Single serve machines and pods have taken the coffee world by storm over the last few decades with each newcomer trying to outflank the competition.
Among so many new brands, some stand the test of time and Keurig is an industry legend.
Keurig is the original producer of single serve coffee makers and their coffee pods. These commercial brewing machines were first marketed at businesses in the 1990s, and they quickly caught on.
By 2005, Keurig had cornered the in-home market for single serve coffee machines and caught the attention of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters who went on to buy the company in 2006.
The rest is history, and today Keurig/Green Mountain is a name synonymous with coffee.
Amazingly, nearly 25% of American households own a Keurig machine and most consumers are more than happy with them.
It’s easy to see why, too, with over 400 varieties of drinks to choose from, including more than 60 brands of coffee. Keurig has whatever you want to drink in a convenient single serve pod.
One downside to a Keurig machine, as with any household appliance, is that you will sometimes run into problems with it. You can save yourself a headache and quite a bit of money if you know how to figure out what is causing the issue and how to fix it.
Today, we’ll look at some of the most common problems that arise with Keurig machines and show you how to fix them.
If you own a Keurig coffee maker, read on to learn how to troubleshoot problems and maintain your machine keep it brewing well for a long time to come!
I. Common Keurig Problems
Keurig has made consistent improvements to their original design over the years, tweaking the product progressively. Almost 60 different models of the Keurig machine have been created in total.
From the classic Keurig to the newer Keurig 2.0 models, each of them has their own benefits, as well as their own set of problems.
However, there are some problems that seem to be universal among these countertop machines.
Some of the most common complaints among Keurig owners are:
- Keurig machine won’t turn on
- Keurig won’t heat the water
- Keurig doesn’t properly dispense water, so a full cup can’t be brewed
- Keurig dispensing too much water, overflowing coffee cup
- Keurig machine is leaking water
- Keurig is leaving coffee grounds in coffee cup
- Coffee brewed by Keurig tastes weird
- Keurig machine randomly shuts off mid-brew
- Keurig won’t work at all
Any of these problems can cause you a headache, whether it’s because the machine is acting up or from the ensuing caffeine withdrawal. If you are a coffee junkie like so many people out there, you will want to get these issues rectified as quickly as possible so you can get a good cup of coffee brewing.
Fortunately, most of these problems have rather easy fixes if you know how to do them.
If your Keurig is being plagued by any of these common problems that face single serve coffee machine owners, don’t throw your brewer away just yet! Keep reading and give these suggestions a try before you give up hope on getting your cup of coffee…
II. Troubleshooting Keurig Problems
Before moving on to more intense troubleshooting methods, first make sure the simplest things are not the root cause of your problems with your Keurig.
Simple Fixes: Check your machine is plugged in, ensure your reservoir (if you have one) is full of water and that a K-cup has been properly inserted into the machine.
If none of these are at fault, then move on to try to determine what the problem might be.
We’ll delve further into the most common complaints of Keurig owners now, and find the reasons for the problems, as well as solutions to fix the problems…
1. Keurig Won’t Turn On
If you wake up ready to start your day only to be greeted by a Keurig that refuses to cooperate, you are probably going to be very annoyed. Try these simple adjustments to see if they might get your machine back to brewing.
- Problem: Keurig needs restarting
Solution: Unplug your Keurig and plug it back in
- Problem: Keurig machine has not been turned on
Solution: Press the power button and hold it down until the Keurig screen lights up
There are a couple other possible causes for this issue, and the solutions to them are simple.
- Problem: Water reservoir is not seated properly
Solution: There are magnets in the water reservoir that need to make proper contact with different magnets in the machine in order for it to work properly. Make sure the water reservoir of your machine is sitting correctly in its place to ensure the magnetic contacts are touching. Remove the reservoir from the machine then set it back in place
- Problem: Air bubbles in the tubes
Solution: The tubes within the Keurig can sometimes get bubbles trapped inside of them. When the machine is powered off, these bubbles can’t escape, and your Keurig thinks there is a clog, so it won’t work the way it is supposed to. To remedy this problem, fill the water reservoir part way and give the machine a couple of gentle shakes to get water flowing through the lines again.
