bad keurig coffee taste

Keurig Brewer – How to Get Rid of Plastic Taste

A $180 coffee maker should not produce bad tasting cup of coffee, so my Keurig B70 Single Cup Coffee Brewer has been pretty disappointing.




The burnt-rubber and chemical laden taste was so overwhelming that I couldn't even finish a cup. Granted, any new coffee maker is expected to have a plastic taste for the first few cups, but it's usually gone after a few brews to break it in. The horrible taste did not go away no matter how many cycles of coffee I went through.

I started researching and looking for other people that have had the same experience, and sure enough, many others in an Amazon discussion are tasting the same thing.

The problem seems to be coming from the reservoir and the type of plastic it’s made out of. Apparently the plastic isn't capable of handling the high temperatures and is leeching into the water. Interestingly, some people aren't able to taste it at all, so this may suggest that Keurig is using multiple manufacturers and materials. It's also possible that some may have a genetic predisposition to tasting the chemicals in question. That is still up in the air, as you'll see in the Amazon reviews.

Keurig seems to be aware of the issue and they are reportedly helpful in attempting to fix the problem. If you contact them, they will send you a new reservoir if you are still experiencing problems after cycling the water through multiple times.

If you don't want to go through that hassle, you can also try exchanging it where you bought it and testing a new one. They claim the newer reservoir is made of a more optimal material. This begs the question – why are they still selling brewers with subpar materials in the first place? The problem is ongoing for over a year now, so you’d think they’d fix the problem already. For a $180 coffee maker, funky tasting coffee is not cool, and going through all this trouble is definitely not cool.

Try these steps to get rid of the nasty Keurig brewer taste

  1. Remove the reservoir from the Keurig, and fill it with hot water & dish soap.
  2. Let it soak for 30 minutes.
  3. Take a sponge to it and scrub it out thoroughly.
  4. Rinse the reservoir.
  5. Fill it up again with just water and add a 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar.
  6. Hook it back up to the Keurig.
  7. Cycle through several cups of just water/vinegar until it’s empty (use the largest cup size to speed this up).
  8. Fill it up again with just water (no vinegar) and cycle through the reservoir again.
  9. Repeat step 8 again until the funky taste is gone. It should only take a couple cycles.

If you still have a plastic or rubbery taste in your coffee after all that, you should contact Keurig and have them send you a new reservoir, or just get your money back if you still can. You can call their customer service at 1 (866) 901-2739, or visit their support page.

Please leave comments and let me know if this works for you, or if you have any better methods of cleaning it out! I'm also interested to know if the newer 2.0 brewers have the same issues, so if you have experience with one of those beasts, feel free to comment below.

*UPDATE*

I took some advice from the comments below and cleaned out my k-cup holder after I started tasting the plastic again after a couple days. It wasn't as strong, but it was definitely still there. After soaking the holder in vinegar and washing it thoroughly, the taste seemed to be gone again for a little while, but then it came back again after a couple of days. I returned the Keurig for a full refund and have no plans for wasting my money on another one. I've got better things to do with my time.

I’ve since been exploring other coffee makers and methods for brewing, and eventually came upon a device called an Aeropress that is working amazingly well for me. It's not an automatic brewer, so it takes a little bit more work, but it's definitely worth it. Plus, it's only $30, as opposed to $180! I'll probably write more about it and other Keurig alternatives in the near future.

57 thoughts on “Keurig Brewer – How to Get Rid of Plastic Taste

  1. If these steps work for you and you have the time that is all good. I found a quicker version that you may want to try first

    1. remove the k-cup holder from the keurig by lifting and pushing from the bottom.

    2. place k-cup in a deep enough glass that it can be covered in liquid.

    3. fill cup with white vinegar until the k-cup holder in covered

    4. let soak for 15 minutes

    5. remove and wash with dish soap and water.

    6. return to maching and run once or twice without a k-cup.
    good luck

    • Good suggestion, I didn’t even think about that part of it. I’ll do this in addition to what I already did. I suppose it’s best to wash every accessible plastic part that comes into contact with the water.

