Trader Joe’s Single Serve Coffee Cups, reviewed

TJ's Single Serve Coffee Cups

Trader Joe’s is usually a good place to get good coffee at a very good price, with lots of single-origin and premium coffees to choose from. On my last shopping trip, I spotted a new addition to their coffee lineup: Trader Joe’s Single Serve Coffee Cups that are made to work with a Keurig coffee maker. Keurig fans will be happy to see these and will be even happier about their price, which is only $2.99 per box.

These single serve coffee cups are not made with the signature K-cup packaging that you’re probably used to and that is because Green Mountain Coffee Roaster’s K-cup patent recently expired, so the door is open for other manufacturers of similar coffee pods. Trader Joe’s version has soft coffee-filter walls instead of firm plastic ones, and a plastic, not foil, lid. The plastic and foil combination keeps the coffee in the K-cups tightly sealed in an airtight environment. The coffee filter body pod doesn’t, so Trader Joe’s pods are individually packaged in little bags to keep their coffee fresh. This extra packaging means that you only get 7 pods in a standard box, where you would probably find 10 or 16 of the traditional K-cup pods. But they’re still a good deal at their low price point ($.42 per cup).

Trader Joe's K-Cups

Packaging aside, the coffee inside of these little pods is very good. It is a strong medium roast – the same as their signature Joe Blend – that should please most coffee lovers. It is very smooth, has a nice roasted nut character to it and a long finish. It has enough body to be made with the largest setting on a Keurig – even if you choose to add milk and sugar to your coffee.

The packaging is a bit of a hassle, since that makes one extra step to deal with before getting your pod into your Keurig, but it’s a small price to pay because these pods are a good everyday value and a very good cup of coffee for the price when compared to other K-cups.

Single Serve Coffee Cups, reviewed

There are 38 comments for this article
  1. Kim at 10:37 pm

    I used one of these today for the first time, and the Keurig machine sliced through the flimsy top and spewed coffee grounds all over and into the cup of coffee. I will try again tomorrow morning to see if it was just a one off.

  2. gagirl at 7:55 pm

    Probably just a one off. I just bought a box of these and have used one each day now. It’s really good coffee and I will actually save money buying it. One more thing to love about TJ’s!

  3. Nicole Author at 11:25 pm

    Kim – Hopefully it was just a one time thing. I’ve been through two boxes now and haven’t had any problems yet with these!

  4. Hillery at 2:06 pm

    I am so happy that Trader Joe’s is carrying these single serve cups now. I am crossing my fingers they will be available in half caf and in decaf soon too.

    Kim- I have used quite a few of these now and may have a ground or two in the bottom of my cup, but due to the price I am perfectly happy.

    Thank you Trader Joe’s!

  5. Nicole Author at 2:07 pm

    Hillery – I hope so, too! Trader Joe’s has some great coffee options and it would be nice if they could offer a small selection in the K-cups!

  6. Ted Booker at 9:55 am

    My wife and I just purchased these pods yesterday, and, after three cups so far, we’re impressed with the taste, flavor, and price. Now I’d like to know if these can be purchased online with shipping because we live 3 hrs away from the nearest Trader Joes’s.

  7. Nicole Author at 2:37 pm

    Ted – They can’t be purchased online, yet, as far as I know. For the time being, you’ll just have to stock up at Trader Joe’s when you’re in the neighborhood!

  8. Ted Booker at 7:42 am

    OK, Nicole. I guess I’ll just have to wait ’till I’m back near a Trader Joe’s and stock up then.

  9. CAROL CUZ at 1:06 pm

    Love the Trader Joe K-Cups. They sell out fast. I’ve gone to our new store 3 times, finally asked them to put some aside for me when they come in. I was informed they do not usually do this for folks but because I have come in 3 times for the coffee, they made the exception. Coffee came in on Wednesday night and I was able to pick up 6 boxes on Thursday morning. The coffee is very good and for $2.99 per box, they are great little Christmas gifts for my coffee buddies.

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  11. Andrew at 12:09 pm

    I’ve actually found the Trader Joe’s k-cups to be problematic. After switching to them for the past 2 weeks, we’ve discovered that they lead to clogging the water nozzles of the machine. It’s interesting to note that their design means that the bottom of the k-cup never gets punctured by the machine’s lower needle (the bottom of the cup never touches the needle because of the cup’s design). I wonder if Keurig approves of this design.