2. Keurig Is Not Dispensing Water
Over time, you might find your Keurig is no longer dispensing water as well as it once did. It could be that your Keurig is only putting out a portion of the water necessary, or it might not be giving out any water at all. When no water is dispensed from the Keurig machine, you won’t get the cup of coffee you are waiting on.
This problem can sometimes be fixed by one of the options listed above. Check your water reservoir is seated properly in the machine. It’s possible the reservoir was bumped while your Keurig was brewing your coffee and the machine thinks it is out of water.
If that doesn’t solve your issue, then it is likely that there is a clog somewhere in the machine. The answer is to unclog your Keurig, but how? Here are a few suggestions…
- Problem: Unspecified clog somewhere in the machine
Solution: Run a cycle or two through the machine with no K-cup in the brew basket, just use water. This is often helpful in getting the clog out of the Keurig machine
- Problem: Clog in the exit needle
Solution: Clean the exit needle. Your Keurig might have come with a special plastic tool made for cleaning the needle. If your machine did come with this tool, use it to gently clear any clogs from the needle of the Keurig
Some machines don’t come with this tool. If yours did not, then you still have options. Many people report success with using a paperclip that has been straightened out, or even a toothpick. Use these to gently clear any clogs from your machine
Keurig is not a fan of this as a method of fixing the problem, and it might void your warranty, so proceed with care
Once you think you have cleared the clogs, run the machine through a cycle using only water, no K-Cup
- Problem: Keurig machine is dirty and needs deep cleaned with a descaling
Solution: It might be time to descale and deep clean your machine. Follow the instructions listed in the How To Descale Your Keurig section below in order to do this properly.
3. Keurig Shuts Off or Turns On By Itself
If your Keurig coffee machine starts turning on or off with no help from you, don’t worry, your house probably isn’t haunted!
There are different causes depending on which Keurig model you own, but most are simple fixes.
- Problem: Auto Off function has been left on
Solution: If you own a Keurig Elite, there is a setting for Auto Off. To see if your machine’s Auto Off function is turned on, look for a green light. This indicates that the machine has been told to power down automatically 2 hours after brewing. Simply press the Auto Off button to disable this function
If you own a Keurig Mini, this machine is designed to power off automatically after 90 seconds of inactivity. There is no way to change this setting, as it is hardwired into the machine. Instead you just need to press the power button each time you want to use the Keurig machine
For the Keurig Special Edition or Keurig Platinum Edition, there is also and Auto Off function in the machines. On these machines it is a little bit different than simply pushing a button, though. You must go through the selections in your machine’s programming menu to find the selection that disables the Auto Off function. Once you find it, simply shut it off and your problem should be fixed
- Problem: Keurig stops working in mid-brew
Solution: This is not a common problem, but it does sometimes happen. Usually the culprit is that the water reservoir has been knocked out of place. As explained earlier, there are magnets in the reservoir and the machine that must make contact in order for the machine to function as intended. To fix this, simply remove the water reservoir and then put it back in place. Start the Keurig machine up again and hopefully your problem has been solved
4. Keurig Machine Is Leaking Water
Some consumers have reported that their Keurig machine has sprung a leak. This can obviously become a mess quite fast, so it is important to get it fixed quickly.
- Problem: The most common cause of a leaking Keurig is that the gasket in the upper part of the coffee maker was installed incorrectly. Sometimes this gasket has gone missing.
Solution: You’ll find the gasket in the area surrounding the puncture needle on your Keurig. When you find that your machine is leaking, be sure to check here first. Hopefully you just need to alter the way your gasket is sitting in it’s spot to ensure that it is correct. Move the gasket around until it will create a good seal between the K-Cup and the puncture needle.
