Keurig Prime Problem - Keurig Says Prime And Flashing

Keurig Prime Problem – Keurig Says Prime And Flashing

Last updated on October 24th, 2023 at 18:42

The Keurig Prime Problem is not really a problem, it is an opportunity to maintain your machine, and get better tasting coffee.

All the prime message means is there is something in your Keurig coffee maker that is restricting the flow of water, which is usually the build up of mineral deposits.

Fix it straight away and don’t procrastinate. If you leave it until later and later never comes, you will eventually end up with a coffee maker that doesn’t work or brews half a cup of coffee that flat, luke warm and not a great tasting as it could be.

Keep reading and learn how to fix the Keurig prime problem!

Keurig Prime Problem – What It Is And How To Fix It

When you see that prime error message on your coffee maker, it simply means that the machine is not dispensing water correctly or in the way that it should be.

The Keurig prime problem is something that you can look at as a blessing in disguise as you have the opportunity to fix what is hampering the water flow and get a cleaner and better tasting cup of coffee.

Even though the prime message can be something fairly innocent like a water tank that is out of alignment or a water filter needing to be replaced you should be pro-active and prime your machine and keep it in perfect working order.

Keurig Prime Problem
Keurig Prime Problem Is Not A Problem

Read: What does it mean when the Keurig says prime?

Keurig Says Prime And Flashing

When your Keurig says Prime and is flashing, there is nothing to be concerned about at all, nothing! If you are familiar with Keurigs and perhaps owned an older model the flashing prime message is the new flashing descale light.

It means the same thing – that there is a dirt or calcium build up in your coffee maker, and you need to remove it.

The best way is to start by removing all the removable parts, the pod holder, drip tray, and water reservoir.

Step 1: Clean Your Water Reservoir

A dirty water reservoir is a reason why you might be seeing that prime error. Clean it, and clean it properly.

Unplug your Keurig and remove the water reservoir.

Clean it with hot water and soap. Pay attention to all sides and clean with a non-abrasive cleaning cloth. Focus on the outlets inside your water reservoir, which may have calcium build-up. Use a needle to poke around the needle for a minute or so.

Clean and rinse the water outlets well. I have the habit and good practice of giving the water tank a wipe down with distilled white vinegar on both the inside and outside. The purpose of this is to give it a good shine and to disinfect it.

Rinse well with cold water.

Repeat this process with the other removable parts, pod holder, drip tray. After rinsing, let their air dry before reattaching it to your coffee machine.

Clean Your Water Reservoir
Clean Your Water Reservoir

Clean Your Injection Lines And Needles

This is a step that many coffee lovers forget or skip over when priming their coffee maker. Follow the instructions and get your needles and injection lines clear of coffee grounds, coffee particles and just importantly coffee oils.

Pay attention and be careful as both the entry and exit needles are sharp, very sharp. Wearing protective gloves may be a good idea.

Start by using your Keurig needle maintenance tool and fill it with hot water and put it into the pod holder. Open and close the brew head 5 to 7 times.

This alone will not clean the needles, it will loosen out the dirt in the brewing needle (puncture needle) and exit needle. It is a good starting point.

With a safety pin, unfolded paper clip or sewing needle poke around inside the needles. Spend about a minute on each needle. This step gets them really clean.

But you are not finished yet.

This next step really clears your injection lines of coffee machine of gunk, grime, hard-to-remove calcium build up and coffee oil. Using your needle maintenance tool, fill it with descaling solution or 50% clean water and 50% distilled white vinegar.

Repeat the process of opening and closing the Brew head 5 to 7 times. Remove the needle maintenance tool and wipe clean both needles.

Run A Full Priming Process

Still, the heating element and inner tubing have not been dealt with. These unseen parts are important, very important to deal with.

Will your reservoir with water to the half full mark. Fill the rest of it with distilled white vinegar to the max fill line.

Put an 8-ounce coffee mug below the coffee spout to catch the liquid that comes out.

Start a brew cycle by pressing the brew button on your coffee machine. Discard the contents of your cup when it is full. Stop rest, let your Keurig cool down for 10 to 15 minutes.

The last thing you want is for your Keurig coffee machine to overheat and cause the thermal switch to trip.

Continue until your water reservoir is empty.

Fill the water reservoir with fresh water to the max fill line. Now run flushing cycles until the water reservoir is empty. You may need to refill the water reservoir a few times to flush out the scent and taste of vinegar from your coffee machine.

Again, stop, let your machine rest and make sure that it does not overheat.

Frequently Asked Questions About Keurig Prime Problem

When your Keurig keeps saying prime, it is telling you that there is something that is blocking the water flow in your coffee maker. Most likely the prime message is appearing due to an excess mineral buildup or dirt and calcium build-up in your coffee maker somewhere.

It’s telling you that it is time to give your machine a real good clean to clear the build up.

There are a number of reasons why your Keurig is malfunctioning, from hard water buildup to a blocked needle caused by coffee grounds and coffee particles to a broken water pump or heating element, or, surprisingly common, the thermal switch tripped.

Does A Keurig Have A Reset?

A reset button is something that is missing from Keurig coffee makers. I seriously hope that the engineers at the company add one to future models. Even though the convenience of button is missing you can still reset your Keurig by unplugging it and leaving for 15 to 20 minutes. 

You can also press the eight ounce and ten ounce buttons at the same time and hold for three seconds. 

Both methods will reset your Keurig.

Read: Keurig says prime

How Do I Clean My Keurig Needle?

Cleaning your Keurig needle is easy, and is essential as needle clogging is a problem and a cause of less than perfect coffee brewed by your machine.

Start by seeking out your Keurig needle maintenance tool and fill it with hot water. Place your needle maintenance tool in the pod holder and line it up correctly, as indicated on the tool.

Repeatedly open and close the brew head 5 to 7 times. This will loosen debris and prepare for a much better and deeper clean. Using a sewing needle or a metal paper clip poke around inside the entrance needle (also known as the puncture needle) to free any stuck debris and dirt.

Repeat this process with the exit needle

Wipe the needle clean, both of them and proceed to filling your needle maintenance tool with descaling solution or 50% distilled white vinegar and 50% water. Open and close the brew head 5 to 7 times. This will get your needles and injection lines nice and clean.

It is at this point you should proceed to running a full descaling process on your machine.

It is time to replace your Keurig when it starts to brew sub par coffee, it takes too long to brew a cup of coffee and your coffee comes out luke warm.

All the parts in your Keurig can be replaced: the water pump, the heating element, thermal switch, gaskets and needles. If you find yourself spending too much money on repairs, it might make better economics to buy a new machine.

Is Keurig Repairable?

Yes, your Keurig is repairable. In most cases it is very inexpensive to get it fixed with a replacement part.

Final Thoughts – Keurig Prime Problem

Now that the Keurig prime problem is no longer a problem, you can relax and get straight on with priming your coffee machine.

I strongly encourage you to take a preventative maintenance approach to taking care of your coffee equipment. Although you truly can’t stop the build up of limescale and minerals. You can use a water filter jug to reduce the effect, reducing the amount that gets into your machine in the first place.

Even mineral water has some calcium and minerals that will cause a build up in your machine. You can also run light priming routines every other week with bicarbonate of soda. Use 25% bicarbonate soda and 75% water.

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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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