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I avoided Keurigs for years because of their reputation for making weak coffee, both in terms of flavor and caffeine content. In recent years, the heavy hitters of the coffee industry have started releasing high caffeine k-cups that can compete with some of the strongest coffee beans on the market.
And so my journey began.
I set out to find the strongest coffee k-cups you could buy. I wanted the highest caffeine without sacrificing great flavor.
And I found just that!
Some of these names won’t surprise you caffeine junkies, but you won’t find a more complete list of super-caffeinated Keurig options even if you chug a pot of Death Wish and search all night long.
Want to skip the reading and get straight to the buzz? Here’s my shortlist of the best high caffeine k-cups.
- Best strong coffee k-cups: Death Wish k-cups
- Highest caffeine k-cups: The Red Goat strong k-cup
- Most Unique Strong K-Cup: VitaCup Lightning dark roast pods
What Does it Mean for a Cup of Coffee to Be Strong?
There are two different meanings of strong when it comes to coffee. Sometimes, people refer to coffee as strong if it has more caffeine for that extra pick-me-up in the morning. Other times, the word strong refers to the flavor of the coffee, with a stronger — often more bitter — garnering the descriptor of strong.
We’ll be talking about caffeine content here. If you want strong flavors, you should check out my recent article on espresso k-cups.
Intuitively, you might think that stronger flavors and more caffeine would come hand-in-hand, but it’s actually hard to find a coffee that offers both. Darker roasts generally have stronger flavors, but roasting for that long lowers the caffeine content. You’ll generally find the most caffeine in light roasts, which tend to have more mild flavors.
That’s not to say that light roasts are bland. Quite the opposite, actually. A good light roast will have a much more complex —albeit subtler — flavor profile than a dark roast. If you ask me, the complexity and extra caffeine of a good light roast more than make up for the milder flavor.
That being said, I went out of my way to find some high-caffeine dark roast options for this list, just in case you want coffee that is strong by every measure.
How Much Caffeine Is in a K-Cup?
Most k-cups have between 75-150 mg of caffeine. Light roasts will typically be at the higher end of this range while dark roasts will typically have the least amount of caffeine.
Now compare that to drip coffee, which typically has 95-200 mg of caffeine per cup. K-cups are on the low end of this range, but they still have as much caffeine as regular coffee.
If that’s enough, then you can go buy pretty much any k-cup. If you are looking for an extra dose of caffeine in your morning cup of coffee, read on — the highest caffeine k-cups await!
The Strongest Coffee K-Cups
Welcome to the land that fatigue forgot. These are the strongest k-cups I could find, each of which has at least 3x the caffeine of a standard k-cup.
If you want to chug an entire coffee pot worth of caffeine in each of your cups of coffee, here’s your chance.
Best strong coffee k-cups: Death Wish k-cups
Death Wish coffee exists for one reason: to maximize your caffeine dose without inducing the coffee jitters. They claim to have the world’s strongest coffee, and they have brought that same strength to their k-cups. According to Consumer Reports, Death Wish’s caffeine content is four times as high as that of regular coffee. That is — ounce for ounce — as much as espresso!
Their coffee is a dark roast with low acidity, and a flavor profile that emphasizes cherry and chocolate. The strength of their coffee and its bold flavor comes in part from their use of Robusta beans along with the more common Arabica beans.
Death Wish uses Fair Trade certified and USDA certified organic coffee, and their coffee pods are completely recyclable.
Not a fan of dark roasts? Death Wish has added a medium roast k-cup to their lineup.
Highest caffeine k-cups: The Red Goat strong k-cup
Red Goat is serious about caffeine. Their k-cups offer a whopping six times the standard dose of caffeine. No, you didn’t read that wrong — one cup of this stuff has as much caffeine as 6 cups of regular coffee!
Yes, that’s insane. And yes, you should totally try it.
They aren’t some new kid on the block either. Red Goat has been honing their coffee harvesting and roasting skills for five generations.
Devil Mountain Coffee Company Black Label k-cups
Devil Mountain’s Black Label dark roast has about 3x the caffeine of a standard k-cup. They use high-altitude beans that are USDA organic certified and produce a smooth, rich flavor with minimal bitterness, a strong aroma, and a heavy body.
