Hi it’s Leah again from Simple.Home.Blessings. I think I have shared this here before: I LOVE coffee! It is a must have for me each morning. And I enjoy making it at home for convenience and price. We have had a traditional coffee maker for our entire marriage, but recently we took the plunge and decided to purchase a Keurig machine. The decision took us a LONG time to make and to be honest, I was still hesitant to purchase it. Sadly, when we got it home, we had some problems with it. This made me pretty sad that I had made the switch from my traditional coffee methods. But we did a LOT of research and found some solutions to the problems we were having. We found some ways to save money and still get what we wanted in terms of coffee drinks. So I want to share our “hacks” for making your Keurig machine work for you.
I love to solve household problems and we ran into quite a few when we made the switch to our Keurig machine. So, I thought I would lay out some of the problems we had and the solutions we came up with. I am not an expert on Keurig machines, but I have discovered enough about how it works to have moved from regretting our purchase to loving it!
Problem #1 – The machine smells like plastic and all liquids produced taste like plastic
When we got our first Keurig home, we followed the basic directions for setting up our machine. We purchased a 350 model (the difference between a 2.0 300 and a 2.0 350 is the 350 has a charcoal filter in the water reservoir, the price is typically the same). Since the charcoal filter has to be activated, we soaked it for the advised time and ran fresh filtered water through the machine. Result: plastic taste. We did this a number of times. Still plastic taste.
Hack #1 – Run vinegar through the machine
This is how one typically would clean a coffee maker, so it works for the Keurig, too. BUT, if you have a 2.0 350- the one with the charcoal filter, REMOVE THE FILTER from the reservoir before you fill it with vinegar! Run one reservoir filled with vinegar through the machine. Then fill the reservoir with clean, filtered water and run the water through the machine (you may have to do this twice). Full disclosure: this still did not work for us and we had to return the machine to the store. We came back home with a 300, followed the basic cleaning instructions from Keurig and had NO problem with plastic taste. I can’t say for sure that there is a problem with the 2.0 350 machines, but I personally would recommend purchasing the 300 instead.
Problem #2 The price of K-cups
While we were at the store, we priced K-cups and found that they were pricier than our traditional coffee-brewing methods per cup. The typical bag of ground coffee costs a little less than 20 cents per cup, while K-cups can cost 60 cents or more. The jump in our coffee budget just didn’t seem justified.
Hack #2 Purchase a reusable K-cup filter
We found a reusable K-cup filter, so we could continue to use the coffee we love at a lower price. When we find K-cups on a really awesome deal, we purchase them, but otherwise, we use the coffee we already have on hand. A Whole Foods market just opened in our area and they had really amazing deals on their brand of coffee, so I can try their brand without my old traditional coffee-maker. There are Keurig branded K-cup filters, but we did not purchase their brand – see the next problem and hack.
Problem #3 My Keurig machine only allows Keurig-branded products
I took our resusable K-cup filter and filled it with my favorite coffee. I placed it in my machine and got a message on the screen instructing me to use Keurig-branded products. Keurig is attempting to control the market and make sure they get a piece of the price each time you use your machine.
Hack #3 Trick your machine into thinking it is using Keurig-branded products
This is a little bit of a tedious process, but it is only required ONE time. Here’s what you do:
1. Take a Keurig-branded used K-cup and cut off the top lip of the cup. Do this by turning it on it’s side and cutting at the top of the cup where the lip and the cup meet.
2. You will then have a disc. Turn the disk over and remove the excess plastic from the bottom of the cup with an exacto knife. You can then remove the center of the disc with the exacto knife, if desired.
3. Cut a small arc out of the circle/disc. It does not need to be very big – about 1/2 an inch, should suffice.
4. Locate the optical sensor inside your machine. It is inside top housing. If you look up under the top housing you will see a rectangular opening and a circular opening. Just above and between these two openings you will see a glass covered opening – this is the sensor. It is what reads the cup to determine if it is Keurig-branded.
5. Use a piece of tape to attach the small arc of the K-cup lid directly over the glass sensor. Make sure it is oriented as it would be if it was in the machine. It can be a little tricky to get the arc where you need it. I recommend applying the tape over the arc and then sliding it through the rectangular opening in the top housing and attaching it.
6. When you close the top housing, you will notice that you are able to brew a cup from the home screen. In other words, that message that was there before about using Keurig-branded products is gone because you tricked the machine into thinking it has a Keurig-branded product in it.
Problem #4 My cup size is all wrong
When you have a typical K-cup in your Keurig machine (either your Keurig-brand or your “hacked” disc), you have the option to make a cup of coffee that is 4 ounces, 6 ounces, 8 ounces, or 10 ounces. And you can select if you would like for it to be STRONG for coffee, or choose to make another type of beverage. But what if you would like to make a larger cup of coffee – like a travel mug size?
Hack #4 Locate the secret menu
On the new Keurig 2.0 machines, there is a secret menu, or a menu that is found only when using the carafe. It has MANY more options, including the ability to create favorite settings, so you can get your drink, done the way you want it, faster. This secret menu also has lots of size options, so you can fill up your travel mug. If you want to get to this secret menu without having a carafe size K-cup or you carafe under the machine, all you need is a small magnet! Seriously! You place the small magnet on the bottom of the top housing when you want to access the secret menu. NOTE, you will need the magnet to access the menu when using a carafe-size K-cup if you have done Hack #3. Remember, the sensor is reading that you are using a small K-cup.
To check out a video and see exactly what I am talking about in Hack #4, please see this video.
So, now you know the hacks we are using to make us happy we purchased our Keurig machine. Do you have a Keurig? Do you have one on your wishlist? What are your tips for making it work for you?
Visit Leah over at her blog to get tons of tips and creative ideas. Here are just a couple of the things she’s been working on lately.