7 Best Espresso K cups in 2024 (for Rich Coffee Experience!)

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Johny Morrisson

Keurig and other K-cup machines are often accused of delivering weak or watery coffee. To some extent that’s true, but there is a variety of Espresso K cups available that produce strong, tasty coffee.

While Keurig doesn’t make real Espresso with a thick layer of crema on top, it can make concentrates “Espresso-like coffee.” using these Espresso K cups.

Why Trust Us

As a Keurig K Elite owner, I have had the pleasure of tasting many K-cup coffee pods over the years. In this article, I share my judgment on the top features, flavor profiles, and notes of the best Espresso Roast K cups, so you can easily find the perfect one for yourself.

Best Espresso K cups

1. Lavazza Espresso Italiano
(Best Tasting Espresso K cup)

Lavazza Espresso Italiano is the perfect medium roasted Espresso K cup with a smooth and fruity flavor profile. These K-Cups are perfect for those who enjoy a balanced cup of coffee, not too bold or too light.

Lavazza Espresso Italiano K cups
FeaturesLavazza Espresso K cup
Types of Beans100% Arabica
Roast LevelMedium
Tasting NotesFruit and flowers
Origin of BeansCentral and South America

Lavazza, a company known for its expertise in crafting traditional Italian espresso, crafted the Espresso Italiano K-Cups that capture the rich and intense flavors of espresso.

The aroma of Lavazza Espresso Italiano K-Cups is one of their most distinctive features. The coffee has a rich, roasted aroma that is sure to tantalize your senses.

On the downside, these pods are very expensive compared to other K-cup pods. For example, you can get a good K cup for under 50 cents but these pods cost well over $1.


✔️ Made with high-quality Arabica beans

✔️ No bitterness

✔️ Smooth flavor profile with Fruity and floral flavor notes


❌ Not suit bold coffee lovers

❌ The pods are not recyclable in all communities

❌ Very expensive

Check Out: Best Medium Roast Coffee Pods

2. Green Mountain Black Granite
(Strongest Espresso K cup)

Green Mountain Espresso style is the perfect choice if you are looking for the strongest Espresso-styled coffee with undertones of dried fruits and toasted nuts. Black Granite offers an incredible blend of finest-quality beans from the best-growing areas of Central America.

Green Mountain Black Granite Espresso style K cups
FeaturesGreen Mountain Espresso K cups
Types of Beans100% Arabica
Roast LevelDark
Tasting NotesDried fruit and toasted nuts
Origin of BeansSouth and Central America

These pods offer a perfect rich aroma, smooth texture, and boldness that can make your morning coffee drink a perfect dose of the day. 

Green Mountain Coffee has a reputation for producing consistently high-quality coffee. Their beans are carefully sourced and roasted, resulting in a reliable and enjoyable coffee experience with every pod.


✔️ Sweet and strong taste

✔️ Made with the finest quality Arabica coffee beans

✔️ Affordable price


❌ The flavors are a little bit on the weaker side

❌ The pods are not recyclable in all communities

Check Out: High caffeine strongest K cup Coffee

3. Café Bustelo Espresso Style
(Best Espresso K cup for Latte)

If you are looking for a great way to enjoy specialty espresso drinks such as Latte or Cappuccino at home, I highly recommend Café Bustelo Espresso Style. With the dark roast and flavor notes of Chocolate and Cuban sugar, these pods are perfect for preparing milky coffee drinks.

Cafe Bustelo Espresso style K cups
FeaturesCafe Bustelo Espresso K cup
Types of BeansArabica and Robusta
Roast LevelDark
Tasting NotesChocolate and Cuban Sugar
Origin of BeansCentral America

Café Bustelo has a long and rich history, deeply rooted in Latin American coffee culture. If you’re looking for a truly authentic Latin American espresso experience, their Style K-Cups are a great option.

With a blend of high-quality Arabica and Robusta beans, these espresso pods provide a strong and highly caffeinated drink.

It can be enjoyed as black, with milk, or with your favorite flavored syrups. This makes it a great choice if you like to experiment with different espresso drinks.


✔️ Classical Cuban Espresso taste

✔️ Perfect for Lattes and Cappuccinos

✔️ Affordable price


❌ Bitterness in taste

❌ The pods are not recyclable in all communities

Check Out: Best Dark Roast K cup Coffee

4. San Francisco Bay Espresso Roast
(biodegradable K cups)

San Francisco Bay compostable pods are the perfect choice for coffee lovers who want to enjoy a rich and bold cup of coffee in an environmentally friendly way. The coffee is made with a blend of Central and South American beans that are roasted to perfection.

SF Bay Espresso Roast K cups
FeaturesSan Francisco Bay Espresso K cup
Types of Beans100% Arabica
Roast LevelDark
Tasting NotesDark Chocolate
Origin of BeansCentral America

San Francisco Bay Espresso Roast K-Cups offer a rich and complex coffee experience, with a full body that is sure to satisfy.

San Francisco Bay Coffee is also committed to sustainability, using only 100% Arabica beans and certified Kosher beans, as well as completely compostable pods.