Aside: I’ve found some conflicting info on the caffeine content with Black Label. It may be much higher than 3x a standard k-cup, but I have not been able to confirm the true number. It may not matter anyway, because they are often sold out recently.
Doubly Caffeinated K-Cups
Not ready to play in the major leagues? These k-cups have about twice the caffeine content of a standard k-cup, which is more than enough for most of us mere humans.
Most Unique Strong K-Cup: VitaCup Lightning dark roast pods
VitaCup’s Lightning dark roast has twice the caffeine of a standard k-cup. They use only 100% Arabica beans from Colombia and Honduras, foregoing the Robusta beans that many companies use to beef up their caffeine content. Instead, they add a green coffee bean extract to increase the overall caffeine level.
Along with caffeine, they add the nootropic Alpina galanga, a ginger extract that claims to boost mental clarity and focus. If that wasn’t enough, they also add vitamins B1, B5, B6, B9, B12, and vegan D3, making them one of the most vitamin-heavy coffees on the market. Oh, and their pods are recyclable and BPA-free.
The dose of all of those supplements makes this one of the most unique coffee options I’ve seen. Does it really do everything it claims? I’d love to get some second opinions because the science still seems to be out on this one.
Black Rifle Coffee Rounds
Black Rifle’s medium roast CAF has an aggressively bold flavor that is rich and smoky — along with boasting double the caffeine of the average cup of coffee. Black Rifle also offers lighter and darker roast options, but this is their highest caffeine roast.
Black Rifle is owned by US military veterans, and a portion of their funds go to support veterans groups and other service and first-responder support charities.
Banned Coffee World’s Strongest Coffee k-cups
With over twice the caffeine of a typical k-cup, Banned coffee is intense. They use a mixture of Robusta and Arabica beans to maximize caffeine content while maintaining a bold flavor without being bitter or overly acidic.
Their medium-dark roast has a heavy body and a bright, smooth flavor. There are notes of berry and chocolate that accompany the clean overall taste.
Banned uses recyclable containers and biodegradable filters to decrease their environmental impact.
Hardcore Coffee Strong high caffeine cup coffee
Hardcore Coffee produces a dark roast that has twice the caffeine of standard coffee. They use only USDA-certified organic beans and operate in a kosher certified and certified safe quality roasting facility.
Starbucks Blonde Roast 2X Caffeine coffee
I love a good Starbucks latte, but I could never get into their regular coffee. That is, I couldn’t until they released their blonde roast, which is just so much better than their darker roast. Take that, toss in twice the caffeine of other k-cups, and you get an impressive brew with both kick and flavor on its side.
Starbucks went a slightly different route than some of the others on this list to get the extra caffeine into their k-cups. They stuck with 100% Arabica beans and added natural coffee extracts to up the caffeine content.
Cafespresso Plus medium roast
Cafespresso makes their Plus medium roast with 100% Arabica beans, and the end result is a delicious brew with twice the caffeine of standard coffee.
Double Donut Double Caffeine k-cups
Double Donut’s Double Caffeine is a dark roast that, as the name suggests, has double the caffeine of a typical k-cup. They use an Arabica bean blend in their roast, which they pack into 100% recyclable pods.
Maud’s Double Caffeine dark roast coffee
Maud uses a blend of 100% Arabica coffee beans, including Fair Trade and organic beans from several regions around the world. Their final dark roast has twice the caffeine of a typical cup of coffee, and they pack it in a 100% recyclable pod.
Community Coffee 2X Caffeine
Community Coffee’s high-caffeine pods have twice the caffeine of their standard pods. It’s a medium roast with a medium body, a bright and smooth flavor, and notes of hazelnut and honey.
Community Coffee has been a family-owned company for over a hundred years. They responsibly source their coffee beans and gives back to their local communities through programs that support local schools and military service member.
Somewhat Strong K-cups
Welcome to the practical section. These are the k-cups that have somewhere around 25-75% more caffeine than a standard cup of coffee. This is the section for when you need a bit more of a morning buzz, but you aren’t quite ready to test the limits of your tolerance with every ounce of coffee.
Shock Extra Strength k-cups
Shock coffee comes in a few different caffeine levels. Extra Strength is their strongest option, with about 75% more caffeine than normal k-cups. They use a medium-dark roast that provides a smooth, bold flavor to the brew.
Shock is particularly proud of their coffee’s use by troops at over 350 US military bases worldwide.
