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Strongest K Cup Coffee: Top 8 Picks

In a hurry? Our top choice is the Death Wish Coffee K-Cups!

Every now and then we need a little extra jolt in our morning cup of coffee.

Keurig K-Cups make some phenomenal coffee, but they aren’t always super strong.

In this article, I’ll go over the strongest k cup coffee available.

I’ll give a rundown of the top choices and pick my favorite.

Let’s get to it.

The Strongest K Cup Coffee: Top 8 Picks

Death Wish Coffee K-Cups

Death Wish Coffee K-Cups

The name really says it all with these K-Cups.

I had a good friend in high school whose dad swore by Death Wish coffee. He claimed that it would stop your heart if you drank too much.

That’s not actually true, but it sounded scary enough to give me pause.

The reality is that Death Wish coffee uses both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. Robusta beans have twice the amount of caffeine as Arabica beans.

So when Death Wish claims they make the strongest coffee in the world, they might not be far off. The caffeine count for a 12 oz cup is 728 mg. (That’s more than double your average brew!)

Another benefit to using Robusta beans is that Robusta coffee is less acidic than Arabica coffee. That makes Death Wish coffee less sweet, tastes super bold, but still be gentle on your stomach.

Caffeine: 728mg/12oz

Pros

  • Super high caffeine count will keep you focused and ready all day
  • Robusta beans are less acidic than Arabica beans, meaning these coffee pods will be friendly on your stomach
  • They use USDA Organic and Fair Trade Coffee only, so you can be sure your coffee isn’t harming the farmers
  • Compatible with all Keurig machines, so you don’t need to worry about making sure the coffee pod works

Cons

  • Because of the Robusta beans, Death Wish coffee just doesn’t taste as complex as an all-Arabica bean blend
  • The caffeine count is super high, so if you’re sensitive to caffeine you need to be careful
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Wild Jo Extra Strong Organic K-Cups

Wild Jo is one of the highest-rated organic K-Cup producers on the market.

Keurig K-Cups often get knocked for being wasteful and harmful to the environment. And that’s generally a fair claim.

Wild Jo is trying to break that cycle by using a fully-compostable K-Cup design. Everything from the plastic in the pod to the rim itself is compostable.

But what about the coffee itself?

That, too, is a safe buy for the environment. They only use Organic and Fair Trade coffees.

They use a Dark French Roast for their coffees. That’s on the darker side of roasts. So rest assured that your Wild Jo coffee will taste bold, strong, and dark.

One downside is that roasting that dark takes away some of the caffeine content.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly how much caffeine is in a Wild Jo pod, but chances are it will be on the lower end of average. (Somewhere between 80 and 100 mg in an 8 oz cup.)

Caffeine: ~90mg/8oz

Pros

  • A fully compostable K-Cup design means you don’t have to worry as much about the impact on the environment
  • Dark French Roast gives your cup a dark and bold taste, perfect for mornings when you need a jolt
  • Organic and Fair Trade coffee only means you aren’t contributing to exploitative farming practices
  • All Arabica bean blends give your cup complexity and a slightly sweeter taste

Cons

  • Lower caffeine count because of how dark the roast is, so you’ll need more coffee to get extra jazzed
  • Not compatible with the Keurig Vue or Rivo
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Wake The Hell Up! K-Cups

Wake The Hell Up! coffee pods from Utica Coffee Roasters offer a good balance of quality coffee and strength.

They use a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans to give you a little extra caffeine count. But they don’t use a lot of Robusta beans in their blend.

That means their blend is still smooth and tasty. 

On top of that, they use a medium-dark roast instead of a full dark roast coffee. That keeps the flavors fresh and light.

Their Keurig coffee pods are recyclable. But you do have to separate the coffee and the filter from each pod before recycling.

I like that Wake The Hell Up! is more than just a coffee brand. They are actively trying to use their coffee to inspire their community. They see their coffee as a challenge to their customers: take a risk and seize the day.

Caffeine: 300-350mg/12oz

Pros

  • Extra caffeine from the blend of Arabica and Robusta beans gives you more caffeine per cup
  • Recyclable coffee pods so you can mitigate some of the environmental impacts that come with single-serve K cup pods
  • Medium-dark roast keeps the flavors fresh and light, so you don’t have to worry about your cup tasting tarry or burnt
  • Strong community aspect, the brand is meant as more than just a morning wake-up call

Cons

  • The extra step of taking apart the Keurig K cup can be a deterrent to recycling the coffee pods
  • I’m not sold on the taste, roasting Robusta beans to medium-dark instead of dark invites some rusty flavors into the cup
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Dark Magic K-Cups

Dark Magic K-Cups from Green Mountain is an in-house Keurig K-Cup.

