In this article, I will show you how to use a Keurig coffee machine step by step so you can merrily go and make your first cup of coffee.

From the initial setup and how to use and maintain, to common concerns Keurig users may have and useful tricks to get the best tasting cup of coffee, our complete guide provides straightforward answers so that even dummies can pull it off!

How Do You Prepare Your Keurig For The First Time

If you are still confused about what exactly a Keurig is, let me bring you up to speed.

A Keurig machine is a beverage brewing system that involves a coffee maker operating on its fast and user-friendly trademark mechanism utilizing coffee pods known as K-Cup pods (or K-Cups).

Keurig helps us brew well-extracted and flavorful coffee at a precise single-serve portion with only a few lifts of a finger.

When you use a Keurig for the first time, there are a few things you need to do beforehand.


Remove the Keurig coffee maker from the box and any adhesive tape and place it in its new home.

Wash The Water Reservoir

Do you need to clean Keurig before first use? Yes, always wash any surfaces you bring home that will come into contact with what you put in your mouth.

If the water reservoir is removable:

  • Lift the lid and take it out.
  • Wash it with soap, warm water, and a soft kitchen sponge, or just simply by running water through it.
  • Use a cloth to clean the water entry point on the coffee maker under the water reservoir when you take it out.

Since the water reservoir of some Keurig models is not removable, do this instead if that's the case:

  • Remove the Water Level Guide.
  • Clean the inside with a damp, soft, and lint-free cloth to avoid leaving any unwanted lint behind.

Insert The Water Filter

If your Keurig coffee maker comes with a charcoal water filter, you need to prime it before installing it to avoid adding any unwanted object to your coffee brew following Keurig's guide:

  • Soak the charcoal filter cartridge in cool water for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse the cartridge for 1 minute.
  • Rinse the lower filter holder.
  • Insert the charcoal cartridge into the lower filter holder.
  • Put the rest of the water filter handle together by attaching the upper filter holder.
  • Place the water filter handle into the water reservoir. Make sure that it properly locks into place.

Fill The Water Reservoir

Fill the water reservoir to the maximum fill line and put it back in place. Some have wondered: Is it okay to use tap water in my Keurig? If you have a water filter, go ahead. Otherwise, use water that you can safely drink.

Turn It On & Perform A Cleansing Brew

Turn It On & Perform A Cleansing Brew
  • Plug it in.
  • Place a coffee mug with the mug size the same or bigger than the biggest cup size setting onto the drip tray.
  • Press the power button and wait for it to preheat which can take up to 4 minutes. You'll know when the heating light turns off. If your Keurig doesn't have a heating light, warming up finishes when the heating sound stops.
  • Lift the handle, without putting any K-Cup coffee pod into the coffee chamber, wait for 5 seconds, and lower it back down. You may see the display "Ready to Brew" depending on your Keurig model.
  • Select the largest cup size brew setting and hit the Brew button to start the cleansing brew.
  • When the water dispenses, discard the content in the cup and your Keurig is ready to be used.

How To Use A Keurig

Now that your Keurig has been fully assembled and a cleansing brew has been performed to rinse the internal components, let me show you how to use a Keurig to brew using a K-Cup coffee pod.

For those who are not using it for the first time, use this checklist before following the below step-by-step guide:

  • Check whether there's water in the water reservoir and fill it to the fill line if necessary.
  • Plug the Keurig in.
  • Choose your mug size and place the mug onto the drip tray.
  • Press the power button and wait for it to preheat in up to 4 minutes.
  • If you use a reusable K-Cup, lift the lid and fill the pod with any kind of ground coffee.

Step 1

Lift the handle to put a K-Cup of your choice into the coffee chamber with the foil lid side up. Don't remove the foil lid. The machine will puncture it for you.

Step 2

Lower the handle back down. Once the coffee chamber is closed, you can see the coffee maker displaying the message "Ready to Brew". This feature may not be available on some models.

