15 Keurig Mistakes to Avoid When Making Coffee

Despite the convenience of Keurig coffee makers, most users unknowingly make some seemingly mundane mistakes that end up reducing the quality of their coffee. With a few tips and tricks, you can improve the quality of Keurig coffee to be as good as it can be.

Let’s discuss the most common mistakes when using Keurig coffee makers and how to avoid them.

  1. Not puncturing K-Cup
  2. Brewing large mugs with single-use K-Cups 6 to 8 oz sweet spot
  3. Not using filtered water. Tap water tastes different in different counties or states. For example water in Florida is not filtered
  4. Leaving the water filter for too long
  5. Brewing with wrong K-Cups. Bold K cups are excellent for strong coffee. Most Generic k cups that are sold in bulk leach a plastic taste and are poorly sealed
  6. Not using the strong button, especially when you like bold coffee
  7. Brewing at the wrong temperature
  8. Not rinsing your coffee maker
  9. Exposing a Keurig to direct sunlight
  10. Not descaling regularly. Descale much sooner than recommended. Don’t wait for the descaling light to turn on
  11. Leaving water in the reservoir for too long
  12. Buying the wrong Keurig coffee maker. for iced coffee, for a group of people, for tiny spaces
  13. Why use K-Cups when you can use fresh coffee beans?
  14. Brewing with old coffee
  15. Poor storage of K-Cups and Coffee beans

1. Not Pre-Puncturing the K-Cups

When you push a k cup down the k cup holder, the lower needle pokes a hole through the bottom of the k cup. The k cup slips on the lower needle and the seal sits level with the top of the k cup holder. This makes it possible to lower the lid and puncture the foil seal.

Pre-puncturing releases gases and prevents swollen k cups from bursting open during brewing, especially at high altitudes.

Avoid removing a k-cup after puncturing it unless you don’t intend to use it.

2. Brewing With the Wrong K-Cups

There are numerous third-party k cups that brew great Keurig coffee. However, most generic k cups not only make bad coffee but can also leach a plastic taste into your coffee. The foil seals on some generic k cups tend to break easily during the brewing process.

Choose high-quality K-Cups that match the type of coffee that you prefer whether it’s medium roast or dark roast. For iced coffee lovers, use the appropriate K-Cups to make cold coffee.

People who prefer strong coffee are better off brewing with bold k cups. If you prefer weak coffee, brew with breakfast blend or other k cup varieties that are not bold.

3. Brewing Large Mugs with a Single K-Cup

In adherence to the coffee golden ratio, a regular K-Cup is meant to brew a six ounces cup of coffee for a bold brew. An eight-ounce cup is also within the range of quality coffee.

Therefore, unless you prefer weak coffee, avoid brewing more than 8 ounces of coffee with a single K-Cup.

For travel mugs, run subsequent 6-8 ounces brew cycles to fill a travel mug.

If you are using a space-saving coffee maker such as the K-Mini series which makes coffee with all the water in the tank, add the correct amount of water for a bold brew.

4. Brewing With Bad Water

The best water for coffee is filtered water or bottled water. Although tap water in your area may be safe for drinking, its chemical composition may not be ideal for making quality coffee.

Furthermore, tap water tastes different in different states due to the naturally occurring minerals and pH level differences. If you make coffee with tap water and the same k cup in different states, the coffee will taste different.

Water filtration can be as simple as installing a water filter in Keurig to take care of the impurities in water and improve the consistency of your brew. If you are not sure about your tap water, use bottled water.

Did you know that there are two types of water filter kits for Keurig? See how to identify the correct water filter kit for your Keurig brewer.

5. Leaving the Water Filter too Long without Changing it

When was the last time that you changed the water filter in your Keurig coffee maker? The small charcoal filter degrades over time as it gets overloaded with the impurities that it has trapped from water.

The filter can become a contaminant and a potential breeding ground for bacteria and mold if it’s not changed regularly. An over-used water filter can not efficiently trap impurities and odors which are bad for coffee.

