Keurig, the miracle solution of office time coffee, has now conquered western households. Certainly, Keurig has come a long way to gain the faith of the mass American population. But have you ever wondered how does a Keurig work inside? Most of the curious minds have the quench of knowing the inner mechanism of Keurig.
We will discuss the magical mechanism of Keurig that turns a small amount of coffee inside the K-cup into a delicious, flavourful, and rich cup of coffee. The electrical and mechanical system of Keurig is the hidden architect of producing great coffee.
Let’s explore the detail of this magical mechanism.
Historical Background of Keurig
The pioneer of the instant coffee brewing machine Keurig is John Sylvan. In quest of searching instant coffee making by using one-time coffee pods.
After successful trials, John Sylvan and his college mate Peter Dragone established the Keurig company in 1992. Since then, Keurig is serving us delicious, healthy, and bold cups of coffee to make our days with great freshness. At that time users need to install the plastic cups by hand.
Still, wondering what does Keurig means? In English, Keurig means something exquisite & elegant! Seems like the perfect brand name for an excellent coffee brand. Actually, Keurig is a Dutch word that means “Excellence.”
Now, they have great bunches of Keurig that are specialized for different types of coffee to keep too sharp all day long!
How Does K Cup Work?
How does a K-cup coffee pods work? How the concept of the K-cup evolved? Sylvan cracked the problem of brewing single-shot coffee for one person. He used plastic pods to do so, and now it is commonly known as K-cup. Now, the fantastic function of K-cups is praised and enjoyed worldwide.
Obviously, you know the K-cup is made with food-grade durable plastic materials. The outer plastic casing has dynamic look with all the specification printed.
The plastic container or pod is fitted inside tiny filter paper. The inner side of the filter paper coffee grounds is packed.
The thin, food-grade paper filter is a permeable paper filter that accepts heated water and commences brewing.
So, you already know that ground coffee and filter paper are packed inside the K-cup. The top of the K-cup is wrapped with aluminum foil. The foil seals the coffee grounds inside the K cup. The function of this moisture proof foil layer is to protect the coffee inside the Keurig from humidity. K-cup is sealed with nitrogen to replace the oxygen inside the cup. Oxidization ruins the quality of coffee, so no place for oxygen in the K-cups with a foil lid.
With the standard packaging, you are ensured with great K-cups with longer shelf life and flavourful cups of coffee when brewed with Keurig.
How Does a Keurig Work Inside
Making coffee with Keurig is simple. But, back in the ’90s coffee making was not that simple. With Keurig, you need to fill the water reservoir, install the K-cup and run the power button. Ta-da! It’s ready.
But the inner mechanism of the Keurig machine is not that simple. Many circuits, electronic chips, gears, and sensors simultaneously function together to serve you excellent coffee.
Now, we will show you the schematic outline on how Keurig function inside and how K-cups works
- Inside Keurig, there is a complete set of tubes, chipsets, wires, sensors, circuits, heating systems, and thermostats. These all sets synchronized altogether when you pass a command to your Keurig.
- Firstly, when you initialize the machine, all the sensors and electrical systems are onsets to follow your command.
- If you select the water heating option, thermostats are up for heating the water in the reservoir, and then the machine checks the perfect placement of the K-cup via sensors.
- If the sensor finds the K-cup has been placed perfectly, it waits for the user’s command. After the user chooses the brewing option, then the brewing starts. For example, the most popular brewing size is 16oz K-cups! So the machine is waiting for that command from you to perform the rest.
- Finally, you may ask how Keurig performs brewing? Simply Keurig brews coffee by a hot extraction process. In the brew chamber, the solvent is warm water of 200-degree Fahrenheit. The extraction is performed under a controlled mechanical environment where minimal loss of flavor is ensured. Users need to select a brew size, and the top of the Keurig machine has different cup brew buttons, like Strong Brew, etc.
- After the extraction is completed in the K-cup, your hot or cold drink coffee is ready!
Different Sections of a Keurig:
A Keurig machine is a combination of several units, and now we will talk in detail about these sections.
Water Reservoir & Level Sensor:
The water reservoir is the most crucial part of brewing machine. Why? It is because water is the most important material for a delicious cup of coffee. If the raw & hot water quality is compromised, then taste can be compromised as well. So, many sensors and systems are in place in the coffee machines reservoir to make the plain water more perfect for strong coffees. Notably, the water reservoir is easily detachable. So, it is very easy to clean.
Other crucial feature is the water reservoir level indicator. You can easily notice if you overload the water tank or need to load with plenty of water. This sensor-mediated reservoir is the unique feature of the Keurig.