        • Unfortunately, I’m right there with you still. I spoke too soon when I said that everything was tasting good. It was for a little bit, but then surely enough, the nasty plastic taste came back! I’ll most likely be returning it and looking for another coffee maker…other than keurig…

  2. I have used a gallon of vinigar and a box of baking soda running it thru and soaking the K-cup holder ………no luck. It appears that the smell is coming from the outside of our unit (the lid). We are also thinking that it’s from the tube the water is going thru. It’s not our resevoir. The coffee is totally undrinkable. The taste is awful to put it mildly!!!

    • I’m pretty much giving up on Keurig. It’s not worth the hassle. Even the replacement they sent me had the same nasty taste…

    • I am having the exact same problem. I bought a mini one so I don’t even have a reservoir. Every cup of coffee I brew tastes and smells like burning plastic, even when I just run it through without a k-cup. I am so disappointed. I soaked the kcup holder and that seemed to help a tiny bit, but not much. The smell seems to be coming from the lid of mine as well, and inside, which I can’t wash. I have done so many vinegar cycles, and baking soda cycles, even bought this coffee maker cleaner. Still, the coffee is undrinkable.

      • Ditch the Keurig…it’s not worth the hassle.

        I just picked up an Aeropress for $36 and it’s a FAR superior taste compared to the Keurig (and much more portable). It may take a little extra work, but to me it’s completely worth it.

    • Erica – Same here – I have a Mr. Coffee (made by Kerig. It has a smaller reservoir that sits on top in the back. The smell is NOT from the reservoir; NOT from the k-cup unit (I can tell by smelling). The plastic taste is coming from wherever the water goes on its way from the reservoir to the K-cup unit. I’m going to try the vinegar route, and run several cups, then wash everything out, then run several cups of clean and see if that works.

  3. I bought one of these for my wife, and can’t stand the coffee that comes out of it due to the plastic smell. I’ve tried coffee from three other Keurigs, and my only complaint with them is the quality of the cup of coffee they brew. I’m struggling with Keurig’s solution, as well as the solutions you give, Paul, primarily due to the fact that neither our reservoir nor K-cup holder smell. It’s the plastic in between that smells like what I’m getting in my cup. Maybe running vinegar through the system will help, but I suspect that the root cause is a bad lot of plastic that was used to create the internal bits, and the only solution to that is to replace those bits or the whole unit. I’ll have a go at vinegar and cleaning the reservoir (already put the K-cup holder through the dish washer), but my hopes are not high…

  4. I have two Keurig B70’s. There is a solution – not a great one, but it absolutely works. 1) Empty and rinse the water reservoir. 2) run two empty cups of water thru. 3) then put your KCup in and drink. this minimizes the cheap Chinese plastic. I suspect this is carcinogenic. I have noticed this same aroma in other Chinese coffee makers… most are made in China… most are made in the same factory and the bottom line is cost with no respect for consumer health… and Keurig and their distributors just looking out for maximum margin. Health effects will probably show up years later is my guess with no association back to the original source.

    I suspect the standing water in the reservoir is leaching plastic into the water… if you smell the reservoir it is the same smell that gets in the coffee. So fresh water in the reservoir, purge the lines, and you’ll get coffee that doesn’t smell as badly as plastic.

  5. Unfortunately, I’m on on third Keurig (B70) within the last month… and I believe I’m throwing in the towel on this one, returning it once and for all. You know it’s time when you’d rather drink from the cheap, old faithful coffee pot that is back on the counter sitting next to the fancy $200 brewer because it tastes 100% better. Sadly, its entirely for looks because I would never serve this to guests. I’ve tried everything – vinegar, replaced the reservior, returned 2 entire brewers. At this point, I just want coffee. I have never wasted so much time in my life on coffee.

    Now the question is… what to get.

  6. We recently experienced the same issue. I bought the Keurig over QVC for my wife. It seemed like a great deal to get the high-end Keurig for $149. However, every cup had the burnt plastic taste. It was so obvious that we thought maybe we had scalded some packing material inside the unit. We sent it back to QVC and received another one. It had the same problem.

