CircleK Messes Up Coffee

Circle K Destroys One of Its Few Advantages, Its Coffee

One of Circle K’s few advantages over the years has been their coffee. It’s not fancy or trendy, it’s just delicious.

If you like coffee there is a good chance that among the many quick stops you can make to buy coffee you will find yourself at CircleK.

The coffee is not too strong, too bitter or too weak. It is just a good cup of joe much in the tradition of Dunkin Donuts’ cup of joe.

CircleK apparently decided that it needed to up its coffee game. On a recent visit to a Circle K I was greeted by a new coffee brewing setup. Shiny and new with hoppers of fresh beans sitting on top the sign promised fresh ground, fresh brewed coffee. The setup looked designed to attract millennials. But, no matter as long as it brewed delicious coffee what did I care?

New Circle K Coffee Machine


I usually add the Half and Half to my coffee before I add the coffee, that way I don’t have to throw away a coffee stirrer. In this setup though I wasn’t sure if the cup would overflow as it was going to automatically dispense the coffee into the cup.

The machine did stop to ask me if I wanted to leave room for cream so in the future I can probably add the Half and Half first. After answering the questions about which beans I wanted (CircleK House Blend) and the size of my cup (large) the machine was off and running. One could hear the coffee being ground and then the whir and hiss of hot water being pushed through the grounds. Soon I was presented with a freshly ground, freshly brewed cup of coffee.

It tasted terrible.

It was weak, bitter and had no-for lack of a better term, body.

It was my first cup. Maybe it’s a one off, I’ll update in the future. But for now I will keep frequenting the stores that still have the older brewing machines.

Old But Good Circle K Coffee Machine


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This Post Has 29 Comments

  1. Edson Vassoler

    Total disagree!
    I think taste much fresher and delicious.
    Easy to use.
    Better than before for sure!!!

    1. Greg

      I totally think this is a major upgrade from standard Gas station coffee. I consider myself a coffee snob, and I actually want to go get coffee there. Granted, there are so many options that you do need to figure out which option you want. But the fact that it grinds the coffee before making the shot it excellent.

  2. Welton Jordan

    I agree with Edson
    Fresherand Better
    A fresh cup every time anytime.

  3. Keith Howard

    I love Circle K’s new coffee! Excellent!

    1. Rashea

      I agree completely!

    2. Sam

      It’s one best coffee since the last time they had the coffee pots.good job cirlek

  4. Gavin Weimer

    Hard to say. It doesn’t seem as full bodied as the old drip brew, but on occasion the old drip brew was left in the machine too long and it tasted old. The new machines brew a mediocre cup of coffee that is not as good as a fresh cup of the old style and on par of a stale cup of the old style.

  5. Lori

    I’m going to agree with the OP. I like half caff coffee and there is no way to make it with the new setup. I went ahead and tried the regular coffee, but it was terrible! Very bitter. It seems to vary store to store. i’m not sure if these have settings that need to be adjusted or what. it would be nice if they would give you a half cup option at least.

    1. Jeff

      The red x at the bottom of the screen stops the brewing cycle you then pick the next flavor and continue to make your half caf.

  6. Harny

    You can always stop the cycle pressing the RED X then select the other to mix the way you like. I like mine coffee strong and the current machine allows for that. It is perfect coffee for me.

  7. Marc dobbs

    The new coffee machines make terrible coffee. Microwave brew. Tasteless and scorching hot. My cup practically melted in my hand and it scalded the cream I added. These people who say different must be mistaken. I bet their coffee sales are down precipitously.

    1. Neal

      I think the real problem is the coffee is brewed for iced coffee. It is definitely too strong for drinking hot. I took mine home and poured it over ice and then proceeded to sweeten it and flavor it. Done this way it tastes delicious to me. Of course, I am an iced-coffee nut, so take that with a grain of salt.

      I would like to know what you mean by “microwave brew?” Do you mean it as too hot of water having a short time of contact with the coffee?

  8. Marc Dobbs

    New coffee machines render terrible brew

  9. rich

    I think it is the best coffee around fresh brewed every cup,no burned taste [from setting in the pot to long no waiting for a full pot to fill up] its the best of both worlds in less than a minute

  10. Michael Miller

    I love the new coffee machines. It makes a great cup of coffee every time. This sounds like old man yelling at the sky, especially with the shot at millennials.


    I often look forward to a circle k coffee. I came upon a store today with the new machine. It was horrible. I tried to “tame” it with half and half, but I finally threw it away. Sorry, Circle K. Will now be going to a competitor. I will miss you and the employees I grew to like.

  12. Rashe

    I mean the fact that people are complaining about freshly brewed coffee straight from the bean is beyond me! It’s artisan style. You can offer people steak all you want, but some will just prefer baloney sandwiches no matter what. Thanks for the upgrade Circle K!

