How To Use Keurig Mini: Everything You Need To Know To Work It

Mike C
Written By Mike C

I've been writing about coffee and espresso machines for 3 years. My goal is to provide you with helpful content that you can trust based on my own personal experiences, information from manufacturers, and tips and tricks I've gathered from other coffee and espresso machine users.

I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

How To Work A K-Mini


Learning how to use a Keurig Mini is easy. After all, the convenience factor was probably one of the main reasons you sprung for this machine instead of a drip coffee maker. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about how to work and operate a K-Mini, including set up, brewing, cleaning and recycling.

Setting Up Your Keurig Mini Machine


Carefully remove your Keurig Mini from the box. Remove any packing tape that there may be on any of the coffee maker pieces. Wipe down an area of your counter where you want to store the Keurig, near a working power outlet. At the back of the brewer you will find the cord storage. Pull the plug and extend the cord just enough so that you can plug it in.

Preparing The Water Tank


If you have the regular K-Mini, the water tank is not removable. Fill a mug with 8 oz of clean water. Lift the water tank lid and pour the water in. Be sure you don’t fill the water reservoir above the MAX line or below the MIN line. Close the lid.

K-Mini Plus

If you have the K-Mini Plus, there are some key differences to note. For starters, the reservoir is removable. It’s a good idea to clean it first. Lift the reservoir straight up to remove it. Bring it over to your sink and give it a thorough cleaning with soap and warm water. Only use a soft sponge to clean it, nothing abrasive. Dry it off and place it back on the machine. Next, fill a mug with 8 oz of clean water. Lift the water tank lid and pour the water in. Be sure you don’t fill the water reservoir above the MAX line or below the MIN line. Close the lid.

What Type of Water To Use In Keurigs

Only use tap, bottled or filtered water with your brewer. Keurig specifically says that you should NOT use distilled water in the K-Mini. Distilled water lacks minerals. As a result, it attracts metal ions from the components inside. This can cause them to break down over time. You also need some minerals in your water for your coffee to taste good.

A Warning About Milk

Since we are talking about the water reservoir, a warning: you should never put milk in there! It can seriously damage your K-Mini beyond repair. If you need to heat milk for hot chocolate or a latte, use the stovetop or a steam wand.

Power On The Brewer

Locate the power button on the top right of your K-Mini. Once you press it, lights should turn on and the brewer will start warming up.

Run A Cleansing Brew

Before you make your first coffee, you should run water through the K-Mini to remove anything that may have ended in there during manufacturing or storage. It’s easy. Lift and lower the handle, but don’t put a K-cup inside. Place a mug under the coffee outlet and then press the brew button. The brew indicator light above the “K” brew button will start to pulse while the machine heats up. This can take around two minutes. When the light turns solid, hot water will start to dispense. When the cleansing brew is done, just discard the water and rinse out your mug. Your K-Mini is ready to use!

How To Use Your Keurig Mini Coffee Maker To Brew A K-Cup

Choosing A K-Cup

There are hundreds of K-cups to choose one. Try a bunch and you’ll be sure to find your new favorite coffees. There is a range of roasts and caffeine levels. There are even some pods that are crafted for iced coffees. In addition to coffee, you can even find hot chocolate and tea K-cups too. If you already have a favorite coffee, you can use your own grinds too with the My K-Cup resuable pod.

A notable exception to the assortment is espresso. These machines don’t have the high pressure power needed to brew authentic espresso. For that you would need a Nespresso. If you want to try to make a latte with a Keurig, your best bet will be espresso roast pods that try to mimic the flavor of espresso.

Add Water To Reservoir

Add your desired amount of water to a mug to make the size of coffee you want. Never use less then the minimum 6 oz or more than the maximum 12 oz. Pour the water from the mug into the water tank.

