How Does A Keurig Work? (A Practical Guide)

how does a keurig work
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As an energy source in the morning, coffee is essential to our lives today. Brewing is the least of anyone’s worries about getting their day started, which makes Keurig appreciated and well-known in the coffee industry.

Keurig is one of the first coffee brewers that comes to mind when you think of a high-quality coffee machine. They’re quick, convenient, and don’t require any special skills to make coffee. Keurig produces delicious, fresh-tasting beverages at home, which means no runs to the coffee shop for a caffeine fix.

Keurig became famous for making coffee because of its ease of use and quick preparation time. It is more than just a fancy home or commercial brewing system. In addition, the machine comes with a wide variety of K-cup flavors.

Keurig is a well-known name in the coffee world. But do you ever wondered what the mechanism behind a Keurig is?

With this read, you will better understand how a Keurig machine and K-cups work to bring you your favorite coffee drinks.

Keurig Coffee Maker: An Overview

Keurig is an American manufacturing company that makes coffee makers for commercial and household use. Keurig is renowned for its budget-friendly coffee machines and K-cups range.

Keurig coffee brewers efficiently make various drinks, including hot beverages, iced coffee, or milk-based drinks. Coffee lovers prefer Keurig over other brands because they get ultra-convenient machines without paying a hefty price tag.

Keurig coffee maker

Keurig coffee makers use a pressurized brewing system to extract coffee from K-cups. In this brewing technique, the coffee machine forces hot water through the coffee grounds present in the K-cup and extracts its flavors, strength, and taste to dispense it into your cup.

The affordability and rapid brewing time to make good-tasting coffee make Keurig a good choice for coffee drinkers.

Some of the best Keurig coffee makers are:

Keurig K-Cups: An Overview

K-Cups, also known as coffee Pods, are an essential part of the coffee brewing process with a Keurig coffee maker.

K-Cups are small plastic containers containing fresh, aromatic ground coffee and a paper filter. An aluminum foil seal on the K-Cups keeps the flavor and freshness of coffee grounds intact, preventing them from moisture and air.

k cups

A wide variety of flavors, intensities, strengths, and roasts can cater to all kinds of coffee cravings. Making coffee with K-Cups allows you to customize your drink from light to dark roast or decaf.

Among 400 different flavors from 60 brands, you will find at least a few that suit your taste in coffee.

All you have to do is, insert a K-Cup in your Keurig, press the brew button, and it will start dispensing your delicious coffee. It makes the brewing process effortless and time-saving without leaving a messy cleanup behind.

What are the Main Components of Keurig?

Let’s dig deeper into its components to understand further how Keurig functions to bring you your favorite coffee.

Water Reservoir

A water reservoir supplies water to the coffee machine for brewing coffee. A standard water capacity of a Keurig is approximately 48 oz, which can make up to 6 cups of coffee.

keurig water reservoir

Water tanks make the brewing process more accessible and quick because you don’t have to refill your coffee machine whenever you want a cup.

Pod Holder

The coffee machine has pod housing: an elaborate mechanical system for the K-Cup. You can also call it a Pod holder. Lifting the silver handle on the lid tilts the housing forward, and you can pop a pod in it.

The pod holder has needles at the top and the bottom. These needles puncture the pod during the brewing process for extracting coffee grounds for coffee. The extraction process starts once you close the lid.

Drip Tray

There is a removable drip tray on the bottom of the coffee maker. An empty cup is placed on it to collect coffee. The drip tray also contains overflow, so there will be no mess if a cup is overfilled or the machine starts brewing without a cup underneath.

A drip tray is not dishwasher safe, so you must clean it by hand. You can use a microfibre cloth and a non-abrasive brush to clean it thoroughly. Then rinse it with water and leave it to air dry.


The controls primarily operate an electric coffee maker. You use these controls to turn on the coffee maker and select a specific brew size. Different lights indicate the machine’s actions or requirements. You can adjust the amount of coffee with the other blue buttons.

Some Keurig models have fewer buttons, like the K-Mini, having only two. However, most of the models have various control options.

An extremely crucial component of coffee makers’ efficiency is the “Auto Off” function. When not in use, the Auto Off feature turns on the energy-saving mode of the coffee maker.

K-Cups: A look on the Inside

K-Cups have soaring popularity for making delightful coffee within minutes and without creating a mess, but how do they work? Let’s look at the Inside of K-Cups to understand its mechanism better.

On the Outside

K-Cups are approximately 11 inches tall, 2 inches wide, and 11 inches deep. The K-Cups containers are made with FDA-approved materials and are BPA-free. The outer casing protects the K-Cup from leakage and external elements.

An airtight seal inside the K-Cup keeps the ground coffee aromatic and fresh. An aluminum lid sits on the top of the K-Cup, protecting the coffee grounds from oxygen, moisture, and air.

On the Inside

Inside a K-Cup, there is an abaca fiber paper filter. The filter connects to the top of the K-Cup using food-grade adhesive. When the coffee machine extracts the ground coffee, it prevents the residue from getting into the coffee cup.

First, the coffee beans are roasted. Next, they release the gases they absorb during the roasting process. The next step is to grind the beans and pour them into K-Cups, inserting nitrogen. Nitrogen is an inert gas that keeps the coffee fresh and flavorful.

How it Works

Using K-Cups is as simple as it can get. First, open the lid of the coffee machine. Pop a K-Cup into the pod holder correctly and close the lever.