  13. Stewy

    Well, several months have transpired and the taste from the new brewing machines still has not grown on me. I suspect that the burnt and bitter taste I keep experiencing is a result from trying to brew the coffee too quickly. In my opinion the coffee machines are running too much water, to quickly, or at to warm a temperature through the grounds. I like to make my own espresso and the burnt/bitter taste of an espresso shot is often caused by these same variables.

    I also don’t like machines that form fake crema. Real crema is formed from the oils in the coffee being extracted at just the right temperature and pressure (from good fresh beans). Fake crema, as Keurig machines generate, is formed when a very small orifice is used to push high temperature water at high pressure into beans which results more in a “froth” than a genuine crema. So maybe my issue with the Circle K machines are they are the same claptrap that Keurig put together to artificially achieve the “look” of crema while not actually forming it and in the process doling out weak, bitter coffee.

    For those that say “it’s fresher” I could sit and paint the Mona Lisa right now, but you’d probably prefer the original.

    C’est la vie, it’s just a cup of coffee. Though I find myself at the drive through at Duncan Donuts more often now.

  14. Dante De

    Circle K will take over all coffe stores in the state. I am already addicted to Cirle K Colombian coffe from their new automatic machines. Never had better coffe in my life.
    Price is great too and I get every six coffee for free. Fantastic!!!! I love it. Thank you circle K !!! You are the best.

  15. Dean

    Totally disagree with your take! And I mean, TOTALLY!
    The new machines are superior to anything anywhere! The coffee is ALWAYS fresh and brewed on the spot. Their quality and selection are fantastic and their Reward Program (buy five get the 6th free works well).
    Besides gas, this is the best part of Circle K!

  16. John Long

    I think they took already great coffee and elevated it. It’s better than any drip coffee you would receive from most coffee places.

    1. Stewy

      Thanks for your input. It’s apparent they made the right decision as far as the limited readership of NewsStew is concerned. I still find it a bit weak and bitter, but taste is completely subjective so there is no “best” that applies to everyone. And I’d be the first to admit at least it’s fresh every time. For me the old coffee was better when freshly brewed, but only at the locations that didn’t let it sit for many hours. One of the interesting phenomenons that my advanced age has let me witness is the way societal tastes shift. I’m sure my perception of what tastes good was shaped early. Hard to rewire ones neurological pathways that perceive taste. Take care.

  17. Thiago

    You’re wrong
    That’s the best coffee machine ever dude

  18. Kathleen Sauro

    The coffee is way too hot. I don’t know if the water temperature is regulated or not. I stopped by Christmas Eve of 2020 to pick up a cup of coffee and a snack. I made my coffee like I usually do. Filled a medium cup with reg coffee then added whole milk and 1/2 and 1/2. I like my coffee light not dark. When I got in my car and took just a little bit to make sure it wasn’t too hot. Well it certainly was too hot. I had to spit ijut out in my car. My tongue was so sore and red. I had to take the lid off my coffee and wait till it cooled down. My tongue was swollen, red, blistered. In one spot it looks like a piece of meat on one side is missing. My tongue right now looks like is has brown areas. I will never purchase their coffee again and probably won’t get any coffee to go anywhere. It’s just too much of a risk.

  19. tammy

    The new coffee taste like its brewed with old socks, its disgusting. I never see anyone buying it anymore, even the clerk said no one hardly buys it

  20. tammy

    It taste like it was brewed with old sock, the new coffee is terrible. clerks said they did it to save money because the pot coffee was being wasted. New coffee taste really gross to me but apparently some people like it

  21. Tim Lookingbill

    After years of buying the beans at around $15 a pound then grinding and brewing in a French press all I got was tones of burnt licorice. Circle K’s brew is a huge improvement. I switch between 100% Colombian & House Blend. Yeah, it is hot! I take an X-LG home to cool down while I fix my breakfast. But I finally can get the taste of coffee I remember mimicked in hard candy and ice cream. Circle K’s “Sip & Save” is a godsend. $6.50 and get 30 X-Large coffees.

    The one caveat that might explain occasional bad taste is I found out they clean the machines with Schaerer CoffePure tablets which the MSDS PDF indicates some not so tasty or safe ingredients so the taste may change by who ever is cleaning the machines that morning.

  22. chris g tucker

    I really liked the House Blend! I plan to try the Columbian tomorrow. I clean roofs near Tampa for a living, and a cup of the extra large coffee gave me the energy today to clean a couple pretty big roofs

  23. Angie Thompson

    I am a huge coffee snob, I don’t want flavored watered down crap in my coffee so I refused to try this coffee for the longest time. That was stupid.. it’s probably one of the better cups of coffee. Even a little foam on top… I am in love… I had the Columbian, it was great

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