The 10 Best Dark Roast K Cups to Try in 2021

best dark roast k cups

Dark roast coffee lovers of the world enjoy their java with a number of different brewing methods: drip, pour over, moka pot, espresso machine to name a few, and of course, via single cup brewers and the K cup. My coffee brewing methods are varied and somewhat depend on the time of day and my taste buds. Each brewing method returns a unique coffee drinking experience and coffee brewed with K cups is no different.  For me, it's always a dark roast. Always. Anything less is hardly worth drinking. 

There is a Keurig single cup brewer in my kitchen at the moment, so when I'm ready for a cup of strong coffee (like first thing in the morning) and I don't want to grind the beans, heat the water, and wait for the brew, I reach for a K cup and push a button. Ah...heavenly!

best dark roast k cups

As a dark roast coffee lover myself, my search for the best dark roast k cups is ongoing, and I'm always on the lookout for my next favorite blend. It probably comes as no surprise, then, that I thoroughly enjoyed the research to find the best dark roast for single cup coffee brewers and reporting these findings for 2021 to you, my friend. Some of those on the 'best of' list are always in my personal stash, and I'll share with you which brands they are and why.

How do we come up with our 'best of' list? Honestly, with time, and attention to detail. We scour the internet world, discover what's available, and filter out the brands that don't make the cut. Then, we study the features and benefits individually for those that look promising, comb through the reviews and actually read them, to identify the pros and cons of each dark roast k cup brand as identified by real-life users. From there, we identify the top...the best...the most consistently rated higher...and present them to you.

If you happen to click on a link and then make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.


Best Dark Roast K Cups - the Short List for 2021

Here is the short list of the top 10 picks for the best dark roast K cups of 2021. We'll give you all the why's and where fore's below, but if you want to cut right to the chase, here it is!

You'll notice that as we share this list with you here, and again in more detail below, we don't rate list of best dark roast k cups in any particular order. Why is that? Well, we are all unique in our taste preferences, even in the world of dark roast coffee. Any one of these recommended dark roast brand k cup pods might be the perfect choice for...you!


What is Dark Roast Coffee?

Dark roast coffee is coffee that has been roasted for a longer period of time than a light or medium roast. The beans are dark, almost black, and they're shiny, too, with an oily surface. At this stage of roasting the beans have a pronounced bitterness, but they are also less acidic. 

A dark roast coffee does not have more caffeine in it than a light roast. Surprised? Lighter roasted coffee has slightly more caffeine content because it has been roasted for less time than medium or dark roast. It is not a significant difference, but always good to know! 

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 What does Dark Roast Coffee Taste Like?

Because of the longer roasting time, dark roast coffee is full-bodied and sometimes more bitter than a light roast. But it also has a depth of flavor and richness that a lighter roast just doesn't reach. 

Specific roasts will vary in taste and depth depending upon where in the world they were grown and harvested.

Sometimes, a dark roast can be a bit too much for someone who is new to the world of coffee drinking. For me it was a gradual shift from medium to dark roast coffee, as my palate and preferences developed.  


Dark Roast Coffee Benefits

There are some benefits to those who enjoy a dark roast coffee:

  • vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in dark roast coffee can assist our body in cell's healthy growth and development, maintain our blood, convert food into useful energy for the day, and more.
  • antioxidants in dark roast coffee can help fight free radicals that cause cellular damage
  • regular consumption of caffeine may reduce the risk of some diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
  • a lower risk of liver cirrhosis by drinking dark roast coffee every day, and a lower risk of liver cancer

The 10 Best Dark Roast K Cups to Try in 2021

Here is our list of the best dark roast k cups to try in 2021. They are backed by personal experience, research into consumer preferences, and thousands of positive reviews. Are they perfect? No. There is always a reviewer who didn't like the packaging, who found less-than-perfect k cups in their order, or who didn't care for the taste. That will happen. Most of the time, though, it's a big 'thumbs up' for these 10 dark roast brands.

Starbucks Dark Roast K-Cup Coffee Pods — Sumatra  

My personal favorite, even though I'm not a Starbucks coffee fan. The smooth, rich, Sumatra dark roast is what wins me over, every time I brew it .

Comments:

  • full bodied dark roast
  • recyclable packaging
  • ethically sourced coffee beans
  • smooth, rich taste
best dark roast k cups

Peet’s Coffee Major Dickason's Blend K-Cup Coffee Pods

Also at the top of my personal list is Major Dickason's blend. Whole bean, ground, or k-cup, it's always deep, rich, and satisfying. I never tire of the taste.

Comments:

  • rich, complex, full-bodied
  • roasted in small batches
  • all-time best seller
  • recyclable pod
major dickasons blend dark roast coffee

Starbucks Dark Roast K-Cup Coffee Pods — French Roast

The darkest roast from Starbucks that is smoky, singular, and explosive, with naturally lower acidity. 

