I get lots of emails from our readers asking about how to make a good cup of coffee with Keurig machines. Today I’m sharing 7 simple steps that are proven to work!
1. How to make strong coffee with Keurig
How to make Keurig coffee less watery?! The best solution is to choose dark roasted k-cups! Light roasts in general (flavored coffee, breakfast blends) make weak coffee. If you prefer medium roast, you can get a pretty good cup with Donut Shop k-cups. However, if you love really bold, strong coffee, I suggest trying one of these k-cups.
Brewing at 6 or 8 oz cup setting instead 10 ounces will also make a difference, especially when brewing light/ medium roasts.
2. Best water for Keurig
Water is one of the most important things when it comes to brewing a good cup of coffee. I strongly recommend refilling your water tank each morning. That doesn’t mean that you need to waste water or your money. If you have a 80 oz reservoir and you use bottled water for example, don’t fill it all the way up. If you brew 4 cups a day you can add 40 ounces maybe and pour fresh water the next morning. I actually believe that choosing a Keurig with smaller water tank like K-Compact is not a bad idea.
Keurig recommends using bottled or filtered water in their machines or using a water filter. The water filter should be replaced every 2 months or 60 tank refills. Do not use softened water in your Keurig machine.
3. Keep the k-cup holder and the brew head clean
If your Keurig coffee tastes bitter or burnt or has an unpleasant aftertaste, oil buildups might be the reason. It’s really important to clean coffee grounds and dirt from all parts that come in contact with coffee on a regular basis. Once a month, take out and wash the k-cup holder, clean both exit needles, clean coffee grounds around the k-cup holder, funnel where the holder goes and the bottom side of the handle – around the top exit needle. Use a soft brush or a paper towel to clean the area around the filter holder from any dirt or coffee grounds. A detergent like Cleancaf is very helpful here. You can run a quick rinse with Cleancaf or use it to rub the area around the k-cup holder. Make this a part of your monthly cleaning routine and your coffee will taste better.
4. Descale your machine every 3 months
Depending on your usage and mineral content of water in your area, it is recommended to descale every three months. Descaling helps clean mineral build-up inside your machine and can help with poor performance. Here’s how to clean and descale your Keurig machine.
5. Keurig temperature / Keurig doesn’t make hot coffee
One of the biggest issues with Keurig coffee makers is that they don’t make a steaming cup of coffee. The classic K-cup models brew at 192°F and this can’t be changed. If you have a 2.0 series brewer K475 or K575, you can change the temperature but between 182° F and 192° F for k-cups and between 187° F and 197° F for other pod types. To do this, go to settings/ temperature and use arrows to move settings to the right. The default brew temperature on other 2.0 models is 192° F for k-cups and 197° F for other pods. Some prefer k-mugs and k-carafe pods because their brew temperature is a bit higher and closer to the optimal brewing temperature (195°–205°F).
If you have a classic series machine, try this: run one cup without inserting the k-cup to heat up the machine really well. Discard the water and insert the k-cup to brew your coffee. Rinsing your cup with hot water before your brew will also keep your coffee hot a bit longer.
6. How to use reusable k-cup
For a good, strong 8 ounce cup of coffee, you need about 14-15 grams of coffee. That’s about 2 full tablespoons. However, most reusable k-cup options don’t hold this much coffee (regular k-cups hold 10-12 g of coffee), so the easiest way to get a stronger cup is to use dark roasted ground coffee + brew at 8 or even 6-ounce cup setting.
If using a classic reusable k-cup filter (Elite, Mini, K15, K55), fill the filter basket with ground coffee, making sure not to fill past the top of the mesh. It’s even easier with the 2.0 my K-cup filter (K250, K350, K450 and K550) because it has a nice Max fill line. Simply fill the filter with your desired amount of ground coffee and make sure not to fill past the MAX fill indicator.
Gently tap the filter on your counter and level the top. Do not press or tamp the coffee. Brew at 6 or 8 oz cup setting for the best result.
Best grind for Keurig filter is medium grind level (classic grind for drip coffee makers). If your coffee is watery, the grind might be too coarse. If the water takes a long time to brew or it gets clogged easily, the grind might be too fine.
7. Best coffee for Keurig: Thinking out of the cup
I know that specialty roasters and Keurig don’t usually go together, but who says you’re not allowed to test this option?! Nothing too pretentious. Brewing good, freshly roasted coffee would cost about $0.55 per cup – pretty much the price of a regular k-cup (one 12 oz bag retails for $13 – $15 and makes around 25 cups). It won’t help you save money on k-cups, but what you’ll get is the best possible cup of coffee brewed with your Keurig. Check out popular roasters like La Colombe. They have great website and ship. You can also stop by your local coffee roaster and see their offer. If you don’t have a grinder they will also grind it for you. For a reusable k-cup choose drip grind.
If you prefer big brands (Folgers, Maxwell House, Starbucks) and you like strong coffee, choose coffee that says dark or French roast.
I would love to hear your suggestions and tips in the comments below!