The beans are sourced from Central America’s finest regions and have strong notes of dark chocolate that complement the boldness of espresso.


✔️ Pod are made of completely compostable material

✔️ Very affordable pricing

✔️ Made with the finest beans from Central America


❌ Compostable pods lose flavor with time – So always make sure to buy fresh

❌ Not perfect for smooth coffee lovers

Check Out: Best eco-friendly biodegradable K cups

5. Dunkin’ Espresso Style

Dunkin’ Espresso Style K-Cups deliver a strong and intense espresso experience with extra dark roasted coffee beans. The coffee has a bold, dark roast flavor with a hint of smokiness and a slightly bitter finish. However, the bitterness is not harsh but rather complements the other flavors of the coffee.

Dunkin Espresso Style K cups
FeaturesDunkin’ Espresso Style K cup
Types of Beans100% Arabica
Roast LevelExtra Dark
Tasting NotesSmoky caramel
Origin of BeansSouth and Central America

Dunkin’ Donuts is a household name in the coffee industry, and for good reason. Their Espresso-style K-Cups offer a convenient and delicious way to enjoy the same great taste of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee at home.


✔️ Rich and aromatic signature Dunkin Donuts taste

✔️ Highly roasted Extra dark beans 

✔️ Affordable price


❌ Bitterness in taste

❌ Not perfect for smooth coffee lovers

❌ The pods are not recyclable in all communities

6. Brooklyn Beans Express-O
(Affordable Choice)

Brooklyn Bay Espresso style is the perfect dark roasted k cup with an intense and smoky flavor profile. The beans are roasted very dark to create a strong and intense coffee that is perfect for making espresso drinks with milk or just drinking on its own.

Brooklyn Beans Express-O Coffee Pods
FeaturesBrooklyn Espresso K cups
Types of Beans100% Arabica
Roast LevelDark
Tasting NotesRich and Smoky
Origin of BeansSouth and Central America

You’ll love the rich, smoky, and full-bodied flavors of Brooklyn Express-O Gourmet Coffee Pods.


✔️ Don’t have a bitter aftertaste

✔️ Bold and strong flavor

✔️ Affordable price


❌ The pods are not recyclable in all communities

❌ Inconsistent in flavors sometimes

7. Maud’s Espress-o Yourself
(Best Decaf Espresso K cup)

Maud’s Espresso K cup is a great choice if you are looking for a delicious, rich, and strong Espresso-like coffee without the jitters of caffeine.

Maud's Espress-o Yourself K cups
FeaturesMaud’s Espresso K cups
Types of Beans100% Arabica
Roast LevelDark
Tasting NotesRich and Smoky
Origin of BeansSouth and Central America

Maud’s Espresso-O yourself is a dark roast coffee with a rich and complex flavor. The burnt undertones add a touch of smokiness and bitterness, which is characteristic of espresso coffee.

These pods are made with 100% Arabica decaffeinated coffee beans.

Another good thing is the commitment of Maud’s brand to sustainability. With Kosher certification and fair-trade beans, they roast coffee beans to perfection in the solar-powered facility.

Maud’s is a well-known brand in the K-cup industry and is known for using high-quality coffee beans and affordable pricing.


✔️ Rich and smoky flavors

✔️ Commitment to sustainability

✔️ Highly Affordable price


❌ Not perfect for smooth coffee lovers

❌ Not for high caffeine lovers

Check Out: Best Decaf Coffee K cups

Factors for choosing the best Espresso K cup

Here are some factors you must consider while choosing Espresso K cups

1. Roast Level

It is very important to consider the roast level of the coffee beans when choosing Espresso K cups as it plays a major role in determining the coffee’s flavor profile and characteristics.

Generally, dark or medium roasts are used for brewing espressos since they have a stronger and full-bodied flavor.

All the Espresso K cups mentioned in this article are either medium roast or dark roast.

For a smooth flavor profile, I suggest you go with Lavazza Espresso Italiano, and for darker roasts, I suggest you try Dunkin or Cafe Bustelo.

2. Type of beans

The type of beans is an important factor in choosing espresso roast k cups since it affects the overall taste, balance, and complexity of the espresso.

Arabica beans, for example, are known for their nuanced and smooth flavors, often including notes of fruit, berries, and chocolate. Robusta beans, on the other hand, have a stronger and more bitter taste.

A blend of Arabica and Robusta beans is normally used in an authentic Italian Espresso, but this causes the flavor profiles to shift towards a bitter side, which is why most coffee lovers prefer only 100% Arabica beans.

In this list, all the Espresso K cups are 100% arabica bean except Café Bustelo, which is a blend of high-quality Arabica and Robusta bean, I suggest you try it if you like stronger flavor profiles and natural coffee bitterness.

3. Taste and Flavor Profiles

A well-balanced espresso has a harmonious combination of sweetness, acidity, and bitterness.

It should have enough acidity to provide brightness and liveliness to the cup, complemented by a pleasant level of sweetness and a hint of bitterness for complexity.

