Descale a Keurig with vinegar

Descale a Keurig Coffee Maker With Vinegar – How & Why

Ughhh! The de-scale light on the Keurig has come on. Now what?

It may be time to descale your Keurig coffee maker with vinegar.

This post will discuss how and why to use vinegar for descaling your coffee maker.

Before we get into it… You may have seen the descale light on some Keurig models and wondered what that is for. That light will tell you when the scale has built up to a level where it may affect the operation of your brewer.

Scale buildup inside your Keurig – what is scale buildup?

There are minerals are in your water, even city water, and are usually there even after filtration. Some minerals may still be there even after going through a water softening process.

The minerals are suspended in the water molecules and they leech out of the water when coming into contact with metal components, like the fittings, heater tank and pump in your Keurig brewer. These leeched minerals cling to the metal surfaces (and some other types of surfaces too). This mineral buildup is called scale.

It really doesn’t matter what type of water you have – city water, well water, filtered water – even bottled water can allow for mineral and scale buildup. Of course, some water is worse than others.

Why does scale cause problems in Keurig coffee makers?

Scale is not toxic and any buildup should not really change the taste of your coffee. But, the buildup does have a tendency to plug up the lines in your machine.

As scale leeches out of the water and clings to some surfaces, usually metal surfaces, inside your Keurig coffee maker, the minerals also build on top of other mineral buildups. The scale just keeps building and building until a fitting or line becomes plugged up or – the buildup can severely slow down the water flow through the brewer.

Scale does not generally build up on plastic surfaces, glass surfaces, porcelain surfaces, and some types of metal surfaces. In your Keurig brewer, it does buildup in the heater tank and the fittings connecting to it.

The build up in the heater tank will reduce the effectiveness of the heating unit but it can still function ok. It is the scale buildup in the fittings connecting to the heater unit that causes the most trouble.

And not just the scale buildup in the heater fittings, but also in the pump and pump fittings.

These mineral buildups can also happen in the fixtures and pipes in your home, which is why many people have water softeners, to reduce the scale buildup in their pipes caused by minerals in their water.

Smaller water lines and fixture openings will plug up quicker than larger pipes. So, for your coffee maker with smaller lines and openings –  left untreated, this will cause the early demise of your brewer. Which is why Keurig recommends frequent descaling.

The mineral dilemma. Do you want minerals in your coffee maker?

Distilled water does not have any mineral content. Wouldn’t it be the logical choice for your coffee brewer?

You would think so, but Keurig does not recommend using distilled water. Why? Because of taste.

Minerals in water taste better and for that reason Keurig recommends bottled mineral water and water that is not softened.

Better tasting water means better tasting coffee.

Therein lies the dilemma.

Do we want minerals in our water running through our coffee brewer with better tasting coffee and then have to descale?

Or do we sacrifice the taste of our coffee and reduce or eliminate scale buildup in our coffee maker?

If you want great tasting coffee, you must allow for minerals in the water and get used to descaling your coffee brewer.

Symptoms of scale buildup in your coffee brewer.

Of course, one symptom of too much scale buildup would be the “De-Scale” light on your Keurig comes on.

But before that, the most common symptom is slower water flow. It simply takes longer for your Keurig coffee maker to brew a cup of coffee.

Sometimes this is very obvious. The pump struggles and makes more noise while less brewed coffee comes out.

To know for sure if it is water flow and not faulty coffee pods or other obstructions caused by the coffee filter part of the brewer, you should do the following:

  • Remove any K-cup pods.
  • Make sure the top needle (the one that pierces the top of the K-cup) is unobstructed by cleaning it using the paper clip method.
  • Remove the K-cup pod holder (it does come out)
  • Run your Keurig brewer without the pod holder and without a K-cup pod, leave the pod holder empty.

If you get good water flow after doing this, then the scale buildup is probably not too bad. It still does not hurt to descale frequently even if you have good water flow.

If your Keurig brewer has poor water flow, the pump struggles, and water dribbles out – you need to descale your brewer.

Descaling your Keurig brewer

The Keurig way…

You can use the Keurig brand recommended descaler and procedure which they outline very well.

Keurig has instructions on how to descale every brewer and those instructions can be found in the manual that comes with each machine. You can also find step by step instructions for all their current brewers on the Keurig website. Some instructional videos were also made by Keurig on descaling as well.

Descale a Keurig coffee maker the white vinegar way…

Or, you can also use white vinegar to descale your Keurig machine. We should mention this is NOT recommended by Keurig and may void your warranty.

Also we have added some steps that Keurig seems to overlook in the descaling process.

Step by step

  • Empty the water reservoir on your Keurig. [If you have a small pour-in reservoir, these instructions will be different but the process is the same – 50/50 water to white vinegar].]
  • Remove any filter and filter unit kit from your reservoir if you have one installed.
  • Fill a large coffee cup (about 10 oz) with distilled white vinegar and pour it into your reservoir. Do this twice (20 oz of vinegar total) for non pour-in type reservoirs – the removable type.  ****It is critical that you use distilled white vinegar! *** DO NOT use any other type of vinegar like apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar – as those can put sediment, debris and gunk into your brewer.
  • Fill that same large coffee cup with clean water you would normally use for brewing your coffee. And do this twice also for non pour-in type units, so that you have equal parts white vinegar to water – 50/50.
  • Place the reservoir back on the brewer, and make sure your Keurig brewer is powered on.
  • Empty the K-cup pod holder – do NOT place a pod in the holder, leave it empty.
  • Place an empty cup (10 oz) and brew a 10 oz size cup. Do this until the brewer says to add water. You should be able to smell the vinegar in the last cup you were able to run through before the water in the reservoir runs low and you get the add water indication.
  • Now let it set at least 30 minutes. You really should let it sit for an hour if you can. The longer it sits the more scale the acidic vinegar will dissolve from the machine. Don’t let it sit for more than 3 hours.
  • If you want, you can even repeat this whole process up to this point again.
  • After letting it sit with the vinegar solution, empty the water reservoir and this time fill it with clean water. Run as many cups through the machine as necessary without using a pod until needing to add water.
  • As you do this, each cup of water that is run through should smell less and less of vinegar. If you still smell vinegar, fill the reservoir again with clean water and repeat this process until there is no vinegar aroma.
  • You are now ready to brew coffee as you normally would.

Why white vinegar works for descaling single serve coffee makers.

vinegar is acidic, an acid, and it literally dissolves away minerals (and even metals, but more slowly). White vinegar is not a strong acid, and mixing it with water dilutes it even more. So this solution should not be harmful to your machine.

Most acids do not affect plastic tubing and they have less effect on clean metals, like the heater and tank in your Keurig coffee maker. But, acids do have a dramatic effect on scale buildup, the minerals.

Which is better? The Keurig recommended way or using white vinegar for descaling?

In the Keurig recommended cleaning process they suggest using a combination of their descaling solution and water, about a 50/50 combination.

After some searching, we did come up with the basic ingredients of the Keurig descaling solution. What are they?

Short answer: Citric acid, Silicic acid, Phosphates, Bleaching Agents, and Water.

Mostly, Citric Acid, about 50% or more. That means that more than half the solution is made up of citric acid. It’s a great descaling agent and is natural.

