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How to Make Strong Coffee With Keurig (Simple Tips)

Keurig troubleshooting

Keurig made a name for itself by providing a faster, easier way to brew coffee than traditional countertop coffee machines. Offices started replacing their automatic drip machines with Keurigs, and people started purchasing small Keurig machines for home use. If you want the simplest and quickest way to brew coffee, Keurig is the way to go.

However, one complaint many people have is that they lose control of their coffee preparation when they use a Keurig. A big drawback of the one-button philosophy is the fact that you get what you get, and if you don’t like the coffee, there’s no way to make it better. Or is there? In this article, we’ll address one of the most common complaints about Keurigs — that they make weak coffee. We’ll give you some tips and tricks that can vastly improve your Keurig coffee and will have you brewing stronger, more flavorful coffee in no time.

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1. Keep Your Machine Clean

Our number one tip is probably not what you were hoping to hear, but it is extremely important. Keeping your Keurig clean is the best way to keep your coffee’s quality high and avoid the nasty problems that can develop if you neglect your machine.

Wipe down the Keurig Mini

If you notice your coffee getting worse over time, it’s very likely that cleaning your Keurig could instantly improve your coffee’s quality. We recommend cleaning no less than once a month, but once a week is even better. Clean in and around the brew chamber, removing any old grounds you find. A thorough rinse is usually good enough, but if you haven’t cleaned your Keurig in a while – or ever – you might need to use a soft brush to scrub away some dried grounds and coffee residue.

It’s also important to run a cleaning cycle by running one or two brews with vinegar. Follow up by running several brews with water to purge any vinegar left in the machine – unless you like vinegar-flavored coffee.


2. Buy a Reusable Filter

One of the best realizations we’ve had concerning Keurigs is that we can make significantly better coffee by using our own coffee in a reusable filter. Keurig makes reusable, permanent filters that work exactly like ordinary K-Cups, but use whatever ground coffee you like. If you find your coffee weak and lacking flavor, it might just be the coffee you’re using and not the Keurig itself. A reusable filter gives you the freedom to experiment with any coffee and find one that suits your palate.

reusable K-cups

The biggest benefit to using a permanent filter instead of a premade K-Cup is the ability to grind your own coffee immediately before brewing. Freshly ground coffee is far superior to prepackaged ground coffee and tastes drastically better. Coffee goes stale like anything else, and most people don’t realize that the coffee they get in K-Cups isn’t as fresh as the expiration date indicates. Grinding coffee beans yourself before each brew is the best way to improve your coffee.


3. Preheat your Keurig

Some Keurigs struggle to reach the ideal brewing temperature of 205 ºF. Cooler water means less extraction and weaker, less flavorful cups of coffee. If you start your machine cold, it has to work harder to heat the water, and the water cools off as it passes through a cold machine.

Keurig Mini interface

A handy trick to get your water temperature up is to run a brew cycle with only water before making your coffee. Running a preheating cycle with water primes the heating elements, warms the machine itself, and preheats your mug. Preheating your Keurig is one of the easiest tricks to increase your coffee’s strength and make noticeably better coffee.


4. Take Your Cup Away Early

If you watch your Keurig carefully as it makes your morning cup, you might notice that the stream of coffee starts to lighten as the end of the brew cycle approaches. The last few drops of “coffee” you get are actually mostly water, so taking your mug out from under the stream before it’s fully finished can leave you with a stronger cup of coffee.

Keurig Mini K-Cups Starbucks

There’s no specific rule we can give you since every machine is different, but experiment with a few different timings and see if you can taste the difference. It’s worth a shot, and we found our coffee got better when we started avoiding the coffee brewed during the last few seconds of the brew cycle.


5. Use the Strong Setting

This might seem obvious, but using the strong setting on your Keurig is the manufacturer intended way to make stronger coffee. Nothing special happens when you select the strong mode, the machine just uses less water. One subtlety that you might not have thought of is to use multiple strong brews to make a larger cup instead of the large mug settings.

Keurig K-Duo

For example, if you want 12 ounces of coffee and use the 12 ounce setting on your Keurig, you’ll wind up with a much weaker cup than if you brew two 6-ounce cups. Of course, brewing two 6-ounce cups uses twice as many K cups to make a single 12-ounce cup, but if your priority is making stronger coffee, brewing two 6-ounce cups is the way to go.

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Conclusion

Keurig machines are extremely convenient but don’t always make the best coffee out of the box. If you prefer strong, bold cups of coffee, you might be disappointed with the coffee your Keurig makes. Luckily, if you follow the steps we outlined in this article, you can make a huge improvement to your coffee and make more robust cups without voiding your manufacturer’s warranty.

We hope you enjoyed this article and have picked up a few tricks to try to increase your coffee’s strength. It’s not hard to make better coffee with your Keurig if you know how. A few small adjustments are all it takes to change your coffee from weak and watery to bold and delicious.

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Kate MacDonnell

Kate is a lifelong coffee enthusiast and homebrewer who enjoys writing for coffee websites and sampling every kind of coffee known to man. She’s tried unusual coffees from all over the world and owns an unhealthy amount of coffee gear.

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