Coffee Makers, Troubleshooting Coffee Makers

Coffee Holli’s Keurig K-Cafe Troubleshooting Guide: 6 Common Issues and Solutions

Written by

Erica Cervenkova

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Here’s the scoop:

Cappuccino and latte enthusiasts, like Keurig user Tom, can’t imagine their mornings without the Keurig K-Cafe coffee maker. “The built-in milk frother and ‘SHOT’ option for concentrated brews make it the perfect machine for my daily cappuccino,” Tom shared.


Keurig user Sarah faced some challenges: “I love my K-Cafe, but I’ve experienced a few issues with its functions not working properly.”

If you’re having trouble with your Keurig K-Cafe, don’t worry!

This detailed guide, featuring personal experiences and insights from fellow Keurig users, will help you troubleshoot and resolve the most common issues with your beloved coffee maker.

Let’s dive in, and get your K-Cafe back in action!

How To Fix 6 Common Keurig K-Cafe Problems

Are you thinking:

“What’s wrong with my Keurig K-Cafe? How do I get it back to its prime state?”

Don’t worry!

Fellow Keurig users like you have faced similar issues and found solutions.

I’ve compiled a list of the most common problems affecting the Keurig K-Cafe, along with practical solutions from Keurig users who have successfully tackled these issues.

With their insights and experiences, you’ll be able to bring your K-Cafe back to its optimal performance in no time.

1. K-Cafe Milk Frother Not Working

Listen up:

The built-in milk frother is a game-changer for the K-Cafe, making it a popular Keurig model among coffee enthusiasts.

It allows you to create a variety of frothy beverages, rivaling those made by professional baristas.

Imagine enjoying an iced coffee with milk, topped with creamy cold froth, all in the comfort of your home.


A malfunctioning milk frother can be a real bummer, preventing you from enjoying these delightful concoctions.


What can you do if your milk isn’t frothing?

Let’s explore some possible reasons and solutions, informed by the experiences of fellow Keurig users:

  • You’re trying to use the brewer and frother simultaneously. The trick is to complete one process before starting the other.
  • The milk frother was left uncovered before starting the frothing cycle. Make sure you cover the pitcher with its lid before frothing.
  • Overfilled milk pitcher? For optimal results, ensure the milk is up to the “LATTE” line.
  • The frother whisk might need proper installation. Check that the magnetic whisk in the frother is aligned and securely in place.
  • A clogged frother whisk could be the issue. Inspect for any build-up of mineral deposits in the whisk and clean it out to enhance frothing.
  • The frother cup may be loosely or incorrectly attached to the frother base. Gently push the frother to readjust it.


Some K-Cafe users have reported a specific issue where the frother doesn’t work when activated, and all the lights on the frothing section flash continuously.

If you’re facing this problem, try these solutions from fellow Keurig owners:

  • Clean your Keurig milk frother gently with non-abrasive materials after each use, avoiding submerging it in water as it’s not dishwasher-safe.
  • Press down the frothing cup moderately to ensure proper contact with the button.
  • Pour the milk in until it’s just slightly below the required fill line.


It’s also worth noting that certain types of milk froth are better than others.

For instance:

According to the International Journal of Food and Gastronomy Science, whole milk produces more froth than plant-based milk due to its higher protein and milk fat content.

Additionally, cold milk typically foams better than warm milk.

If your milk frother still isn’t working, consider ordering a replacement K-Cafe-compatible frothing cup from the Keurig website.

What’s more:

If you haven’t used your K-Cafe forover a year, you’re eligible for a free repair or replacement.

Don’t believe me?

According to Keurig, your brewer is covered from material and technical defects by a one-year warranty subject to certain conditions.

All in all:

To avoid future issues with your K-Cafe frother, make sure to clean the cup, whisk, and lid after every use.

The cleaning process involves hand-washingwith warm soapy water and a soft brush.

Remember to:

Rinse these parts out thoroughly after washing. You don’t want to brew beverages laced with dish soap.

2. K-Cafe Not Brewing

Listen up:

If your Keurig K-Cafe is not brewing a full cup or not brewing at all, you’re not alone. Many Keurig users have encountered this issue and found a solution in the descaling process.

