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on December 14, 2010
As a huge fan of Keurig brewing, I was delighted to discover Solofill cups! I have been using mine for a couple months and love the versatility and the ease of using this Kcup replacement. Unlike the "My Kcup" holder that you can use with most Keurig machines, this little gem pops right in without having to remove the pod holder from the brewer.

The Solofill takes about 2 tablespoons of coffee and that's the main appeal of this. You can use your own ground coffee instead of always having to buy the pricey pre-filled Kcups. It makes a great cup of coffee and allows users to buy any kind of coffee they please. Some users have complained about cleaning the Solofill. I find it easy. Just tap the cooled coffee grounds on the edge of your trash receptacle and most will fall out. Then rinse it out and it's ready to go again. I keep two handy so I can be using one and cleaning the other. I see this little invention as a great way to save money and have options as to the kinds and types of coffee you want to use.
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on July 26, 2013
I am a coffee snob and an engineer, so please read this review in that context. It's a little geeky and long, but hopefully you can benefit from my semi-scientific "study" of reusable/refillable K-cup filters such as this Chrome Solofill (and its equivalent in gold, Solofill Cup K3 - Reusable K-Cup for Keurig Single Cup Brewers - Gold). Given all the options out there, someone had to do this, especially since this item is now widely available in BJ's Wholesale Club retail outlets (two-pack for $19.99) and thus its use will soon become more widespread.

Background: The only brands of K-Cups currently produced that even come CLOSE to satisfying me are Starbucks and Peet's, and even these now supermarket-distributed brands of coffee can be slaughtered by tons of other excellent local (and online-distributed) roasters that are not sold in K-cups. Even at Costco, which has the lowest price I have even seen for Starbucks' K-Cups, the box of 54 units (usually Pike Place, Cafe Verona or House Blend) are priced at $34.99 (=$0.65/cup). Once in a while that box goes on in-store sale at $29.99, so that makes it 14% better at $0.56/cup. But it's still just ONE blend of ONE brand, so that's still too expensive given the lack of variety. After spending time and effort (and $) trying to find some less expensive prepackaged coffees packaged in K-Cup "knock-off" pods that have found a workaround to Green Mountain's K-cup design patent, I still hadn't found my solution, as the coffees sold in these wanna-be K-cups were uniformly insipid. I gladly threw out all of the knock-offs, as some the coffees weren't even palatable right out of the box, while others became very stale almost immediately after removal from the vacuum packs due to the non-airtight paper mesh filter design. Clearly, I had to find a way to use a variety of my own high-quality whole-bean coffees in the Keurig.

First Search: My quest naturally began with Keurig itself. In the past, I had sporadically used Keurig's own "My K-Cup" THREE-PIECE refillable grey filter unit to brew my own coffee, but the design was poor, too cumbersome to use and too time-consuming to I always misplaced the parts. To elaborate, one piece is the top, one is the filter itself, and the third is the exterior funnel-like housing that the filter gets placed in and the top gets screwed onto. So first, I needed to remove the standard black K-cup holder insert, then fill the My K-Cup screen filter with ground coffee, then place the filter into the outer housing, wipe the top, then finally screw the top on. I eventually did find a perfect grind for this filter, and the top DOES screw on tightly, thus preventing most, but not all, grinds from ending up in my cup (a water input hole on the top is nearly flush with the top, and still allows some grinds to get pushed out and into the finished product). Worse, I had three pieces to clean. While this was inconvenient, I was willing to deal with it in order to brew a great cup. Still, I didn't use it that often. At any rate, I suspected that someone had invented a better reusable filter than this by now.

First Conclusion: Third-party multi-use ONE-PIECE screened filters that can be placed directly into the existing Keurig black insert were the best way to enable me to buy great whole bean coffee and brew it in the Keurig...and to do it efficiently, cleanly and without the need to chase down misplaced parts.

Preliminary Research: I got some background by reading a lot of previous reviews on these 1-piece units. I'll admit, some reader reviews regarding their inadequacy (or worse, adequacy!) when attempting to use pre-ground coffee scared me. First, other than saving money (nope, a power failure would preclude operating the Keurig anyway), there is simply no reason to use pre-ground coffee in ANY home brewing method. People deserve better than that. In my experience, even cheap ($25) grinders and lousy beans produce a better cup than nearly all pre-ground coffees. Unless you are drinking a LOT of coffee quickly, or you buy VERY small amount of pre-ground, or are not picky at all, these coffees should occupy a very small place in your world. Worse, the refillable units that DID work well with pre-ground coffee probably weren't aiming at true coffee-lovers, hence must have been poorly designed, or were simply designed for mass sales. Nothing wrong with that (it's a free world), and I did find one of those units in my study.