Green Mountain and Keurig are actually the same company. That means that Dark Magic K-Cups are specifically designed for Keurig machines.

Is that really a benefit? I’d say so. It gives you the assurance that your coffee will be consistent and taste great.

But how strong is Dark Magic? It is roasted, as the name implies, to a dark level. That gives you a strong and bold flavor.

Dark Magic is 100% Arabica beans, so you get all the sweet and complex flavors of Arabica coffee and none of the more rustic flavors of Robusta beans.

The trade-off, however, is that Arabica beans don’t have as much caffeine as Robusta beans. To get the caffeine content as a Robusta blend, you’ll need an extra cup or two.

It is also one of the only Kosher-certified K-Cups on the market.

Caffeine: 80-100mg/8oz

Pros

  • These coffee pods are designed in-house, so you can be sure you’ll get great results
  • All Arabica beans mean you get complex, sweet flavors in your cup without the rusty and dark flavors of Robusta beans
  • Fully recyclable coffee pods take away some of the environmental impacts of K-Cups
  • Compatible with all Keurig machines

Cons

  • They have a lower caffeine count because of the 100% Arabica blends
  • Because Green Mountain is a large producer, the coffee won’t taste as unique as smaller brands
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Napalm K-Cups

Despite what the name might imply, this coffee won’t actually kill you. But it will give you a nice little jolt to start your morning.

Good Times Coffee Company, which makes Napalm K-Cups, uses 100% Arabica beans for this blend.

That gives you a smooth and slightly sweet flavor in your cup. But it also means that the caffeine count is a little lower than an Arabica/Robusta blend.

But hey, if you’re only looking for a strong cup without much caffeine, this is a great option.

I’m not totally sold on the taste. Dark roast coffees from mid-sized producers like Good Times tend to be muddled and bland.

They are, however, roasted in small batches. That helps with the taste because the roaster can change roast levels based on the outside environment.

Basically, this is a smooth cup of coffee that won’t make your heart explode.

Caffeine: ~100mg/8oz

Pros

  • 100% Arabica coffee gives you a smooth and rich flavor, so you don’t sacrifice caffeine for a tarry taste
  • Small batch roasted means there will be some consistency from pod to pod
  • The coffee pods are compatible with all Keurig machines, so no worries about which Keurig coffee machine you have
  • Recyclable pods are more environmentally friendly

Cons

  • An extra dark roast takes away some caffeine and flavor from the coffee
  • Not much nuance in the coffee, it’s meant to be strong and bold
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Valhalla Java K-Cups

The Valhalla Java coffee pods are Death Wish’s medium roast coffee.

They are made with a blend of 5 origins from Indonesia to South America.

I like these coffee pods for their medium roast. I have found that medium roast coffees have a smoother and more tolerable flavor than dark roast coffee. 

Valhalla coffee uses a blend of Arabica and Robusta beans. This gives your coffee a lot more caffeine per ounce than simply using Arabica beans.

There’s a prejudice against Robusta beans in the coffee world because of their rustic, earthy, and nutty flavors. But if you’re trying to make a high-caffeine, super strong coffee, they are definitely the way to go.

The fact is, Valhalla Java has 660 mg of caffeine per 12 oz of coffee. So be warned that when they say this coffee is strong, it really is that strong.

Caffeine: 660mg/12oz

Pros

  • A blend of 5 origin countries gives Valhalla Java a really nice and smooth taste
  • Robusta beans are less acidic than Arabica beans, so Valhalla Java will be easier on your stomach
  • If you’re looking for a ton of caffeine, this coffee has plenty to keep you going for a long time
  • Fair Trade and Organic certified, which means they don’t contribute to exploitative farming practices

Cons

  • The Robusta blend can be a little too earthy for some people
  • The high caffeine content makes it easy to drink too much
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Black Rhino K-Cups

Black Rhino is Good Times Coffee’s espresso roast coffee blend. They use only Arabica beans in this coffee at a dark roast.

That gives your cup a nice smoky aroma and a strong flavor.

Their coffee pods are all recyclable. And, get this, a portion of each sale of Black Rhino coffee gets donated to black rhinoceros conservation in southern and eastern Africa.

So not only do you get a jolt, but you can help save an endangered species.

I’m not sold on the taste. The smoky aroma finds its way into the cup, making the flavor a little bitter for me.

