Rules for Flights in the USA
The US travel authorities allow packing unlimited amounts of coffee pods in hand and checked luggage without any restrictions. They also don’t have any restrictions on how and where you should pack them, so you’re free to pack them however you want.
If more than 350 ml / 350 g / 12 oz of powders in total is packed in hand luggage, some airports will also require additional screening, so make sure to pack them in an easily accessible place. On average, a coffee K cup has 9-12 grams of coffee inside, so theoretically, you can safely bring about 35-40 K cups and still be under the 350 g limit.
Rules for Flights in Other Countries
Coffee K cups and pods don’t get an exact reference on Canadian authorities’ list of allowed items on planes. However, coffee beans and tea leaves are generally permitted, so it is safe to assume that coffee cups and pods are also allowed. Only certain powders are limited to 350 ml in hand luggage, like bath salts, sea salt, baby powder, etc. Coffee doesn’t fall within this category and it’s allowed in any quantity.
Although not specified for Europe, coffee grounds (coffee K cups contain ground coffee) fall under the category of powders, which are allowed in carry-on and checked luggage without any restrictions. However, powders over 355 ml / 355 g will require additional screening.
United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand
The UK, Australian, and New Zealand flight authorities say that you’re allowed to bring food items and powders (K cups fall under this category) in hand and checked luggage in any quantities and without any restrictions.
China doesn’t have any official restrictions regarding coffee and powders, so theoretically, you’re free to pack them in hand and checked bags. But knowing how strict the Chinese security is, be prepared to take them out during security, and don’t argue if the security officer decides to confiscate your K cups.
While not explicitly mentioned, most dry goods like sweets and spices are allowed in hand and checked baggage in India without restrictions. So, you should be able to safely take your coffee K cups and pods with you while traveling in India. However, inorganic and organic powders are limited to 350 g / 350 ml in total in hand luggage, so don’t pack more than 35-40 coffee K cups in your hand luggage.
Sources: For writing this article, we took information only from official sources, like airline regulators, government websites, and major airlines. If you want to confirm that our information is accurate and up to date, click on any of the links mentioned above. We linked out to where we found this information for each country.
Disclaimer: The final decision of whether you can bring coffee k cups and pods onboard airplanes always rests on the security officer. Some airlines also have additional rules that may be different.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bringing Coffee K Cups and Pods on Planes
Can I bring any single-use coffee pods on planes (Keurig, Starbucks, Peets, Gevalia, etc.)?
The rules are identical for any brand single-use coffee pod, as long it contains dry ground coffee inside. Most commonly, you’re allowed to bring them in hand and checked luggage without any restrictions. If you pack more than 30-40 coffee pods in your hand luggage (more than 350g in total), some countries will perform additional inspections or ask you to check them in. Ground coffee is treated as any other powder because it clutters the X-ray images of the security scanners.
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Can I bring cold brew coffee pods on planes?
Cold-brew coffee pods are treated as liquids, so they have to follow the 3-1-1 rule. This rule only applies to hand luggage though, so you’re free to pack them in checked luggage without any restrictions. This rule dictates that when packed in hand luggage, all liquids need to be in 3.4 oz (100 ml) containers or less, they have to be placed in a 1-liter, resealable bag, and each person can have only 1 bag. Cold-brew coffee pods usually contain 40 ml of liquid inside, so if you don’t bring any other toiletries, you could theoretically fit about 25 pods inside your carry-on (or as many as fit in the 1-liter bag).
Can I take single-serve coffee maker machines on planes (Keurig, Cuisinart, Faberware, etc.)?
As long as you bring an electric coffee maker that doesn’t have a battery, you’re free to bring it in hand and checked bags without any restrictions. It also doesn’t matter which brand of single-serve coffee maker you choose – if you need to plug it into a wall socket in order for it to work, you’re good to go.
