Eco-Friendly Coffee: Which Reusable Keurig System is Better?

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I want to do something – as Monty Python used to say – “completely different”. A couple days ago I walked into one of my favourite coffee shops to buy some grinds and – after one thing lead to another – one of the managers asked me to review a new coffee making product! I can’t tell you how excited I was! I love writing, coffee, Keurig, and new gadgets, so this was perfect!

The Problem

It (sort-of) fits with this blog’s mission too because our Christian worldview gives us more reason than anyone to take care of the planet God gave us. One of the ways we can do that is to think and act in environmentally sensitive ways. The Keurig K-Cup system, however, is very environmentally unfriendlySee here too. And here. And, ironically, here. So what to do? My answer has been to use a reusable coffee pod-system.

Three Options

I love my coffee and I love my Keurig. It’s fun, fancy, super convenient, has a bazillion flavours, and the sounds it makes after I push the button gives me the illusion that I’m a fancy-schmancy barista.  But there’s no getting around it – it’s the most wasteful and environmentally unfriendly way to make a cup of coffee. That’s why I’ve been exploring more eco-friendly options. So far I’ve tried three different reusable systems.

The KiennaCUP is definitely the worst of the bunch. It’s annoying to use, messy to clean, and still makes garbage by using a tea-bag-type system. On top of that, none of the three coffees I tried tasted very good (Columbian Supremo, Canadian Maple, & Hazelnut).

The system I’ve used for the longest time is the Keurig My K-Cup. It’s simple to use, easy to clean, and can use any type of grinds. I didn’t like it at first because the coffee was weak, but after some internet research and tweaking I was able to adapt it to make a decent brew. I’ve been happy with it for a long time.

I recently went to get some Mufferaw Jo from Equator Coffee Roasters Inc. and was asked to review a new, Canadian system called the EZ Way Pod Filter. It’s similar to Keurig’s My K-Cup but with two important differences. First, rather than having its own housing it fits into the existing K-Cup Holder, which is nice because it eliminates a step. Second, it can be pre-filled and stored, which might make bleary-eyed, pre-coffee mornings a little easier.

Comparative Review

But, is it better than the Keurig My K-Cup? Here’s my comparative review:

  • EZ’s system is a couple bucks cheaper than Keurig’s. Advantage: EZ.
  • dsc08208 (2)
    3mm Diameter Difference

    EZ Way is a small, Canadian company from Trois-Rivieres, QC. Keurig is a huge, American company. Advantage: EZ (Go Canada!).

  • Both are easy to use. Keurig has a twist lid while EZ uses tight silicone topper. Advantage: Tie.
  • EZ doesn’t make me take apart my Keurig machine to use it, but its design means EZ’s filter basket has a 3mm smaller diameter than Keurig’s. It’s not much, but millimeters matter when you’re trying not to spill precious grinds. It also means that you fit less coffee. Advantage: Keurig.
  • EZ’s filter basket has a much finer mesh than Keurig’s, therefore I didn’t have to adapt it to get a stronger flavour. However, it came out slower and the coffee was a little bit colder. Advantage: Tie.
  • DSC08200
    EZ’s Storage System

    EZ’s storage system is probably a cool idea if you buy a few of them and fill them in advance. However, since I only had one, it was quite a pain to clean (literally, since the filter was quite hot) so I could make a second cup for my wife. Advantage: Keurig (Unless you buy more than one, then Advantage: EZ.)

  • Because of EZ’s smaller size and extra fine filter, it is also harder to clean than Keurig’s. I had to rinse and rinse and brush and scrub to get all the coffee out, something I never had to do with Keurig’s. Advantage: Keurig.
  • I can’t comment on EZ’s longevity since I’ve only had it for a short time, but its open design and silicone topper don’t feel as sturdy as Keurig’s hard plastic system. Potential Advantage: Keurig.
  • But how’s the coffee?! If I hadn’t adapted the Keurig My K-Cup, EZ would win hands down. However, with the fix, they are about the same. Advantage: EZ.K Cups will always be more convenient than a reusable system, but not by much. I’ve made the switch and I’m not going back. Whichever one you use, I hope you ditch the K-Cups and switch to a reusable, eco-friendlier system right away. It will help the environment and you’ll get to experience a lot more types of coffee that aren’t available for the K-Cup system.

Conclusion

So there you go. K Cups will always be more convenient than a reusable system, but not by much. I’ve made the switch and I’m not going back. Whichever one you use, I hope you ditch the K-Cups and switch to a reusable, eco-friendlier system right away. It will help the environment and you’ll get to experience a lot more types of coffee that aren’t available for the K-Cup system. I’d love to hear some feedback from you about this article. How do you make coffee? Which system do you like? Did you agree with my review? Should I do more things like this? Let me know by e-mail or in the comments section on the blog. Thanks for listening!

4 thoughts on “Eco-Friendly Coffee: Which Reusable Keurig System is Better?

    PLB said:
    May 2, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    OK. So I’ve also been using the My K cup system for over 3 years now. Sure I miss the ease of destroying and savoring the planet one kup at a time. I also hacked My K cup using the k cup in My K cup trick. Makes a stronger brew. What I did find though is the finer the ground, the stronger the brew. I managed to take regular Maxwell house swill to Starbucks (ok maybe Timmies) level by regrinding it to a fine fine almost Espresso powder. Man was it good.Try it. Get yourself a good coffee grinder and powderise it.

    Pastor Allan Descheneau responded:
    May 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    That’s a great tip, PLB. The I’ve also learned that the coarseness of the grind is a huge factor in coffee making. Excellent point!

    When I got my Mufferaw Jo the barrista asked me what setting to use. I simply held up the EZ Way Pod and frowned. She got it just right!

    T-bone said:
    October 2, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I couldnt disagree with you more on the Kienna Cup. That is the best system out there. Once you learn how to remove the bag properly, it is the cleanest of the any of them. Best to remove as soon as you brew your coffee. simply pinch around it and gently remove the bag. no wet sticky grounds, no mess, no need to even rinse. And the Backpackers Brew, Kona, and Kienna Vienna are my faves.

      Pastor Allan Descheneau responded:
      October 7, 2014 at 11:42 am

      I know what you mean, T-bone. I really wanted it to work too. It’s a good idea. But, I’d try to remove the wet bag and it’d tear, and then I’d drink the coffee and wouldn’t like it. Glad it works for you. Maybe I’ll give Backpackers Brew a try…

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