Silicic Acid, about 3%. Less than 3% of the solution is silicic acid. Silicic acid is “a weakly acidic colloidal hydrated form of silica made by acidifying solutions of alkali metal silicates.” This really acts as a stabilizing agent.

Phosphates and Bleaching Agents, about 5%. Phosphates are a salt or ester of phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acids are used to enhance flavor in foods and are considered harmless. This and other bleaching agents are combined as the cleaning (not descaling) agents included in the descaling solution.

And the rest… water.

Keurig claims their solution will descale, remove calcium and other scale (mineral deposits) that may build up inside of the brewer internal parts and tank.

Keurig also makes no claims on their website that their descaling solution is all natural or non-toxic. Some of the bleaching agents may be toxic. And the phosphates are not very desirable either.

Keurig way pros…

  • This is the Keurig recommended method
  • Effective

Keurig way cons…

  • Expensive – the Keurig solution is somewhat costly
  • Unwanted chemicals and chemical residues

The descale a Keurig with distilled white vinegar pros…

  • Natural – no chemical residues
  • Effective
  • Cheap – distilled white vinegar can be purchased very inexpensively.

The descale a Keurig with distilled white vinegar cons…

  • May void Keurig warranty – not recommended by Keurig

Preventing and avoiding scale buildup in your Keurig coffee brewer.

We coverd how and why we should descale a Keurig with vinegar. Is there anything you can do to avoid scale buildup?

Yes, use bottled distilled water. But, as we already mentioned in this post, this may make your coffee not taste as good as it could with minerals in the water.

You can also try using bottled spring water, which has the minerals for a better tasting cup of coffee but less of the minerals that cause scale buildup. And using spring water is recommended by Keurig.

You can also use softened water. Softened water does have less mineral content, but more salt content. The combination of more salt with less minerals doesn’t help the taste of the water or your cup of coffee.

You can filter your water. Many water filters can take out some minerals and other chemicals in the water, like chlorine, iron, etc.

Depending on the kind and type of filter, you can get very clean water with some mineral content and a better tasting water. This results in a better tasting cup of coffee with less scale buildup in your Keurig coffee maker. It will reduce the scale buildup, but not eliminate it.

For example, an under-sink or countertop reverse osmosis system is fairly easy to install and does a great job of providing clean, good tasting water. Some of these systems are also very reasonably priced.

Besides changing the water you put into your brewer, all you can do is descale frequently.

What you should NOT DO when cleaning or descaling your Keurig – don’t do this…

We strongly suggest that you avoid any of the following:

Using very dirty or cloudy water in your Keurig – who would do that? you want to use clean water in your coffee maker.

Using high mineral or iron content water in your Keurig – which can just make the scale buildup worse than normal.

Using household, chemical cleaning agents in your Keurig – they leave behind potentially toxic chemical residues  and can cause unwanted tastes and aromas in your coffee.

Using detergents in your coffee maker – they leave residues causing unwanted tastes and aromas in your coffee.

Using Lime Out or other household descaling products in your Keurig.

Using alchohol in your brewer – this may be an explosion hazard!! Yes, really!!

Using any commercial acids, like muratic acid.

Using just any kind of vinegar (besides distilled white vinegar), like balsamic vinegar, or apple cider vinegar (too much residue).

Flavor enhancers, like essential oils – which can build up inside your coffee brewer.


If you liked this post on descaling your Keurig coffee maker, you may like this post…

How To Sanitize and Disinfect Your Keurig Coffee Maker – Get It Really Really Clean

keurig brewers questions answered

Keurig Coffee Brewers – Your Questions Answered

Keurig has produced so many different single serve coffee makers and with so many different options that it gets confusing.

We will attempt to answer some of those questions in this post as well as give some answers on simple operations of the models.


Are Keurig models UL certified?
How do I clean a Keurig coffee maker?
How do I know what Keurig model I have?
How hot is the water in a Keurig brewer?
Is there a quiet Keurig model?
What is the Keurig 2.0 Brewing System?
Where is the water filter for my Keurig coffee brewer?
Which Keurig Models Use the 2.0 Brewing System?

Q:  Are Keurig models UL certified?

Short answer:

Yes, most all Keurig models are UL certified. The UL stamp can be found on the bottom metal plate of each model. Keurig’s commercial models may also have UL certification to somewhat higher commercial standards.

Extended answer:

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification means they have passed a rigorous testing process for safety requirements. These requirements are often based on UL’s published and nationally recognized Standards for Safety. UL does not test quality of a product, they only address safety concerns through testing a device after being manufactured, or they may help in the design regarding safety aspects.



Q:  How do I clean a Keurig coffee maker?

Also answers ... How do I descale a Keurig coffee maker?

Short answer:

Keurig has a recommended cleaning solution and process for cleaning their coffee brewers, which may be a little different for each Keurig model. Refer to your Keurig owners manual or the Keurig website. Or, you can clean your Keurig with a vinegar solution using a simple process.

Extended answer:

If you want to know how to get your Keurig coffee brewer really, really clean – we wrote an article about this…

The article outlines the Keurig recommended way of cleaning a Keurig coffee maker and the basic process for just about any of the Keurig models.

It also goes into how to make your own cleaning and descaling solution and cleaning your Keurig.

But it doesn’t stop there, it also explains how to disinfect and deep clean your Keurig.

How To Get a Keurig Coffee Maker Really Really Clean



Q:  How do I know what Keurig model I have?

Short answer:

The Keurig model number is imprinted on the bottom metal plate of the unit. You may need to unplug and lift up or turn the unit over to read it. You should find imprinted something like ‘Model K40’ or other model number as the case may be. A serial number sticker can also be found on the unit – usually behind the drip tray.



Q:  How hot is the water in a Keurig brewer?

Also answers ... What is the temperature of the water from a Keurig coffee maker?

Short answer:

Keurig claims 192°F is the internal and optimal temperature of the water from your Keurig coffee maker, unless it has temperature control, of course. However, the final temperature of the water or coffee in your cup may vary due to several reasons. Keurig states that when brewing into a foam or paper cup, 180-185°F in-cup temperature is typically attained.

Extended answer:

The temperature will depend on if the brewer is brewing correctly with no issues like, needing descaled, no clogs from coffee grounds, or other problems with the hot water flow. Other things can vary the water temperature, like the material and cooling effect of a cold mug. A very cold ceramic mug can lessen the temperature of your brewed coffee (or tea). Again, Keurig states that when brewing into a foam or paper cup, 180-185°F is the typical in-cup temperature. Another cause for temperature variation is if the brewer heater tank has just heat cycled or not. Having the brewer sit idle without a fresh heating cycle can cause the water temperature to be a couple of degrees cooler. Keurig recommends maximizing the in-cup temperature with home brewers by running a small cup without a pod prior to making a cup of coffee. This will warm both the mug, especially ceramic mugs, and the brewer internal parts.



Q:  Is there a quiet Keurig model?

Short answer:

Some of the higher end home-use Keurig models do feature their ‘Quiet Brew Technology’. It is designed for a more quiet pump system, the noisy part of using a Keurig.

Extended answer:

How it works is not readily described by Keurig, neither on their website nor in the user manual. Reviewers say that with the ‘Quiet Brew Technology’ their brewer is still noisy but not as much as with other Keurig models they have owned. Other reviewers blame the technology for a weaker pump design and the early demise of their Keurig brewer.



