Whether you love or hate your Keurig, you can’t deny its unbeatable convenience. This single-serve, pod-based coffee maker compliments our modern on-demand, on-the-go lifestyle perfectly. However, there is a trade-off: Keurig-made coffee is weaker and less flavorful than your regular cuppa joe, whether you’re using one of the pre-packaged K-Cups or a reusable coffee filter.
If you’ve already made the commitment to your Keurig, worry not. There are ways to hack your Keurig coffee maker so that you don’t have to choose between flavor and convenience. Here are 7 easy ways to make Keurig coffee taste better.
8 Ways To Improve The Taste of Your Keurig Coffee
Here is how you can squeeze the strongest taste out of any K-cup.
Brew at lower ounce settings.
No matter which size you pick (6oz, 8oz, or 10oz), you use the same number of coffee grounds, so a bigger size will inevitably mean more watered-down coffee. Instead of brewing your regular 10oz cup, go for the 6oz or 8oz cup instead. You’ll notice a significant boost in flavor with this small tweak alone.
Double up your K-cups.
If you’re the kind of person who needs a large coffee every morning just to be functional (like us), you might be a fan of Keurig’s large-size settings. However, this often results in weak, coffee-flavored water. Brew two K-Cups at the lowest setting to get the most flavor and aroma out of each cup.
This way, you can get coffee that packs a more powerful punch, but still at the same size that you need to start your day right.
Pre-Heat your machine – always.
The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is at 205F, but most Keurig machines use a default 192-195F. Combine this with the lightning-fast brewing process, and you get weak-tasting, under-extracted coffee. Later models let you select what temperature you want, but none of them gets close to the optimum temperature.
While you can’t force your Keurig to heat up to a level that it’s not designed to, there are ways to bump up the temp a little bit. Run a hot water cycle without a K-Cup before you brew your coffee, especially if you haven’t used it in a few hours. This will heat up your Keurig and get it hot enough to produce a slightly more flavorful blend.
Add a pinch of salt.
Nothing ruins your day like the taste of bitter coffee first thing in the morning. Once you’ve ruled out the possibility that it’s the coffee itself that’s the issue, it’s very likely that the Keurig brewing process is the culprit.
Smoothen out the taste with a small pinch of salt. A little bit goes a long way! Don’t overdo it, or else you’ll end up with undrinkable coffee. Put just enough to mellow out the acidity, counteract the bitterness, and bring out the coffee’s natural bold flavors.
Select darker roasts.
Light or medium roasts tend to come out very watered-down on Keurigs because the water comes into contact with the coffee for only a few seconds. Upgrade to a dark roast or extra bold blend of coffee, and you’ll never complain about weak Keurig coffee ever again.
Use your own coffee grounds.
Control how much coffee actually goes into your cup by using your own coffee grounds. Yes, you read that right – you don’t have to buy K-Cups to use your Keurig machine. All you need to do is get a reusable, Keurig-compatible coffee filter like the My K-Cup.
You can choose your own roasts, decide the grind, and pack as many coffee grounds as you’d like to create the perfect brew. You’ll have more control over the process, which doesn’t necessarily guarantee amazing flavor, but you’ll be several steps closer to better-tasting coffee.
Use a double chamber.
If you’re already using the My K-Cup with your coffee grounds of choice yet you’re still not seeing any improvement in strength or taste, try to double up the chambers. Put a used, plastic K-Cup into your reusable filter before adding your coffee. This will help trap in the water for longer, allowing more contact with the coffee, and enhancing the extraction process for more aromatic and flavorful brew.
Clean your Keurig regularly.
Oils and debris can build up in your Keurig after frequent use, affecting the taste of your coffee. If you’ve noticed the quality of your coffee steadily declining (even if you’ve tried out our other tips), a thorough clean might help.
Get rid of unpleasant, bitter tastes that are a result of bacteria build-up by washing out your Keurig at least once a month. Fill the water tank with white vinegar, and keep brewing until the vinegar runs out. Then, run a few cycles with water to flush out the vinegary smell. You can also use water with a few drops of lemon juice instead of vinegar.
Anthony is a professional barista in the city of Chicago. He has written for many online publications on various topics related to coffee.