Chocolate and caramel notes are frequently appreciated in espresso, as they add depth and a touch of sweetness.

However, some people enjoy their espresso with a subtle or pronounced fruitiness, while others enjoy it with hints of spices or earthy undertones.

4. Price

Price is another important factor when choosing the Espresso K-Cup coffee pods.

Prices can vary based on the brand, quality of beans, and packaging.

While some K cups like Lavazza cost over a dollar for a single cup, there are also cheaper alternatives such as Cafe Bustelo or Maud’s that are available for under 50 cents.

5. Reviews and Brand Reputation

You can assess the quality of espresso K-cups by examining reviews and the brand’s reputation.

Brands with a good reputation like Lavazza and Green Mountain often prioritize quality control and consistency, ensuring a higher likelihood of a positive experience with their products.

6. Environmental impact

K-cups are typically single-use pods that generate a significant amount of waste. The convenience of K-cups comes at the cost of increased plastic waste, as these materials are often not easily recyclable in many areas.

All the K cups mentioned in this list (Except San Fransisco Bay) are made with #5 plastic, which is recyclable, but not in all communities.

The San Francisco pods are made of compostable material that does not harm the environment.

Can you make a real Espresso with Keurig?

No, a Keurig machine can’t make a true espresso.

Espresso is a specialized brewing process that extracts flavors from finely ground coffee beans at a very high pressure and a relatively short brew time.

The high-pressure results in a thick and concentrated shot of coffee with a thick layer of foam called “Crema” over it.

Whereas Keurig machines work much similarly to traditional drip coffee makers in which water drips through coffee grounds at a much lower pressure, between 1 and 2 bars.

Due to this fundamental difference in pressure and extraction method, a Keurig won’t produce the same type of espresso as a traditional espresso machine.

Tips for making Espresso like coffee in Keurig

Here are some tips to make Keurig coffee taste like Espresso.

1. Opt for dark-roasted Espresso K-Cups: Dark-roasted K-Cups have a more intense flavor profile, which can mimic espresso.

2. Press the strong button: If your Keurig has a strong button make sure to press that. It will result in a relatively longer extraction time and more flavors in your k cup.

3. Preheat the Keurig: Run a hot water cycle without inserting the coffee pod into the machine. This will preheat the machine and the coffee extraction will occur at the right temperature.

4. Select the smallest brew size: To mimic the small size of espresso shots, opt for the smallest brew size available on your Keurig machine. That means less water will pass through the coffee grounds and will result in a strong coffee shot.

Read a detailed guide on How to make Espresso with Keurig

Check out our other favorite K cups:

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, as an espresso enthusiast, finding the best espresso K-cups has been an exciting journey to make rich espresso-like coffee at home with a Keurig machine.

During my search, I considered all important factors such as the roast level, type of beans, flavor notes, reviews, and the brand reputation.

Among the brands I’ve tried, two of my personal favorites and closest to Espresso are Lavazza and Café Bustelo. Lavazza offers rich flavors, a velvety texture, and a well-balanced taste. Café Bustelo, on the other hand, captures the essence of bold and traditional espresso, with its rich flavor and distinctive character.

Remember, taste is subjective, so don’t hesitate to explore different options and embrace the joy of discovering new brands and flavors.

Which one is your favorite? Do let us know in the comments!

What is the difference between K-Cups and espresso pods?

K-Cups are small, single-serving pods designed for use with Keurig or other K-cup brewing systems.
Espresso pods, on the other hand, are specifically designed for brewing espresso. They are used in pod-based Espresso machines like Nespresso or Dolce Gusto
Despite that, there is a significant difference in the shape and size of K cups and Espresso pods.

Can you make lattes with Espresso K-cups?

Yes, you can make lattes with Espresso K-cups. While traditional lattes are made with shots of espresso, you can use Espresso K-cups as a convenient alternative to creating the espresso component of the latte.
Simply brew a strong coffee using an Espresso K-cup in your Keurig machine, following the tips I have mentioned above. Then, froth the milk and pour it on the top to prepare a delicious latte.

Does the espresso K cup have more caffeine?

Espresso K-Cups typically have more caffeine compared to regular coffee K-Cups.
This is because Espresso K cups are typically made of high-caffeine coffee beans sometimes with a blend of Robusta beans.
Generally, normal K cups have 75-150 mg of caffeine while the Espresso K cups have 100-170 mg of caffeine.

Does Keurig have espresso machines?

No, Keurig doesn’t offer any Espresso machine with a pressurized brewing system. Their product line is focused on single-serve pod-based coffee makers, that work similarly to drip coffee makers.

Johny Morrison is a founder and content creator at Coffee About. He knows everything there is to know about coffee and loves sharing his passion with others.

You can often find him sipping a single-origin pour-over, rich French press, or pulling espresso shots at home. Johny loves full-bodied dark roasts – the bolder, the better!

As a former barista, he takes coffee equipment seriously and enjoys experimenting with the latest gear. When he’s not brewing or blogging, Johny is scouting local cafes for his next coffee fix.

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