If you’ve ever had this happen to you, you’ll know it can be quite an unsettling experience that takes you by surprise and makes you worry that your machine is broken.
It also makes a mess that you really did not want to have to clean up first thing in the morning – and let’s not forget that an exploding K-Cup can injure you because it contains hot coffee!
What causes a K-Cup to explode?
Keurig's customer service advises: "If you have a puffy K-cup foil top, the puffiness is caused by a build-up of gas inside the cup. (The tech says that the presence of gas signifies that the beans were very freshly-ground when the K-cup was filled.) Exploding
K-Cups seem quite common, no matter what brand you are using per Keurig".
With that in mind, let’s look at why K-Cups can turn on you and explode.
What, Exactly, Is A K-Cup?
It’s important to know what a K-Cup is and how it works so that it will be easier to fix the problem of exploding K-Cups.
A K-Cup is a small plastic cup filled with ground coffee and sealed with a foil lid. It also contains a filter. When you put a K-Cup into your machine, you’ll hear a pop sound when you close the machine, and the brewing process will begin to brew a delicious cup.
The machine will puncture the K-Cup’s foil lid so that hot water can be poured over the coffee that’s inside. The hot beverage moves through a paper filter, and a hole that’s located underneath the K-Cup enables this liquid to enter your cup.
During this process, water is pumped through pressurized hoses that enter the machine’s heating chambers to the optimal temperature.
If you end up with an exploding K-Cup that results in coffee being sprayed across your kitchen instead of filling your cup, there’s a problem!
Most Common Reasons Why K-Cups Explode
To prevent your K-Cups from exploding in the future, you’ll have to ensure you know why they exploded in the first place! Here are some of the most common reasons for exploding K-Cups so that you don’t have to deal with this problem again.
THERE’S TOO MUCH AIR IN YOUR K-CUP
This is a problem that was caused during the manufacturing process. Too much air was added to the K-Cup.
When the needle of your machine punctures the K-Cup, the excess air will cause pressure inside the cup to build and burst in a similar way to how a balloon pops.
While you CAN NOT prevent there from being too much air in a K-Cup due to fresh coffee and no degassing valve like on a coffee bag, you should get into the habit of inspecting your K-Cups before using them. You can spot that there’s too much air in a K-Cup by the fresh coffee, so notice of the lid's shape.
If it’s rounded, then it’s packed with air. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it – prevent it from exploding in your machine by poking it with a pin to release some of the air before using it in your coffee machine.
YOU’RE MAKING COFFEE AT A HIGH ALTITUDE
Who knew that altitude could have such an effect on your K-Cups?
Making coffee using K-Cups at an altitude higher than 6,000 feet can cause pressure to build inside them to the extent that they explode
To prevent this from happening, puncture the K-Cups with a small pin before you brew coffee with them to relieve some of the pressure. (As seen in the video above).
YOUR COFFEE MACHINE HAS A CLOGGED NEEDLE
As we mentioned earlier, your machine contains two needles that it uses in the coffee brewing process. One of them pokes a hole in the K-Cup lid, and the other makes a hole in the bottom.
This process can be disrupted if these needles become clogged as they won’t work properly. This can result in your K-Cup exploding.
You should regularly inspect your coffee machine to be sure that the needles are in good condition.
You can also clean the needles with a paperclip that’s been pulled open and straightened. Simply push the paperclip into the needles to remove any coffee that has accumulated.
After you have done that, you should run water through the machine to remove any other coffee built-up. The water will help remove it and flush it out of the machine so that it doesn’t cause problems.
WHAT IF YOU’RE STILL HAVING A PROBLEM WITH EXPLODING K-CUPS?
If you’ve tried some solutions to fix the problem of exploding K-Cups, but you’re still experiencing it, you might wonder what to do. While your exploding K-Cups won’t damage your machine, they could indicate a manufacturing problem with your machine.
Some people have expressed problems with exploding K-Cups in their machines even after they tried to deal with and prevent the problem, such as by trying some of the above-mentioned tips.
If this happens to you, it’s worth reaching out to the manufacturer to find out if there’s a problem with the machine you have, as it could be a manufacturing error that has resulted in the cups constantly exploding.
WHY ARE THERE COFFEE GROUNDS IN YOUR CUP?
While this doesn’t necessarily mean your K-Cup exploded, it does point to your Keurig machine needle needing to be cleaned. (Review the cleaning video above).
The exploding K-Cup is not fun. They can cause a mess and be a rude awakening in the morning when you only wanted to enjoy a cup of coffee in peace. In this article, we’ve looked at some of the most common reasons why K-Cups explode so that you can prevent it from happening again.
We’ve also looked at how you can ensure you properly clean your machine. Now, time to get another cup of coffee!