6. Ignoring the Strength Control Feature

The strong brew button in some Keurig brewers is a handy feature for people who prefer strong coffee or when making iced coffee drinks.

This feature slows down the brewing process so that water interacts with the grounds a bit longer to make bold coffee. Try using this feature if it’s present in your coffee maker and the strength of your brew will increase remarkably.

7. Brewing Coffee at the Wrong Temperature

Keurig coffee makers are usually shipped with a preset optimal brewing temperature. However, for some reason, your Keurig may have been preset to a temperature that is lower than the optimum brewing temperature. This temperature is most likely the high altitude brewing temperature.

See how to disengage Keurig’s high-altitude feature. The same applies when you are located in a high-altitude area. You should engage the high-altitude setting on your coffee brewer.

If the altitude setting is not on but the coffee maker can not brew at optimal temperature, read this troubleshooting guide for a Keurig that is not heating.

8. Not Rinsing the Coffee Maker after Brewing

This is an unwritten rule for home coffee makers. Every time you make coffee in Keurig, coffee residues are retained in the needles.

If this goes on for days or weeks without rinsing, the residues can affect the flavor of your coffee. The best way to avoid this problem is by running a water-only rinse cycle at the end of the day or after brewing if the brewer will not be used for the rest of the day.

If you are not able to rinse after using, start with a brew cycle of a single cup of just water before making coffee the next time. This will also do a perfect job of preheating the machine.

9. Exposing the Coffee Maker to Direct Sunlight

Keurig water tanks are usually made from clear plastic. A Keurig water tank that has water in it and is exposed to sunlight over a long period can start growing algae.

See how to remove algae from Keurig.

10. Not Descaling Regularly

Just because the descaling light on your coffee maker is yet to turn does not mean that the brewer is not dirty. There are so many things that are going on in the water lines inside the brewer that you should consider descaling it more frequently than Keurig recommends.

Try to descale at least once every month and you will notice a big change in the quality of your coffee.

11. Leaving Water in the Reservoir for too Long

Avoid leaving water in a Keurig reservoir for more than 2-3 days before changing it. Bacteria and molds thrive in still water that is sat for long. The water can also develop a bad odor which is bad for coffee.

12. Relying on K-Cups Instead of Superior Coffee Beans

We can not overstate the convenience that comes with using k cups. However, with a little effort, you can improve the quality of your coffee by brewing with fresh coffee beans which are far superior to K-Cups.

As you get more comfortable with using coffee beans in Keurig, you can implement a few activities such as roasting and grinding whole coffee beans at home. This will improve your coffee knowledge and trigger your mind to enjoy the coffee-making experience.

These positive vibes can gradually spread to other aspects of your life.

13. Brewing with Old Coffee

Using old coffee in Keurig, whether it is K-Cups or coffee beans, will only give you meh coffee! Always check the dates on K-Cups and coffee beans and buy those that are near the production date.

14. Poor Storage of K-Cups and Coffee Beans

Coffee, in whichever form, has volatile compounds that are continuously reacting with the environment. Whether it’s air, heat, moisture, light, or time, all these elements affect the freshness of the coffee.

You should store coffee beans, k cups, and ground coffee away from these elements to safeguard the freshness and quality of coffee.

See the best storage for k-cups

15. Buying the Wrong Keurig Coffee Maker

This is perhaps more relevant when buying a Keurig. There are dozens of Keurig models in the market with varying capabilities.

When shopping for a Keurig coffee maker, take your coffee needs into account rather than going for what is popular with other Keurig lovers. Some of the things to consider when buying a Keurig include the size of the Keurig vis-a-vis the available space, the type of Keurig – single-serve or carafe maker, and the brew strength that you prefer.

Look at the key considerations when buying a Keurig for iced coffee.

Wrap Up

Most of the mistakes that hold back the quality of your coffee are avoidable without spending a single coin. For example, adjusting brew temperature to the optimum level, rinsing the brewer after use, and pre-puncturing k cups are simple tips that can greatly improve your brewing experience.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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