How Does K Cup Work How Does A Keurig Mini Work

How Does K Cup Work? How Does A Keurig Mini Work?

Last updated on March 3rd, 2024 at 11:33

Single serve coffee makers are popular at home and in the workplace but what are Keurig K cups and how does K Cup work?

In this article we take a good look at the functionality of both of and reveal how it gets your water hot so quickly!

Keep reading to find out how Keurig K cups work!

How Does K Cup Work

Your Keurig K-Cup coffee maker can brew a cup of coffee in less than 60 seconds but is not to be confused with instant coffee as instant coffee and Keurig K Cups are two different things.

The K-cup is a sealed cup that has fresh ground coffee and single use paper filter. Your cup of coffee is brewed in a similar way that a fresh pot of coffee is, just on a much smaller scale and using a lot more technology!

Let’s don our X-ray glasses and X-Ray K-Cup Coffee pod and machine and talk about how does K Cup work and what happens when you brew a K cup coffee pod.

When you insert a K cup coffee pod into your brewer and push the brew button, two sharp needles will puncture the top and the bottom of the K cup coffee pod, breaking the freshness seal.

A jet of hot water is forced into the coffee Keurig’s trademark coffee pods and at the bottom of the coffee pod, hot freshly brewed coffee is dispensed via the filter and into your mug.

The process is the same regardless of the brand of coffee or type of beverage inside it, or if you are using a reusable K-cup pod coffee or regular disposable coffee pods.

The huge plus point of the various single serving coffee makers like Keurig K cups and Nespresso with their coffee pods and capsules is the ability to brew a gourmet cup of coffee with no complications at all.

They are perfect for people who want that Starbucks experience at home but are not at all fans of the art of brewing a great cup of coffee. They are also great for those in a rush as a cup is brewed in less than a minute.

A Keurig is preferred by many coffee lovers due to having literally countless coffees in a variety of flavors, teas and hot chocolate from a wide range of different brands.

There are over 60 brands that produce 600+ different coffee options in total. They are easy to buy online from Amazon, Walmart, Target, eBay and of course convenience stores and supermarkets in your city.

How Does K Cup Work
K Cup Rack

Read: How to use a mini Keurig

The Anatomy Of A Keurig K-Cup Coffee Pod

Breaking down the anatomy of a K Cup, it is better to break it down into two parts, the inside and the outside.

The Outside Of A K Cup

The cup is made from food-safe plastic with the purpose of being resistant to heat, light and moisture, which are three elements that will lead to the deterioration of the coffee inside.

Due to environmental concerns, all K-cups are fully disposable. Although this varies from country to country, I have seen collection points at Supermarkets for disposable coffee pods of all types and brands in Spain, UK, France, Germany, Holland, Singapore, Japan and South Korea.

The Inside Of A K Cup

Inside a K cup you will find ground coffee and a paper filter. In almost all instances, the instant coffee filter inside K cups are recyclable paper filters. They are fixed to the bottom using a food-safe adhesive.

While the plastic exterior and foil seal protect the coffee from exposure to moisture, light and heat, further steps are needed to ensure the coffee remains fresh.

The first step is permitting the coffee beans to degas and release the carbon dioxide that is a byproduct of the roasting process.

The second step is to add the coffee grounds to the K cup and use a process that removes the air and all the oxygen and replaces it with nitrogen and seals the K cup.

Removing oxygen helps to prevent the coffee from oxidization and spoiling while the nitrogen helps to prevent the coffee from going off.

How Does A Keurig Mini Work?

A Keurig mini works in the same way as other Keurig K cup machines. It starts by drawing water from the water reservoir then heats the water and then pumps the hot water to the K-Cup chamber.

The chamber where your K-cup is inserted has a hollow needle that punctures the foil cap and another hollow needle that pierces the bottom.

The needle that punctures the top injects hot water to the K cup and the brewing process starts. The bottom needle takes the brewed coffee from the pod and into your cup of coffee.

How Does A Keurig Mini Work
A Keurig Mini

Read: How does a Keurig work?

How Does Keurig Measure Water?

