When industrialization shaped our lives for good and a 9-5 working week became our routine, the necessity of a morning cup of coffee before work became inherent.
Coffee machines soon became one of the most important inventions of the 20th century.
Like buying a life insurance policy, owning a coffee machine was another worthwhile investment we had to make at some point.
But if you own a coffee maker and you love a good cup of hot coffee, then you know it’s essential to learn to maintain it. It’s just like owning a car or any other equipment that provides you with a valuable service; you have to check the mileage, change the oil, the tires, etc., every once in a while.
How else would this precious invention of technology keep being the gift that keeps on giving? Therefore, to keep things simple, we bring you an all-things-coffee-machine guide to taking care of your coffee brewer for years to come.
Why is it so essential to rinse individual parts of the coffee machine?
Portland, Oregon-based barista Morgan Eckroth stresses the importance of washing the coffee machine with hot soapy water; she says, “Generally, the coffee baskets on most home machines are going to be some sort of hard plastic, which can ultimately over time start to hold onto some flavor as coffee ends up sticking to it.
So, use lots of hot soapy water. Having some sort of sponge or even some sort of scrubber is also super helpful because sometimes grime can build up if it goes for too long without a wash.”
Experts emphasize the necessity of eliminating moisture and air drying your coffee equipment to tackle germs:
Lisa Yakas, senior product manager of Consumer Products at NSF International, tells us, “Some of these organisms like these moist and damp places, that’s where they like to grow if you eliminate that moisture altogether… then you eliminate their conditions to grow.”
What do experts say about ensuring your water is thoroughly rinsed?
We get asked all the time, ‘how do I know when my machine is fully rinsed? Well, here’s a little trick: take that rinsed water, put a little baking soda in there, just like that volcano you saw in high school, if you see some fizz, that means there’s some acid still present – Mark from Whole Latte Love
How to Descale Keurig K Elite: A Walk-through of Ways
Here’s the thing about not maintaining your coffee machine for too long, it breaks down. Like any machine, it’ll soon reach its last mortal level and keep spewing out hot and cold, gloomy-tasting, bitter coffee (the kind you don’t want), and you’ll hate yourself more on those tedious Monday mornings.
Descaling is perhaps one of the foundations of keeping a Keurig coffee maker performing at its best for years. So we bring you all the clever ways, secrets, and specified details of descaling your espresso magic box to golden brown perfection.
The longer you use the coffee machine, the more bacteria, coffee oils, and lime will build up inside, and vinegar does a commendable job cleaning and disposing of all such miscreants.
Get your hands on some white vinegar, a coffee mug, a clean piece of cloth, dish soap, and filtered water.
- Unplug your Keurig from its power source.
- Take out the water reservoir, the cup holder, the mug stand, and all removable parts.
- Take each part and wash them in warm soapy water and let them dry out in the open.
- Use the clean cloth to wipe the surfaces of the equipment before relocating all the parts into it.
- Fill half of the water reservoir with white vinegar and the other half with clean, filtered water.
- Place a mug on the drip tray and run a standard brewing cycle without inserting the K-cup holder right away.
- Repeat the brewing cycle (make sure to discard the leftovers each time) until the reservoir is empty.
- The more times you run vinegar through the equipment, the more easily will the miscreants break down.
- Now that the reservoir is empty, repeat a standard brew cycle, but this time with the clean and filtered water at your disposal.
- Repeating the water cycle will ensure the vinegary taste is gone.
Why Descaling Solutions?
Descaling agents are made for the sole purpose of descaling coffee machines. They have a high acid concentration and an efficient formula that makes them well-equipped to complete the task with ease and competency.
For this, you’ll need two or more bottles of a descaling solution of your choice, a coffee mug, clean water, and an empty sink.
- Individually rinse all removable parts of the coffee machine with detergent.
- Air dry all equipment before reassembling them again.
- Take off the water filter.
- Plugin the Keurig coffee machine.
- Pour in one bottle of descaling solution into the water reservoir.
- Fill the empty descaling bottle with water and pour it into the tank.
- Place the coffee mug onto the drip tray.
- Press the CLEANSING BREW option to run a cycle.
- Make sure you discard the disposal.
- Repeat the CLEANSING BREW cycle several times until the Keurig indicates ‘ADD WATER’ on its display.
- Give your coffee machine an hour or more while being powered on.
- Discard miscreants from the reservoir in the sink and wash them thoroughly.
- Set up the reservoir tank into the coffee maker again.
- Now, fill the tank with clean water from the tap.
- Place the coffee mug on the drip tray again.
- Run another CLEANSING BREW cycle.
- Make sure not to use a K-CUP in any of these steps.
- Discard remnants & repeat the same cycle twelve times.
Bonus Section: Descaling Solution vs White Vinegar
This has caused rifts between different customers and experts for a long time. So today, we bring an end to that debate in simple terms:
Why you should consider Vinegar:
- Vinegar is cheaper and more accessible.
