For most of us, coffee is an essential beginning to every morning. You wake up, groggily head to the kitchen for that cup of magical elixir. You take the first sip and all is right with the world.
Now, imagine waking up only to discover that your coffee maker has died. Did you just have a moment of panic? I know I did!
Keurig coffee makers are found in kitchens across America. The convenience of popping in a K-cup and having a piping hot cup of coffee in a matter of minutes has made their popularity unlike no other, but no one wants to go to make their first cup of coffee only to find the machine is no longer working...after all, nothing lasts forever.
Having an idea of how long your Keurig should last will alleviate this problem by giving you time to shop before the machine dies.
So how long do Keurigs last? In short, with regular use and proper maintenance, the lifespan of a Keurig is about 5 years. Keurigs come with a one year warranty to cover any malfunctions concerning parts, but after that, it is up to you to maintain your machine to keep it brewing as it should.
Keurig Coffee makers
Keurig is one of the top coffee machine brands on the market and manufactures over 50 different coffee machines.
The first Keurig Coffee maker was released in the early 1990s and was initially marketed as a machine for small offices and company break rooms. The brand soon expanded into the home market where its popularity exploded.
The result of this explosion was the development of a wide variety of coffee machines designed for both home and office use. As the machines grew in popularity, other brands got on board creating K-cups of their own to be used in the popular Keurig brewer.
Keurig Green Mountain and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group merged in 2018 to form Keurig Dr. Pepper. The merger means that this 26,000 employee company brings consumers over 125 hot and cold beverages and Keurig coffee makers to suit every budget.
The company is also environmentally responsible, publishing an annual Drink Well. Do Good. corporate responsibility report that is made available to their consumers.
Keurig breaks down its more than 50 single serve coffee makers into a few different categories: the K-mini Series, 1.0 K-Classic Series, 1.0 K-Elite Series, and 2.0 K-Plus Series. It is important to know which Series your Keurig model belongs to because that will determine what kind of K-cups you will need to purchase. The Mini, Classic, and Elite will generally work with all types of K-cups but the 2.0 Series Keurigs will only accept a K-cup manufactured for the 2.0 machines. The K-cups designed for the 2.0 have a ring around them that contains data telling the machine what kind of K-cup you are using. If you insert a K-cup without this ring, you will receive an “oops” message and the machine will not work.
Types of Keurigs
Keurig has made its mission to provide a coffee maker for everyone. A few types of Keurigs you can buy are:
- Simple Single Serve Machines
- Customizable Single Serve Machines
- Drip Coffee Makers
- Combination Single Serve and Drip Coffee Makers
- Single Serve Coffee, Cappuccino, and Latte Machines
- Single Serve Coffee and Latte Machines
- Commercial Single Serve Machines for the Office
What is the life expectancy of a Keurig coffee maker?
The average lifespan of a Keurig coffee maker is approximately 5 years with daily use. The manufacturer offers a one year guarantee on defects in the working of the machine and materials. After the first year, it’s up to you to maintain your Keurig. With proper care and maintenance, you have a good chance of your Keurig lasting even longer than 5 years.
What can you do to extend its lifespan?
By taking a few preventative steps, you can dramatically increase the lifespan of your Keurig brewer and ensure that each cup of coffee you brew is just as tasty as the last.
Use distilled water
The minerals in tap water can build up in your Keurig over time and cause slow brewing, a clogged needle and everything in between. Using distilled water will slow the build up of these minerals and can significantly increase the life of your brewer.
Only use Keurig approved products
The market is flooded with knock off K-cups and it is sometimes tempting to use a brand that is not manufactured by Keurig. Maybe you prefer a sweet coffee drink or maybe the price just can’t be beat.
Using knock off K-cups can both void your warranty and kill your brewer. That sugary beverage is a huge mistake since sugar can cause sticky build up that will clog your machine and some of the knock off K-cups even use instant coffee. If instant coffee is your thing, just put it in your mug, brew plain hot water into it and stir. It will give you the same results without damaging your Keurig.
Clean your brewer daily
After you are finished making coffee for the day be sure to remove the last K-cup, wipe down the outside of the machine and wipe out the K-cup holder.
If you will not be using your Keurig again for several days, be sure to empty the reservoir as well. Allowing water to sit in the reservoir for several days can cause additional limescale build up.
Descale the brewer once a month
Limescale, found in your tap water, can cause build up in your machine which over time, will start to cause problems with brewing. You will notice a change in the flavor of your coffee as well.
Descaling the machine regularly will keep it running smoothly, but failing to descale your Keurig will most likely result in an early death for your beloved coffee maker.
Following the instructions in your users manual, be sure to descale the machine about once a month. Many Keurig brewers will even tell you when it’s time to descale with either on screen instructions or an indicator light.
Replace the charcoal filter
If your Keurig has a charcoal filter, it should be replaced every 60 tank refills. This purifying filter is designed to last a finite number of brew cycles rather than a given period of time.