  12. Chuckles at 6:55 am

    Yes, Trader Joe’s k-cups are problematic. As stated, bottom of cup not punctured. The flow of coffee eventually becomes so slow, that the Keurig electronics “times out”, which stops any more hot water from flowing. Result: only 2/3 cup of brewed coffee comes out and there is still water left in the machine (and the Keurig has now stopped). I have resorted to adding more water, starting another brew cycle, catch the remaining 1/3 cup of coffee in the original cup and “sidestepping” a 2nd cup to capture the, now, overflow of extra dishwater coffee.
    I will add that months ago, these Trader Joe’s k-cups seemed to work ok.

  13. V. S. Hart at 4:49 pm

    I have had trouble with 20% of the cups I have used. I have had zero problems with other brands. They need to reconfigure the top, it can slice instead of puncture and makes a mess; otherwise, I love the coffee when it works. I reported this to my local Trader Joe’s manager.

  14. Gwen at 10:32 pm

    I saw these TJ k cups today and figured I’d try them, since TJ’s always has good coffee at a good price. I’m drinking my first cup right now, and I have to say that the coffee tastes as good as or better than any of the “regulation” k-cups I’ve tried, and I’ve tried most of the “names” they sell — Donut House, Donut Shop, Eight O’clock, Gevalia, Timothy’s, Caribou, etc. I’m sold! My only complaint: I just wish they had more cups per box.

  15. JoJo at 7:39 am

    I love coffee! I’ll buy whatever brand I’m into no matter the cost. Tried TJ just looking to try something new and I have a new favorite! I love that when you open the wrapper you can smell the fresh ground coffee which adds the sense of smell to the process which is normally missing with the sealed k-cups. The coffee smells like it was just ground and the cup of coffee these TJ cups produce is really great. The price point is icing on the cake!

  16. Joyce at 7:12 am

    I am having the same problem with the k cups not brewing correctly. Love the coffee, but it is hard to get a good cup of coffee since I do have to put it through the brew cycle twice.

  17. Josh at 3:40 pm

    I think these taste great. The coffee is thicker than the normal K-cup output; while Starbucks *smells* better while brewing, this tastes far superior.

    However, I have one very big concern – the package design appears to put an excessive load on the machine (I have a Platinum K75). The brew times are long as it pushes water through the k-cup substitute, and coffee brews out the side.

    So while this is great, I can’t risk yet another delicate Keurig machine going bad.

  18. Mary at 11:53 am

    Couldnt get this to work with my Keurig mini- hardly ant water came throught-anyone have success with a mini with the TJ k cups?

  19. Aric at 8:33 am

    Add me to the pile of users whose machines get clogged by the grounds from these k-cups. Tastes great, but I had to flush my machine about 12 times to get things working with even standards k-cups again.

  20. Victoria at 2:53 pm

    I have the V700 and these cups have worked really well so far. out of a box of 8 i have had no problems. I also appreciate that they make the top wide enough to fit the vue or a K version. So I don’t have to go through remembering to puncture and put in the adapter cup for it to fit. Very smart to make it universal and not force some to buy a separate version that is not widely carried in stores.

  21. mary at 6:45 pm

    Will not use these thought I was going to have to get a new machine

  22. Mary at 4:38 pm

    Same problem as described above. I have a mini. Clogged the machine and afterward even regular Kcups wouldn’t brew. I thought it was just a bad batch of Trader Joes until checking this site. Off to flush and hopefully declog.

  23. Linda at 5:01 pm

    I was excited to find these today, but my first cup was noticeably weaker in taste than other brands. Now seeing the comments about clogging, I’m hesitant to use them, since I use a coworker’s machine and would hate to cause problems. Hmm, I may need to return them…

  24. Margie at 2:29 pm

    I haven’t had any trouble using these. However I find that the coffee leaves an aftertaste that remains after eating and brushing my teeth. I also find the coffee weaker tasting, but I normally use a stronger roast and the full mug size. I will not buy them again.

