Best Espresso K cups in 2023 (Tasted and Ranked!)

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.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the World of the best Espresso K Cups brands on the market, their key features, taste profiles, and pros and cons so you can choose your favorite.

Best Espresso K cups

Let’s go into the details of each Espresso K cup and explore their top features, and explain why they are the best!

1. Lavazza Espresso Italiano

Lavazza Espresso Italiano

Lavazza Espresso Italiano is the perfect medium roasted Espresso K cup with a smooth and fruity flavor profile.

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

Lavazza is known for its expertise in crafting traditional Italian espresso. Their Espresso Italiano K-Cup captures the rich and intense flavors of Italian espresso.

The aroma of Lavazza Espresso Italiano K-Cup is one of its most distinctive features. The coffee has a rich, roasted aroma that is sure to wake you up in the morning.

Lavazza Espresso Italiano K-cups are best for those who want their coffee with a balanced taste, not too bold or too light.

As a downside, these pods are rather 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


❌ It may not suit bold coffee lovers

❌ The pods are not recyclable in all communities

❌ Very expensive

Check Out: Best Medium Roast K cups

2. San Francisco Bay Espresso Roast

San Francisco Bay Espresso Roast

With its rich and bold taste, San Francisco Bay is the best choice if you’re looking for an environmentally friendly compostable Espresso pod.

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

I love San Francisco Bay Espresso Roast K-Cups because they are rich, complex, and full-bodied. The coffee is made with a blend of Central and South American beans that are roasted to perfection.

I also appreciate that San Francisco Bay Coffee is committed to sustainability. They use only 100% Arabica beans, and they are certified Kosher. Also, the pods are made of completely compostable material free of any kind of plastic.

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


❌ They may lose flavor with time – So always make sure to buy fresh

❌ Not perfect for smooth coffee lovers

❌ The pods are not recyclable in all communities

Check Out: Best Compostable K cups

3. Dunkin’ Espresso Style

Dunkin' Espresso Style

Dunkin’ Espresso Style K-Cups deliver a strong and intense espresso experience with extra dark roasted coffee beans.

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 well-known and widely recognized brand in the coffee industry. If you enjoy Dunkin Donuts’ coffee I am sure you’ll love Espresso Style K-Cups for their familiarity and consistent taste.

It has a definite deep dark roast flavor, just a hint of smokiness without tasting burnt, with a slightly bitter finish that isn’t harsh. 

The Dunkin’ K cup pods are widely available in grocery stores and online stores, so they are convenient for everyone who loves coffee.


✔️ 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

4. Café Bustelo Espresso Style

Cafe Bustelo Espresso K cup

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 Style.

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

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

Cafe Bustelo has a long history and is deeply rooted in Latin American coffee culture. If you appreciate and seek a decent espresso experience, the Cafe Bustelo Style K-Cups may provide a taste reminiscent of traditional Latin American espresso.

With the dark roast and flavor notes of Chocolate and Cuban sugar, these pods are perfect for preparing Latte and Cappuccino.

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

5. Brooklyn Beans Express-O

Brooklyn Beans Express-O

Brooklyn Bay Espresso style is the perfect dark roasted k cup with an intense and smoky flavor profile.

FeaturesBrooklyn Espresso K cups
Types of Beans100% Arabica
Roast LevelDark
Tasting NotesRich and Smoky
Origin of BeansSouth and Central America

I love Brooklyn Beans Express-O Gourmet Coffee Pods as they have a rich, smoky, and full-bodied flavor.

The coffee is made with a blend of Central and South American beans that are roasted to perfection.

The result is a strong coffee that is perfect for milk-based espresso drinks, as well as for drinking black.


✔️ Don’t have a bitter aftertaste

✔️ Bold and strong flavor

✔️ Affordable price


❌ The pods are not recyclable in all communities

❌ Inconsistent in flavors sometimes

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

Green Mountain Espresso style

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.

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

Green Mountain Coffee offers an incredible blend of finest-quality beans from the best-growing areas of 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 built a reputation for producing coffee of consistent quality. Their beans are carefully sourced and roasted, ensuring a reliable and enjoyable coffee experience with each 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

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.

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 roasted perfectly to a dark roast, which gives it a rich and complex flavor and the burnt undertones add a touch of smokiness and bitterness, which is the essence 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 K cups

Factors for choosing the best Espresso K cup

The best Espresso K-Cup is subjective and depends on individual taste preferences. However, several factors come into play to ensure a satisfying coffee experience. Look for the following aspects:

1. Roast Level

It is crucial to consider the roast level of the coffee beans when choosing the Best 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 the best espresso 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 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.

So, when choosing the best Espresso K cups, it is important to look for the flavor notes you love.

4. Price

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

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 Brooklyn or Maud’s that are available for under 50 cents.

5. Reviews and Brand Reputation

Reviews and brand reputation provide insights into the overall quality of the espresso K-cups.

Brands with a good reputation 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

Keurig does not make authentic espresso with thick layers of crema, but it can certainly produce a thick and strong espresso-like coffee if you follow these tips:

1. Opt for dark-roasted Espresso K-Cups: Dark-roasted K-cups have a more robust and 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 elevate my at-home coffee experience.

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

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 robust 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.

I hope this article, has helped you in finding the Best Espresso K cups.

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

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 Morrisson is a passionate coffee enthusiast and an avid blogger dedicated to exploring the world of coffee.

Whether it's repairing or troubleshooting coffee equipment, reviewing cutting-edge brewing machines, or delving into the latest coffee trends, Johny's writing captivates readers and invites them on a flavorful journey.

When he's not writing, Johny enjoys traveling, seeking inspiration from different cultures and coffee traditions worldwide.

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