If there is one thing better than a cup of coffee in the morning, it would be using a quick and easy coffee maker. That’s where single-cup coffee makers come in.
Typically, using a single-cup coffee maker only requires inserting a coffee pod and choosing the size of your preferred mug. To enable coffee brewing, you must also understand how to fill the unit’s water reservoir.
Even if you don’t own a single-cup coffee maker yourself, they have become increasingly popular among homeowners as well as workplaces and businesses.
The Keurig coffee maker must be plugged into a grounded outlet, the water reservoir must be taken out, and it must be thoroughly cleaned.
In a waiting room or break area, you never know when you might run into one. Here’s our step-by-step guide on how to use a Keurig coffee maker and the best models to buy.
Read More: 5 Best Iced Coffee Makers (2023 Reviews)
How to Use a Keurig Machine
You must set up your Keurig and run water through its internal parts before using it for the first time.
1. Unbox Your Brewer and Plug It In
Grab the package, take the Keurig brewer out of the packaging, untie the tape holding some of the parts together, and plug it in.
Make sure to keep the user manual. There’s a lot of great info in there about how to use a Keurig brewer and how to maintain your specific model.
2. Lift the Handle and Discard the Shipping Disc If Included
Brewers that don’t come with a shipping disc are exempt from this step.
Some brewers include a temporary disc in the pod attachment. Lift the handle and remove it if yours is one of these models.
But don’t just toss the shipping disc in the trash! I may be a pack-rat, but I’d advise keeping the disc with the original packaging and user guide. Whether it’s to move, give or sell to someone else, or send back to the manufacturer, you never know when you might need to store the brewer away.
3. Remove the Water Reservoir and Clean It With Soap and Warm Water
Brewers from the K10, K15, and B31 Mini-series that have an immovable water reservoir are exempt from this step.
At this point, our only goal is to thoroughly clean the water reservoir in preparation for use.
When cleaning the water reservoir, take it apart and use a soft cloth or sponge, soap, and warm or hot water. Be careful not to use a rough Brillo pad!
Don’t forget to clean the water entry point at the base of the water reservoir platform to make sure nothing is there that you wouldn’t want to be in your coffee.
4. Prime the Charcoal Water Filter
Brewers without a kit for a charcoal water filter are exempt from this step.
The charcoal water filters aren’t mean to be opened and immediately placed in the water filter holder. Instead, prime it by following these simple steps:
- Rinse it under cool water for a minute, ensuring it soaks up all the water it’ll take
- Soak it in a bowl of water for 5 minutes
- Massage the water filter so that any loose charcoal particles fall away into the bowl of water and not into your coffee
5. Insert the Charcoal Water Filter into the Water Filter Handle and Snap into the Reservoir
This step does not apply to brewers that don’t come with a charcoal water filter kit.
The charcoal water filter holder has two parts as shown above:
- Bottom pod holder
- Top handle that snaps onto the bottom
Place the charcoal water filter onto the bottom part, place the handle over it and insert the assembled water filter into the water reservoir. Everything will snap together snugly.
6. Fill the Water Reservoir to the MAX FILL Line
If you have a charcoal water filter, you can fill with your tap water. Make sure to fill the water reservoir with spring or filtered water if you don’t have a filter.
7. Press the Power Button and Wait for Preheating to Complete
This could take anywhere from 20 seconds to 3 minutes, depending on your model.
8. Grab a Mug and Place It on the Drip Tray
Some models have a censor that won’t brew unless there is a mug on the drip tray. Avoid making a mess even if there isn’t!
9. Lift and Lower the Handle Without Inserting a Keurig Coffee Pod
I mean, you could use a coffee pod, but this is our cleansing brew so no sense in wasting coffee.
10. Select the Maximum Size Brew Setting and Press Brew
Note: Never choose a size bigger than the mug you’re using!
Depending on your model, the coffee-free coffee will be ready in 30 seconds to 3 minutes. Once it’s finished, you can consider the internal parts thoroughly rinsed and start using your Keurig brewer regularly.
Do Keurig Coffee Maker Instructions Differ by Model?
Different Keurig models do have their quirks, even though they all function pretty much the same. For instance, the 1.0 series machines brew only the K-cup pods, while the 2.0 series work with K-cup, K-mug, K-value, and K-carafe capsules.
I know some of you find it boring, but reading the manual to your particular model is a good idea. One of the main reasons for that is compatibility issues.