Step 3

Select your preferred brew size. If your Keurig has settings other than the brew size, such as coffee strength and hot and iced brewing options, make up your mind for those as well.

Step 4

Wait for the coffee maker to finish brewing, which can take around 1 minute. Enjoy your freshly brewed cup of coffee with minimum effort!

How To Clean and Maintain Your Keurig

No matter how low-effort you want to be, regular cleaning must be done to keep the machine in working order.

Luckily, just like how to use a Keurig, maintenance is not too demanding either.


Before you start, make sure to plug the machine out of power to be safe.

  1. 1
    Exterior: Apply soap to your damp non-abrasive cloth and wipe down the exterior of the machine.
  2. 2
    Drip tray: Slide the drip tray out of its place and wash it with soap and water, dry it with a dry non-abrasive cloth, and slide it back in.
  3. 3
    Water reservoir: Follow our aforementioned instructions for washing the water reservoir when preparing your Keurig for the first time. You should do this once a week if you use the machine frequently.
  4. 4
    Internal components: After cleaning the water reservoir or brewing something out of ordinary, always run a cleansing brew like my above instructions. Keurig also suggests using a Keurig Rinse K-Cup pod specifically made for these cleaning processes to minimize flavor carry-over between brews.


Other than general upkeep, descaling every 3-6 months is also needed to get rid of mineral build-ups inside your Keurig.

You can use vinegar or the brand's recommended descaling solution. 

The descaling process varies depending on the model. You can look for how to descale for your specific model here.


Does A Keurig Get Hot Enough To Kill Bacteria

There have been concerns surrounding whether the water temperature at which coffee machines brew is high enough to kill bacteria.

The brand stated on their website that the water temperature in a Keurig machine is 192 degrees Fahrenheit (89 degrees Celsius), optimal for brewing coffee, tea, and hot cocoa.

Though it hasn't reached the boiling point (212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius), according to the WHO, most bacteria are rapidly killed at that temperature in less than a minute so you can safely consume the hot water without too much worry about viruses and bacteria.

However, it's necessary to use filtered water or spring water if your Keurig brewer doesn't come with a charcoal water filter to prevent any filth from infiltrating.

Can You Make Keurig Coffee Hotter

On Keurig brewer models within the Keurig Plus Series like this Keurig K-Supreme Plus Coffee Maker, there is a brew temperature setting. Otherwise, you cannot.

As aforementioned, the water temperature during the brewing process is 192 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, once the coffee is dispensed into the mug, the temperature may change depending on the cup's material and temperature.

If you find the temperature of the in-cup contents cooler than your liking, consider switching to an insulated container or a thicker cup that can slow down the escape of heat better.

Warming up the machine and the mug before brewing coffee can also help attain the maximum brewing temperature and initial in-cup temperature.  

Let a small-cup brew cycle run, discard the hot water dispensing, then make your beverages.

Can You Run Just Water Through A Keurig

If you have read through this whole article on how to use a Keurig, the answer should be abundantly clear by now: Yes. It's recommended to run a cleansing brew cycle when you use it for the first time and regularly as necessary maintenance.

What Else Can You Make With A Keurig

Not just hot coffee, you can make iced coffee with a Keurig machine using pre-packaged Iced Coffee K-Cups or following my directions in this article.

Though most users think of a cup of coffee off the top of their head when talking about a Keurig machine, the possibilities aren't limited there.

The K-Cup pod comes in more forms than coffee.

If you have one of the models within the Keurig Plus Series or Keurig 2.0 brewers, you can pop in a flavored K-Cup to make a plethora of drinks and foods.

These pods range from tea, hot chocolate, cider, and lemonade to dishes like soup and oatmeal! Just remember to perform a cleansing brew process afterward to minimize flavor carry-over.

What's more, you can use your Keurig to make hot water and make instant anything as well.

I hope you now know how to use a Keurig. Aside from making coffee, its main function, get creative and use your Keurig and K-Cups to your heart's content. Follow us to learn more about all-things-coffee-related!