What really puzzled me, however, was that some reviewers who ground their own coffee seemed to be complaining about issues that could be easily solved by changing the grind and/or compaction method. Since Keurig units are generally standardized with respect to water pump pressure, I could only attribute these "problems" to operator error, bad judgment, sloppiness or simply lack of I treated these reviews as "non-applicable". As it turned out, I was WRONG on this, as despite my best efforts, I simply could not get a great cup out of some of the 1-piece units. What does that tell you about their designs? More below.

Hypotheses & Assumptions: Given my prior experience with Keurig's My K-Cup, I already knew that all the 1-piece refillable units would be VERY sensitive to the coarseness of the grind and its compaction in the coffee charge. Obviously, there is a direct relationship between 1) the grind's coarseness, 2) permeability of the coffee charge (compaction), 3) the Keurig's pump pressure, and 4) the physical design of the capsule and filter screen ...and 1) the amount of time the water spends in contact with the coffee, hence the overall richness and quality of the brew and 2) the amount of grinds that end up in the cup. I also knew that I'd be burning through a lot of really good coffee (note that "really good" does not necessarily mean "expensive", and vice versa), but I was willing to make that sacrifice if I could save money and CONSISTENTLY drink perfect Keurig-brewed coffee.

Experiments/Results: I had already purchased a few brands of these 1-piece (top is connected to the filter, no exterior housing) screened units to test, but after I bought the K3, I bought a few more models for testing (see links below). As it turned out, there were a few common problems with these 1-piece units that became immediately obvious. The most prevalent and annoying one was that there was simply not enough screen area for the coffee to flow through given the Keurig's standard pump pressure, with the result that, even using a somewhat courser grind, the brewer built up too much pressure and the coffee dripped out VERY slowly (bad for the Keurig pump) and/or there were grinds being forced out and into my cup (bad for me). The coarser the grind I used, the better the water flowed through the filter, but predictably, this resulted in increasingly weaker cups of coffee. I own a 1-year old Keurig, so I was sure the pump was operating at the proper pressure, plus it had worked well in the past. I was getting frustrated, because in most of the units, it was very difficult to find the correct balance between grind, compaction, filter screen area, lack of grinds in the finished product, and a satisfying (to me) brew. Another problem was that, except for the Ekofill Stainless Elite, the filter screens were all manufactured from "3-dimensional" screen material, making them difficult to clean thoroughly.

Following are links to the other reusable filters that I tested, but which were inferior to the Solofill K3 models (chrome/gold). Interestingly, one of them is also made by Solofill.
Keurig My K-Cup Reusable Coffee Filter
Solofill Cup, Refillable Cup For Keurig K-Cup Brewers, Red
Ekobrew Cup, Refillable Cup for Keurig K-cup Brewers, Brown, 1-Count
Brew and Save Refillable K Cup for Keurig Brewers, 2 Count
Ekobrew Stainless Steel Elite Cup, Refillable K-Cup For Keurig K-Cup Brewers

The Ultimate Solution...The Solofill K3: This unit has 1) A newly-designed "2-dimensional" LARGE FLAT SCREEN AREA (higher flow rate, lower potential pressure drop, VERY easy to clean), 2) a FLAT BOTTOM (stands on the countertop, easy to fill), 3) an INDENTED AND PERFORATED WATER INLET "SHOWER" (100% coffee saturation), 4) a GASKETED COVER (prevents overflow of grinds into brew) and 5) plastic HANDLES (allows unit to be removed with bare hands while grounds are still piping hot).

As with the other refillable units, I spent a lot of time testing different grinds and filling methods. However, THIS time, due to the large screen area on the K3, and with the gasket giving me a decent margin of error if the grind was too fine (no grinds in the coffee since there was no backflow), I was able to concoct a methodology to produce consistently great coffee. In fact, as Solofill correctly claims, the coffee I now brew in my Keurig using my own beans and this K3 chrome filter actually tastes and looks like it was made in a French press. Yes, I do see some French-press-style sediment in the bottom of my cup, but this is to be expected. After all, I'm intentionally brewing precisely that type of coffee. Anyone who loves coffee knows about the crema and smooth, strong brew that result from using a press. I can absolutely live with a bit of sediment. Success!

