How Does A Keurig Coffee Maker Work

How Does A Keurig Coffee Maker Work?

Last updated on March 3rd, 2024 at 11:35

Sometimes a Keurig looks and feels like a box of coffee magic! Press a button and coffee appears! But, how does a Keurig coffee maker work?

This article discusses and demystifies what is happening inside your Keurig single serve coffee maker and how it brews a cup of coffee so quickly.

Keep reading to find out how these single serve coffee machines work!

How Does A Keurig Coffee Maker Work?

Keurig K-Cup Coffee Makers And Keurig Brewers are popular coffee makers for a lot of reasons, one principal reason being the convenience and speed in which coffee is brewed and the quality of the coffee.

With Keurig K-Cups from a host of respected brands like Peet’s, Maxwell House, Starbucks, Dunkin’s and, even Campbell’s (for soup).

It is not a surprise that they are very popular. While being able to brew a cup of coffee in about a minute, it is not instant coffee as no soluble coffee is used.

Real coffee is brewed in a Keurig coffee maker, and real good coffee at that!

To simplify things, a Keurig coffee maker works in a similar way as a pot of coffee from a drip coffee machine is brewed, just on a much smaller scale.

When you insert a K-Cup Pod into your machine and press the brew button, two sharp hollow needles pierce the top and the bottom of the disposable coffee pods.

A jet of hot water is forced into the top of foil-topped plastic pod and coffee brews and the hot beverage is dispensed via the exit needle that pierces the bottom of the plastic pod and into the waiting cup below via the spout.

The beauty of these single-cup coffee makers is the ability to make gourmet quality coffee with zero barista skills and quickly. If you are in a rush – no problem! In just a minute, your coffee is ready.

You can order and buy coffee pods that are perfect for your own taste, be it a latte to a caramel macchiato, an iced coffee or cold brew, it is entirely up to you. You even have a choice of roasts from light to dark and even decaffeinated options.

Be sure to recycle the leftover waste. If you are a keen gardener with green fingers, save the used coffee grounds for fertilizing your soil or for seedlings. The foil caps and plastic body can be recycled.

How A Keurig Coffee Maker Works
How A Keurig Coffee Maker Works Is Not Complicated

Read: How to use a mini Keurig

How Does Keurig Heat Up Water So Fast?

Keurig’s single serve coffee makers heat water in very much a similar way to which all other single serve coffee machines do. There are two ways in which Keurig coffee makers heat the water quickly.

  • 1. They pass small amounts of water through the water pipes which are located next to a heating element which heats the water.
  • 2. They keep the water hot at all times, almost within brewing temperature, and keep cycling this hot water from the container in which it is held through the pipe which is located near to the heating element when the temperature drops below a certain temperature threshold.

The result of this process is that the water is always hot and almost always at brewing temperature. It only needs to be heated a little if it is not at that perfect brewing temperature when you want to make a cup of coffee.

How Does A Keurig Measure Water?

Your Keurig machine has a pre-measured container inside the machine where the capacity is equal to the largest cup size that it can pour.

It keeps the maximum amount hot at all times. The amount of water that flows into your cup of coffee is determined by the flow rate and the amount of time that the electric valve remains open. This is all calculated and tested by the engineers during the design, testing and prototype phase of the coffee machines invention and is correlated to which cup size you have selected.

Complex calculations, sophisticated electronics and software are involved to get the flow rate and precise amount of time that the valve has to be open, and how long the water pump has to pump the water for and at what pressure.

Read: Keurig one cup instruction

How K Cups Are Designed

Your K-Cup coffee is available in small environmentally friendly recyclable plastic and fully disposable coffee pods.

The top is sealed with a foil topping, and the seal is made from foil. Save them as you can take them to your recycling center or deposit them at the many supermarkets and outlets that have a special collection bin for coffee pods.

The ground coffee, you can either recycle yourself as there are many alternative uses for used ground coffee including as an insecticide, fertilizer, skin or hair scrub and many other uses.

You can also take your used coffee pods with the used grounds to your recycling center.

When the K-Cups are manufactured, just before the K-Cups are sealed, the oxygen is removed. This is done to prolong the life of the coffee grounds in the pods. By removing the oxygen, the possibility of the grounds oxidizing is eliminated.

The oxygen is removed and replaced with nitrogen to help preserve the content. The seal, alongside the body of the K-Cup is to protect the contents from moisture and light.

The coffee grounds used in the K-cups range from brand to brand and can be average coffee beans like Maxwell house to top quality beans from exotic locations like Sumatra, Costa Rica and Colombia with higher end brands like Starbucks.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Does A Keurig Coffee Maker Work?

Are K-Cup Worth It?

Yes, your Keurig single serve coffee maker is worth it, and it may even pay for itself many times over if you are a regular at Starbucks as you can use Starbucks coffee pods to brew your favorite drinks from the gourmet coffee giant.

You can also make coffee mornings or afternoons and your dinner parties the talk of the town with your tasty gourmet quality coffee drinks.

How Does A Keurig Dispense Water?

If you need your Keurig to dispense hot water, and it does not have this option, you can lift and then close the handle and insert a clean empty Keurig pod be it an old regular one or a reusable one. Press brew as if you were going to brew a coffee and hot water will be dispensed.

How a Keurig does this in basic terms is the water pump draws water from the water reservoir and through a thin metal pipe that is located near a heating element that heats the water which then passes through a nozzle with a fine and sharp hollow needle and into the K-cup and then out the bottom via an exit needle and into your cup.

Do K Cups Only Work In Keurigs?


K cups are specifically designed for the use in Keurig coffee makers. They cannot be used in a Nespresso or other brand of coffee maker.

Read: How does a Keurig work?

What Is The Most Popular Keurig Machine?

The most popular Keurig based on sales volume is their Keurig K-Elite model. It has more options than other models and gives the option to brew a variety of cup sizes from 6, 8, 10 and 12 ounce options.

You can also brew using your own coffee using your own coffee grounds with a reusable Keurig K-Cup coffee pod, which is sold separately.

Can I Run Soapy Water Through My Keurig To Clean It?

Yes, you can use soapy water to clean your Keurig, but if you use too much you can end up running many flushing cycles to remove the bubbles and soapy taste from your machine. I do not advise cleaning with soapy water as it has no ability at all to remove mineral build up or lime scale.

I recommend the use of distilled white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda for cleaning your machine.

What Does The K Stand For In K Pod?

The K in K pod stands for Keurig, the name of the brand that makes the machines that they are brewed in.

The use of the word K is both great for branding and as an easy reminder of which machines they are compatible with and avoids any confusion and accidentally buying the wrong pods. 

Final Thoughts – How Does A Keurig Coffee Maker Work?

You shouldn’t be scratching your head and wondering how does a Keurig coffee maker work after reading this article – it’s all very simple really and not at all complicated.

The important thing to know is that the coffee is freshly brewed coffee and not instant coffee and your machine keeps water hot in a way that is not too dissimilar to how a boiler works.

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or, mentioning your name and location

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