Q:  What is the Keurig 2.0 Brewing System?

Short answer:

The Keurig 2.0 is a brewing system that features K Cup pod scanning technology. It restricts usage to Keurig licensed pods, but it also automates functionality to control brew temperature and brew size for extra large mug sized single serve pods or 4 cup carafe pods – as well as being designed to brew a better cup of coffee.

Extended answer:

If you want to know more about the 2.0 system, like what models use it, we wrote a post about this very question with a lot of details – follow the link to read more…

What Is the Keurig 2.0 Brewing System?



Q:  Where is the water filter for my Keurig coffee brewer?

Also answers ... Does my Keurig model have a water filter?

Short answer:

Not all Keurig models have a built-in water filter installed or the ability to add a water filter. For those models that do, you can find the filter inside the removable water reservoir. The water filter kit (unit) can be removed and the water filter cartridge itself replaced. You can add and install a water filter kit to those models that do not already have one but allow for it.

Extended answer:

Only some newer Keurig models with larger, removable water reservoirs have the ability to add a water filter kit.

Models with pour-in water reservoirs and older models will not allow for a water filter.

The kit is simply a plastic cartridge that fits over the screened water inlet inside the removable water reservoir. Inside the cartridge is a replaceable charcoal filter pod.

It is recommended the water filter pod be replaced every few months depending on water usage.

Water filter kits are sometimes provided with a new Keurig, or may be purchased separately.



Q:  Which Keurig Models Use the 2.0 Brewing System?

Short answer:

Here is a list of models – that we know of – that had the 2.0 brewing system that did not allow unlicensed K Cup pods and are made by Keurig:
K200, K250, K300, K350, K400, K425, K450, K475, K525, K525C, K545, K550, K575
and a few of the new Keurig models still use the 2.0 brewing system, but they also allow for just about any unlicensed 2.0 K-cup pods.

Extended answer:

If you want to know more details about the 2.0 brewing system, we wrote a post about this very question…

What Is the Keurig 2.0 Brewing System?


keurig home brewers

Keurig Coffee Brewers For the Home – Most Recent Models

This is a list of the Keurig single serve coffee brewers that are most recently for sale on the Keurig website. (updated 5/13/2019)

All of these are for home use – well, at least designated for non-commercial use.

The latest Keurig single serve coffee makers allow for any type of K-cup pod. Some of the models do use the 2.0 technology to read pod labels and set the brewer to the correct temperature and brew size for that type of coffee.

You may notice that most of the Keurig models no longer have K model numbers associated with their names as all of Keurig’s models have had in the past.

To find out all the details about any of these Keurig coffee makers, including top praises or common complaints, simply click the “get all the details” box provided.


Keurig K Cafe Single Serve Coffeehouse Brewer

This unit is described as a coffeehouse brewer. It brews single serve coffee, latte, and cappuccino. Includes a milk or cream frother. Make frothy lattes and cappuccinos using any type of K Cups.

BrandModelType
KeurigK CafeK Cup Brewer

Manufacturer's Features

COFFEE, LATTES & CAPPUCCINOS: Use any K-Cup® pod to brew coffee, or make delicious lattes and cappuccinos.
COFFEE SHOT FOR SPECIALTY DRINKS: Press the SHOT button to brew a concentrated shot of coffee from your favorite K-Cup® pod to make delicious hot or iced lattes and cappuccinos.
DISHWASHER SAFE FROTHER: Froth fresh milk, including skim, soy, and almond. The frother is dishwasher safe for easy clean up after use and also features a COLD setting for cold frothed milk.
STRONG BREW: Increase the strength and bold taste of your coffee.
4 CUP SIZES: 6, 8, 10, and 12oz.
LARGE 60oz WATER RESERVOIR: Allows you to brew 6 cups before having to refill, saving you time and simplifying your morning routine. Removable reservoir makes refilling easy.
SMART START: Your coffee maker heats, then brews in one simple process. No need to wait for it to heat before selecting your cup size.
ENERGY EFFICIENT: Programmable auto off feature automatically turns your brewer off 2 hours after the last brew for energy savings.
TRAVEL MUG FRIENDLY: Accommodates travel mugs up to 7.2” tall and is top rack dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
COMPATIBLE WITH THE MY K-CUP® UNIVERSAL REUSABLE COFFEE FILTER: Brew your own ground coffee (sold separately).
BREWER MAINTENANCE REMINDER: Alerts you when it is time to descale your coffee maker. Descaling is an important process that removes built-up calcium deposits, ensuring the best-tasting brew possible.

To get all the details about the Keurig K Cafe Single Serve Coffeehouse Brewer
like: top praises, top complaints, dimensions, colors, brew sizes, max mug height and more - click below.

Keurig reviews rating from their own website [ 4.3 ]
Google reviews rating [ 4.6 ]
Amazon reviews rating [ 4.4 ]
Walmart reviews rating [ No Walmart reviews ]

Keurig K Cafe Special Edition Single Serve Coffeehouse Brewer

Described as a coffeehouse brewer, this unit does have some nice features for coffee and latte lovers alike. The milk frother is a good addition to the typical K Cup brewer. The Special Edition unit includes some extra features and a nickel finish as opposed to the matte black finish of the regular K Cafe unit.

BrandModelType
KeurigK Cafe SEK Cup Brewer

Manufacturer's Features

SPECIAL EDITION: Complement your kitchen with the premium nickel colored finish, metal handle and drip tray.
COFFEE, LATTES & CAPPUCCINOS: Use any K-Cup® pod to brew coffee, or make delicious lattes and cappuccinos.
COFFEE SHOT FOR SPECIALTY DRINKS: Press the SHOT button to brew a concentrated shot of coffee from your favorite K-Cup® pod to make delicious hot or iced lattes and cappuccinos.
DISHWASHER SAFE FROTHER: Froth fresh milk, including skim, soy, and almond. The frother is dishwasher safe for easy clean up after use and also features a COLD setting for cold frothed milk.
STRONG BREW: Increase the strength and bold taste of your coffee.
4 CUP SIZES: 6, 8, 10, and 12oz.
LARGE 60oz WATER RESERVOIR: Allows you to brew 6 cups before having to refill, saving you time and simplifying your morning routine. Removable reservoir makes refilling easy.
SMART START: Your coffee maker heats, then brews in one simple process. No need to wait for it to heat before selecting your cup size.
ENERGY EFFICIENT: Programmable auto off feature automatically turns your brewer off 2 hours after the last brew for energy savings.
TRAVEL MUG FRIENDLY: Accommodates travel mugs up to 7.2” tall and is top rack dishwasher safe for easy cleanup.
COMPATIBLE WITH THE MY K-CUP™ UNIVERSAL REUSABLE COFFEE FILTER: Brew your own ground coffee (sold separately).
BREWER MAINTENANCE REMINDER: Alerts you when it is time to descale your coffee maker. Descaling is an important process that removes built-up calcium deposits, ensuring the best-tasting brew possible.
SIMPLE BUTTON CONTROLS: Just insert any K-Cup® pod and use the button controls to brew a delicious coffee, or make hot or iced lattes and cappuccinos.