However, if you’re planning on bringing a single-serve coffee maker that has a lithium battery (such as the Conqueco portable coffee maker), then there are additional rules you need to follow. First of all, it has to be charged when going through security, in case the security agents need to inspect it to check that it works. Whenever possible, it should be packed in hand luggage. When packed in a checked bag, because it’s able to generate so much heat, the portable coffee maker must be placed in an isolated container, so it doesn’t start a fire when accidentally turned on, and it must be in a switched-off state. In hand luggage, there aren’t any restrictions, except that you’ll need to remove it from your bag when going through security.
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Do I need to declare coffee at customs?
As with most agricultural products, you need to declare roasted and green unroasted coffee beans at customs whenever you enter the United States. Travelers can import roasted and green unroasted coffee beans without any limit in their checked and hand luggage, but they need to declare it at customs. Unfortunately, this also includes coffee pods, even though everyone understands that it’s just a formality.
Should I pack coffee pods in hand or checked luggage?
You’re free to pack coffee pods that contain dry, ground coffee inside in hand and checked baggage without any restrictions. That said, if you’re bringing a lot of them (over 30-40) and traveling internationally, it’s best to pack them in checked baggage because some countries limit the total amount of powders in hand luggage (including coffee) to 350 g / 350 ml.
If, however, you’re bringing cold-brew coffee pods, they’re treated as liquids, so you should pack them in checked luggage whenever possible. You can also put them in hand luggage, but they must go together with your other liquids in your 1-liter bag of toiletries.
What’s the best way to pack coffee pods in my luggage?
Coffee K cups and pods already come in safe packaging that can survive long flights and heat, so long as they are securely packed. For extra safety, place your cups and pods in Ziploc bags and place the bags between delicate items like clothes to cushion them. You should also keep heavy objects away from the pods and cups to prevent package damage.
Do I need to take out coffee pods when going through security?
Taking out typical coffee pods is unnecessary for checked and carry-on luggage unless you’re bringing large quantities. You only have to take out powder substances (like ground coffee) from your hand luggage, if it contains over 350 g / 350 ml in total, which would amount to 30-40 coffee pods. It’s probably a good idea to keep all of them together in a single bag in case they need to be removed. If you’re bringing cold-brew coffee pods, then they’ll be packed together with your liquids in your bag of toiletries, so you’ll need to remove them during the security check anyway.
Can I take a coffee creamer on a plane?
Powder and liquid coffee creamers are allowed on planes, but with restrictions. If you’re bringing liquid creamer, then you’re free to pack it in checked luggage. When packed in hand luggage, it must be in 3.4 oz (100 ml) containers or less and packed together with your other toiletries in your 1-liter bag of liquids. For traveling, the best option is probably to get liquid creamer pods, which each contains 9 ml of liquid inside.
Powder coffee creamers are subject to different rules. In checked baggage, you’re free to bring as much as you’d like. In hand baggage, they must be less than 350 g / 350 ml in total. A good option is the Coffee Mate powder creamer, which has 311g of powdered creamer inside.
Can I travel with ground coffee powder on planes?
Overall, you can travel with ground coffee inside a plane, but because ground coffee is a powder, the total volume can’t exceed 350g (12 oz) if it’s traveling in your hand luggage. The security agents are also authorized to perform additional inspections. Checked luggage doesn’t have any limit for transporting powders.
Can I bring coffee beans on planes?
Because it’s an agricultural product, you can bring roasted coffee beans on the plane, but, you will need to declare it in the Customs and Border Protection form. Coffee beans might be subject to additional inspection, so it’s best practice to pack and label them in a way that eases inspection by airport security. Although carrying green coffee beans is also allowed if you’re traveling domestically or returning from abroad, green coffee beans are prohibited from entering the United States through Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Can I bring iced coffee on a plane?
Iced coffee is allowed, but only in small quantities. In checked luggage, you can pack iced coffee in whatever size container and however much you want. But in hand luggage, it has to be in containers less than 3.4 oz (100 ml), and it must be packed together with your other toiletries in your 1-liter bag of liquids.
If, however, you bought iced coffee from a duty-free shop (after you’ve gone through security), you’re allowed to bring it on the plane. There aren’t any size or other limitations for duty-free liquids.