Water Filtering System:
In this part, we will talk in detail about the water purifier. Earlier, I have said that Keurig has a detachable water reservoir which helps with excellent maintenance.
A filtration net is installed to purify the granular particles. This filter is an activated charcoal-mediated filter, which absorbs many pollutants in water. Activated charcoal is the most popular medium of water purifying, and it removes particles that hinder the chemical process of brewing. The process reduces water hardness levels and produces soft water for great cups of coffee.
One of the main culprits of ruining coffee flavors is calcium. Calcium also accumulates on the tube surface and block the smooth passage of fluids. With activated charcoal, calcium is removed efficiently; even it removes chlorine. Chlorine-free water or water with minimal chlorine can enhance the taste multi-folds.
It has integrated a LED indicator on the lid, which tells the user when they should replace the filtration unit. Isn’t it amazing?
Fluid Pumping System:
The fluid pump is the core compartment of the Keurig machine. Now, I will show you how a coffee machine’s water pumping and heating system works, and, in that case, we will take Keurig as a volunteer of all brewing machines.
- After turning on the Keurig, water is pumped through the tube from the reservoir to the heating system. The pump responsible for this step is located beside the filtration with the Keurig.
- The pumping tube is heat resistant, and it is made of silicon. Silicon is incorporated in different food machinery because of its high durability, heat tolerance capacity, and compliance with food safety guidelines.
- The embedded sensors determine the water level. There are multiple systems responsible for smooth water level maintenance and transfer system. Some are responsible for signaling water requirement in the main water reservoir, and other handle the operation of continuous and precise heating of water.
- Other safety measure sensors automatically shut down the heating circuits when water is ready for brewing. It’s a great feature of this machine because, without it, any hazard can happen anytime.
- There is a red light on the top of the lid. It indicates that more pressurized water is needed in the reservoir compartment to complete the brewing cycle.
K Cup Hollow Needles
K cup needles are responsible for perfect brewing. Filter water is pumped through the tube to the heating chamber and ready for brewing. Now, K-cups come into play. K-cups are used to brew the coffee. In previous sections, I discussed the making of K-cups and their whereabouts.
Now we will discuss how the hollow needle reaches the K-cup. This process is done through statistical positioning of needles; now we call it K cup needles. These are hollow needles. To fit in perfectly in the Keurig user has to lift the positioning handle on the machine’s top. It will show the user a round-shaped grabber where the K-cup will be placed. Caution notices are shown to the user about the sharp or pointy items.
Now, comes down to the central part, the sharp needle is placed on the K-cup when the handle is elevated. Another bottom needle holds the plastic cup at the bottom of the K-cup.
Once K-cup is released in the machine, a sound oozes out, and coffee is ready to serve! You can enjoy iced tea/coffee or hot chocolate as per your choice, so grab the relevant K-cup, buddy!
Technologies Applied in Keurig:
Technologies and coffee-making industries bless us by adopting some state of art technologies to solve issues of coffee lovers. Keurig is equipped with complex engineering, which has made our mid-work breaks simpler than before. Moreover, the power consumption is relatively low with Keurig compared to other drip coffee machines.
Let’s break down some of Keurig’s mechanical and electrical parts to get better ideas about Keurig’s supremacy in brewing.
Power supply circuit:
In the machine, the power supply board is located at the bottom. This power supply board is tiny in size. Don’t underestimate this little powerhouse’s role because it controls the electric supply of Coffee brewers.
Another excellent feature of this board is safety features. The embedded chipset controls the overflow of a current or strategic power cut per the sensor’s command.
Internal electronic circuit panel:
The vertically located internal circuit board is responsible for controlling the power supply to a coffee maker’s internal electrical units. The board efficiently holds power to ensure a safer power supply and functionality of pumps and heating systems.
Upper circuit panel board:
The upper panel board is located in the machine’s electrical system horizontally. It is situated right beneath the top control panel. This one is the input unit that communicates with the user and takes command. A power button governs the board, LED signaling lights, brewing option selection switch, and auto-switch off button.
Descale Your Keurig Coffee Brewer:
Daily cleaning keeps any brewer in a top-notch status. Most of the brewer need minimal cleaning, and it’s a great deal about this brewer.
If you line water rich in hardness, you might need to descale your Keurig once in a month. Simply circulate the water-vinegar mixed water into the brewing system twice. After that, circulate the normal water into the system two or three times unless the vinegar odor vanishes.
Details steps on how to descale your Keurig can be found here.
In the end, I can tell you that your query on how does a Keurig work inside is fully solved. A just brewed coffee is way better than carbonated drinks or so-called energy drinks.
Now you can enjoy the cup of coffee with more peace because you just cracked down the mystery of our beloved Keurig coffee machine’s functionality.