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  • Customer reviews

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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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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon March 31, 2011
This is a good way to help the environment, save money (especially since k-cup prices have gone up), and use your own coffee (like buying it at Costco). It's certainly not as convenient as using actual k-cups, but it's not as much trouble and waste as brewing a regular cup of coffee the old fashioned way.

The issues I have with it are the price and "build quality". For the price, the "build quality" seems lacking. The hinge that holds the top on seems quite flimsy and the whole unit is relatively light-weight. Because of these I'm knocking off one star.

Tip: We weren't happy when we ground our own beans with a cheap blade grinder. We bought a "Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder" and it made a significant difference.

UPDATE 2011-10-13: I'm reducing this to 3 stars. Two silicon o-ring seals have broken on 2 units and I couldn't find that additional ones that are easily available. Over time, this will probably happen to you too. Also, on one of my Solofills the cap broke off. I trashed that one... but it seems as though there may now be a "new and improved" design with an extra wide heavy-duty hinge, so that would be a definite improvement.

UPDATE 2011-10-13: I found out that you can buy 2 silicon o-rings for about $4 including shipping from the Solofill website.

UPDATE 2011-11-06: I recently tried the Ekobrew Refillable K-Cups and have to say those are the best. 5 stars for those.

UPDATE 2013-01-25: I've discovered this product which I give 5 stars because it works best: Brew and Save Refillable K Cup for Keurig Brewers, 2 Count
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VINE VOICEon May 16, 2011
We recently bought 2 of the Solofill Cups after reading so many positive reviews about using them. We have been using a Keurig for almost 3 years and have tried numerous options to the pre-packaged, coffee filled, K-cup. We have several My K-cups, but they are a bit of an inconvenience because of having to pop out the pod holder each time (if the My K-cup is not used exclusively)And, eventually we had to buy extra filters because after rinsing out a used filter, it needs to dry, etc., before another use. Our Keurig gets a lot of daily use and I even tried pre-filling the My K-Cups to have on hand, but they do not fit in the Keurig rack that well.

Then, we tried washing out the K-cups, letting them dry, re-filling them with ground coffee and placing a tin foil like sticker on top and sealing down the edges. If the sticker wasn't centered or secured properly, it would leak during the water flow.

Along came the Solofill.....I must say this is a great little invention. No, the lids don't always stay down after putting the coffee in, but during the water flow they do. I have noticed more fine grinds in the bottom of my cup than before, but that is not a problem either. What I have noticed, though, if I do not empty it out while the grounds are still hot/warm, they do not come out as easily.

I will be purchasing several more. The cost of each Solofill is a bit more than an 18 ct box of K-cups at a retail store, which does not last long in our home. A big can of Folger's is approx $12.49 now. The price of coffee is increasing as is the cost of the K-cups, even ordered online with free shipping. The Solofills will pay for themselves in no time at all AND I no longer have to throw away dozens and dozens of those little plastic k-cups!

The Keurig itself, along with the K-cups, is a great invention and is soooo convenient, but can be costly and wasteful. The Solofill might take a moment to fill and pop in the machine, but the advantages of using it far outweigh any inconvenience.

Definitely would recommend trying one!
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The Solofill cup is a must-have for any Keurig owner. I love coffee but my wife doesn't. So cup at a time is much more economical than making an entire pot only to dump it out. Still those k-cup costs can add up, and some of the best gourmet coffees aren't available in k-cup form. I did purchase Keurig's filter for individual coffee grounds but the results fell way short. The coffee was weak and it required changing out some hardware on the brewer. I used it a few times and it was just too much of a hassle to produce bad coffee.

The solofill product is outstanding with some real engineering behind its design. There's a lot of little details the manufacturer put into this thing, like a snapping lid with a rubber gasket to keep it water tight. I brewed a cup of some Kona coffee (the real 100% stuff from Hawaii) and the results were comparable to my larger drip pot and french press.

