Maximizing the Keurig 2.0

Contributor: Ann Poorboy

If your Keurig is starting to make your coffee taste more like gasoline than coffee, then you need to read this.

Often poor or stale coffee beans are to blame for bad coffee, but sometimes it’s just a matter of maintenance for your Keurig. Here are some additional tips to make your next cup of coffee the best it can be.

HOW TO MAKE KEURIG COFFEE STRONGER

Keurig coffee tastes watery? Is your Keurig making weak coffee? The easiest way to get a good, stronger brew is to use dark roasted k-cups. Light roasts in general (flavored coffee, breakfast blends) make weak coffee. However, if you love really bold, strong coffee, I suggest trying a dark roasted blends in a reusable k-cup. 

If your coffee cup is as big as mine (16 oz), try this after a thorough cleaning. Use setting 5.0 (which is a two step process). After the first run, clean out the k-cup and then refill and go to step two. This gives you almost Barista quality coffee – provided you’re using a quality coffee and your machine is clean.

Strong flavored coffee and blends similar to a Tanzania are too much for a 5 setting.

BEST WATER FOR KEURIG

Water is the second most important thing when it comes to brewing a good cup of coffee. Beans are first. I strongly recommend refilling your water tank each morning with filtered water. When it comes to great coffee you can’t filter enough. I use filtered cold water from the fridge and then my Keurig also has a filter.

The water filter should be replaced every 2 months or 60 tank refills. You can stretch this to three months to be a bit more environmentally conscious, but pushing it beyond that will impact the flavor of your coffee. Avoid using softened or distilled water in Keurig. The sensor in the water reservoir does not detect distilled water very well.

KEURIG COFFEE DOESN’T TASTE GOOD ANYMORE

When Keurig coffee doesn’t taste good anymore, thoroughly clean the k-cup holder, exit needles and the area around the holder thoroughly. I recommend doing this at least weekly.

If your Keurig coffee tastes burnt or bitter 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.

I don’t recommend using soap or cleaners for this process, just hot water and lots of it.

DESCALE YOUR MACHINE EVERY 3 MONTHS

I used to be guilty of skipping this step also. It always shows up when I’m in a hurry and am already in the process of trying to start my day. However, I highly recommend taking the time – you’ll be glad you did. 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. 

KEURIG TEMPERATURE / KEURIG COFFEE NOT HOT ENOUGH

One of the biggest issues with Keurig coffee makers is that they don’t make a steaming cup of coffee. 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 2.0 machine, try the various settings:: Here’s my personal menu:

  • 2.0 – Tanzania, and other blends with woodsy tasting notes
  • 3.0 – Flavored coffees
  • 4.0 – The key to the kingdom for Columbian
  • 5.0 – Twice for espresso blends or a 5.0 followed by a 4.0 for dark blends

You can also try this tip: With an empty reusable k-cup run hot water through first. This will both help clean up a little inside the machine and get the water hotter. Then insert the k-cup to brew your coffee. Rinsing your cup with hot water before you brew will also help keep your coffee hot longer.

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 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.

BEST COFFEE FOR KEURIG

If you’re using reusable k-cups in your Keurig, choosing the right ground coffee is important. If you like your coffee strong or you normally use large cup settings, I recommend using dark roasts. Choose coffee that says dark or French roast. Some good medium roasts can also be a good choice (house blends are usually medium roasts).  Light, breakfast blends are bright and have a light body, and they do taste watery and diluted when brewed at large cup settings, so I would avoid them.

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