Their espresso roast is pretty dark. But that does two things: first, it makes the coffee strong and bold. Second, it takes some nuance out of the flavor.

But I like this coffee for someone who wants a strong coffee and likes the idea of giving money to a great cause.

Caffeine: ~100mg/8oz

Pros

  • 100% Arabica blend gives you a smooth flavor in each cup
  • Recyclable pods help keep the environmental impact down
  • A portion of each sale goes towards black rhinoceros conservation in Africa
  • Small-batch roasted means that you’ll get consistency from box to box

Cons

  • The smoky aroma of the espresso roast can get into the cup, taking away some of the smooth Arabica bean flavors
  • Because it’s a blend, some of the unique flavors can get muddled, leaving you with a strong taste and nothing else
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Black Rifle Coffee CAF K-Cups

Black Rifle CAF coffee grounds (intended to be a reference to bullets) are a medium roast blend.

They use Brazilian and Colombian coffees, which are a mix of Arabica and Robusta beans. They give you a big caffeine boost to start your day.

Using a blend of Arabica and Robusta gives your cup more caffeine. It also smooths out the flavors and gives you a balanced taste.

A portion of all Black Rifle sales goes to supporting veterans and first responders. So if you like the idea of supporting those groups, this is a great choice.

Black Rifle is actually veteran-owned.

I’ll be honest and say the coffee will be run-of-the-mill. There isn’t anything special about these cups other than the branding and the caffeine count.

They even have a disclaimer on their website warning of the effects of a caffeine overdose. The reality is it takes way more caffeine than you would ever conceivably ingest to overdose.

The disclaimer is there for show.

Caffeine: 150-200mg/8oz

Pros

  • Arabica and Robusta blend gives you a ton of caffeine per cup
  • Using only Brazilian and Colombian coffee gives you consistency from cup to cup
  • A portion of sales goes to support first responders and law enforcement
  • It’s a medium roast coffee, so you’ll get some unique flavors and have a smoother drinking experience than a dark roast coffee

Cons

  • The branding is heavy-handed, these pods aren’t as strong as Black Rifle wants you to think
  • It’s a standard cup of coffee with a spiked caffeine count, there are better-tasting options with as much caffeine out there
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4 Ways to Make Your K-Cup Stronger

Sometimes Keurig’s just don’t brew strong enough. They are meant to be fast, so that means that they can rush and not brew your coffee all the way.

Here are a few tips for brewing stronger coffee with your Keurig:

  • Use the “Strong” button. Some Keurig machines have a “Strong” button. That simply means your Keurig will brew your coffee slightly longer and stronger than normal. It’s probably the simplest way to brew stronger coffee.
  • Run a water cycle through before brewing. Running a hot water cycle with no pod in the coffee maker will pre-heat your Keurig, making your coffee hotter and stronger when you brew.
  • Put a full pod into a reusable pod. I know this sounds odd, but adding a single-use pod to a reusable one effectively doubles the steeping time and adds strength to your cup. You can also use your own ground coffee in a reusable pod to make it stronger.
  • Use the smallest cup setting. A good ratio is essential for a strong cup of coffee, so using the smallest setting on your Keurig will give you the strongest cup.

Things to Consider Before Buying

When looking for the strongest K-Cup for your Keurig coffee maker you need to consider the two definitions of coffee “strength”:

  • Caffeine content
  • Taste

When we say a cup of coffee is “strong,” generally we mean it tastes thick, rich, and bold. Like a classic diner cup of coffee poured from those round pots we all grew up with.

But we can also refer to caffeine content.

Ask yourself which one you mean when you say “strong” coffee. That’s the first step.

The second step is assessing how much coffee you want to drink.

Are you looking for a smaller cup with a massive caffeine kick?

Or do you want a strong taste over two or three cups?

Answering those questions will help narrow down your choices. Keep in mind that each machine has slightly different cup sizes.

Verdict

Hands-down my choice is Death Wish K-Cups.

The blend of Arabica and Robusta beans doesn’t change the flavor too much. You still get a rich, smooth, bold taste without being too nutty or earthy.

Robusta beans are also less acidic than Arabica beans. That means your coffee will be a little easier on the stomach.

The caffeine count (728 mg of caffeine per 12 oz cup) is, frankly, astonishing. One cup will keep you up and going for the whole day.

That said, all the coffees on this list are good choices. You just need to find one that works for you!

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Craig Carey
Craig spent a year as a barista in Denver's specialty coffee world. He spends his days rock climbing, cycling, drinking espresso, and hanging around the Rocky Mountains. He still lives in Colorado.