Here’s the deal:

The exit needle can get clogged by debris or coffee grounds, and your machine may accumulate limescale, causing it to stop brewing.


Before jumping to conclusions, check if the water reservoir is filled adequately and correctly seated.

To rule that out:

Fill it to the max line, align it on the machine, and press the brew button.

If that doesn’t work, grab your Keurig descaling solution and follow our step-by-step guide:


Use a straightened paper clip or a similar tool to clear any lodged debris from the exit needle.

Don’t forget to run a water-only rinse cycle to flush out any leftover residue.

Please note:

While white vinegar is a popular descaling agent, Keurig doesn’t endorse its use and it may void your K-Cafe warranty

One more thing:

Another common issue Keurig users face is the K-Cafe shutting off mid-brew, preventing a full cup of coffee.

If you’re experiencing this, here are some tried-and-tested solutions from fellow Keurig users:

  • Apply pressure to the water tank and brewer lid before starting the brew. Often, this helps the machine complete the brew cycle and stay powered on.
  • Replace the defective valve pump (or water pump) in your K-Cafe brewer. The valve pump uses air pressure to force water through the K-Cup.

By following these tips, your K-Cafe should be back to brewing full cups of delicious coffee in no time.

3. K-Cafe Won’t Power On


When you press the power button on your Keurig K-Cafe, you expect it tolight up immediately.

But what do you do when you’ve tried several times, and there’s no sign of life?

Trust me:

You’re not alone. I’ve been in that situation and had to tap my K-Cafe a few times, hoping it would work.

But as you can guess, it didn’t.

I had to try a combination of official Keurig recommendations and user tips to bring my brewer back to life.

In any case:

Keurig suggests you try these tips if your machine doesn’t turn on:

  • Step 1: Double-check if your K-Cafe brewer is correctly plugged into the outlet. It may seem obvious, but it’s worth verifying.
  • Step 2: If it’s plugged, unplug it and try plugging other appliances into the same outlet. Now, if these appliances fail to turn on, then the outlet lacks continuity and should be replaced by an electrician.
  • Step 3: Try using another outlet to power your Keurig coffee maker to confirm that it’s still functional.


If the outlet is working, here are some other troubleshooting tips I’ve tried:

  • Reset your K-Cafe by unplugging it, removing the reservoir, and letting the machine rest for a few minutes. Then, plug it back in, reassemble the machine, press the power button, and open and close the K-Cup compartment.

  • Inspect the power cord for any visible signs of damage. If it’s damaged, it is likely the cause of the problem and needs to be replaced.


If none of these tips work, reach out to Keurig Customer Support for further assistance.

4. K-Cafe Blinking Lights and Beeping Erratically


Your Keurig K-Cafe is beeping and flashing lights erratically, leaving you puzzled and frustrated.


It could be that all the lights on the brewer attachment are flashing rapidly or that the “COLD,” “CAPP,” and “LATTE” buttons on the frothing section are blinking and beeping just as wildly.

Not to worry; you’re not the first to experience this. Many Keurig users have faced similar issues and have found solutions.


Your K-Cafe milk frother will likely beep and blink lights when the whisk is seated improperly in the frothing cup.

Additionally, starting a frothing cycle when the cup is empty can trigger this defect.


Trying to start your frother during a brewing cycle is another common cause of this problem.

Note that:

Keurig has stated that the K-Cafe cannot simultaneously brew coffee and froth milk.

As such, if your K-Cafe frother is blinking and beeping erratically, you know what to do.

The thing is:

Most affected users simply unplug their K-Cafe to temporarily eliminate the agitating noise before ringing up Keurig customer support.

More often than not, for those covered by the warranty,Keurig sends a brand-new unit.


If you’ve used your K-Cafe for over a year, you just have to find your way around this problem.