The amount of water that is dispensed by your Keurig depends on which size button is pressed by you. The amount of water is measured by the presence of pre-measured containers in the machine.

The water flows to the pre–measured containers which have an electric valve which is connected to the cup size button. The selected cup size sends a signal to the valve which opens the flow to a pre-measured cup.

The flow rate is measured and calculated how long the valve must be open for and how long the pump needs to be on to allow the water to flow to the pre-measured container.

During the process, the water passes through narrow metal pipes that are located near to a heating element.

How Does Keurig Heat Water?

The way that a Keurig heats water is fairly similar to other single-serve coffee machines. There are two ways in which a Keurig coffee maker can quickly heat water.

  • The first way in which water is heated is from it passing through small metal tubes which are in close proximity to a heating element. A Keurig heats the water so quickly due to only a small amount of water passing through.
  • They heat up the water on demand. Coffee machines that use this function keep a small amount of water, in the case of a Keurig, just enough for one cup of coffee, hot at all times. The water is then heated up only a little more to the perfect brewing temperature. This is why you must keep your machine plugged in at all times.

How Do Reusable K-Cups Work?

The first step is to make sure that your reusable K-cup coffee pod is compatible with your Keurig machine.

There are many available from plastic ones to better, more durable ones made from stainless steel. They all have the same basic format:

  • A body where the coffee and filter go.
  • A filter.
  • A lid.

The lid can be various styles from a plain sticker to foil and even a metal screw-in lid.

Remove the K-cup housing that is inside the coffee machine by opening the lid and take it out from the top. You may need to push down on the bottom of the housing. When you push it, it should pop up.

With your reusable K cup coffee pod, remove the lid and add two tablespoons of your preferred coffee or your favorite coffee and add the coffee grounds.

Close the lid of the reusable coffee pod properly.

Insert your reusable K-cup into the chamber and press brew.

When your coffee is ready, remove your reusable K-cup and prepare it for its next use. Enjoy your coffee.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Does K Cup Work

How Many Times Can You Use K-cup Pod?

You can only use your K-Cup coffee pod once. The coffee pods are for single use only. This type of brewing using coffee pods be it a K-Cup or a Nespresso is single serve, single use only!

What Is The Difference Between Coffee Pods And K-Cups?

Coffee pods are different from each other and designed for different machines. A K-Cup is designed for Keurig coffee machines while Coffee Pods are designed for Nespresso machines. They are unfortunately not interchangeable.

A K-cup is a small plastic cup filled with coffee grounds and a coffee filter while a coffee pods are round and flat with coffee grounds that are wrapped in filter paper.

What Happens If You Use The Same K Cup Twice?

If you use your K Cup for a second time, you will end up with a weak and watery cup of coffee as all the flavor has been extracted from the first round of brewing.

A Keurig K-Cup is designed specifically to brew a strong coffee only during the first time of brewing. If you can get a good or semi-good cup of coffee from a second round of brewing, there is something wrong with your machine. You should get all the flavor into the first cup.

Is It Cheaper To Use Reusable K Cups?


when you make a direct and fair comparison comparing “apples to apples” (to use a term) and comparing the same brand of pods and coffee grounds you end up with a cheaper cup of coffee.

Single use pods cost US$0.67 per cup while the average rice of a cup using coffee grounds and a reusable coffee pod is US$0.26 a saving of US$0.41 per cup. A saving of US$12.30 per month and US$149.65 per year.

Calculation based on drinking one cup of coffee per day.

Are K-Cups Just Instant Coffee?

No. K-Cups and other coffee pods and capsules are not instant coffee as they use ground coffee, and in most cases high quality ground coffee and filter paper. In a sense they are a lot closer to high tech filter coffee than they are instant coffee. The coffee in these capsules, coffee pods and K Cups are not soluble.

Final Thoughts – How Does K Cup Work?

If you have read this far, you should have a good idea of how does K Cup work and an understanding of what is going on inside your single serve coffee machine.

If you love coffee, join our online coffee community on Facebook/Meta and share your fave coffee memes, jokes and crazily tasty coffee creations and recipes.

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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