If your gasket is missing entirely, you will need to get a new one so that your Keurig coffee machine can function correctly
- Problem: The Keurig machine’s water reservoir was overfilled
Solution: Make sure you are only filling the water reservoir to its max fill line. If you overfill it, the machine cannot work correctly and will probably start leaking water on your counter
5. Keurig Brewed Coffee Is Weak
As with traditional ground coffee, different K-Cups have different brew strengths. However, sometime K-Cups seem to give weak coffee no matter what brew strength you opt to use. This can be the fault of the K-Cup, or due to something in the machine itself.
- Problem: Light roast K-Cups giving super weak coffee
Solution: You might not prefer a bold coffee, but often the weaker brews of K-cups don’t work that well. Due to the way a Keurig functions, the water that is passed through the K-Cup coffee pod doesn’t spend much time in contact with the coffee grounds. Unfortunately, this can lead to a weak drink that seems more like coffee flavored water than the dark elixir we know and love. To rectify this problem, try using a K-Cup that is a stronger brew than you are accustomed to using
Alternatively, you could simply brew a double cup without all the water. If you have a newer Keurig model that allows you to choose the cup size, choose a smaller one than the one you are actually using. If your cup is 8 ounces, brew from the 6-ounce selection. Brew 2 K-cup pods of coffee for one cup of coffee in order to get coffee that is to your desired strength
- Problem: Coffee is weak when using a reusable pod
Solution: To handle this situation, you might want to do the same thing you’d do when getting a weak brew from a K-Cup pod. Opt for a darker or stronger roast. Maybe a finer ground coffee would be better (though be careful because this can lead to another problem we will discuss shortly!)
- Problem: Coffee is weak no matter the size of cup, or strength of brew
Solution: Your Keurig might not be making a good cup of coffee because it is dirty. Follow the directions in the “How To Descale Your Keurig Machine” section below, and hopefully your problems will be solved
6. Coffee Grounds In Your Cup
You might find that your coffee is beginning to taste a bit grainy over time, and this is because your Keurig is releasing the ground coffee from the K-Cup into your cup along with the brewed coffee. This can make for an experience that is not at all pleasant.
- Problem: Puncture needle or exit needle are dirty
Solution: The Keurig uses two needles to function. One needle punctures the top of the K-Cup so that water can flow into the coffee, and one punctures the bottom of the K-Cup allowing the brewed coffee to flow out and into your cup. Sometimes, the coffee grounds in the K-Cups can get into the exit needle, and when the brewed coffee flows out, it brings these coffee grounds with it. To get rid of this problem, you need to clean the exit needle.
Your Keurig might have come with a small plastic tool meant for cleaning the needles. If it did, use the tool to gently scrape the coffee grounds out of the needle. If your Keurig did not come with this tool, you can use a toothpick or a straightened paperclip to do the same thing. Just be careful and be gentle so you don’t risk pushing the grounds further into the needle and clogging the machine
7. Coffee Tastes Bad
You might find that the coffee brewed from your machine starts to taste off or bad after a while. The cause of this is that your machine is dirty. It might be due to mineral or bacterial deposits in the water reservoir, in the water lines, in the brew basket or in the puncture or exit needles. Wherever the problem lies, it is important that you clean your machine to avoid getting contaminants in your coffee or breaking your Keurig coffee machine.
Follow the instructions in the How To Descale Your Keurig section below to properly clean your Keurig machine so that it is able to work correctly.
III. How To Descale Your Keurig
If you have hard water or use your Keurig often, you will find it becomes dirty fast. This can result in clogs in the machine, mineral buildup or bacteria hiding out. All of these can cause problems for your machine, how your coffee tastes, and if not handled soon enough, they can even affect your health.
You must properly clean your Keurig on a regular basis in order to circumvent these problems.
The Keurig brews many things, from coffee to tea to cocoa, and all of them can leave traces in your machine rendering it dirty. You must be mindful of this and clean your machine several times a year. The first step in the process of cleaning a Keurig is called descaling. In this section we will cover how to do this task correctly.
