Keurig won’t brew? Quick and easy solutions

In this article, I’ll explain how to easily and quickly fix issues related to coffee output in Keurig coffee makers. I’m referring to cases where the cup is barely filled, or the coffee maker has completely stopped brewing coffee.

It’s important to differentiate between cases where the Keurig coffee maker doesn’t turn on (or turns off on its own) and cases where the coffee maker turns on without issue but doesn’t dispense coffee. The former cases are related to the electrical/electronic components of the coffee maker, while the cases we’ll be discussing here are related to the water circuit.

When a Keurig coffee maker doesn’t dispense the correct amount or doesn’t dispense any coffee at all, in most cases, there’s an obstruction in some part of its water circuit. In extreme cases, there may be pump or flowmeter failures.

Keurig coffee maker does not serve a full cup of coffee

If your Keurig coffee maker reduces the amount of coffee it serves daily, this is the most obvious symptom of a clog. If you continue to use the coffee maker, this clogging will eventually grow until it completely blocks the coffee output.

Clogging in the water circuit caused by scale and sediments

The problem with your Keurig brewer may not be directly related to the buildup of limescale inside the machine, but it’s likely to have influenced its current condition.

Limescale buildup typically isn’t large enough to reduce water flow or pressure. Still, it can create ideal conditions for other water or coffee grounds impurities to create a significant clog.

The internal passages of your Keurig are normally smooth, allowing water to flow unimpeded. However, when limescale builds up, these internal walls become rough, trapping all kinds of debris and causing the coffee maker to become completely clogged.

A step before solving the problem

Before attempting to resolve the problem, perform a decalcification cycle. While this may not immediately eliminate the clog, it’s an essential step in restoring your coffee maker’s functionality.

If limescale contributed to the dirty clog, it might have also affected the heating element and pump. Issues with these components can result in smaller, colder cups of coffee.

After decalcification, check whether your coffee maker is dispensing more coffee or if the problem persists. If the issue persists, continue reading for further solutions.

Clogged perforating needle

If your Keurig coffee maker isn’t dispensing a full cup, one of the first steps you should take is to clean the perforating needle. If you’ve already done this, you can skip this step; otherwise, pay close attention.

The Keurig’s piercing needle has three small holes that can become clogged over time. You’ll need a thin, straight, and rigid object to clean them. Surprisingly, a paper clip works best for this task. Straighten one end of the paper clip so that it can penetrate the holes in the injector needle.

Water outlet holes in the needle
Water outlet holes in the needle

Once you’ve cleaned the needle, try brewing a cup of coffee and check to see if more coffee is dispensing than before. The problem may be elsewhere if nothing has changed, as we’ll explore in the next section.

Clogged water tank outlet valve

One of the most unexpected places for a dirt clog to form is in the outlet valve of the water tank. Despite this, it’s a common entry point for impurities that can accumulate in a Keurig coffee maker.

Dirt and debris can become trapped in the valve when water containing impurities is poured into the tank or when the lid is not securely closed, allowing different particles to enter. Over time, this build-up can cause a clog that results in low volumes of coffee being dispensed.

Clean the valve inside and out
Clean the valve inside and out

Keurig Coffee Maker Not Dispensing Coffee At All

If your Keurig coffee maker isn’t dispensing any coffee at all, it’s time to address more serious issues. In newer models, the display may show messages of overpressure or under pressure. This indicates that the machine has stopped dispensing coffee to prevent a coffee pod explosion that could cause injury.

⚠️ What Not To Do:

Under no circumstances should you override the pressure sensor in coffee makers that warn of overpressure. Doing so can endanger your safety, and that of those around you, and the coffee you get will likely not taste good.

Instead, if you see an overpressure message, you should investigate the problem and find a solution. The following sections will guide troubleshooting these issues and get your Keurig back in working order.

Related: Keurig water leak troubleshooting

Clogged check valve

One common issue with Keurig coffee makers is a clogged check valve, also called an overpressure valve. You might be asking yourself, what exactly is a check valve? Essentially, it’s a type of valve that only permits water to flow in one direction.

The purpose of this valve is to prevent any coffee grounds or other residues from flowing back into the pump and heating element during the brewing process. The check valve is typically located just behind the perforating needle in the head of the machine. To give you a better idea, take a look at the image below:

Keurig check valve
Keurig check valve

How to locate the check valve?

You’ll need to disassemble the top of your Keurig coffee maker to access the check valve. Typically, there are two screws inside the head of the machine that you’ll need to remove. Once you’ve removed these screws, you can remove the upper housing of the Keurig to access the check valve.

How to unclog the check valve?

The check valve can become clogged with coffee grounds and other debris from the brewing process, causing a reduction in coffee output. To unclog the valve, you have two options:

  • First, you can press on the sides of the valve with your fingers to free it.
  • Alternatively, you can remove the plastic flanges and clean the valve under running water.

Be sure to remove any clogs inside the valve to ensure proper function.

Keurig clogged flowmeter

The flow meter may be clogged if you’ve already tried the previous solutions and your Keurig still isn’t serving coffee. You can find the flowmeter inside the coffee maker at the water tank outlet. Remove the flowmeter, clean its interior, and put it back in place.

Clogged or malfunctioning water pump in Keurig

When all the previous steps have been taken, and your Keurig still fails to dispense coffee, it may be due to a clogged or faulty water pump. This is the most severe case, requiring you to carefully disassemble the pump, clean each part thoroughly, and reassemble it.

Disassembling a Nespresso water pump
Disassembling a vibratory water pump

Disassembling a vibratory water pump can be tricky, so follow the instructions carefully. If cleaning the pump does not fix the issue, you may need to buy a replacement pump that matches the specifications of your Keurig coffee maker.

Alternatively, you can purchase a second-hand Keurig coffee maker and remove the pump to install it in your coffee maker.