To get all the details about the Keurig K Cafe Special Edition Single Serve Coffeehouse Brewer
like: top praises, top complaints, dimensions, colors, brew sizes, max mug height and more - click below.

Keurig reviews rating from their own website [ 4.5 ]
Google reviews rating [ 4.6 ]
Amazon reviews rating [ 4.4 ]
Walmart reviews rating [ 4.5 ]

Keurig K Elite Elements K Cup Brewer

This model is only available from Keurig on their website.

There is no perceivable difference between the K Elite Elements unit vs the standard K Elite unit, besides the color selection.

A higher priced model from Keurig with many options for brewing temperature and cup sizes.

Features a push button design as opposed to the touch screen of former models which gave problems.

BrandModelType
KeurigK Elite ElementsK Cup Brewer

Manufacturer's Features

Includes a bonus 6-count K-Cup® pod variety pack, one water filter handle, and one water filter to help ensure your beverages taste their absolute best.

Key features:
• BREWS MULTIPLE CUP SIZES: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12oz Enjoy the most popular cup sizes
• STRONG BREW: Increases the strength and bold taste of your coffee’s flavor
• ICED SETTING: Brew hot over ice at the touch of a button for full-flavored, delicious iced coffee.
• COFFEE IN NO TIME: Brews K-Cup® pods in under a minute.
• LARGE 75oz WATER RESERVOIR: Allows you to brew 8 cups before having to refill, saving you time and simplifying your morning routine. Removable reservoir makes refilling easy.
• HOT WATER ON DEMAND: Perfect for instant soups or oatmeal.
• SIMPLE BUTTON CONTROLS: Just insert a pod, select your desired cup size, and brew your perfect cup in under a minute.
• REMOVABLE DRIP TRAY: Accommodates travel mugs up to 7.2” tall and holds a full accidental brew for easy cleanup.
• BREWER MAINTENANCE REMINDER: Alerts you when it is time to descale your coffee maker. Descaling is an important process that removes built-up calcium deposits, ensuring the best-tasting brew possible.
• QUIET BREW TECHNOLOGY™: Minimizes noise when the coffee maker is in use.
• Brews coffee, tea, hot cocoa, specialty, and iced beverages.
• Compatible with the My K-Cup® Universal Reusable Coffee Filter, allowing you to brew with your own ground coffee.

Programmable features:
• Auto On: Set the exact time your coffee maker turns on in the morning.
• Auto Off: Set the time your coffee maker shuts off after your last brew for energy savings.
• Temperature: Adjust the brew temperature between 187° and 192°.
• High Altitude Setting: Ensures your coffee maker works properly at altitudes >5,000 feet.

To get all the details about the Keurig K Elite Elements K Cup Brewer
like: top praises, top complaints, dimensions, colors, brew sizes, max mug height and more - click below.

Keurig reviews rating from their own website [ 4.1 ]
Google reviews rating [ No Google reviews ]
Amazon reviews rating [ No Amazon reviews ]
Walmart reviews rating [ No Walmart reviews ]

Keurig K Elite Single Serve Coffee Maker

This is a higher priced model from Keurig. It offers many options for brewing temperature and cup sizes.

This unit incorporates a push button design as opposed to the touch screen of former models which gave problems.

BrandModelType
KeurigK EliteK Cup Brewer

Manufacturer's Features

• BREWS MULTIPLE CUP SIZES: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12oz Enjoy the most popular cup sizes.
• STRONG BREW: Increases the strength and bold taste of your coffee’s flavor.
• ICED SETTING: Brew hot over ice at the touch of a button for full-flavored, delicious iced coffee.
• COFFEE IN NO TIME: Brews K-Cup® pods in under a minute.
• LARGE 75oz WATER RESERVOIR: Allows you to brew 8 cups before having to refill, saving you time and simplifying your morning routine. Removable reservoir makes refilling easy.
• HOT WATER ON DEMAND: Perfect for instant soups or oatmeal.
• SIMPLE BUTTON CONTROLS: Just insert a pod, select your desired cup size, and brew your perfect cup in under a minute.
• REMOVABLE DRIP TRAY: Accommodates travel mugs up to 7.2” tall and holds a full accidental brew for easy cleanup.
• BREWER MAINTENANCE REMINDER: Alerts you when it is time to descale your coffee maker. Descaling is an important process that removes built-up calcium deposits, ensuring the best-tasting brew possible.
• QUIET BREW TECHNOLOGY™: Minimizes noise when the coffee maker is in use.
• Brews coffee, tea, hot cocoa, specialty, and iced beverages.
• Compatible with the My K-Cup® Universal Reusable Coffee Filter, allowing you to brew with your own ground coffee.

Programmable Features:
• Auto On: Set the exact time your coffee maker turns on in the morning.
• Auto Off: Set the time your coffee maker shuts off after your last brew for energy savings.
• Temperature: Adjust the brew temperature between 187° and 192°.
• High Altitude Setting: Ensures your coffee maker works properly at altitudes >5,000 feet.

To get all the details about the Keurig K Elite Single Serve Coffee Maker
like: top praises, top complaints, dimensions, colors, brew sizes, max mug height and more - click below.

Keurig reviews rating from their own website [ 4.2 ]
Google reviews rating [ 4.3 ]
Amazon reviews rating [ 4.4 ]
Walmart reviews rating [ 4.8 ]

Keurig K Mini K Cup Brewer

This coffee maker is no longer featured on the Keurig website. However, it is still for sale there – you just need to search for it.

You will also see it for sale online through other stores, like Amazon, usually at a lower price point.

BrandModelType
KeurigK MiniK Cup Brewer

Manufacturer's Features

Say hello to our slimmest brewer yet. At less than five inches wide, the incredibly slim and easy to use, K-Mini™ single serve coffee maker makes anywhere perfect for great coffee. The Keurig® K-Mini™ brewer combines sleek design with space-saving convenience in a portable, stylish package that delivers fresh brewed, delicious coffee from your favorite K-Cup® pods in minutes.

Features:
FITS ANYWHERE: Less than 5 inches wide, perfect for small spaces.
YOUR PERFECT AMOUNT: Brew any cup size between 6-12oz with Keurig® K-Cup® pods.
ONE CUP RESERVOIR: Just add fresh water for each brew.
FAST & FRESH BREWED: Coffee made in minutes.
CORD STORAGE: For easy transport and tidy counter tops.
TRAVEL MUG FRIENDLY: Removable drip tray accommodates travel mugs up to 7.0″ tall and holds a full accidental brew for easy cleanup.
ENERGY EFFICIENT: Auto off feature turns off your coffee maker 90 seconds after the last brew, helping to save energy.
COMPATIBLE WITH THE MY K-CUP™ UNIVERSAL REUSABLE COFFEE FILTER: Brew your own ground coffee (sold separately).

To get all the details about the Keurig K Mini K Cup Brewer
like: top praises, top complaints, dimensions, colors, brew sizes, max mug height and more - click below.

Keurig reviews rating from their own website [ 4.0 ]
Google reviews rating [ 3.8 ]
Amazon reviews rating [ 3.2 ]
Walmart reviews rating [ No Walmart reviews ]

Keurig K Mini Plus K Cup Coffee Maker

This really is one of the smallest K cup brewers available. Many reviews indicate that it is used in campers. It is popular in dorm rooms and small apartments.