1. Descaling Your Keurig Coffee Brewer
- Empty the water reservoir and remove the water filter if your Keurig uses one
- Disable the Auto-Off function of your machine (remember that his is not an option with the Keurig mini though). If you don’t do this, your machine will shut off and not run through the descaling process as necessary
- Turn off the power to your Keurig machine
The Keurig company sells a special descaling solution for this task. You can buy the solution from a retailer that sells Keurig machines or online. Use this solution to perform the descaling rinse for your machine.
- Empty the full bottle of descaling solution into the water reservoir of your Keurig. Fill the empty solution bottle with water and pour the water into the reservoir as well
- Power on the Keurig and place a large mug in the drip tray of the machine
- Lift and lower the handle, but do not place a pod in the pod cup
- Select a 10-ounce brew from the menu and begin the brewing process
- Once your Keurig has run through this brew, pour your mug of liquid into the sink and place the mug back in the drip tray
- Run your Keurig through another 10-ounce brewing cycle and continue following these steps until your machine says, “More Water Please”
- Do not shut off your Keurig, simply let it be for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes are up, pour out any solution that remains in the reservoir and clean it thoroughly
Your Keurig has now been descaled. You don’t want to be drinking any remaining descaling solution the next time you go for a cup of Joe, so you will want to follow these next steps to finish the cleaning process.
2. Cleansing Brew
- Fill the water reservoir to the maximum fill line with clean water and place it on the machine
- Place your large mug in the drip tray again
- Lift and lower the handle while still not adding a K-Cup pod into the pod cup
- Select a 6-ounce brew from the menu and run your Keurig through this cleansing cycle
- Empty the liquid from your mug and place it back on the drip tray
- Continue to follow these steps 12 times, and make sure to refill the water reservoir when it needs to be refilled
Your Keurig is now ready to brew a great cup of coffee.
IV. Avoid Problems in the First Place
No matter what, you are going to have to descale your machine a few times a year, but if you want to avoid potential problems in the first place, it is important you regularly take care of your Keurig.
You should clean it on a weekly basis, though a deep descaling clean isn’t necessary that often.
1. Cleaning the Water Reservoir
Cleaning the water reservoir is a simple task, but it is important to keep your Keurig in good shape. To do this, follow these steps:
- Remove the water reservoir from the Keurig and take the lid off it
- Fill the water reservoir with warm, soapy water and wipe it out using a soft cloth
- Rinse the soapy water from the water reservoir, but don’t use anything to dry it out. Small bits of lint from a drying cloth could be left behind and would eventually clog your machine or wind up in your cup of coffee. Instead, allow the reservoir to air dry
- Once the reservoir is dry, fill it back up with water and place it back onto your Keurig making sure it is properly seated on the machine
- Follow the steps above to run your Keurig through a cleansing brew. Do this twice
2. Cleaning the Pod Holder
You will also want to periodically clean the pod holder to ensure it is not harboring any bacteria or junk that will get into your drinks.
- Carefully remove the pod holder from your Keurig machine watching out for the needles
- Using warm water but no soap, rinse the pod holder and allow it to air dry, then replace it in the Keurig
- Ensure you are lining the arrows up so that the pod holder is inserted correctly into the Keurig
- Follow the steps above to run a cleansing brew before you make a new cup of coffee
V. Customer Care
If you have done everything you can to try to figure out what is causing your problems with your Keurig, but have had no success, it might be time for you to contact Keurig’s customer service.
Luckily, the company provides excellent care for its customers. They place high value on the satisfaction of the people who buy and use their product and are eager to help you out when trouble arises.
Before trying any of these fixes listed above, check to see if your Keurig is still under warranty. If it is, contact Keurig directly and see what they can do to help you with the problems you are having.
Make sure you have your serial number on hand when you call or write to Keurig, so that they are able to help you. If you still have your receipt from when you purchased your machine, that could be useful as well. Your serial number can be found on your machine, on a sticker that is behind the water reservoir.
To contact Keurig’s customer care department, you can call 1-866-901-BREW (2739), or you can contact them through their provided link on their website.