Keurig has taken the coffee world by storm. Over the last few decades, Keurig burst on the scene and revolutionized home coffee making. No coffee machines could match Keurig’s convenience, and the pod-style brewer quickly became the norm in kitchens and offices worldwide. Today, many people turn to Keurig for their coffee-making needs because of how easy they are to use. The allure of Keurig comes from the ability to pop a K-Cup in the machine, press one button, and have a hot cup of coffee in just a few minutes.
Keurig’s story is not all sunshine and roses, however. Some people refuse to use Keurigs, saying they make weak, burnt, and overall unappealing coffee. Unfortunately, these disgruntled former Keurig customers raise legitimate points, and there are rumblings around the internet that Keurigs might not be the best coffee makers, even if you’re looking for something quick and easy to use.
In this article, we’ll give you some simple hacks you can implement to make your Keurig coffee come out better than it ever has before. If you love Keurig’s simplicity and convenience but don’t love the coffee, this guide is for you.
1. Preheat Your Keurig
Our number one tip and the one that will make the most difference to your coffee is to always – always! – preheat your Keurig. This doesn’t have to involve anything more than running one brew cycle with only water. A common problem that many Keurigs have is a low brew temperature. When water isn’t hot enough – about 200 ºF – 205 ºF – your coffee will come out weak and watery-tasting.
Some Keurigs work well out of the box but slowly get worse over time. This could be a sign that the heating element is starting to go. You don’t have to replace the machine necessarily; pre-heating your Keurig might be enough to do the trick.
When you run a brew cycle with water, make sure you let the water drain into the mug you plan on using for your coffee. Preheating your mug will help keep your coffee warm and make it drinkable for longer than it would be if it were brewed into a cold mug.
2. Clean Your Keurig
We know you don’t want to hear this, but cleaning your Keurig is essential for maintaining your coffee’s quality for the long haul. We recommend brushing excess grounds out of the pod holder after every use and deeper cleanings once a month.
Keurig sells a descaling solution that makes it easy to clean the inside of the machine too. This aspect of cleaning is often overlooked to the detriment of your machine’s longevity and the quality of your coffee. You don’t have to go overboard but descaling your machine a few times a year is probably a good idea.
3. Use a Permanent Filter
K-Cups are extremely convenient and one of the primary reasons most people love their Keurig. Unfortunately, pre-made K-Cups that you can buy at your local grocery store can be much older and staler than people realize. Old coffee tastes drastically worse than fresh coffee, which could be one reason your Keurig coffee is leaving you disappointed.
Luckily, Keurig makes reusable filters that you can use with whatever coffee you please. For the freshest coffee, we recommend grinding your coffee immediately before brewing. If you don’t have a coffee grinder at home, poke around your market’s coffee aisle and see if they have a public grinder. Many stores have grinders the customers can use. Grinding your coffee in the store isn’t as good as grinding at home but is better than using stale K-Cups.
4. Use the Small Cup Settings
Another tip that can help improve your coffee if you’re constantly battling weak, watery coffee is to stick with the smaller cup sizes on your machine. This won’t always work, but if you’re making coffee and have some time to spare, use the small cup settings. For example, even if you want 12 ounces of coffee, brew two six-ounce cups instead. This will produce a noticeably more robust cup.
Besides making weak coffee, the larger cup sizes can make bitter cups of coffee. Since more water is filtering through the same amount of coffee, the grounds are exposed to more water, which can easily lead to over-extraction.
5. Stick With Medium and Dark Roasts
Keurigs notoriously struggle with light roast coffee, so you’re better off sticking with medium and dark roast K-Cups. A telltale sign that your light roast is the problem is a sour, vegetal taste in your coffee. Keurigs don’t let water stay in contact with the coffee grounds for very long, and light roasts can easily wind up under-extracted as a result. If your coffee turns your mouth inside out, check the roast you’re using. We’re willing to bet it’s on the lighter side.
We love our Keurig, but it isn’t a perfect machine. For hectic mornings there’s no better machine to get your coffee into your hand before you rush out the door, but when you want to relax and savor a complex, tasty cup of coffee, they start to fall short. With these tips, you can get the most out of your Keurig and enjoy a slow cup of coffee on a lazy Sunday morning just as much as you enjoy your guzzled weekday caffeine hits.