Keurig has had some trouble with this model and the ratings reflect that.

BrandModelType
KeurigK Mini PlusK Cup Brewer

Manufacturer's Features

Say hello to our slimmest brewer yet. At less than five inches wide, the incredibly slim and easy to use, K-Mini™ single serve coffee maker makes anywhere perfect for great coffee. The Keurig® K-Mini™ brewer combines sleek design with space-saving convenience in a portable, stylish package that delivers fresh brewed, delicious coffee from your favorite K-Cup®pods in minutes.

Features:
FITS ANYWHERE: Less than 5 inches wide, perfect for small spaces.
YOUR PERFECT AMOUNT: Brew any cup size between 6-12oz with Keurig® K-Cup® pods.
ONE CUP RESERVOIR: Just add fresh water for each brew.
FAST & FRESH BREWED: Coffee made in minutes.
CORD STORAGE: For easy transport and tidy counter tops.
TRAVEL MUG FRIENDLY: Removable drip tray accommodates travel mugs up to 7.0″ tall and holds a full accidental brew for easy cleanup.
ENERGY EFFICIENT: Auto off feature turns off your coffee maker 90 seconds after the last brew, helping to save energy.
COMPATIBLE WITH THE MY K-CUP™ UNIVERSAL REUSABLE COFFEE FILTER: Brew your own ground coffee (sold separately).

To get all the details about the Keurig K Mini Plus K Cup Coffee Maker
like: top praises, top complaints, dimensions, colors, brew sizes, max mug height and more - click below.

Keurig reviews rating from their own website [ 3.7 ]
Google reviews rating [ 3.8 ]
Amazon reviews rating [ 3.5 ]
Walmart reviews rating [ 4.0 ]

Keurig K Select Single Serve Coffee Brewer

BrandModelType
KeurigK-SelectK Cup Brewer

Manufacturer's Features

• Strong Brew for a stronger, more intense cup
• Brews 6, 8, 10, and 12 oz. sizes
• 52-ounce removable side water reservoir
• Programmable auto off
• Removable drip tray accommodates travel mugs
• Quiet Brew Technology™ Feature
• Made from fingerprint resistant materials
• Descale maintenance reminder
• High altitude setting
• Brews in under a minute
• Compatible with the My K-Cup® Universal Reusable Coffee Filter

To get all the details about the Keurig K Select Single Serve Coffee Brewer
like: top praises, top complaints, dimensions, colors, brew sizes, max mug height and more - click below.

Keurig reviews rating from their own website [ 4.2 ]
Google reviews rating [ 4.3 ]
Amazon reviews rating [ 4.0 ]
Walmart reviews rating [ 4.2 ]

Keurig K140 K Cup Coffee Brewer

Still for sale on the Keurig website as a commercial model, the Keurig K140/K145 is advertised as a heavy duty home or office coffee maker.

It also features the ability to drain the heater tank.

For the most part, it operates much like many of the other Keurig models with 3 cup sizes. And it also has a smaller 48 oz water reservoir, unlike some of the much larger reservoirs on newer units.

BrandModelType
KeurigK140K Cup Brewer

Manufacturer's Features

At the touch of a button, the OfficePRO® Brewing System brews a perfect cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa or iced beverage and does so in under one minute. Let everyone always enjoy a fresh cup with Keurig®.
This brewer has an auto-off function, so it switches off after two hours of non-use. With a choice of three cup sizes, the OfficePRO ® brewer offers a detachable drip tray for holding travel cups.

Note: The My K-Cup® is not compatible with the OfficePRO® Brewing System. In addition, this brewer cannot be plumbed to a water line.

Key Features:

• Always ready and brews in under a minute
• Brews 6 oz., 8 oz., and 10 oz. sizes
• Auto Off feature
• Easily drains for transport and storage
• Removable 48 oz. Water Reservoir

To get all the details about the Keurig K140 K Cup Coffee Brewer
like: top praises, top complaints, dimensions, colors, brew sizes, max mug height and more - click below.

Keurig reviews rating from their own website [ 3.3 ]
Google reviews rating [ 4.2 ]
Amazon reviews rating [ 3.7 ]
Walmart reviews rating [ 3.3 ]

Keurig K145 OfficePro K Cup Brewer

The Keurig K145 is also described as the OfficePRO model.

This model is designed for light commercial or office use. It has a heavier power cord and heavier duty pump than the home version of this unit.

It is also one of the few models with a rotary switch for brew size selection.

BrandModelType
KeurigK145K Cup Brewer

Manufacturer's Features

This brewer has an auto-off function, so it switches off after two hours of non-use when it is set. With a choice of three cup sizes, the OfficePRO ® brewer offers a removable drip tray for holding travel cups.

Choose from more than 500 varieties of coffee, tea, specialty beverages, and even iced beverages — from over 75 brands you know and love. Just look for the Keurig logo on your favorite varieties of K-Cup® pods.

Note: The My K-Cup® is not compatible with the OfficePRO® Brewing System. In addition, this brewer cannot be plumbed to a water line.

Key Features:

• Always ready and brews in under a minute
• Brews 6 oz., 8 oz., and 10 oz. sizes • Auto Off feature
• Easily drains for transport and storage
• Removable 48 oz. Water Reservoir

To get all the details about the Keurig K145 OfficePro K Cup Brewer
like: top praises, top complaints, dimensions, colors, brew sizes, max mug height and more - click below.

Keurig reviews rating from their own website [ 3.3 ]
Google reviews rating [ 4.4 ]
Amazon reviews rating [ 4.1 ]
Walmart reviews rating [ No reviews ]

Keurig K250 2.0 Single Serve Coffee Brewer

BrandModelType
KeurigK250K Cup Brewer

Manufacturer's Features

An elegant and sleek coffee maker for one serving. Includes 4 K-cup pods, a water filter unit + 2 water filters and a bottle of descaling solution to extend the life of your brewer.

Dimensions : 13.7 H X 9 W X 15 D inches
40 oz. water reservoir allows you to brew 4+ cups before having to refill, saving you time and simplifying your morning routine. The water reservoir is removable, making it easy to refill
Brews multiple K-Cup pod brew sizes (4, 6, 8, 10 oz.) and brews a Carafe (22, 26, or 30oz) using K-Carafe pods to give you more coffee when you need it (Carafe sold separately)
Strength Control: A strength control setting allows you to brew a bolder cup using any K-Cup pod brew size
A black and white touch screen makes it easy to brew a fresh, great tasting cup in under a minute
Dispense hot water only by opening and closing the brewer handle (without a pod), and selecting your desired brew size. A removable drip tray at the base of the brewer catches drips and makes for easy clean-up

To get all the details about the Keurig K250 2.0 Single Serve Coffee Brewer
like: top praises, top complaints, dimensions, colors, brew sizes, max mug height and more - click below.

Keurig reviews rating from their own website [ ]
Google reviews rating [ 4.0 ]
Amazon reviews rating [ 4.0 ]
Walmart reviews rating [ 3.7 ]
how to sanitize your keurig

How To Sanitize and Disinfect Your Keurig Coffee Maker – Get It Really Really Clean

How to sanitize a Keurig coffee maker. Learn the ins and out of getting your Keurig really clean.