Comments:

  • 100% Arabica coffee beans
  • sustainably sourced
  • light bodied with low acidity
starbucks french roast - best dark roast k cups

Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Dark Magic, K-Cup Pods, Dark Roast

I love Dark Magic when I need to drink a really strong, intense cup of coffee. This is extra-bold by design, and yes, it is! 

Comments:

  • extra bold dark roast
  • deep, dark, intense flavor
  • 100% Arabica coffee
  • dried fruit and chocolate notes
dark roast k cups

Dunkin' Dark Roast Coffee, 60 Keurig K-Cup Pods

If you're looking for a bold, rich roast with the signature smoothness of Dunkin' Coffee, this is one to consider! 

Comments:

  • bold, rich taste
  • blended and roasted to taste like the coffee served in Dunkin' shops
  • smooth, with a robust finish
  • 100% Arabica beans
dunkin dark roast coffee pods

Victor Allen's Coffee Seattle Blend, Dark Roast K-Cups

Seattle Dark roast is one of the darkest roasts offered, with a smokiness and deep, lingering richness that make it dark but never bitter.

Comments:

  • deep, smoky dark roast
  • gluten-free and non GMO
  • 100% Arabica beans
best dark roast k cups by victor allen

The Original Donut Shop Dark, Single-Serve Keurig K-Cup Pods

The Original Donut Shop dark roast contains more coffee than regular k-cup pods, thus the extra bold brew designation. For me personally it isn't quite strong enough. But it might be perfect for you!

Comments:

  • extra bold brew
  • 100% Arabic coffee beans
  • smooth flavor
donut shop dark roast k cups

SF Bay Coffee One CUP French Roast/Dark Roast Compostable Coffee Pods

With rich dark chocolate and toasted cinnamon notes, this full bodied french roast has an intriguing blend of dark roast. It is also BPI certified commercially compostable.

Comments:

  • dark roast, French roast
  • full bodied with a smoky finish
  • eco friendly, commercially compostable
  • not for the faint of heart!
SF bay best dark roast

McCafe French Roast K-Cup Coffee Pods

Intense dark roast with hints of dark coca flavor make this the choice of many coffee lovers. Responsibly sourced and recyclable pods. 

Comments:

  • intense aroma with hints of dark cocoa flavor
  • 100% Arabica coffee beans
  • recyclable pods
  • 100% responsibly sourced coffee
best dark roast coffee for k cups

Peet's Coffee Dark Roast Single Serve K Cup, Chalet Blend

Hand roasted in small batches for freshness, with a full body, toasted almond  and cocoa notes. Perfect for the winter season, holidays, or any time!

Comments:

  • Winter house blend, dark roast
  • rich nut and delicate fruit tones
  • recyclable pods
  • Labore et dolore magna
peets dark roast chalet blend

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Are K Cups Recyclable?

K cups are recyclable if you separate the components. I use a simple tool like this to separate the plastic cup from the used grinds and the mesh filter. Yes, it's a little bit of extra work. But I'd rather spend the time separating the plastic cup and recycling that part and know that I've done something to help reduce waste.

You can see how it works here:


K Cup Brewers: Do You Need One?

It's all well and good to learn about the best dark roast k cups to try, but in vain if you don't own a single cup coffee maker. Or, if yours is about to breathe its last breath. Been there, done that. I like to have the option of a quick and easy single cup coffee maker handy, and honestly, I've tried two other types of pod coffee brewers. They were good, but I always come back to a k cup, and for me, a Keurig. The model I currently am using is the K Classic, shown below on the left.


FAQ

What is dark roast coffee?

Dark roast coffee is coffee that has been roasted for a longer period of time than a light or medium roast. The beans are dark, almost black, and they're shiny, too, with an oily surface. 

How much coffee does one K cup make?

Most K cups produce 8 ounces of brewed coffee. If you want your cup of coffee even stronger, choose to brew it with the least amount of water.

Does dark roast coffee have more caffeine in it?

Actually, dark roast coffee has slightly less caffeine than a medium or light roast.

Are K cups bad for you?

If the K cup has been made with BPA (bisphenol A), some folks might have a concern. But that is a big 'if'. And, because K cups are single use items they most likely are outside of those concerns anyway. Learn more about BPA here if you need to know!


Discovering the best dark roast K cups for you is a personal journey. I've shared my preferences here. Now, go out and have some fun finding yours!

Candi Randolph is a coffee lover, blogger, and content creator who loves to share her knowledge with the coffee-drinking world. You'll often find her tending to her coffee bar at home, deciding which method to use to brew her next cup of java. Life is full of important decisions. ☕