- Descaling process with vinegar is much simpler and easier to carry out.
- Safe around children and pets.
- Low acid concentration, therefore, won’t damage your clothes if spilled.
Why you should consider descaling solutions:
- The smell will mostly linger around, but descaling agents DON’T have any smell
- Acetic acid, the descaling agent in vinegar, is less effective in breaking down deposits and coffee oils relative to descaling solutions
- White vinegar, in this case, has a low acid concentration of 5%
- Descaling solutions have an effective formula, a higher acid concentration, and are better at breaking down deposits
- Descaling with vinegar requires you to wash the equipment several times to rid it of the odor and taste, descaling solutions DON’T
- Using descaling solutions at regular intervals as recommended will keep the coffee maker running longer and be more reliable
What do experts say about using vinegar to descale a coffee machine?
Vinegar attacks rubber seals and some types of metals. Another problem is the odor and taste. Boilers can absorb the odor and taste of vinegar. Also, with vinegar, there are no surfactants.
They help to clean out the coffee residues; some of the flavor problems that people have after a while with their coffee machines come from those residues. – Mark from Whole Latte Love
Why Lime Juice?
Citric acid, that’s why. The primary descaling agent in lime juice is citric acid. It is very effective at breaking down gunk and functions quite similarly to white vinegar. Moreover, you get an enchanting scent with lime juice and can buy them at your nearest grocery store.
- First things first, like the previous step, unplug the machine and remove all parts.
- Discard residues and wash the individual parts with warm soapy water.
- Attach all parts together.
- One-third of lime juice and two-thirds water; mix them up and fill the water reservoir with the mixture. Wait an hour to let the citric acid do its magic.
- Run a standard brewing cycle and repeat the cycle a couple of times to let the breakdown be effective.
- After the last step, fill the reservoir with clean boiled water.
- Run multiple standard cycles to make the coffee machine smell and taste neutral.
Why Salt & Ice Water?
Ice and saltwater are some of the most accessible and easy combinations available at home. They are efficient at disintegrating buildups and residues in the coffee machine and its parts.
You’ll need crushed ice, a large spoon or paper towel, salt, clean water.
- Crush a cup of ice.
- Prepare a cup with 4 teaspoons of salt.
- In the water reservoir, add the crushed ice, the cup of salt, and a tablespoon of water.
- Use the paper towel or large spoon to rub the salt and ice against the reservoir’s surfaces.
- Clean the inside and wash all individual equipment before putting them back together.
The compound properties in strong alcohol do a competent job at cleansing the most challenging deposits. It has been one of the more popular agents in cleaning household items.
Gather around hard alcohol (vodka is the best bet) and clean water.
- Pour in enough hard alcohol to fill up a quarter of the water reservoir.
- Fill the rest of the container with clean water.
- Run a standard brew cycle and dispose of the remnants after.
- Run another standard brew cycle with just fresh water two to three times to neutralize the coffee machine.
Make YOUR OWN Descaling Solution!
Descaling solutions can be expensive. Having to descale your coffee machine every once in a while costs you big bucks. Therefore, considering a DIY descaling solution to get the job done is wise at times.
However, a homemade descaling solution won’t be as effective and may not give you the best results every time. We do recommend using stronger descalers or buying a descaler for Keurig in the long run.
For this, you will require:
- ¼ cup of baking soda.
- 1 cup of lukewarm water.
- Fill a container with water and add the baking soda.
- Swirl and stir to mix the powder in until dissolved to create your descaler.
- Now, pour in the solution into the water reservoir and run a standard cycle.
- Let the solution cleanse throughout the cycle.
- After the cycle ends, discard the residue.
- Run a second cycle with clean water, and you’re good to go!
Keurig Not Working after Descaling:
This is a common issue that has occurred in the past when foam forms in the K cup, so don’t worry. If your coffee machine won’t run a cycle or lose all responsiveness, follow these steps to troubleshoot these concerns:
- Unplug the Keurig from its power source.
- Check for any leftover descaling agents and dispose of them very carefully this time.
- Fill the reservoir with clean and filtered water.
- Plug the machine into the power source and turn it on.
- Run a RINSE cycle.
- If the machine still errors, unplug it again and let it sit for half an hour before powering it back on.
- That should do it!
A Keurig K-Elite coffee machine is one of the most popular ones out there. It has been providing consistent caffeine satisfaction for years now. But if you want yours to last longer with that magic, caring for it is the apparent truth.
It is essential to realize which descaler is the best fit for your circumstance, how often you ought to dwell into full-on maintenance of your precious coffee maker, and whether you should opt for a homemade descaler instead.
Working to descale your Keurig K-Elite now and then, cleaning each piece of equipment, and using the machine right will give you the best coffee every day of the week.