Undressing The K-Cup

My company now has a Keurig machine a floor above me.   Very delightful, I must admit.   It’s nice having instant tea or coffee with the push of a button.   For a bit, I was stocking up on chai tea lattes and, after a hard day, my coworkers would always be able to find me racing upstairs with my mug and cup in hand.

But I was asked once, how is the tea for a Keurig machine?   Well, I know that I’ve had it before and it’s been tasty, but I can’t exactly leave it at that, can I?   Is this a high-quality brew or just something to grab when you are in a rush and need tea in the next thirty seconds?

So, I asked to borrow my sister-in-law’s K-cup (and I promised her I would pay her back the full 25 cents that I now owe her as a result) and dissect exactly what is within those little white cups.

First, the unbrewed version:

A K-Cup of Earl Grey

A K-Cup of Earl Grey

So, when I opened up the K-cup, this is what I found – tea leaves that were almost resorted to a powder.   Now, as many of you know, I highly advise against this if you are looking for a high-quality brew.   The more you can identify within your tea (meaning I can pick the leaf up and know that it is a leaf), the better your tea is.   The reason why you want to identify the leaves and the parts of the tea is because your tea becomes bitter the more it is broken up.   While this is all well and good for certain teas, it is not appropriate for all.

However, one reason why the K-cups probably contain this finer tea is because it will brew that much faster.   And when you have thirty seconds of 192-degree water hitting the tea leaves, the faster the brew, the better for the process.   However, given that you cannot control the temperature, nor the time for the brew, it is a bit iffy.

Now, what does it look like when the tea is brewed?   While I did have to use a different tea, here’s the picture:

Lemon Herbal Tea

Lemon Herbal Tea

So, the stream of water only hit the middle part of the cup.   Meaning only the tea in the middle of the cup got the main blast.   The rest doesn’t even look like it was moved (other than that little bit in the bottom right-hand corner that I moved).   So, considering that you have a portion of the tea hit and the rest that just kinda… sits there… this is not a positive sign.

So, in the long run, if you want to grab a fast cup of tea, just understand that the Keurig cup isn’t exactly high quality.   Fine if you want a quick cuppa but understand that high-quality tea can never be done quickly.