How to brew French press-like coffee using the Keurig and the Solofill K3:
1) If you have an adjustable temp Keurig, set it for 202 degrees F (default temp). Otherwise, read on.
2) Set the cup size to the largest on your unit.
3) Grind the beans. Unlike some others have suggested in other reviews, the grind needs to be coarser than for an auto drip coffee maker, but NOT as course as for a percolator. I use a Bunn professional burr grinder (that large tall red/black one found in stores that people use to grind beans if they don't own a grinder). I have it set to "Drip" (NOT "Auto Drip", which is too fine). For those of you using the Bunn burr grinders in the supermarket, this setting is directly at 12 o'clock on the round dial. For those of you using home grinders like Krups, Cuisinart, etc, you will need to play around, but at least now you know what grind you're looking for. If you grind and tap properly, you will need 0.5 oz of coffee per cup. Hint: If you have a scale, and you find that you are using more than 0.5 oz, you are probably over-grinding, and the coffee is likely too powdery and thus over-compacted.
4) Fill the K3 with ground coffee. For a strong, but smooth, cup with no large grinds, fill the Solofill halfway with coffee, then TAP it on the counter once or twice to pack the coffee in a bit. Then fill it to the top, and TAP it again so that the level of coffee drops about 1/8" below the rim. This level is clearly noted on the inside of the filter basket. Importantly, note that the coffee should NOT be tamped down, as it needs to remain permeable so that water can flow through the coffee and then through the screen, while not overworking the pump. After all, we're not making espresso, as those machines operate at a much higher pressure, thus enabling them to force water through a less permeable coffee charge and cause even more crema (coffee oils + water emulsion) to be produced.
5) Wipe the rim COMPLETELY CLEAN of ground coffee particles.
6) Close the cover. The cover should shut TIGHTLY and be flush with the rim of the filter basket. Pinch around the perimeter of the unit to tightly seal the gasket. (I've made steps 4-6 sound like a lot of work, but this entire filling and compacting process actually takes me less than 10 seconds. It becomes second-nature after a few attempts.)
7) Brew.
9) Remove the K3, and rinse it under running water, or shake it into the garbage first, then rinse, preferably while wet. The filter screen should now be perfectly free of coffee and smooth to the touch.

(Step #8 intentionally omitted. Please fill in the blank, being sure to include the addition of any preferred dairy and/or sweetening ingredients in that step.)

Financial analysis: So what is the difference in cost between the 54 Starbucks K-cups that you can buy any day at Costco for $0.65/cup vs. my method, where you can buy ANY whole bean coffee on ANY day? You might want a weaker cup than me (adjust measure/tap accordingly), but stronger would be difficult, as not much more than 0.5 oz will fit in the K3 (of course I weighed it several times), even with more tapping. Using 0.5 oz per cup translates to 32 cups per pound. So if you buy 2 lbs of high-quality FRESH coffee beans for $17 (the kinds you can get at almost all wholesale clubs), this equates to 64 cups for $17, or $0.26 per cup (60% savings). Even if you buy only ONE pound from Starbucks/Peet's or somewhere else for $16/lb, this works out to only $0.50 per cup (23% savings). In any case, you win on multiple levels.