We noticed one day, while refilling the reservoir on our Keurig K50 classic coffee maker, that it had a greenish tint inside of the reservoir. Greenish tint?!

Having a swimming pool, the greenish tint was instantly recognizable. Algae!

After browsing through some information online about mold and bacteria inside coffee makers, we learned that all coffee makers, including regular filter and pot makers, do get mold and bacteria build up.

Not only mold and bacteria, but algae too!

So, we decided to figure out the best way to clean and sanitize our Keurig coffee brewer –
and we do mean… get it really, really clean.

We will be talking about several things in this article.

  • Why you need to deep clean your Keurig coffee maker.
  • Removing algae, mold and bacteria form your brewer
  • Cleaning the internal parts of the brewer
  • Cleaning the external parts of the brewer
  • Descaling your Keurig brewer.
  • Deodorizing your Keurig brewer.
  • Regular maintenance of your coffee maker.

And along the way, we will giving you many tips of how to deep clean your Keurig coffee maker and how to keep it clean – and what not to do.

So, what can you do to disinfect and sanitize your Keurig brewer and get it really, really clean?

 

Are there toxic mold and bacteria in your brewer?

No matter how desperate you were for a cup of coffee, we don’t think you would brew your coffee with water out of a pond.

Is it possible for toxic levels of bacteria and mold to build up inside your Keurig coffee maker like the water out of a pond?  Not really. More than likely, there will only be trace amounts of either algae, bacteria or mold.

But, we want the cleanest water and environment for brewing our coffee because… not only is it healthier, but our coffee will taste better.

Chances are good that your coffee maker (Keurig or not) has some bacteria, algae and mold developing inside of the machine. It can manifest inside of any part of the brewer – the water reservoir, the tubing, the heater, the pod holder, or any part.

 

Heating the water helps to sanitize.

That being said, we should point out that most single serve coffee makers, including Keurig, heat the water to about 190 degrees F..

Most common bacteria die off at about 104 degrees F.
Most common molds die off at about 140 degrees F.
It is less certain what it takes to kill off algae, (algae have been discovered in the ice of the Arctic to volcanic heat vents under the ocean) but to kill most common algae anything over 110 degrees F should do the trick.

So, once the water from the reservoir reaches the water heater and is heated inside the coffee maker, it does kill almost all of the bacteria, algae and mold.

If that is the case, do we really need to clean our Keurig brewers at all? Can there still be problems with these unwanted intruders?

Yes, because they can build up in the parts of the brewer before the heater.

And if the machine sits with no power between uses, then those intruders can build up inside the heater during that time span.

Let’s look at each of these organisms one at a time.

 

Bacteria inside your coffee maker

There are many types of bacteria, and the more harmful bacteria strains are not as common as other not-so-harmful or completely harmless strains. Harmful, toxic bacteria could still be in your brewer in small trace amounts.

It’s not just the toxic effects you need to be worried about. Bacteria, even harmless bacteria, can have byproducts that cause other undesirable things in your coffee maker – like odor and bad taste.

Now, if you have city water, it is filled with chlorine for the soul purpose of killing off bacteria and any other organisms. In fact, there is as much chlorine in the water from your faucet as can be found in a public swimming pool. Yes, it’s true. You can test it yourself.

Some of the chlorine is taken out through water softeners and water filters. Charcoal filters are especially good at removing chlorine.

The Keurig water filter, inside of your Keurig water reservoir, is a… charcoal filter, and does reduce chlorine levels. Reducing chlorine levels, however, may allow bacteria and mold to grow inside your machine.

You can find bacteria living inside your brewer in any part. Again, probably not in toxic levels, but better to be clean (safe) than sorry.

 

Algae inside your coffee maker water reservoir

If you haven’t cleaned your Keurig water reservoir in awhile, take your finger and feel along the inside of the reservoir near the bottom. Does it feel slimy? Slippery? If it does, then you have some mold or more likely, algae buildup.

You may even see, if you look closely and hold it up to the daylight (as we did), a slight greenish tint. That is for sure some type of algae buildup or slime buildup.

Algae lives in or near water and requires sunlight or light to live and grow. In fact, keeping your Keurig coffee maker with the reservoir exposed to sunlight will increase the chances of algae or slime buildup in the reservoir, and throughout the rest of the brewer.

Is this algae buildup going to be bad for you or toxic? Probably not. There are many types of algae and they are generally not very toxic.

But, bacteria, which can be toxic, love to flourish in and around algae (this is where I would consider it to be slime).

Algae will most likely abound in your water reservoir where the water is exposed to sunlight or other light sources. Then it can get sucked into the brewer from there.

And besides any toxic effects, algae may affect the taste and smell of our coffee – giving it that pond water aroma.

 

Mold inside your coffee brewer

Some molds can be very toxic. You won’t find mold living in water, like algae, but they do like a moist environment – which abound around your coffee maker.

Mold does not always require sunlight to grow and abound. So, mold can build up in the darkness inside the brewer.

You may find mold inside your reservoir, inside the machine internal parts, inside the heater tank, and in the outgoing external parts of the brewer like the pod holder.

 

Dealing with scale inside your coffee brewer

The other thing that builds up in your brewer is scale.

Scale is minerals the leech from your water and cling to parts of your coffee maker, inside and outside.

Scale is not toxic and does not need disinfected – but it does need dealt with.

Descaling your coffee maker is another topic entirely – which we have covered in detail in the post linked to below.

How and Why To Descale Your Keurig Coffee Maker With Vinegar

Again, scale is not toxic and any buildup should not change the taste of your coffee. But, the buildup does have a tendency to plug up the lines in your machine. This will cause the early demise of your Keurig brewer, which is why Keurig recommends frequent descaling.

Why take the chance on any of that – and we want our brewers really really clean, right?

When you do descale your coffee maker, you are also working toward sanitizing and disinfecting it.

A first step in cleaning and sanitizing is to descale your brewer – do this first.

Cleaning out the algae mold and bacteria from your single serve coffee maker with white vinegar

In this section we will deal with disinfecting and sanitizing your coffee brewer of algae, mold and bacteria – both inside and outside your Keurig machine.

You have just descaled your brewer. What else do you need to do to get rid of the toxic elements inside the machine?

Whether you have used the Keurig brand recommended descaling solution or you have used distilled white vinegar, there is really nothing more you need to do for the inside of the coffee maker.

That’s right, nothing. Because in the case of distilled white vinegar, it has properties that are anti bacterial along with anti algae, and anti mold.

The same acids that worked at descaling also kill mold, algae and bacteria.

Does white vinegar kill everything? No, it does not kill all bacteria. Some of the more resilient bacteria like streptococcus can remain. But, it does kill most bacteria and,  is not caustic or harmful to you or your machine.

It is not recommended by Keurig, but the acidic content of vinegar is no more harmful than the citric acid that is in the Keurig  brand descaler – as you learned in our descaling post.

To use it, follow the step by step instructions found in the post we just mentioned. That’s all you need to do to sanitize and disinfect the inside of your brewer, The outside we will cover in a minute.

Is there anything more you can do to sanitize your coffee maker?

 

Using hydrogen peroxide to clean your Keurig coffee maker.

Yes, you can go one step further.

Another anti-bacterial you can use is hydrogen peroxide. It is very effective at killing unwanted organisms, mold, algae and bacteria-  and is not toxic or caustic when very diluted.

