11 Best Espresso K Cups For Your Keurig In 2021

By: | Updated: April 29, 2021

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A strong shot of espresso and its wonderful aroma make for a refreshing coffee with a nice kick. For a conventional Keurig machine, a big drawback often is its inability to whip up an espresso.

However, the magic of enterprising K-cup makers and the inherent convenience make Keurig espressos a possibility.

The best espresso K cups offer the same flavor all of us expect from an espresso. As a bonus, they do it with the convenience of Keurig brewers.

11 Best Espresso K Cups to Buy In 2021

Comparison Chart

Café Bustelo Espresso Style Dark Roast Coffee, 72 Keurig K-Cup Pods
Lavazza Espresso Classico for Keurig Rivo System,2-18 packs 36-0.26oz
Rainforest Espresso Coffee
Brooklyn Beans Express-O Gourmet Coffee Pods, Compatible with 2.0 Keurig K Cup Brewers, 40 Count
GLORYBREW Lady Vanilla – 12 pods 100% Compostable Flavored Coffee Pods for Keurig K-Cup® Coffee Brewers | Better than Recyclable and Biodegradable Vanilla Flavored Coffee Pods
Barista Prima Espresso Roast Coffee Keurig K-Cups, 18 Count
1850 by Folgers Black Gold Dark Roast Coffee, 60 Keurig K-Cup Pods
Illy Coffee, Intense & Robust, Intenso Dark Roast Coffee K-Cups, Made With 100% Arabica Coffee, All-Natural, No Preservatives, Coffee Pods for Keurig Coffee Machines, K-Cups, 32 K Cup Pods,, 13.4 Oz
GLORYBREW – The Knight Dark Roast – 72 Count 100% Compostable Coffee Pods for Keurig K-Cup Coffee Brewers – Rainforest Alliance Certified – Dark Roast | Better than Biodegradable Coffee Pods
Glorybrew – The Duke – 72 Medium Roast Keurig Pods – 100% Compostable Coffee Pods for Keurig K-Cup Coffee Brewers – Rainforest Alliance certified | Better than Recyclable and Biodegradable Capsules
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Vanilla Espresso Roast, Single-Serve Keurig K-Cup Pods, 48 Count

Café Bustelo Espresso Style K Cup Pods

Café Bustelo Espresso Style K Cup Pods make a rich, full-bodied cup that could match the best espresso available. There are no additives, so you get the full flavor and aroma of the coffee. This K-cup aims to recreate the flavor of a cafecito (Cuban Espresso).

A bold drink with a lovely aroma, the Café Bustelo Espresso Style works great as a standalone beverage. However, you could also add a touch of milk and brown sugar for the more authentic cafecito taste. While decaf espresso K cups are not available yet, buying a can of coffee is a fair option as well. 

I think it is a better idea to buy a can over pods of the Café Bustelo Coffee Espresso for your Keurig. To use the can to make Café Bustelo in a Keurig, simply add the coffee to a reusable K-cup.

Lavazza Espresso Classico Keurig Rivo Pack

Lavazza Espresso Classico Keurig Rivo Pack has its sights set on a more authentic espresso taste and feel. These pods work with the Keurig Rivo system and are brewed at conditions closer to those needed for a perfect cup of espresso.

These are perhaps one of the best Keurig Rivo pods available. There is no cause to complain about the espresso brewed by these pods. Even purists could shower some praise on this full-bodied espresso. Lavazza Classico pods do a pretty good job and bring the convenience of Keurig to espresso lovers. 

I’d say there are limitations with the Rivo itself, but still, this pod and machine combo works fantastically!

Green Mountain 1120 Rainforest Espresso Coffee K-Cups

Timothy’s or Green Mountain Rainforest Espresso Coffee K-Cups pack an espresso roast worthy of note. Plus, there’s an implied Keurig seal of confidence in the quality of these K-cups. Timothy’s K-cup contains approximately 25% more coffee than conventional Rainforest Espresso K-cups. This extra touch of coffee is put to good use in making a bold, smooth, full-bodied brew that so deliciously matches an espresso.