Once you close the lever, the needles in the pod holder pierce through the foil lid at the top, allowing hot water to pass through the coffee grounds pushing them through the filter paper. The machine punctures the K-cup from the bottom to let the coffee flow through the outlet.

Once the coffee machine extracts all the flavor and strength from the K-cup to give you a delicious cup of coffee, you can discard it into the bin. It requires no extra cleanup.

How Does a Keurig Work?

Keurig makes delicious coffee in no time, but how does it work? Although different companies like Cuisinart, Breville, and Mr. Coffee manufacture Keurig brewers, and they differ in size and design, their basic technology is the same.

Let’s talk about its working mechanism in detail.

  • Brewing coffee requires a water supply, so the first order of business is to fill the water tank of your Keurig.
  • Plug in the machine and turn the device on.
  • The machine’s heating element will become active to heat water to an optimal temperature. The water flows through a myriad of pipes to the heating chamber.
  • Once the coffee machine heats up, open the lid and insert a K-Cup without removing its aluminum lid.
  • The next step is to select a cup size. You can choose the type of drink you want from the controls on the brewer.
  • Press down the lid to close it. When the lid closes, needles in the cup holder pierce the aluminum layer of the K-Cup from the top for the water to flow through it.
  • Another needle punctures the plastic layer of the K-Cup from the bottom. It paves the way for the coffee to flow through the paper filter.
  • The coffee starts dispensing from the external outlet and into the cup.
  • Once the brewing completes, the machine automatically stops.
  • Open the lid to eject the K-Cup and discard it into the bin.

Note: Do not interrupt the brewing system by lifting the lid before it automatically stops, it can damage the machine, and the steam might also hurt you.

What is the Difference Between Coffee Pods and K-Cups?

It is convenient to brew single servings of coffee with K-Cups or coffee pods. However, they are different, and both have pros and cons. It’s even impossible to use them in the same coffee brewers.

A coffee pod resembles an instant coffee pouch. There is a thick filter inside the pod that seals the grounds. Coffee Pods make more flavorful and aromatic coffee but are incompatible with most coffee makers. They are more environmentally friendly and affordable than K-Cups.

A K-cup comes in a plastic container, and you can use them specifically for the Keurig. They conveniently brew coffee without requiring a cleanup. K-Cups come in a wide range of flavors and blends, and they are readily available.

However, K-Cups do not make as solid and authentic coffee as we would like them to.

What is the difference between K-Cup Brewing and Drip Brewing?

Drip and Keurig coffee may differ in several ways, but they also have much in common. Read on to find out.

Hot water is poured over ground coffee beans and let drip through a filter into a coffee pot to make drip coffee. The coffee brewer adjusts its setting according to pod requirements and slowly starts dispensing coffee through the outlet.

On the other hand, Keurig coffee uses pre-packaged K-Cups containing a filter. It is a more straightforward method of brewing coffee and requires no measuring and grinding of coffee grounds.

Keurig coffee has minimal prep time because the brewer quickly punctures the K-Cup from the top and the bottom to extract coffee into your cup.

Between drip coffee and Keurig coffee, the choice depends on the preference and convenience of the coffee drinker.

How do K-Cups brew so quickly?

K-Cups brew so quickly because it does not require measuring and grinding coffee grounds for each cup. You have to choose a K-Cup and pop it into the brewer; it is that simple to use.

Also, the Keurig coffee brewer has a water tank that saves you from wasting time refilling water for every cup of coffee. The brewer starts heating the water as soon as you turn on the machine, so it supplies water to the pod quickly when you press the brew button.

It is also the fastest way to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee because you don’t have to worry about the cleanup. Using K-Cups doesn’t leave a mess behind for you to clean. Once you use a K-Cup, discard it into the bin.

The Bottom Line

While a Keurig brewer will cost more than you expect, it is worth the investment. If you enjoy freshly brewed coffee now and then or are a coffee addict, a Keurig is a delightful necessity for any kitchen or office.

Hopefully, this walkthrough of Keurig’s workings was informative and entertaining. Now that you have gone through the Keurig brewer’s working mechanism, you can decide on getting a Keurig if you already don’t have it.


Can you make iced tea in Keurig?

Yes! You can prepare an iced tea with your Keurig. Fill a glass with ice cubes, insert a K-Cup into your brewer and choose a 6-oz or 8-oz cup size. Next, press the brew button and wait a few minutes to enjoy your beverage. You can use a Lipton K-Cup to brew a sweetened and refreshing glass of iced tea.

Is Keurig suitable for making hot chocolate?

Absolutely! Keurig special edition takes less than a minute to brew a cup of sizzling hot and velvety hot chocolate. You can choose from various hot chocolate pods, like Swiss Milk hot cocoa or Carnation, that contain pre-portioned cocoa and milk.

How much coffee is in a k-cup?

The quantity of coffee in a K-Cup depends on its brand. On average, a K-Cup contains 9 to 12 grams of ground coffee.

Can you put milk in a Keurig?

We do not recommend putting milk in your Keurig at any cost because they are not built for it. The milk will dry up in the brewer and stick to its internal components, which might cause permanent damage.

If you want milk-based beverages, you can brew a K-Cup and add milk to it separately. You can also use K-Cups containing milk, but make sure to use them with the smallest cup size to avoid mishaps.

Are K-cups environmentally friendly?

K-Cups are not hundred percent environmentally friendly but can become a sustainable choice if you use them the right way. The best way is to recycle them after use, but remove the pouch containing coffee grounds that go into landfill.

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