On that note, give these user-recommended hacks a shot:

  • Remove the magnetic whisk in the frothing cup and align it correctly. It could be a sensor issue.
  • Make sure you pour enough milk into the frother before attempting to begin the cycle. Don’t start the cycle before adding milk unless you enjoy listening to beeping noises.
  • If you’ve already started a brewing cycle, wait for it to finish before starting your froth cycle, or froth the milk first – whichever works best for you.
  • Press the “COLD” button a couple of times, adding one more for good measure.
  • Run water-only brew cycles using all the available brew sizes: “SHOT,” 6 oz, 8 oz, 10 oz, and 12 oz.

On the other hand:

If all the lights on your K-Cafe brewing section are flashing rapidly and the brewer shuts off after a few seconds, it might be due to a power surge.

Here’s an easy fix they tried:

Reset the K-Cafe brewer. Simply unplug the brewer, wait about 30 seconds (or a minute), then plug it back in.


If none of these troubleshooting tips work, consider calling a skilled technician for assistance as a last resort.


Many Keurig users have faced and resolved this issue, so you’re not alone in your quest for a solution.

5. K-Cafe Is Leaking

Get this:

I understand how frustrating it can be when your Keurig starts leaking during the coffee brewing process or even the preheating stage.

Many Keurig users have faced this issue, and it’s often due to a clog in the machine.

Before unclogging your machine:

Ensure the water reservoir isn’t filled above the max fill line and is seated properly on the machine.

If you overfill your reservoir or its tilting at an uncomfortable angle, it is certainly bound to spill.

So, pour out excess water, realign your reservoir, and inspect for further leakage.


Check if your reservoir has cracks that could cause leakage. To do this, fill it with water, hold it over a sink, and look for leaks.

If you find any, replace the reservoir immediately.

After this:

If the leak persists, it’s time to unclog your K-Cafe brewer.

Here’s how some users have tackled this problem:

  • Step 1: Gently use a straightened paper clip to remove any gunk or coffee grounds stuck in your K-Cafe’s puncturing needle.
  • Step 2: Detach the K-Cup holder and wash it thoroughly with warm water and dish soap until it’s free of debris. Be careful not to hurt yourself on the sharp puncture needle while removing it.
  • Step 3: Empty the water in the reservoir and clear any build-up from the water entry valve at the bottom. This build-up can block the proper passage of water, leading to an overflow.

After you’ve tried these hacks:

If your K-Cafe still has a leaking issue, it might be a hardware defect.

For instance:

  • The water hose might be damaged and need replacing, or it could just be loose and require tightening.
  • A defective or misplaced o-ring might need to be replaced.
  • If the valve pump is clogged with mineral compounds, you’ll need to unclog it.


Keep in mind that some of these solutions require technical know-how to open the machine and work with internal parts.

If you’re not confident in your ability to handle these tasks, it’s best to contact Keurig customer support for assistance.

6. K-Cafe Leaving Coffee Grounds in the Cup

Experiencing coffee grounds in your cup after brewing with your K-Cafe is not only unpleasant but also frustrating.

Trust me:

I’ve been there. But don’t worry, this is a common issue that can be resolved with some proper maintenance and cleaning.

Here are some tried-and-true troubleshooting tips from fellow Keurig users to help you get rid of those pesky coffee grounds in your cup:

  • Unclog the exit needle: If your K-Cafe’s exit needle is clogged, use a thin, sharp object to carefully clear the blockage.
  • Clean the brew basket: Thoroughly clean the brew basket, making sure it is properly placed.
  • Flush out residue: Run a water-only brew cycle through your K-Cafe to flush out any lodged coffee residue.
  • Descale your K-Cafe: Descale your brewer following the steps mentioned earlier to ensure it’s functioning optimally.


It’s important to note that sometimes the problem might stem from your choice of coffee grounds and brewing methods, rather than your K-Cafe itself.

You see:

Finely ground coffee can slip through the filter and end up in your cup.

As such,many users who have encountered this issue recommend opting for K-Cups with a coarser grind to minimize the chance of grounds in your coffee.


Once you’ve made these changes, run a test brew to confirm that the problem is resolved and you can enjoy a delicious, ground-free cup of coffee.

CoffeeHolli’s Practical Tips for Maintaining Your Keurig K-Cafe

As a fellow Keurig K-Cafe user:

I can attest to the importance of regular maintenance in keeping your brewer functioning smoothly.