You see, the 1.0 series support all pods available on the market. At the same time, the 2.0 Keurig models (like this K575 machine, for example) can brew only the Keurig-licensed ones, which means you are somewhat limited in what you can choose to drink.
Which Keurig model do you have? What difficulties do you encounter when using it to brew your coffee? Please share with us in the comments!
Maintaining Your Keurig Machine
We’ll get this out of the way first: never immerse your Keurig machine in water. The machine’s internal electrics will be damaged as a result. So how do you clean a Keurig?
It’s recommended that you clean out your Keurig at least every three to six months. This is done with either Keurig descaling solution or white vinegar. The Keurig needs to be cleaned because mineral deposits accumulate over time.
First, run brewing cycles until the water reservoir is completely empty. Then, fill the water reservoir halfway with vinegar or the descaling solution. Repeat the procedure a second time, but this time use plain water.
To clean the outside of your Keurig, use a wet cloth with soap. This should help to get rid of any grime and excess coffee residue. You can also clean your water reservoir by removing it from your Keurig and rinsing it.
When the drip tray is full, empty it, wipe it down with a wet, soapy cloth, and then rinse it. If you have a dishwasher, you can also wash the drip tray; it will fit best in the top rack.
You won’t need to run the cleaning cycle too often, but you should always do so after brewing any sticky drinks, like hot chocolate or sweeter coffees. Simple brewing cycles using only hot water will prevent sugar from crystallizing inside the machine.
Keurig Auto-Brew and Auto-On
For automatic brewing, there are two different types of modes. The first is auto-brew. In this mode, you can schedule the brewing of a specific coffee pod at a specific time on a Keurig coffee maker that is currently filled with water.
Simply choose the “auto brew” option on the display or press the “auto brew” button to set the time at which the coffee will begin to brew.
While you can simply set a time for the machine to begin preheating in the auto-on mode.
How Will I Know Which Keurig is Right for Me?
Keurig models come in a huge range of variations. Honestly, it really comes down to personal preference.
There’s a few questions to ask yourself when looking into buying a Keurig that can help:
- Do I need one of the more complex models, or will a simple one suit me just fine?
- Is there enough countertop space in my kitchen for one of the bigger models?
- How much money am I willing to spend on one of these?
Of course, it’s possible that none of the Keurig models will feel like the right fit for you.
Should I Get a Milk Frother?
Your thoughts may also turn to milk frothers when you’re thinking about buying a Keurig coffee maker. perhaps to create coffee-based espresso-like drinks. But do you really need one? There are advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a look…
Pros of Having a Milk Frother
Easy to use: Even if you’ve never used one before, the majority of milk frothers are very simple to operate. Furthermore, it moves along quickly. It will take about 30 seconds for your milk to become nicely foamy. The ability to heat the milk is typically provided by the machines, which is a benefit.
Feel like a barista: Milk frothers also offer you the base to start creating coffee art. This process might be a few steps trickier than just pushing a couple buttons, but it’s a start!
High-quality froth: There are a few ways to achieve foamy milk, but this is by far the best. This is not unexpected because it was made for it!
Cons of Having a Milk Frother
Can be time-consuming to clean: Since most milk frothers are electronic and cannot be submerged in water, the only real drawback worth mentioning is that you must clean them by hand, frequently with a brush.
Final Thoughts: How to Use a Keurig
If you want to purchase a coffee maker that uses pods, Keurig machines are the best option. It should be brewing you high-quality coffee for years as long as you’re willing to maintain it properly (and there isn’t much maintenance required).
Use a mug that is the correct size for your Keurig (too small will result in spillage and coffee stains), run some vinegar solution through it every few months (avoid mineral deposits), and make it your life’s mission to try every K cup flavor available (because there are just so many to taste) are the most crucial things to keep in mind when brewing coffee with your Keurig!
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Keurig and Other Coffee Makers
Are the K Cup Pods Recyclable?
There are many reusable K cup filters available, but Keurig machine pods are sadly not recyclable.
Can I Brew Iced Coffee With My Keurig?
Yes, many of the K cup pods that Keurig offers are made with ice in mind, but you can, in the end, brew anything you want into a cup of ice.
What Kind of Water Should I Use With My Keurig?
The Keurig is made to be used with plain tap water, unlike some other coffee makers that don’t advise it. Except if you reside in a region where drinking water from the tap is not advised, this is the best option for brewing.
How Long Does a Keurig Take to Brew?
The initial heating of the water in Keurig coffee makers takes just a few minutes. Your cup of coffee can be brewed in less than a minute after the water has been heated.