If you're looking to use your own grounds on a Keurig machine, this is the product to get. No question about it.
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The Solofill "Refillable K-Cup" works exactly as advertised! While I love my Keurig B60 Special Edition Gourmet Single-Cup Home-Brewing System and the great selection of specialty K-Cups that are available, it can be expensive to use over time. This reusable holder allows regular coffee to be used and it works surprisingly well. Here are my observations:

Pros -
+ Easy to Use; no modification to the Keurig machine needed, just fill the Solofill Cup with ground coffee and put it in the machine
+ Works Well; makes a good cup of coffee with no undue mess
+ Easy to Clean; wait for the grounds to cool, shake into the waste bin, and then rinse it out

Cons -
- Really fine ground coffee will clog the filter

This works so well that I bought a second one as gift for a good friend of mine who had stopped using his Keurig due to the high cost of the K-Cups.

Highly Recommended! We liked ours so much that we bought two more as gifts!

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on December 26, 2013
I have and love my keurig brewer, but where i live, there is not much supply of k-cups, i like to buy my own coffee.

I bought about 3 or 4 of this, some online some at shops.

Lets you use your own coffee , grounded course.
More eco friendly
Cleans in a flash, or should i say splash.
You can have several so you don't need to clean them after every cup you brew.

The lid is attached to the cup by a thin piece of plastic, not really a functional hinge, so ir will break.
If you ground your coffee to expresso , it will clot, and not drip.
If somehow, someway, drip clear water from the top. It all falls into your coffee making it thinner.

I've found this happened several times with more grounded coffee, assuming this takes more pressure to pour thru, and water pops out from the top.
The amount of coffee it holds is enough for a small to medium brew, if you plan on using large mugs, fill two of this babies.
run them one after the other.

Cleaning tip.
Leave them on your sink for a while, (to cool off) afterwards, pick it up and bang it a couple of times upside down against the counter. Just some firm taps. open the lid over the garbage can , and a pock of coffee will drop out without a hassle, rinse in the faucet, and re use. ... you may want to wash it with soap every couple of times. coffee does have grease/oils.

I later got a newer version of this, that has some laser edged film, instead of this micro screen mesh. That model, is a bit more expensive, but, holds more coffee, and is more tolerant to finer grounds.
Better yet, this guys listened to their clients, and actually changed the design to incorporate a real hinge, which snaps on or off, but does not break (at least not yet), and instead of having an odd nipple on the bottom, they increased the overall size.
I've had this for at least 6 months with our complaints.
I share the coffee maker and k-cups with my family members and statistically everyone prefers the newer model.

I hope this helps other coffee lovers.
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on September 14, 2012
I did alot of research before buying cups to replace the 'My k-cup' that comes with Keurig. Their 'My K-cup' did not have enough thought put into it in order to make it a great item...and perhaps they did this so people would continue to purchase single use, throw-away k-cups, rather then using your own ground coffee in your own reusable k-cup! I researched both the Ekobrew Cup and the Solofill Cup and then bought both and they are BOTH great! They both take about 2 tablespoons of your own ground coffee which surprised me since the Solofill is overall smaller then the Ekobrew but that is only the design. If you fill to the line they recommend for maximum...they used the same amount! And Even though some reviewers said otherwise...they BOTH empty easily. The Solofill when you fill it with coffee must be held due to it not being flat at the bottom like the Ekobrew. Unlike the My K-cup from Keurig, these Cups have hinged lids so when you are done brewing and want to empty the grounds, simply turn the cup upside down and tap a couple times on the counter...shake it, open, dump in your recycle/compost bin, rinse the cups for reuse. Periodically put in dishwasher.