It is an oxidizer, though. That means it can oxidize or corrode the metal parts of your brewer. So, don’t leave it sit too long in the machine and make sure you rinse out the machine thoroughly.

Hydrogen peroxide has a couple of advantages over white vinegar…

First, it has no odor and using it generally acts as a deodorizer.

Second, it has a taste very close to water itself. This means it will not leave behind residues that will affect taste.

In fact, hydrogen peroxide generally neutralizes both odor and taste by oxidizing and destroying components that may cause bad odor and taste, like bacteria, for example.

How do you use hydrogen peroxide to clean your Keurig coffee maker?

Simply repeat the steps used in descaling your Keurig brewer with distilled white vinegar. We will give you those steps again replacing the vinegar with hydrogen peroxide.

Step by step using hydrogen peroxide

These is the step by step method for models with a larger removable water reservoir.

  • Empty the water reservoir on your Keurig.
  • Remove any filter and filter unit from your reservoir if you have one installed.
  • Use a large coffee cup or container for hot liquids and pour about 5 oz of hydrogen peroxide 5% and pour it into your reservoir. Do this twice (10 oz of hydrogen peroxide total) for non pour-in type reservoirs – the removable type.  ****Just use the cheap hydrogen peroxide found at your local drug store *** 
  • Fill that same large coffee cup with clean water you would normally use for brewing your coffee. And do this twice also for non pour-in reservoir type units.
  • Place the reservoir back on the brewer, and make sure your Keurig brewer is powered on.
  • Empty the K-cup pod holder – do NOT place a pod in the holder, leave it empty.
  • Place an empty cup (10 oz or larger) and brew a 10 oz size cup. Do this until the brewer says to add water. 
  • Now let it set at least 20 minutes – that is all it needs. Don’t let it sit for more than 1 hour.
  • After letting it sit with the hydrogen peroxide solution, empty the water reservoir and this time fill it with clean water. Run as many cups through the machine as necessary (without using a k cup pod) until needing to add water.
  • You may want to repeat the last step to insure that you have removed all of the hydrogen peroxide solution from the brewer.
  • You are now ready to brew coffee as you normally would.

 

How Keurig recommends cleaning their coffee makers.

If you visit the Keurig website and look for (or Google it) how to clean a Keurig coffee brewer, you will get a page on how to descale a Keurig Brewer.

Is descaling and cleaning the same thing according to Keurig? Well, sort of.

In the Keurig recommended cleaning process they suggest using a combination of descaling solution and water, about a 50/50 combination.

Keurig emphasizes the need to descale your Keurig brewer, but not so much the need to clean it or sanitize it, meaning kill the germs and mold.

Will using the descale solution also sanitize the machine? This is uncertain with the Keurig brand descaling solution, because it was hard to determine what ingredients are in the Keurig brand solution.

After some searching, we did come up with the basic ingredients.

What are the basic ingredients in the Keurig brand descaling solution?
Short answer: Citric acid, Silicic acid, Phosphates, Bleaching Agents, and Water. Get the details below.

Mostly, Citric Acid, about 50% or more. That means that more than half the solution is made up of citric acid. It’s a great descaling agent and is natural.

Silicic Acid, about 3%. Less than 3% of the solution is silicic acid. Silicic acid is “a weakly acidic colloidal hydrated form of silica made by acidifying solutions of alkali metal silicates.” This acts as a stabilizing agent.

Phosphates and Bleaching Agents, about 5%. Phosphates are a salt or ester of phosphoric acid. Phosphoric acids are used to enhance flavor in foods and are considered harmless. This and other bleaching agents are combined as the cleaning (not descaling) agents included in the descaling solution.

And the rest… water.

Keurig claims their solution will descale, remove calcium and other scale (mineral deposits) that may build up inside of the brewer internal parts and tank. (which we believe it does a good job) But is says nothing about cleaning any other elements like mold buildup.

Does the Keurig descaling solution also sanitize? Well, it may, because it does contain bleaching agents and phosphates- but Keurig makes no claims that it sanitizes or disinfects.

Keurig also makes no claims on their website that their descaling solution is all natural or non-toxic. Some of the bleaching agents may be toxic. And the phosphates are not very desirable either.

What does Keurig say about cleaning mold and germs from their coffee makers?. Well, nothing.

You can make up your own mind about how natural and chemical free you want Keurig cleaning experience to be. Or it may boil down to frequent cleaning and how cost effective you want your cleaning solution to be.

Either way, both ways of cleaning and descaling work well – it is up to you.

 

Cleaning the external parts of your Keurig.

You have cleaned the internal parts of your Keurig. Now what about the external parts, like the reservoir, the pod holder, and the drip tray?

Easy.  Simply remove all the parts that you can.

Remove the reservoir and lid and then detach any water filter from inside it.

Remove the drip tray and separate any parts.

Remove the pod holder. It may not look like it will come out, but it does. Keurig has instructions on how to do this on their website.

All of the removed parts can go into your dishwasher. Most parts of most Keurig models allow for sticking them is a dishwasher.

If you don’t want to chance it, then simply wash them with dish soap and water as you would any dishes. Scrub them good.

And do not forget to rinse all external parts thoroughly, especially the water reservoir. Leaving behind soap residue will affect the taste of your coffee.

 

What you should NOT do to clean your Keurig.

 

DO NOT try using alcohol to clean your brewer internal parts!

Even diluted alcohol… and here is why.

It can be dangerous to put alcohol in a Keurig machine because of the alcohol vapors. As the Keurig heats the solution of water and alcohol it produces alcohol vapors – even when diluted. (We know this is true because we performed a little experiment in a pan on a stove.)

The alcohol vapor comes out of the solution along with the water vapor (steam), and it will catch fire. You can’t light the liquid solution on fire to save your life – but – those alcohol vapors catch easily.

It is possible that a spark or static spark or something else could cause vapors to ignite and cause a fire or explosion in your Keurig. We admit it is unlikely, but possible. (yes, we know there are Keurig-like alcohol beverage machines)

We do not recommend using ammonia to clean your Keurig.

It will be difficult to totally remove the ammonia odor and taste from your machine.

Don’t use household cleaners to clean your Keurig.

Household cleaner may do a great job at killing off bacteria, mold and algae – but they leave behind residues and chemical odors that you do not want inside your brewer and getting into your coffee. Oh, and then there are those potentially toxic residues left behind.

Can you use dish soap inside your Keurig brewer?

No way. The foaming agents will cause havoc and again the residues will be very difficult to get out of the machine.

 

Regular maintenance of your Keurig coffee brewer

Keurig recommends regular descaling using their brand descaling solution about every 3 to 6 months.

We think every 3 to 6 months is a good interval between each descaling of your brewer, whether you use the Keurig brand solution or white vinegar.

Considering that every descaling is also cleaning and sanitizing the internal parts, no more than 6 months is probably best even if you are using very clean water.

You may want to coordinate changing your water filter (if you have one) in your brewer with descaling your brewer.

The external parts and reservoir really should be cleaned at least every 3 months, or as often as you wish.

Don’t forget that there are 2 needles that puncture the K cup pods. Each can use regular checking and cleaning. Every 3 to 6 months is good for doing this.

