How Do I Get the Best Flavor from a Keurig Coffeemaker? 

You love your Keurig coffeemaker. It’s gotten you through many long days when you otherwise would have passed out at your desk. Lately, though, your Keurig isn’t making the high-caliber coffee you know it’s capable of. How can you enhance its flavor?

Here are some tips for boosting the flavor of a Keurig coffeemaker:

  • Buy good K-cups
  • Preheat the Keurig 
  • Keep your Keurig clean
  • Reduce the brew setting
  • Add salt
  • Pour into an insulated cup
  • Make a double chamber
  • Pure water only
  • But not too much water
  • Try a dark roast
  • Use spices

Ahead, we’ll delve a lot deeper into each of the 11 tips above so your Keurig coffee will be the best-tasting brew on the block! 

11 Tips for the Best Flavor from a Keurig

Buy Good K-Cups

Although finding cheap K-Cups can seem like a major score, you might want to refrain from purchasing them. K-Cup quality fluctuates considering how many coffee brands are under the K-Cup umbrella these days.

If you’ve recently found yourself none too pleased with the quality of your Keurig coffee, then switch to Arabica bean K-Cups. This doesn’t have to be a permanent change, but only until you’re happy with your Keurig’s flavor again. 

Keurig coffeemakers are sometimes known for producing bitter-tasting coffee but brewing pure Arabica beans can counteract that. 

You will usually end up spending more money on K-Cups with 100-percent Arabica beans, but good-tasting coffee never comes cheap. 

You can even ditch the K-Cups altogether and add your own coffee grounds to a Keurig. You’d need a reusable coffee filter found on Amazon if this is your brewing method. Double-check that the filter you select is compatible with Keurig coffee machines.

Using your own coffee grounds gives you the freedom to determine the type of roast you want and how well-grounded the coffee beans will be. You should be much more enchanted with the coffee flavor! 

Preheat the Keurig

This little hack can make a big difference in whether your Keurig coffee tastes delectable or disgusting. 

If you’ve brewed your own coffee for a while, then you’re well aware that coffee brews best at 205 degrees Fahrenheit. The problem is though that most coffeemakers don’t allow water to get that hot, and that includes Keurigs. 

Those coffeemakers only reach temperatures of 195 degrees max, and yours might be set lower still at 192 degrees. 

Since Keurigs are known for fast brewing, the combination of less time in the machine plus a weaker brewing temperature can produce coffee that’s often lacking flavor. 

While it would be great if you could boost the internal temperature of your Keurig, that’s simply not safe. What you can do instead is make the machine warmer, which is the next best thing.

Turn on your Keurig and run its hot water cycle. This is like preheating the Keurig. After the hot water cycle wraps up, begin brewing immediately. You should notice an improvement in the flavor of your coffee. 

Keep Your Keurig Clean

When was the last time you’ve cleaned your Keurig?

A dirty coffee machine is not going to produce nice-tasting coffee. It has residues of old coffee oils which will undoubtedly influence the flavor  give it a bitter taste.  

Further, scale buildup can accumulate.

Scale, which is short for limescale, absolutely affects the flavor of your coffee. That’s not only in Keurig machines but all coffeemakers. If too much scale accumulates, then the water can’t reach the optimal brewing temperature.

Since water temperatures are already an issue in Keurig machines, the problem would become even more profound. Your coffee would taste very watered-down. 

As we wrote about here, every brew cycle you want to wash it out. The rest of the coffee machine including the removable parts such as the water reservoir, drip tray, and pod holder should receive a deep cleaning at least monthly.

Besides soap, white vinegar can also be used, just be sure to throughly rinse after to avoid a vinegar taste. Other other more natural cleaning products, click here.

Table showing how often you should clean the different parts of your Keurig machine.

To control scale, use a descaling solution every three months. On the blog, we have plenty of product recommendations for coffee pot cleaners and descalers for you to choose from! 

Reduce the Brew Setting

K-Cups fall short since they contain so few coffee grounds.

Many people who make coffee prefer at least 20 grams of coffee grounds in the coffeemaker while some K-Cups contain only 11.1 grams. That’s a deficiency of nearly 10 grams!

If you still want to use K-Cups out of speed and convenience (we can’t fault you there), you can at least ensure that you’re getting the most flavor out of them as possible. To do that, check the brew settings on your Keurig machine.

If your Keurig offers you a variety of brew sizes, then automatically switch to the smallest setting. This might seem like you’re going to get even less coffee, but that’s not what’s happening. 

What you’re doing is increasing the total dissolved solids or TDS. A higher TDS concentration means your coffee has more grounds per gram. 

If you brew a 12-ounce cup of coffee using a K-Cup with only 11.1 grams of coffee grounds, the TDS will be 0.8 percent.

The Specialty Coffee Association or SCA has coffee standards that dictate that coffee should contain between 1.15 and 1.35 percent TDS to meet golden cup qualifications. 

By switching your Keurig’s brew settings to eight ounces, now that same K-Cup with 11.1 grams of coffee grounds has a TDS of 1 percent. 

Is that within SCA’s standards? No, not quite, but it’s a heck of a lot closer than only 0.8 percent TDS!

Add Salt

This goes back to what we mentioned earlier about how bitter-tasting Keurig coffee can sometimes be. 