As a bonus, it has much lower acidity than a conventional espresso. The extra amount of coffee can sometimes feel like added bitterness, but that’s no more troublesome than a regular espresso.

Brooklyn Beans Express-O Coffee Pods

This dark roast espresso, or as the company calls it, Express-O is a great combination of flavor and aroma. Brooklyn Beans Express-O pods are packed completely with 100% Arabica beans. The extra dark roast makes for one kickass strong K-cup. Factor in the rich, full-bodied beverage, and you’ve got yourself a great express-O.

The seller calls it “souped-up” extra bold coffee, and they aren’t far from the truth. It packs a punch and delivers the kick we’ve all come to expect from a good cup of espresso. 

Glorybrew – Lady Vanilla

Fancy a vanilla espresso? Lady Vanilla has you covered! This K cup for Gourmesso Glorybrew has coffee sourced from Central America and South America. And of course, there’s a touch of that vanilla flavors that makes it all come together so wonderfully. 

A perfect blend of medium roast coffee, with its strong flavor enhanced by vanilla is a great pick for your casual espresso. Plus, the aroma is really something to love.

It’s also more environmentally responsible than regular K cups. Glorybrew K cups are Rainforest Alliance certified. Equally important – they’re certified by BPI to be 100% compostable.

Barista Prima Espresso Roast Coffee Keurig K-Cups

An extra bold dark roast, the Barista Prima Espresso Roast Coffee Keurig K-Cups do not disappoint. The drink claims its inspiration from the classic Italian espresso. That is certainly a tall order. Rather than make the comparison, I’d rather dismiss the claim as a over-enthusiastic marketing pitch.

I wouldn’t be so willing to overlook if these K-cups had no redeeming features of their own. The beverage is strong and delicious, with a flavor that’s tough to beat. It is on the expensive side, but the flavor is worth the extra money spent.

1850 by Folgers Black Gold Dark Roast Coffee

Folgers wants you to see the 1850 coffee as a remembrance of the company’s past. As such, this coffee has the attributes that play on the 170-year-old tradition and legacy of the brand. The impressive taste of the coffee and its careful preparation are the highlights.

1850 by Folgers Black Gold Dark Roast Coffee is made entirely out of premium arabica beans to give it that rich flavor. But to keep up with tradition, the dark roast takes an old-timey twist. The beans are fire roasted, steel cut, and carry the promise of a dependable and wonderful blend.

And wonderfully strong it is. There is an unmistakable touch of rich, dark chocolate that works great with a clean and crisp finish. This one’s strong and flavorful, exactly the qualities we want in the best espresso K cups. A 170 year old roasting process and a modern Keurig – what unlikely companions!

illy K Cup Pods – Intenso

illy Intenso is an intense blend of the finest arabicas sourced from around the world. The company says they bring together nine well-regarded arabica varieties from around the world and create an expert blend. 

The experience of the company and the careful preparation ensure that we get a stunning brew. It’s strong, flavorful, and just what we need for the espresso-style K cup brew. 

Intenso brews a smooth and balanced coffee with a very inviting aroma. I could see myself wafting through the air following the aroma like they do in cartoons. The robust coffee has a full-flavored taste that works delightfully well for espresso and also for making a latte or cappuccino.

Glorybrew – The Knight – Dark Roast

Glorybrew’s The Knight is a dark roast made from a blend of the finest coffees of Central and South America. The region is well-known for its fine coffees and an expert blend really seals the deal. This K-cup brews a strong, full-bodied shot that comes remarkably close to the intense espresso experience that we love.

We could be sold on taste alone, but there’ more to like about these K cups. The coffee is Rainforest Alliance certified. Another highlight is that these are compostable and biodegradable K cups

Gourmesso Glorybrew pods are made from bio-based materials and are 100% compostable and biodegradable. The caveat is, they need industrial composting facilities and can’t be used in the home compost bin. Still, a big step in the right direction.

Glorybrew has a pretty good collection of K cups, and they could all be used for brewing a strong and flavorful cup of espresso. If The Knight doesn’t answer to your preferences, also check out The Noble, The Duke, Sir Hazelnut, and Lady Vanilla.

