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How Do Keurig Coffee Brewers Work?

A good cup of coffee is probably the best thing in the world. I'm always looking for new ways to spice up my cup o' Joe.

Let's break down how Keurig brewers work and how you can go about cleaning them.

Let's break down how Keurig brewers work and how you can go about cleaning them.

What's a Keurig?

Keurig Brewers are amazing one-cup brewers that produce delicious, fresh-tasting coffee one cup at a time. These brewers are hailed all around the States for their efficient coffee-making method.

K-Cups, the little coffee pods specially designed to work with the brewers, are partially the reason for that magic. Beyond the K-Cups, though, the brewers are also finely tuned, efficiently engineered coffee machines.

Read on to find out more about how they work and what sets them apart from run-of-the-mill coffee brewers.

How K-Cups Work

Keurig K-Cups are little pre-packaged, freshly ground coffee pods. Keurig lovers can find K-Cups for just about any type of coffee they prefer, no matter the roast, blend, origin, or flavoring.

These are designed to produce the perfect coffee with minimal fuss. A highly durable plastic layer, a permeable filter layer, and a moisture-proof foil layer build the structure to keep your coffee always tasting fresh.

How the Brewers Work

Beyond the structure of the K-Cups, the brewers are built to withstand high pressures and hot temperatures so that great-tasting coffee is delivered each and every time.

All Keurig brewer models feature a water reservoir that stores large quantities of water—allowing the owner to simply press a button to brew their coffee. No refilling or constant pouring is needed for this efficient brewer.

  1. Once a brew size button is pressed, water is pumped through pressurized hoses into the heating chambers. Here the water is heated to the optimal temperature required to create the best-tasting coffee.
  2. After the water reaches the coffee-brewing temperature, the water passes into a hose at the top of the brewer.
  3. Here, the brewer houses an opening piece in which K-Cups are inserted.
  4. Once the K-Cup is in place, the opening piece is depressed and shut.
  5. Upon doing this, small pins pierce the K-Cup to deliver the heated water and distribute the freshly brewed coffee. One small pin punctures the foil lid, thus releasing hot water into the K-Cup. Another small pin punctures the bottom plastic layer, thus allowing the just-brewed coffee to pour straight into your mug!

How to Clean Them

The brewers are designed to last for years and to withstand frequent use. For this reason, they are also designed to be easily maintained.

Keurig brewers feature a small light— a "Descale" light that will pop up into the message center when the brewer needs to be descaled.

The frequency at which you will need to descale will depend on your neighborhood's water hardness levels. Those living in hard water areas might have to descale more often than the brewer owners living in soft water areas.

Troubleshooting Your Keurig

If the "Descale" light appears, owners can use vinegar to descale the calcium buildup in the brewer pipes. Simply run diluted vinegar through your Keurig system, allowing the vinegar to work through the deposits all around the brewer. Alternatively, processed products like "Dezcal" is a Keurig-approved chemical that will descale your brewer.

It's important to understand how these brewers work in order to keep up the maintenance. Lucky for Keurig owners, the way these brewers work is a very simple process. If the "Descale" light still appears after you've already descaled your brewer, you might need to take one extra step.

All the pipes need to be descaled—but you've already done that. Now the tiny pins that prick the top and bottom of the K-Cup also need to be cleared out. But these do not need to be descaled. They simply need to be freed of coffee grounds!

After you've descaled your brewer, the tiny metal pins might still be hot: so take caution when cleaning the pins. Simply take a needle, paperclip, or toothpick and poke through the pins, clearing out any fine coffee grind build-up. It's as simple as that.

After you've completed a descale and a de-grinding, your "Descale" light will turn itself off and your brewer will be working at full pressure once again!