How long a charcoal water filter lasts depends on how much coffee you drink. Since most coffee drinkers drink at multiple cups a day, replacing the filter every two months, right after descaling, is a good idea and will keep your coffee tasting great and your machine working properly for years to come.
Some of the newer Keurig models even come with a water filter reminder feature that takes the guesswork out of when to change the filter.
Like any other charcoal water filter, once it’s spent, it will no longer work like it should, affecting both the taste of the coffee and allowing mineral deposits to build up in the machine more quickly.
How to properly clean and maintain your Keurig
Proper cleaning and maintenance is the best way to keep your Keurig working for years to come. The process is not difficult and some machines will even do the work for you.
What you need
- A toothbrush
- Keurig Descaling solution
- Dish soap
- A microfiber cloth
How to clean your Keurig
Step 1: Clean the removable pieces
Remove the reservoir and its lit, the drip tray and drip tray cover. Following the instructions in your users manual remove the K-cup holder and the funnel located underneath it. Be careful with the needle (the part that punctures the K-cup to brew the coffee).
Soak all of the removable parts in soapy water for about 15 minutes. Use the toothbrush to wipe off any remaining residue, rinse the components and pat dry with the microfiber cloth.
Step 2: Wipe down the rest of the machine
While the removable parts are soaking, use a damp cloth to clean the outside of the brewer. Be sure to remove any residue around where the K-cup holder attaches to the machine.
Step 3: Descaling the Machine
- Fill the water reservoir with a descaling solution mixture (follow the directions on the bottle).
- Brew several brewing cycles to empty the reservoir of solution.
- Fill the reservoir with fresh clean water
- Brew several brewing cycles (a full reservoir’s worth) to thoroughly rinse any remaining detergent from the machine.
How to replace the charcoal water filter
Replacing the charcoal water filter is easy and should take less than 10 minutes.
- Soak a new charcoal filter in a cup of water for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the old filter by gently pulling up on the filter holder.
- Press both sides of the clip that holds the filter in place, to release the filter.
- Rinse the new, soaked filter for about 60 seconds as well as the filter holder.
- Insert the new charcoal filter into the holder and secure the clips that hold it in place.
- Rotate the dial to the month you should next replace the filter.
- Place the new filter into the Keurig and press firmly until it locks into place.
How do I know it’s time to replace my Keurig?
The lifespan of a coffee maker varies greatly and Keurigs are no different. If you have done everything on the list to care for your machine but it is still having problems, it may be time to bite the bullet and shop for a new brewer.
It stops brewing coffee
This one is pretty obvious. When a coffee maker stops brewing or barely drips, it’s probably time to shop for a new machine. While there are many different things that can go wrong with a coffee maker, unless you have a very expensive coffee maker or your machine is still under warranty, it is most likely cheaper to replace the brewer than to repair it.
Your tastes have changed
As you age, your tastes often change, as does your financial situation. Coffee, just like wine and bourbon, varies greatly in both quality and price. Once you begin to experiment with some of the higher end of coffees, you may discover that the same old coffee you drank in college is no longer up to par.
In order to extract the maximum amount of flavor notes from your new expensive brew you will want to upgrade your coffee maker to a more sophisticated model.
The water no longer gets hot enough
If your coffee has recently started tasting weak or slightly sour, incorrect brewing temperature could be to blame.
According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, the optimal brewing temperature for coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (90.6 to 96.1 degrees Celsius).
Many low end coffee makers never reach that range even when they are brand new, but even if your coffee maker used to brew at the correct temperature, over time, the heating element can wear out. While you can replace the heating element, it is probably less expensive to upgrade to a newer model.
Pods are more and more difficult to find
As newer models hit the market, some of the older pods become obsolete or at least harder to find. If you owned one of the now discontinued Keurig Vue models you probably experienced this first hand.
If your current coffee pods start to become scarce, it may be time to replace your machine. You have the option to bypass the pod system completely and use your own coffee instead, but you probably chose a Keurig for the convenience of having quick and easy to use K-cups in the first place.
In the long term, once your favorite K-cups become scarce, you are probably better off upgrading to a newer model altogether.
Your family has grown
Single serve coffee makers are perfect for one or two people who need to quickly brew a cup of coffee, but if you have multiple guests over or if you and your partner prefer several cups each, single serve machines become impractical and often quite expensive. Brewing 4 to 8 K-cups a day can add up.
If your family has grown and you find yourself brewing more than just a couple of cups a day, it is probably time to upgrade. The Keurig K-Duo is a great option because it will brew both large carafes of coffee as well as single serve cups for those times that you just need a quick coffee fix on your way out the door.
How long do Keurigs last? That depends on you. Coffee makers don’t last forever but you can dramatically increase the life expectancy of your coffee maker with simple care and maintenance.
Invest in a quality coffee maker and keep up with the regular cleaning and maintenance recommended in your machine’s user manual, and you will be brewing great coffee for years to come.
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