Here are some practical tips I’ve gathered from my own experience and from other users to help you maintain your Keurig K-Cafe in top condition:

  • Regular descaling and cleaning: Descaling your K-Cafe is crucial to prevent limescale and debris buildup, which can cause mechanical issues and affect the taste of your coffee. Always keep a descaling kit handy for routine maintenance.
  • Unclog needles and K-Cup holder: Make sure to clean the needles and K-Cup holder periodically to avoid clogs and other issues resulting from debris buildup.
  • Use filtered water: To minimize limescale buildup, avoid using hard or tap water in your reservoir. Instead, opt for filtered water, which has a lower mineral content. For an even better outcome, consider double-filtering your water with a dedicated water filter.
  • Replace damaged parts promptly: If you notice any damaged parts on your K-Cafe, replace them immediately to prevent further damage or negative impact on your brewer’s performance.
  • Clean the milk frother after each use: Regularly cleaning the milk frother helps prevent the buildup of harmful compounds, ensuring a fresh and delicious cup of coffee every time.
  • Weekly reservoir cleaning: Wash the water reservoir weekly with warm water and dish soap to eliminate mineral compound buildup and keep your K-Cafe functioning at its best.


It’s a fact:

Your Keurig K-Cafe may experience issues due to improper maintenance, incorrect usage, or simply normal wear and tear.

But don’t worry – there’s hope!

As a Keurig user myself and having spoken with many others, I can confidently say that most problems can be resolved by identifying the root cause and following our detailed Keurig troubleshooting guidelines.

Some of the most common issues faced by Keurig K-Cafe users include:

  • The milk frother not working.
  • Brewer not brewing.
  • The device not powering on.
  • Erratic beeping and blinking lights.
  • Leakage.
  • Coffee grounds in the cup.

Note that:

To prevent many of these issues, I highly recommend adopting regular maintenance habits like descaling and unclogging your K-Cafe.


If you notice your K-Cafe is exhibiting any issues not covered in this compilation, don’t hesitate to contact Keurig customer service

In any case:

Let me know how it goes in the comment section below!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does My Keurig K-Cafe Have a Lifetime Warranty?

No, your Keurig K-Cafe doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty. Only Keurig brewers that have been in use for not more than one year after purchase are covered by warranty.

How Do You Know When to Replace Your Keurig K-Cafe?

If your long-serving K-Cafe develops faults, it might be beyond repair, and you’d need to replace it. Also, when the repair cost exceeds half of the cost of a new brewer, replacing your Keurig would be the best option.

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Keurig?

Keurigs have been said to outlive other coffee makers and have an average lifespan of 3-5 years. However, with proper maintenance, careful handling, and regular cleaning, you can squeeze more years out of your Keurig.

Erica Cervenkova
Coffee Connoisseur, SCA Member

As a coffee connoisseur and member of the Specialty Coffee Association, I am dedicated to understanding the sustainability of coffee pods and the impact it has on the environment. My expertise lies in the realm of capsule coffee machines, from the likes of Keurig and Nespresso to other well-known US brands. I am passionate about sharing my knowledge and helping others make informed decisions about their coffee choices. Whether you're a coffee enthusiast or just looking for a new way to enjoy your morning cup, I'm here to help.


2 thoughts on “Coffee Holli’s Keurig K-Cafe Troubleshooting Guide: 6 Common Issues and Solutions”

  1. If the K-Cafe turns on but does not brew and is clogged by scale somewhere other than the needle, push air through the breather tube for the reservoir low water sensor. Forcing air through the tube will unclog the machine (similar to the air at the end of the brew cycle). You can then descale the machine with de-scaler.

    I had my machine disassembled and was able to just blow in it. When the reservior is removed on the K-Cafe the tube is exposed. A burst of air from:
    1) canned air
    2) a straw pushed in the hole
    3) if you can get your lips on it
    will open it up.

    • Hi Byron! Huge thanks for sharing your hack for unclogging the K-Cafe. I’m sure loads of folks will find it a game-changer. Blowing air through the tube? Genius and simple. Love it when solutions are like that. Cheers for making everyone’s coffee journey a bit smoother! ☕️


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