Brewing A Pod

Place a mug under the coffee outlet. Lift the handle on the front of the machine to open the brewing chamber. Place a single K-cup in the pod holder, with the lid facing up. Do not remove the pod’s foil lid! There are needles below the pod holder and underneath the brewing chamber lid. Once you lower handle completely to close the lid, these needles will pierce the top and bottom of the K-cup. These holes allow the hot water to flow through. If you live in a high altitude area, you may need to pre-puncture your pods. Just push the K-cup down once you place it in the pod holder before closing the lid. Once the lid if closed the brew light will start to flash. This signals that the K-Mini is ready to brew!

Press the brew button (the big K logo at the top) to begin. The brew light will pulse for two minutes while the machine heats up. When it turns solid, coffee will start to flow into your mug. Wait until the brew light turns off before removing your mug. Then lift the handle to remove the K-cup. Leave the brewer’s lid open for a little while for the brewing chamber to dry out. The Keurig Mini has an auto-off function to save energy by shutting the machine off after 90 seconds.

If you have a My K-Cup reusable filter, you can see my related post on how to brew using your own coffee grinds.

The K-Mini Plus The Strong Button

If you have the Keurig Mini Plus, you will see a button labeled STRONG. Pushing that at the start of your brew will increase the strength and bold taste of your coffee.

Can You Use A K-Cup Twice?

Don’t use a pod twice. I know it may be a tempting way to try to save some money. However, if you do it your coffee will likely taste bad. That’s because the coffee grounds inside the K-Cup will be over-extracted the second time around. If you are looking to cut costs, you may want to try using your own coffee grinds in a reusable filter or checking out some pods from sites like Gourmesso.

How To Care For Your K-Mini Coffee Maker

Learning how to properly maintain your Keurig Mini is important if you want it to last for a long time.

Basic Cleaning For Keurig Mini

I strongly suggest seeing my related post for a full guide on how to clean a Keurig, including basic daily, weekly, monthly, bi-monthly and semi-annually cleaning steps. The following three things are some of the most important basic cleaning steps you can take.

Always eject used K-cups right after brewing. Never leave them in the holder. If you do, coffee grinds can get stuck there leading to a burnt or bitter taste in your next cup. Then, when you are done using it for the day, run a fresh water only brew cycle with no K-cup in the unit. This will rinse out any grinds that may have been left behind.

Use a Keurig rinse pod to remove any coffee residue or oils from inside the machine every week. If not, residue and oil can build up in your brewer over time. A Keurig rinse pod is the easiest way to clean your K-cup pod holder. These pods contain a special formula that can rinse away the leftover coffee residue and oils.

Every week, wipe down the machine with a soft, lightly damp cloth. Empty and clean the drip tray. Wash or wipe down the water tank.

Needle Maintenance

how to clean Keurig needle
Keurig Needle

When you brew a K-cup, there are needles inside your Mini that make holes at the top and bottom of the pod. This allows hot water to pass through the capsule and make its way to your cup. The ground coffee in the pods can get stuck around the needle. If left there, they will turn dry and hard. This is more likely to happen if you don’t discard your pods soon after brewing. Eventually you may end up with Keurig coffee grounds in your cup. It could also make it harder for your Keurig to puncture the K-Cup pods. The Mini has a removable pod holder that you can pop out to make this process easier. Check out my related post to learn how to clean the Keurig needles.


The water used to brew your K-cups has minerals that cause limescale to build up inside your coffee maker, especially if you have hard water. These are not toxic, but they can affect your Keurig’s water flow as well as the taste and temperature of your coffee. Regularly descaling your brewer will keep it in top shape. You should do this every 3 to 6 months, even if you are using filtered water. See my related post on how to descale a Keurig.

Storage or Long Period of Non-Use

If there is ever going to be a time when you won’t be using your K-Mini coffee maker for a while, say a week or two or longer, you should try to empty the internal water tank. This will prevent mold or limescale from building up inside while the brewer is not in use. If you are leaving it in a cold climate, it will also keep it from freezing.

Recycling Your K-Cups

Since the end of 2020, all K-cups are recyclable. They are made of a plastic that is accepted in curbside recycling programs across most of North America. Just peel back the lid, empty the coffee grinds in the trash or compost, and then place the plastic pod in the recycling bin. It’s a simple thing you can do to reduce the environmental impact of using a Keurig coffee maker.

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