Keurig 2.0

What Is the Keurig 2.0 Brewing System?

Short answer:

The Keurig 2.0 is a brewing system that features K Cup pod scanning technology. It restricts usage to Keurig licensed pods, but it also automates functionality to control brew temperature and brew size for extra large mug sized single serve pods or 4 cup carafe pods – as well as brewing a better cup of coffee.


The long answer…

Why the Keurig 2.0 system came to be

The growing popularity of Keurig and other pod based coffee machines has led to the rise of many producers of unlicensed K Cup pods. Licensing, however, has not really been an issue of since the K Cup patent ran out in earlier years.

More and more companies are now selling what has become the standard for coffee pods – the K Cup pod.

The end of the patent on the K Cup in September of 2012 and the growing market of non Keurig produced K Cup pods caused concern for Keurig and their business model going forward. So, in the fall of 2014, Keurig debuted their Keurig 2.0 brewing system.

This system featured pod label scanning technology. They featured this technology on all of their new models and all new K Cups being made by or licensed by Keurig.

2.0 brewing technology described

The technology behind the Keurig 2.0 system was quite different from the standard Keurig models of before.

It was designed to do a couple of jobs and it all starts with scanning the lid of the K Cup pod. One of the jobs was to make a better cup of coffee.

It was described this way by an official Keurig statement…
“In order for us to deliver the best experience within our most advanced system to date, Keurig 2.0 features smart technology that reads the pack (pod) lid and recognizes the type of beverage pack (pod) that has been inserted. This technology offers distinct consumer benefits of automatic adjustment of brew temperature and size control depending on if a K-Cup pack (pod) or K-Carafe pack (pod) is inserted, which ensures a quality brewing experience and allows for the same one-touch simplicity consumers love about Keurig. Every K-Cup pack (pod) beverage option and brand that was available for previous Keurig brewers — and many new additions — is available for the new Keurig 2.0 system.”

Yes, the 2.0 system will read the pod lid and automatically determine the amount of water needed for brewing and automatically determine the correct temperature of the water for brewing. This applied for larger sizes of pods like the K Carafe pod or the larger pods for mugs. But, it also applied to the regular size K Cup pods as well, each having its’ own brew temperature and possibly brew size.

The other, not so publicized job of the 2.0 brewing system was to determine if the K Cup was licensed by Keurig. This incorporated the use of Digital Rights Management computer chips to read the infrared printing on the pod lid and then allow the unit to continue with brewing.

If the pod did not have the proper licensing requirements imprinted on the label, then the unit would not function. And in fact, early Keurig models featuring the 2.0 system will not function at all if non 2.0 K Cup pods are placed in the unit.

Problems with 2.0 system

As Keurig was claiming their new K-Cup system would result in a better cup of coffee, some customers became frustrated. The Keurig 2.0 frustrated customers by rejecting third-party coffee, older K-cups, or reusable pods.

On the Keurig website, Keurig answers this question this way…

“Do I need to buy special pods for Keurig® Plus Series / Keurig® 2.0 brewers?
In order to deliver the perfect cup, mug, or carafe every time, your Keurig® Plus Series or Keurig® 2.0 brewer must recognize the K-Cup®, Vue®, K-Mug® or K-Carafe® pod that has been inserted. Therefore, Keurig® cannot guarantee that pods not recognized by the brewer will work. Look for the Keurig® logo on your favorite pod varieties to ensure a delicious cup every time. However, our My K-Cup® Reusable Coffee Filter accessory is available for purchase separately, and gives you the flexibility to brew the ground coffee of your choice.”

Many customers saw it as a scheme to force the use of expensive Keurig K Cups and make more money for Keurig. Also, customers didn’t appreciate being limited on the varieties of the coffee or tea they can use.

Also unusable were the re-usable My K Cup also produced by Keurig in earlier years because they had not made a re-usable K Cup that had the printing for licensing on it – nor was it clear they intended to. After all, having a re-usable K Cup meant that Keurig owners could elect any brand of coffee they could put into the re-usable pod.

The biggest immediate negative reaction to the 2.0 system was by users of the Keurig My K Cup. Keurig soon relented by producing a re-usable My K Cup that worked in the 2.0 models.

Keurig tried to put off concerns of consumers relating to the strict enforcement of non licensed K Cups by promoting the 2.0 system as a better cup of coffee with smart brewing technology. They also made attempts to exchange older K Cups for new 2.0 K Cups for those customers who had older K Cups that would not work in the new models.

And then the lawsuits started. Many cases dealt with anti-trust issues while other cases were about overzealous patent infringement suits brought by Keurig surrounding the 2.0 issue.

Which Keurig 2.0 models do not allow unlicensed K Cups?

Here is a list of models – that we know of – that had the 2.0 brewing system that did not allow unlicensed K Cup pods and made by Keurig:

K200, K250, K300, K350, K400, K425, K450, K475, K525, K525C, K545, K550, K575

Workarounds for the older 2.0 models

Here are the hacks to get around the bad part of the 2.0 system, the restrictive pods part.

Official Ring Hack for 2.0

One of the simplest solutions is peeling the lid from a used 2.0 licensed K Cup pod and then cutting out the inner circle. This will leave the outer ring of the lid. Take the ring and place it on top of a non 2.0 unofficial pod. The scanner will then read the pasted on “official” ring and then function – but keep in mind that it may function for brew temperature and size for the pasted on lid type of coffee pod.

Some have even discovered ways to fix on the official ring to the machine itself so that it stays on all the time.

Magnet Hack for 2.0

There is also a magnet hack for the 2.0 that worked on some models. This involves taking a small magnet and placing it inside the unit near where the pod is placed.

Once the magnet is placed, it will allow any pod or no pod to be used and…. It will also give you access to a unique menu system in the Keurig! Very cool.

You can check out the magnet hack in this video….

Product Hacks

There were some hacks that involved products you could buy. However, most of those were challenged in court by Keurig. If you can find any of these product hacks, they may work for you.

Like a couple of competing K Cup pod makers came up with pods that would work with the Keurig 2.0. Another was the Freedom Clip, which allowed the Keurig 2.0 models to allow any type of pod.

Where the 2.0 brewing system stands

When Keurig began to suffer on its’ bottom line, they started to change their tune about the 2.0 brewing system and shutting out unlicensed K Cup pods.

The most current Keurig models on their website [May 2019] do not feature the 2.0 technology and brewing system, but some models do utilize it. Some advanced models do still have the technology, but it seems only for allowing automatic brew temperature and size.

All models now allow for any K Cup, both the Keurig licensed K Cups with the 2.0 labels and the older (1.0) or off-brand K Cups.

Takeaways

The Keurig 2.0 brewing system was and is really an non event. It did not prevent the sale and use of unlicensed K Cups. Nor did it do anything outstanding for the quality of single serve coffee brewing (although some reviewers do express that the coffee tastes better with 2.0).

The end result was that you can use any K Cup pod in any Keurig machine – whether the model allows it or if you need to use a hack.
There are still a few 2.0 models out there for sale online that that do not allow unlicensed pods. And some of those models are very nice working units.

If you do end up with one of those, the simplest hack is probably the best. Or you can just buy the Keurig licensed pods.

And again, if you are buying the latest Keurig model, you don’t need to worry about what K Cup pods you buy or use.