Now Serving Single-Cup Coffee Printing

The History of K-Cups and Their Future


Some might be surprised to learn that single-serve coffee has been around since the 1990s, first coming to fruition as a way to supply offices with alternatives to drip coffee pots. However, the road to mass success that we see today was a 20-year journey that took a lot of trial and error. In this blog, we explore the evolution of the K-cup from its origin and where it is now.


Let’s Go Back to the Beginning

Like we mentioned up top, single-serve coffee seems like a recent invention, however, the conception of this idea dates back to the early 1990s when Peter Dragone and John Sylvan had no money, but a dream to create coffee that could be served per-cup rather than brewing a whole batch. This led to the idea that offices would be an ideal market for them. Who else is constantly looking to consume the “productivity-boosting” liquid more than office workers? The convenience was unmatched.


Keurig Means “Excellence”

Once they had a target market, they started creating prototypes known as the “Keurig,” a word meaning excellence in the Danish-English dictionary, with coffee pods known as “K-cups.” The prototypes started with exploding K-cups and K-cups filled with coffee grounds until they finally stumbled upon Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters is widely known for being the first coffee pods successfully created for the Keruig and this was mainly due to their high-level production facility. It was from then on that K-cups grew into the popular product that they are today.


The Science of K-Cups

K-cups seem like a simple creation to make, a tiny little plastic vessel sealed with foil, but in reality, it’s a very scientific process. Each K-cup goes through an extensive evaluation to ensure the coffee is perfectly ground, with the exact amount of grams inside for the strength of the brew, sealed precisely with the right amount of foil, topped with a label printed in the same place every time.


K-Cups of the 21st Century

Over the years, K-cups have evolved to become biodegradable and or recyclable in order to create less waste. In 2016, it was noted in the Chicago Tribune that there were enough K-cups tossed away to circle the earth 13.5 times. However, despite their bad rep, people from all walks of life can’t seem to resist the allure of single-serve coffee. With hundreds of brands and flavors to choose from, including tea and hot chocolate, there is an option for everyone.


As the popularity and convenience of this product continue, we can only hope that the materials being used to create them trend towards biodegradable and recyclable options only.

If you have a coffee company or K-cup in need of printing or need advice on which ink or printer is best used for a K-cup, we have you covered! With over 30 years of printing, packaging, and labeling experience, our team is prepared to support you and guarantee you choose the right printing solution. To learn more, contact us today at (904) 263-2804 or sign up for a free consultation.

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