Glorybrew – The Duke

The Duke has a medium roast profile that goes perfectly well with a strong cuppa. Quite often, we tend to ignore the espresso capabilities of medium roast coffee. The preference for darker roasts is understandable, especially when we’re using the Keurig to get an espresso touch. However, the flavors that a medium roast brings to the table aren’t something to overlook.

A strong and flavorful coffee can do wonders to the taste of coffee. The Duke has a medium acidity and shows off pleasant toasted notes for taste. Brewing a small but strong shot gives the coffee a better chance to show off its aroma and be more pleasing to the palate. It certainly feels right at home as an espresso K cup.

11. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Vanilla Espresso Roast

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Vanilla Espresso Roast is a delicious espresso roast tempered with vanilla. The balanced taste comes from the bold flavor of the espresso meeting the mild touch of vanilla. 

As a combination primed to work, this also takes away any lingering bitterness attempting to make its way to your cup of coffee. These K-cups don’t contain any sugar or artificial sweeteners, so the flavor speaks volumes about this roast and coffee.

Editor’s Choice: Glorybrew – The Knight – Dark Roast

The Knight loves good coffee and brews a pretty strong cup. Brew a small shot and this dark roast will deliver a beverage that gets pretty close to espresso goodness. 

If you’re using a more espresso-inclined machine like the Keurig K-Cafe, use the shot (2 oz) option. The Knight K cup will ensure you get a remarkably strong cuppa. You could enjoy the strong brew, or use it as a base to whip up a remarkably delicious latte or cappuccino.

Making Espresso In A Keurig Brewer — Things You Should Know

Can A Keurig Make Espresso?

Not in the conventional sense. A “genuine” espresso needs finely ground coffee. Water at a temperature of 190-195 degrees Fahrenheit and at least 9 bars of pressure is passed through the coffee. Even good quality espresso makers struggle to meet these, and other specific requirements for an espresso.

A Keurig brewer does not heat water to the specified temperature and certainly doesn’t work with pressure. So, it could be argued that Keurig brewers cannot make espresso. Purists would agree with that sentiment. For example, the Keurig competitor Nespresso deals expressly in espressos and makes a great effort in maintaining the temperature and pressure requirements.

Keurig did make an effort for espressos with the Keurig Rivo. Though it certainly is feature-rich and useful machine, it isn’t quite the best pick for brewing an espresso. Starbucks too made a similar attempt by focusing on the Verismo system rather than on Starbucks espresso k cups.

An excellent option right now is the Keurig K-Cafe Coffee Maker. It doesn’t fit the pressure or temperature requirements for a conventional espresso, but Keurig has skillfully made up for this shortcoming. The coffee maker has an option to brew a “shot”. 

This delivers a concentrated coffee at 2 oz. If you’re using a good K cup, this strong taste is easy to enjoy. The coffee maker also has a built-in automatic milk frother. Users can just hit a button and get the right frothed milk for their cappuccino or latte.

Are Keurig Espresso Pods Worth it?

Yes, they are! The K-cups have always been a game-changer. Their versatility becomes more apparent considering they can conjure a decent espresso out of a Keurig. While the “purist” requirements certainly can’t be met, the espresso K-cups do a great job. 

The espresso K-cups shouldn’t be dismissed lightly. They may seem like a stretch for coffee enthusiasts, but they certainly are well prepared and equipped for the job!

It’s amazing how well Keurig pods brew a cup that’s strikingly close in flavor and aroma to a “genuine” espresso.

Making A Great Espresso With Your Keurig

Most Keurig machines aren’t quite primed to deliver a shot of genuine espresso. Choosing the right K-cup can get you pretty close to a decent espresso while enjoying the convenience of a Keurig. Getting hold of the best espresso K cups goes a long way, especially in creating the rich, full-bodied feel and complex aroma of an espresso.

by Joakim
Joakim is a coffee connoisseur who loves all types of coffee, no matter the type or region of origin. He loves writing about his coffee experience, sharing with readers the tastes, methods of making, and more.