Since coffee was first discovered there have been numerous ways to roast and brew it. Iron pans, gas roasters, peculators, french press and so on. Flash forward a few hundred years and along comes the K-Cup; a semi decent, over priced, very fast and convenient cup of coffee. The populous has transcended from a quality cup of coffee to speed and convenience regardless of the fact the cups don’t recycle and they are expensive. As this trend grows like a weed in a victory garden, us specialty roasters are always wondering, will there ever be an end of the k-Cup?
By nature, the cup is against all fresh roasting and brewing standards that we live by. The coffee is roasted, ground, sat out to de-gas, sent somewhere to be co packed on a k-cup packing line, sent back to the distributor and off it goes with who knows how many week’s time in between where the coffee loses much of it’s flavor. Now if you drink flavored coffees; stop reading since you could care less about the flavor of the bean that Mother Nature worked so hard to produce, and keep buying your french vanilla k-cups that were produced sometime last year.
To the point at hand, here is an interesting read from The Washington Post regarding the slumping sales of Keurig’s brainchild and perhaps the beginning of the end of the k-cup. It seems sale shave declined since the fourth calendar quarter of 2014. This could be attributed to the market being saturated with machines, the introduction of the 2.0 machines and the dissatisfaction from consumers, or that there are simply no more people interested in the concept.
The issue most specialty roasters have is the freshness and the brew method in that the coffee is only in contact with the water for a few seconds allowing for a minimal extraction time. Many of the coffee’s flavors and oils are lost out due to this quick process. Whereas a percolator or French press will yield a much fuller and richer flavor since the grinds are A) freshly ground and B) are in contact with the water for the proper amount of time.
There are however, alternatives. iFill cup produces a solution that allows freshly roasted and ground coffee to be used in their cups and sold directly and not have to be de gassed or sent to be packaged. And they are completely recyclable as well! That is why after months of research we have chose to offer our freshly roasted Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee in a Single Use Cup that is compatible with all K-cup machines aside from the 2.0 which Keurig chooses to market as a monopolized item. More can be seen by clicking on the link if you wish.
As with all good beginnings there is inevitably a time where either the fad wears, or trends change, and after over a year of declining sales, may we be seeing the beginning of the end of the k-cup? Only time and demand for better coffee will tell.