  25. steve at 12:49 pm

    I’ve only used this once. The coffee is ok It does seem a bit on the weak side
    and I’m wondering if that is a result of the way the keurig machine
    brews these or of the actual coffee.
    I’m already not thrilled with how much waste there is in standard k-cups, so the idea
    of throwing out an additional package is also a negative to me.
    I had been considering trying the San Francisco Bay cups, which look to have
    a similar design. Maybe they make these for TJ’s, for all i know, but from what i read,
    those dont have individual packaging and they also are not reported to be weak,

  26. Mike at 8:40 am

    I started buying the TJs k-cups recently to save money while I’m at my weekend job (the office has a Keurig). At .42 a cup it’s a great deal, but I’ve found that in any given box there are a couple of duds. The pods that are air tight taste great, but the few that are “popped” and not air tight have a sour, stale taste to them.

    I will definitely be letting management know about this. I think that the method of packaging is ideal, versus one air tight package that is then forever un-airtight after opening, but the method could use some perfecting.

  27. Suzy at 1:40 pm

    I’m confused–I thought I had to get a Kcup or SOLO adaptor to make these pods works.
    SO I just pop it in like the regular green Mtn pods?

  28. Nicole Author at 1:15 pm

    Suzy – Yes, you just pop these in like the regular Green Mountain pods. No adapter required – they’re already in the Keurig format.

  29. MTP at 10:34 am

    I have to agree with Margie, the coffee is definitely on the weak side and needs flavoring before I can drink it. If TJs gets enough feedback, I’m hoping these kcups will improve because I will not purchase these again. Too bad. If I were them, I’d make a more robust (French or Columbian) that doesn’t hv the after taste. For example, the SF Bay French roast from Costco is quite good.

  30. Bernie at 5:56 am

    I have a Hamilton Beach Flex Brew. You can brew a whole pot on one side, or a K-cup, on the other side. The single serve works fine for all brands of K-cups, EXCEPT the Trader Joes. The cups dont fit. My machine pierces the bottom at the side, in addition to the top of a regular K-cup. This brand just doesnt fit in the holder, and should say “use ONLY with Keurig coffee makers. I havent had this problem with any other brand.

  31. Yumi at 8:11 am

    I love the fact that its in individual packages…and its from TJ. I impulsively had to pick up a box and try it out.
    As for the taste…it’s not bad. In my opinion, the after taste did not leave an acidic/sour taste…which I REALLY like. However, it was a bit weak in flavor. Maybe if they used a finer grind, would help with the extraction process to boost its flavor.
    Overall, I like it.

  32. Matt at 3:06 pm

    Bought these for our single serve Kurig french press. The coffee itself is good. The packaging was an extra step, but no big problem. They were slightly difficult to get in, and unlike other cups, I can’t allow them to drip due to the filter sides. Not a bad product, just slightly over-sized at the top.

  33. May at 5:59 am

    I just bought the pumpkin spice coffee know cups and they do not work in my keyring 250. They are about a hall am inch too short and the machine rejects them and will not brew. Taking them back

  34. Lissa Brooks at 2:13 pm

    I just bought the pumpkin spice and french roast pods. I have a K560, which is a Keurig 2.0 machine. The machine rejects the pods, so they don’t seem to work with 2.0 machines. Also, I had the slicing problem others have described. It sliced the top instead of puncturing it. I do hope they redesign these to work with the 2.0.

  35. A Barber at 2:54 pm

    I sought out this site because I have been having issues with the TJ pods and my mini brewer. Like others above, I thought it was an issue with my brewer, so I am switching to classic types of pods to see if I continue to have problems (i.e. water does not run through unless I go through all sorts of cleaning, emptying, etc gyrations). The coffee tastes good and the cost is certainly reasonable, but it is a little weak and just not worth my frustration trying to get it to brew. Will probably email Trader Joe’s – they need to change the packaging in my opinion.

  36. Allison at 4:54 am

    It doesn’t seem correct to say on the box that it’s compatible with Keurig coffee makers when it’s not…

    Fortunately I have a reusable K-cup, so I’ve been cutting through the plastic on the top with a knife and pouring the coffee grounds into that for brewing. Needless to say I won’t be buying more, just regular ground coffee to use with my reusable cup.

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