Rather than dump your cup down the sink and brew again hoping the coffee will taste better the next time, you can save your current cup.

All you need to do is balance out the bitterness is a pinch of salt. 

If you overdo it, then your coffee won’t be bitter anymore, but it will be salty and clumpy. That’s somehow even worse.

Salt is also a handy ingredient for keeping your coffeemaker clean, so it’s always good to have in your pantry at work and at home! 

Table showing how much salt is needed for your coffee. 
slightly bitter: 1/4 tsp. salt
moderately bitter: 1/2 tsp salt
very bitter: 1 tsp salt

Read more on why people add salt to their coffee.

Pour Coffee Into an Insulated Cup

The only thing worse than cool coffee is cold coffee. Well, unless you’re drinking iced coffee, that is.

For regular hot coffee though, once it loses that heat, it becomes almost unbearable to drink. Since Keurigs never reach very high heat anyway, the heat loss can occur much faster compared to coffeemakers that brew at 200 degrees or higher.

Don’t use a regular ol’ mug when you’re pouring your Keurig brew. Rather, invest in an insulated mug. You can enjoy hot coffee for hours, which will make drinking your Keurig K-Cups much more delightful. My absolute favorite that I use everyday is a YETI Rambler. You can check it out here if you are interested.

At the very least, when you pour your coffee into a non-insulated mug, rinse it with hot water from the tap first. This will prevent the hot coffee from going straight into a cold ceramic mug, where it will rapidly begin cooling. 

If you’re taking your hot cup of coffee outdoors, learn ways to keep it warm when venturing out of the house.

Make a Double Chamber

On the note of insulation, here’s another cool trick that can make the coffee from your Keurig machine taste better. 

Take one of your used K-Cups and insert the plastic cartridge into the reusable filter you bought. Then brew your coffee in the Keurig like normal. 

Now that the filter has a double layer, the water that enters the Keurig stays in the filter for longer. More water can saturate the coffee grounds and allow them to extract. You’ll get a fuller degree of flavor. 

Even before the brewing ends, you should know that your coffee is going to come out better from the smell alone. The brewing coffee will smell a lot more aromatic than it usually does, which will have you salivating and eager to drink some! 

Use Pure Water Only

We’ve talked a lot about water temperature in relation to your Keurig, but we haven’t yet touched on the quality of water that could be going into your coffee machine. 

If you use tap water, yours could be soft or hard depending on where you live. Hard water contains minerals such as magnesium and calcium that can affect the purity, quality, and flavor of your coffee.

More so, since calcium is a critical ingredient in limescale or scale, your coffee machine can get dirtier faster if your tap water is harder.

A water filter can eliminate these unwanted minerals. Besides enjoying better-tasting coffee from your Keurig, you’ll notice that your glasses and dishware look cleaner. When you wash your hands and shower, your hair, nails, and skin will feel clean and hydrated. 

Springwater is your best option when making coffee in a Keurig since it’s completely pure. Once you switch, you should notice a difference in the quality of your java.

To read more on what type of water you should use in your Keurig, click the link.

But Don’t Use Too Much Water

Although coffee is more water than it is coffee grounds, you don’t want to drown the grounds in water. 

Some people who want to save a few dollars will try to increase a K-Cup’s volume by boosting the water content. All this does is make your coffee taste bland and watery. 

The only way to get more coffee volume out of your K-Cups is to use more K-Cups.

Some of the newer Keurig models have a “strong” button. When pushed, the Keurig slows down the rate at which the water is released into the pod. This allows the coffee grounds to be extracted for a longer amount of time.

To read more on how the “strong” button works click the link.

Try a Dark Roast

Earlier, we recommended using a setting to brew fewer ounces of coffee if you wanted your Keurig coffee to have more flavor. You should also consider the type of roast you’re brewing if a strong depth of flavor is what you’re after.

Dark roast coffee produces the most intense flavors with the least acidity and the heaviest body.

Keurigs especially don’t handle light-roast coffee well. The coffee doesn’t brew long enough for the water to saturate the grounds, so you tend to get poor-tasting coffee. Medium-roast blends don’t fare much better. 

Even if it’s not usually what you drink, try making a dark roast coffee in your Keurig. It should taste a lot better, as the brewing cycle is a little longer and thus the flavor is deeper and more complex.

Okay, but what if you’re not a huge fan of dark coffee? Then in the future, when shopping for light and medium roasts, make sure you only buy very bold blends. 

To read more on the differences between light, medium, and dark roasts, click the link.

Use Spices

We have one last tip for making your Keurig coffee taste better. Enhance the flavor yourself using spices! 

Cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon are highly recommended among coffee lovers. You don’t want to use spices in addition to the usual sugar and creamer you put in your coffee but in lieu of those. 

You’ll reduce the sugars and calories in each cup of coffee and enjoy a more authentic flavor.  

Learn how to infuse your coffee with cinnamon!

Final Thoughts

Single-serve coffee makers are easy to use and brew fast, but they don’t always produce the best-tasting cup of coffee. The tips we provided today are simple, inexpensive, and will lead to changes that will make your Keurig an integral part of your daily routine! 

Most Keurig users make a number of mistakes when brewing their coffee. Be sure to check out “Most Common Mistakes Keurig Users Make” to ensure your coffee is brewing at its best every time.

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