to Use in a Reusable K cup?

pouring ground coffee into filter with spoon

When it comes to brewing drinks with a reusable K cup, the sky’s the limit.

You can use any type of regular ground coffee in the pod and still guarantee a good flavor. However, it’s best to use a medium-coarse coffee grind size for your pods.

One thing to remember, however, is that reusable K cups tend to produce slightly weaker coffee than standard K cups.

As a result, you may find that lighter beans don’t pack the same punch when you brew with a reusable cup.

A good way to get around this is to use darker coffee blends in your reusable cups. Things like espresso roast or French roast tend to be good picks.

Final Thoughts

So, how many times can you use a Keurig cup?

The answer is generally one. The more times you try to reuse your Keurig cup, the weaker (and worse) your coffee will taste.

If your goal is to be more environmentally friendly, a good alternative is to check out reusable K cups. This is a good way to reuse pods without ruining your coffee’s flavor.

And if you liked this article, try reading this insightful article on Nespresso and Keurig machines.

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Jessica Ruth Lee Fleming
Jessica is a seasoned caffeine-addict who spent 3 years behind the bar. Her early coffee days took her from the commercial Starbucks scene in urban DC all the way to helping launch a craft coffee shop in California. Today she prefers sharing her years of coffee capers through media, although you’ll find she does it with a trusty cup of coffee by her side.