Because you sprung for a LITTLE extra money to buy the Solofill K3 (except at BJ's, where it is priced equivalently to most other models), you are now drinking an absolutely perfect cup of French-press style coffee with some crema, and are now able to produce it one cup at a time...using your OWN super-high-quality coffee...while spending much less per cup than the highest-quality prepackaged K-cups...and with very little effort and cleanup.
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on December 16, 2010
I was a little worried about this one because of a bad (weak coffee) experience w/ the My K-Cup, but this product worked remarkably well! I didn't think it was difficult to clean using the spray nozzle on the faucet. Also, be careful not to use super fine grounds (as suggested on the package). They will plug up the mesh and result in a half brew of coffee so strong it can not be consumed! Kirkland 100% Columbian-fine ground works well, however.
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on December 15, 2010
I love my keurig coffee maker, don't get me wrong, but I don't love adding all those little plastic cups to the land fill. The Solofill allows me to end the conflict between convenience and my concern for the environment. I can use any coffee I like, or as I frequently do, I can use a pod. One of the things about the Keurig I love is the ability to choose daily between varieties of coffee. Buying a pound of one kind of coffee is boring to me. So I buy locally 1/4 bags and store them in a vented airproof (airscape) container. And I buy pods (frequently on sale so the price is the same as ground beans per cup) and dump the grounds into the Solofill. I use 10 gram pods, more is too much, less is not enough. With pods, the coffee remains fresh because it's nitrogen packed. I don't have to drink all the same kind at once to use it up =) So i balance between my locally purchased fresh ground and the pods. The Solofill brews a much better cup than the K cups provide. Much richer mouth feel, and slightly stronger than an extra bold k cup.
I drink mostly dark roasts (k cups: dark magic, double black diamond) and I'm very satisfied with the cups from a Solofill with 10 grams ground coffee, either from a pod or fresh. The device self-tamps when you close it so the water flows evenly throughout the grounds. No dry spots. I pop the Keurig open after I brew and come back to dump the grounds after I drink; that gives the solofill time to cool off. The only caveat is to make sure you flick off any grounds on the rim before you close the solofill so it makes a solid seal. I bought two so I can always have one ready to go......
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on January 27, 2011
It does what it's supposed to. I have a few grumbles, however.
First, of the 4 I bought, on 2 the caps did not close very well, and it would tend to pop open. But it's okay when you pop it in for brewing.
Second, it does not stand on its own on the counter, so you have to hold it while you are filling it - it would be nice to be able to just have it stand on its own.
Third, if the coffee ground is too fine, such as espresso grounds, then the filter plugs and does not work at all.
Fourth, the mini well at the bottom does not clean easily, and the grounds tend to stick in there.
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on December 17, 2010
Great Coffee taste with all the flavors of fresh ground coffee and a French Press with out the mess. Solofill Cup is almost idiot proof. If you can read and follow directions you will have no problem with this. My K Cup works fine, but the Solofill Cup works better. Easier to use, better flow, more of the flavors of fresh ground coffee come through. If you use the right grind, only fill to the fill line, make sure the gasket is clean and snap the lid shut it will work right every time. Added bonus, when I am in a hurry and snap a factory K Cup in, I don't have to change the filter holder. Best $15.00 spent in awhile. Get to use local custom blend fresh whole bean coffee that tastes as good as French Press. My K Cup coffee always lacked some of the flavor, Solofill Cup does not.
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on December 15, 2010
Finally!! I love my Keurig, and I don't mind buying the k-cups. What does bother me is the limited availability of flavored decaf coffees. I am a coffee addict and could drink it all day if it didn't keep me up all night. I have tried every other do it yourself k cup product out there and they all stink! This product actually works. It brews a decent cup of coffee, not watered down and not a single ground of coffee in the cup. This product is worth the money! Thinking about buying a second!
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on December 16, 2010
I have the Keurig My K-Cup and found it to be annoying to have to pull out the insert to use it after I use an actual k-cup. This eliminates that and I've found it to make a better cup of coffee as well. It's a nice one piece design so no messing with the 3 pieces like the My K-cup. Works great.
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on December 21, 2011
Got 3 of these to salve my recycle conscience and save on cost. I have the smallest of the Keurigs and drink 2 cups a day, so I figured I could keep 2 clean. The good news is that size is perfect, fits beautifully and brew is excellent (just using my adc ground Green Mtn coffee). They work great and are 5 star for that. However, they are made in china of all plastic, including the important hinge top that is the one moving part. I am super careful with this, but it's just plastic, rather flimsy, and there's no way it's going to last repeated openings, which of course are necessary for both filling and cleaning. This would not be a killer if they weren't so relatively expensive. I'm sure it can't have cost the producers even a dollar for these. Either upgrade quality or downgrade price!
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on December 28, 2010
I rolled the dice and bought two of these so I could rotate them as I make cups of coffee. They're well constructed and work exactly as advertised, yielding a cup of coffee that has the strength and flavor I was hoping for. Key things I've found so far: set your grind to slightly finer than medium if you have a good variable grinder. Don't go espresso-fine though (not sure the mesh in the cup will actually filter that). Next, fill the cup entirely with grounds, but don't heap the amount. Also wipe excess grounds off the lip so closing the lid isn't crunching down the grounds. When you close the lid, it will make a good seal that way and will have the right amount of grounds to work with, tamped to the right compression. I notice the signature Keurig puff of air at the end doesn't noticeably sputter with these cups, and the grounds are a bit wet when shaking them out, but this is a minor quibble and probably would have yielded only a teaspoon of liquid anyway.
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