Revv No Surrender k-cups
Revv offers k-cups that are slightly over the normal range for caffeine content. Considering it’s a dark roast, though, that’s still pretty impressive, and the brew provides a great balance between strength and smoothness.
Valhalla Java coffee pods
The good people over at Death Wish apparently realized that not everyone was ready for their most heavily caffeinated brew. Enter: Valhalla Java, a brew that is at the very high end of normal for K-cup caffeine content. By the best estimate I can find, each Valhalla Java cup has roughly 140 mg of caffeine.
This brew comes primarily from South and Central American beans (Peru, Honduras, Guatemala) as well as Indian coffee and some of the best Sumatran coffee beans they could find. They roast each varietal separately to an ideal roast level for the specific beans. Then they combine them to get a medium-dark average roast in the overall blend.
All of their coffee is USDA Organic and Fair Trade certified and their pods are recyclable and eco-friendly.
Radioactive Coffee capsules
Radioactive doesn’t release info on the exact caffeine content, which is disappointing. However, you’ll quickly realize that their coffee packs more than a normal punch, all coming from their specific mix of Arabica and Robusta beans. They use only Fair Trade certified non-GMO coffee beans.
Java Factory Roasters Da Bomb k-cups
Da Bomb is the very definition of extra: It’s extra bold, dark-roasted, and doubly caffeinated. They use 100% Arabica beans, and they don’t specify what the source of the extra caffeine is — but you’ll immediately recognize that it’s there.
Wake The Hell Up Coffee ultra-caffeinated capsules
With about 50% more caffeine than a standard k-cup, Wake The Hell Up is a good caffeine boost for those not yet ready for something as strong as Death Wish. This medium-dark roast is small-batch roasted to maximize freshness.
Along with the original brew, Wake The Hell Up is available in a range of flavored coffees: Jamaican Me Crazy, Cannoli, Pistachio, and Peanut Butter Cup — all of which have the same added caffeine boost.
Utica Coffee makes an even more caffeinated brew, Utica Ultra, but it’s not available in the k-cup form.
High Caffeine Coffee Pods Variety Pack
If you want to try a sample of heavily caffeinated k-cups, this is the best one that I’ve been able to find. They include a few brands that I’ve covered here (Revv, Double Donut, Shock) as well as several that I haven’t sampled yet or didn’t make the list (Red Eye, Cake Boss, Guy Fieri).
Most of the varieties they include are somewhere between the high end of normal and 2x normal caffeine levels. If you are looking for a way to try out several brands or dial in your caffeine dose in that range, this is a great place to start.
Which Are the Highest Caffeine K-Cups
Red Goat has six times the caffeine of standard coffee, making it very likely the most caffeinated coffee you’ll find in a k-cup — unless you fill your own (see the next section!).
I’ve seen some mixed information about Devil Mountain Coffee Company Black Label, which indicates it may actually have more caffeine. Black Label k-cups always seem to be sold out though, so Red Goat would still be the most caffeinated k-cups that you can actually buy on a regular basis.
Alternative: Get a Refillable K-Cup for Your Keurig
There was a time when Keurig k-cup brewers were limited to whatever coffee was available in a pre-packaged k-cup. Then came the advent of reusable k-cups — a game-changer if there ever was one.
Because of how Keurigs work, there is a lot you can’t control in your brew. Many people find the coffee they get from their Keurigs to be weak, both in terms of flavor and caffeine strength.
Now that some of the strongest coffees in the world are available as k-cups, that has helped substantially, but a refillable k-cup is the only way to really dial in the strength by choosing between any coffee varieties you want and adjusting the amount of coffee grounds you use in your k-cup.
Stronger, Better, Faster
The highest caffeine k-cups are just ridiculously strong. I’d be amazed if you ever needed more coffee than you can get from some of these heavy hitters.
But who am I to judge?
If you want to go even stronger, it’s probably time to get your espresso game on with a budget espresso maker. If you’d rather stick with pods, maybe it’s time to check out the options in Nespresso pods. Ounce-for-ounce, espresso has more caffeine than just about anything on this list. And you can use any coffee beans to make espresso — imagine espresso made with some of these high caffeine coffee beans!
Have a strong opinion about strong coffee? Let me know in the comments!
One last time, here are my top picks for the strongest coffee k-cups.