For us, we use the tallest setting, 12 oz, and it's perfect strength. To get a stronger cup, we push 'brew' and once the coffee begins to stream out, we hold up the handle just a little bit so that the coffee stops dripping out...then we wait about 30 seconds or the coffee can brew a bit longer in the water, then we let the handle back down. The rest of the coffee comes out and it's a bit stronger then if we let it just pour through without the PAUSE. Everyone has different coffee tastes so it's fun to sample different ounces in your coffee mug. I actually find i can run a tiny cup following the 12oz cup and thus fill my travel mug to the top...using the same k-cup. My husband does not do this but I like to put creamer and mocha flavoring in my coffee so having an extra tall cup is plenty strong enough for me. I also use half regular coffee and half decaf by alternating the 4 - half tablespoons i use... one coffee, one decaf, one coffee, one decaf. YUM!

Ekobrew or Solofill cups....we heartily recommend either of these 'k-cup' replacements for equally great coffee!
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on January 27, 2011
I love this little device. While I love my k-cups the cost per cup makes the price a little higher then my bargain hunting habits would like. I tried the my k-cup and hated it - the coffee was always weak and undrinkable from my standards - I LOVE dark roast coffee and it must be strong. I can fill my whole 20oz commuter cup in the morning with ONE solofill cup. This cup will hold about two cups worth of grounds (or, one tablespoon.) The coffee I make with this product comes out darker and richer then any of the other k-cups I've used because - YOU CONTROL THE AMOUNT OF GROUNDS! I've also never had to resort to messing around with ground consistency. The consistancy you'd want for any drip pot works just fine in this. If you go finer... I could see you having some residue in the cup.

You DO need to have your standard k-cup insert in your machine to use this. I have never had my machine leak, and I've used this about 40+ times in the past 3 weeks. You DO need to realize that this is the k-cup equivalant to say, a gold reusable mesh filter that you would purchase for your automatic drip machine. If you don't like those kind of products odds are you won't like this.

I give this 4 stars instead of 5 because you do need to tap this quite a bit to get the grounds out from the very very bottom. Personally, I think thats pretty trivial. If you have a two person household like mine or drink a lot of coffee and don't have time for the cup to cool you may want two of these for convience with the slight cleaning issue.
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on June 9, 2011
We bought this not only for the money savings over K-cups, but because there is no way to put the K-cups into recycling and it seems like a lot of wasted plastic in landfills. That said, I was skeptical about the inconvenience of filling up my own each time. Having used it now for several weeks, let me say it's not that big a deal.

There are a few tricks. Grind your coffee no finer than for a gold cone filter for a drip coffee maker. Anything finer will clog the screen and the coffee takes forever to brew. I like strong coffee, so I fill it right up to the fill line. (Don't go over the line - the coffee swells when wet and it will pop open the cup, leaving a mess inside your machine.) On the 8 oz setting, it makes a very good cup of coffee. Clean it immediately after use or the coffee gets stuck in the little nipple at the bottom. When that happens, I close the lid and give it a gentle upside-down tap on the bottom of my sink and that usually does the trick. You don't want to go at it with something sharp and pointy or you'll probably damage the screen. If you want to use it again right after use for a second cup, it helps to wipe the top edge with paper towel after rinsing so that any overspill doesn't stick to the edge preventing a good seal. Finally, be gentle with the top - it's a simple plastic hinge that will likely break over time, so best not to open it any further or more often than necessary.

For the person who is concerned it won't stand on its own, this is really not an issue unless you are impaired in one hand. I use a large tablespoon to fill mine and there is always overspill. And after filling, if you have put in too much or if there is coffee on the lip, you need to tap it off into the cannister. I simply hold the cup over my coffee cannister while filling so that any spillage goes right back into the cannister. If I did this on the counter, it would make quite a mess.

I admit I was skeptical about the cost, so I only bought one. On arrival, what seemed like such a simple item is actually well designed and engineered. There is a tiny o-ring to seal it, and a rain spout at the top to insure complete circulation, as well as the protrusion at the bottom that allows for a bit more coffee to be inserted to make up for the rain spout. But at 50 cents for a packaged K-cup, it only takes a couple of weeks for two coffee drinkers to break even and you do get whatever coffee you like. I'm buying a second one so I can be loading up my cup while my wife's is brewing. What else is there to do while waiting for the machine to finish?
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