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January food 004

I recently saw the TV ad for the Café Cup and, naturally, I went right out and tracked down this reusable pod because, as you might know if you’ve read my review of the Kirkland Signature Pacific Bold K-Cup from Costco, or the review of Starbucks Café Verona Dark K-Cups and the less costly San Francisco Bay French Roast pods, I adore my Keurig coffee brewer, but am always on the hunt for a more affordable cup of joe.

And, truth be told, I find it hard to resist As Seen On TV products. I always expect the worst, and am so seldom disappointed. If you doubt me, check out my review of the Schticky. And, can we say Eggies? Let’s not. What a mess those were.

Reusable adapters for Keurig and other one-cup brewers aren’t new. I paid nearly $20 for the Keurig My K-Cup reusable coffee filter, and found that I didn’t end up using it at all. You see, the reason that the Keurig brewer is so appealing to me is because the K-Cups speak to my lazy streak when it comes to preparing coffee.

I’d rather spend the day pulling together Thanksgiving dinner for a dozen people than lie in bed in the morning thinking about the endless and messy process of making a pot of coffee. First, there’s finding, then grinding the coffee beans – not too fine, not too coarse. Who can find the perfect grind that early? Then you have to lug the water from the well and pour it precisely into a small opening without getting it onto the counter. Clearly, the well is an exaggeration. But everything is exaggerated when you’re caffeine deprived. Worst of all, though, is the interminable waiting for a whole pot to fill before grabbing that first cup of java. Oh, I know that you can grab a cup midway through the brewing process, but I’ve miscalculated this so many times that I’m gun shy.

Since I have a perfectly good, and expensive, reusable coffee pod (that I don’t use), why would I see a TV ad and want a similar item? Well, because Café Cup made promises and I had to know if it would keep those promises of saving me a few bucks while giving me an easy cup of coffee. And you need to know, too. Yes?

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Café Cup Reusable Single Cup Pod, $9.99 for a 4-pack, including a bonus coffee scoop, at CVS. More expensive online.

First look: You get two black pods and two red pods, allowing you to differentiate between decaf and regular or even different flavors. Café Cup also includes a plastic scoop. The pods are made in China and are labeled as 100-percent BPA free. The package touts 10 times the savings vs. disposable pods. You can use them for coffee, tea and hot chocolate. I only tested them with coffee.

At first glance, they resemble the K-Cup reusable filter. The Café Cup uses a hinged lid and is designed to fit in the brewer without needing a plastic capsule like the K-Cup (left) uses.

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Using your own coffee, simply fill the cups, snap the lid shut and insert the pod where you place regular K-Cups. That’s it.

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Good news: Café Cup fits perfectly into the brewer. And because you get four cups, you can fill them ahead of time and simply use them as needed. And, yes, you’ll save money by using your own coffee. Unless you’re using the new Keurig Vue, you can’t recycle the regular K-Cups, so you’re helping out the landfills by using these types of pods.

Bad news: Unlike the pricey but sturdy K-Cup filter, Café Cup is pretty flimsy. The woven mesh isn’t taut and came slightly crumpled out of the package.

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Another issue I see with Café Cup is that the hinge holding the cap to the base is razor thin and there’s no way that plastic is going to last long with regular use.

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If you want to make more than four cups of coffee, you’ll have to empty and clean the pods before each use, so they’re not really practical for a group.

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Then there’s the coffee itself.

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Depending on the type of coffee you use, the flavor is fine, but I ended up with a lot of unappealing sediment at the bottom of the cup.

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Last words: Yes, Café Cup kept its promises: easy to use and saves money. But that’s not good enough. I can’t recommend Café Cup because they’re made cheaply and won’t have much staying power. But I’ll keep them around for an emergency should I run out of K-Cups.

(Have you tried these? Or do you have a reusable pod you really like? Better yet, do you know where I can buy Starbucks French Roast K-Cups for a nickel a piece?)