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Why Is My Keurig Brewing Slowly, and How Can I Fix It?

Getting your morning brew should be quick and effortless. With a Keurig, you just have to get out of bed and walk to your kitchen and turn on your machine. Pop the K-cup in, and in a few moments, you’ll get the caffeine-kick that your body craves. But when your machine has stalled? Ugh, it can totally mess up the rhythm of your day.

After all, you most likely purchased it for the luxury and convenience of making a cup of coffee at a time. And the long wait for a cup of coffee from a slow brewing unit can really annoy you or even kill your morning vibe. So, if you’re asking yourself, "Why is my Keurig brewing slowly?" — we’ll help you figure it out and fix it. Because knowing how to fix your Keurig means that you won't spend a lot of cash on a new one.

Several issues can cause your Keurig to start brewing slowly. Luckily, most of these problems can be fixed at home without using any tools.

Reset Needed

So why is your Keurig brewing slowly?

First of all, you may have kept the machine plugged in for a very long time, and simply resetting it can do the trick. So you can switch the machine off for a few minutes and then switch it back on. And then try and brew your coffee, and if the brewer is still slow, then it means that it has clogged water pipes or it's damaged. So, before you purchase a new machine, you should examine your Keurig for the following problems:

Clogged Puncture Needle and Water Line

One of the main reasons why your machine is brewing slowly is because its water line is blocked. At times, the K-cup pressure can blow some coffee grounds into the puncture needle and block it. When the minute needle channel or line gets blocked, your machine will end up working way too slowly and yielding less than a full cup. 

There’s no need to panic and start thinking about purchasing a new coffee maker.

With the puncture needle blocked, your brewer may be working, but it’s just that the coffee is taking too long to get to your cup. So you have to unclog the blocked line, which can be quite easy. To do this, all you need is a paper clip, toothpick, or needle, plus you won't have to disassemble your coffee maker.

How to Fix a Clogged Water Line and Puncture Needle

clean keurig needle

Unclogging the water channel is a very simple process that won't require you to disassemble the entire machine. It is a fast process, and if done correctly, you will be enjoying your coffee in no time. All you have to do is:

1. Turn the Keurig off With the Power Button

The first thing you should always do before you start working on any electronic is switch it off and make sure it's unplugged. Move it to a well-lit place and then remove the water reservoir and place it aside safely.

2. Open up the Top Lid and Flip It Backward

Open the lid like you always do when inserting your K-cup. Lift the lid and push it back to expose the Keurig's portion pack holder. Remove the funnel and then grab this portion pack holder and loosen it. Push the portion pack holder while pulling it from the top until it pops loose from your machine. This can be quite hard if the Keurig has never been disassembled before.

3. Soak the Funnel and Portion Pack Holder in Vinegar

Once you have removed them, you can flush them under hot water to get rid of the hard water build-up. Instead of using hot water, you can also flush the contaminants using vinegar. Soak these parts in vinegar, and it will flush the contaminant and dissolve the hard water build-up.

4. Probe the Needle Using a Toothpick or Paper Clip

Flip the top part again and look for a needle entry that is normally situated at the center of the bottom of the lid. Remember, you're trying to unblock the hole inside the pin and not injury yourself with a sharp needle. So, don't probe that part of the Keurig using your fingers. Instead, use a paperclip, needle, or toothpick.

This is the most costly part of your machine and the point where pressurized water passes through the K-cup to make coffee. So you have to be careful not to damage it. Insert your paper clip inside the hole and run it through it numerous times. And then take it out and wipe it before repeating the procedure until you get rid of all the dirt. Work very carefully to avoid piercing the waterline connected to the pin.

5. Unclog the Water Tubes

If the needle is not blocked, then it means that the tubes behind the needle are clogged. So, you can dig into the tubes using a toothpick once you have removed the puncture needle. Make sure you get rid of the blockage, and if possible, you can wash the tube to get rid of any blockage.

6. Reassemble the Keurig

Align the slots on your portion pack holder and funnel and snap them back together. Return the portion-pack assembly inside the Keurig and then lower the lid and lock it in place. Finally, you can plug in the coffee maker and turn it on.

Run about three cups of water through your unit to help remove the residues you might have knocked loose. You can also run three cups of vinegar and then flush it with some water. And your machine will be as good as new.

Damaged or Worn Out Puncture Needle

In some cases, a damaged needle can be the culprit behind your Keurig brewing slowly. If the needle is in bad shape, it can make it impossible for your machine to brew faster. And in this case, unclogging the needle won't be enough to return your machine in great working shape.

In severe cases, you will have to purchase a new puncture needle and install it in your Keurig. But this is still cheaper than buying a new coffee machine.

How to Replace the Puncture Needle

Replacing a damaged puncture needle is an easy job that can be done by anyone. All you need for this process are a new puncture needle, Philips #0 and 2 screwdrivers, and a T15 Torx screwdriver. Remember, the puncture needle is quite sharp, so all you have to do is touch the plastic surrounding the needle.

1. Remove the Brewer’s Handle

Switch off and unplug the machine before you start working on it to prevent accidental electrocution. Remove the water reservoir and then lay the machine on its back, and then open its lid. Unscrew the screws holding the top cover and the handle onto the Keurig.

Lift and then pull the plastic cover away from your machine and then detach the handle by pulling it back and upwards.

2. Remove the Old Puncture Needle

Unscrew the screws on the side of the tube situated near the needle. Pull the puncture needle's tube from the water tube using both hands to detach them. Slide the plastic ring that holds the needle tube off it. And then, unscrew the 9.0mm screws holding the needle and then pull it out. 

3. Put in the Replacement Needle

Finally, you can screw the new needle in place and then reassemble the Keurig, and you are good to go.

Hard Water Mineral Buildup in Keurig

Brewing your favorite beverage using hard water can result in mineral build-up with time. And this can affect the brewing speed of your machine and also the output. Therefore, before you even think about purchasing a new unit, you should try descaling it. Descaling your Keurig has numerous benefits. Some of these benefits include:

  • Get rid of the mineral build-up that's clogging the machine.
  • Shorter brewing process
  • Low electricity consumption
  • Ideal brewing temperature
  • Better tasting coffee
Therefore, you should descale your Keurig once every three months.

Final Thoughts

A Keurig is a luxurious purchase that is meant to make your life easier and fun. But when it starts malfunctioning and brewing slowly, it can mess up your entire day. Just because it is brewing slowly, it doesn't mean that you should purchase a new one. Your Keurig might just have blocked tubes or puncture needles. And if you descale it regularly, then you might not have this issue.

To unclog the waterline, you should open the top lid and access the puncture needle. And using a paperclip, you can try and remove whatever is clogging your coffee maker. Another option is replacing the puncture needle, which has malfunctioned. And if this doesn't work, then your unit might have serious internal issues. So you will have to reassemble it and fix the internal water channel issues.

Luckily, unclogging it can be quite easy, and you don't need a professional to repair it. But make sure you descale your Keurig every three months to get rid of the hard water build-up and particles that can clog the machine.


Born in Italy but currently brewing from the UK, Giada is a highly-caffeinated coffee expert with a soft spot for espressos. She worked in cafés for years and has recently fallen in love with the practical Kalita Wave (just don’t tell her Italian moka pot!).

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