    Even after cycling vinegar through 30+ times, we have the plastic taste (and vinegar). Saw on other sites that even if the plastic taste is masked that it will return.

    Besides the foul taste, we have concerns that this could be carcinogenic. Returned it to QVC and bought a Breville, which immediately met our expectations. We will never buy a Keurig product again.

  7. I just bought a single cup Keurig and I can’t stand the plastic aftertaste. I thought it was just ‘the new wearing off’ but it’s not. I’m wondering if the taste comes from the K-cup plastic as well. I just like regular coffee with a little half and half. I don’t like flavored coffees. Very disappointed and returning it.

  8. I bought the Mini Keurig several months ago & from day one, never enjoyed a good cup of coffee. The coffee has an aftertaste & no matter how many times I’ve cleaned it and/or changed filters it hasn’t improved. Now that I read these comments I realize it’s not me & will be returning my Keurig shortly, Just not sure what to buy. Thanks for the comments.

  9. I tried the vinegar, the soap soak, the wash, more vinegar and no luck. Costco gave me full refund. Heads up to all – don’t buy Keurig. Big waste of time and money.

  10. Plastic taste never went away . Tried all the cleaning things still not had a cup that does not taste like plastic. When you return it do you send it to Keurig or where you purchased it from???

    • Return from where you purchased it so long as it’s within the return period. Otherwise, call Keurig and complain till they give you a refund 🙂

  11. Returned mine, a gallon of vinegar and 3 hours later.
    Nothing like a great French Press!!

    There is something to be concerned about with all the plastic that is used to prepare the consumable goods. Clearly Keurig is not concerned about that.

    • I have a $20 french press that is all glass and metal and makes coffee 100 times better than this. Als how hard is it to boil water?
      We got a Keurig 2.0 for Christmas and the taste is just awful. Aw.ful. Am trying the soap/vinegar cleanse, but am not hopeful after reading this thread. Still, am grateful for the info.

  12. When my mom passed away in 2013 I took over her Keurig Platinum and I loved it. Well just recently it started making weak coffee, so I did return it back to Kohls and went with the new 2.0 Keurig and well I wasted so many Kcups because each time the coffee was disgusting…was hoping it would go away. Well it hasn’t and I’m now trying the vinegar thing so I hope it works. I’m going to call Keurig and see what’s up with this and maybe they will send free samples or coupons for drinking nasty burnt plastic coffee lol

  13. I had an older single serve Keurig with no reservoir and liked it. But recently thought it would be better to upgrade to the convenience of not having to fill the water for every cup. That was a mistake! Washed and rinsed about 10 times and still has chemical/plastic taste. Wasted so many K-cups hoping it would go away after running it empty a dozen times. I’ll try the vinegar but am very disappointed so far, and will probably end up returning it!

  14. We have a 2 y/o Keurig in CO ,it brews coffee that is a solid B. Our new K machine makes chemically tasting brew out of the same box of Kcups that I was using in CO before we returned for Christmas. So off to Costco we go to return this maker of hideous tasting joe. They should call this misfit of the coffee world a K-NOMO.

  15. Hey guys I found this website last night, it was the top hit for this problem. My chick and I were up late and noticed the taste, came here, realized we didn’t have vinegar and were then bummed we’d have to wait a day lol. It was almost 4:00 am. But I realized we had lemon juice, and we ran that through the machine undiluted. It was an entire tank worth. Then we ran two tanks of bottled water just to be sure or thorough. IT TOTALLY WORKED BITCHES. So if you’re out of vinegar and have lemon juice, there’s another option lol. Peace.

  16. I had purchased the platinum maker, could not drink the coffee, the smell was throughout the house. Keurig replaced with the 2.0 and I have wasted so much money buying the carafe, the carafe cups, and cannot drink an of them. I will call keurig.

  17. I had two Keurigs over the past 5 years and loved them. I was bummed when my last one stopped working after just 2 1/2 years, but it allowed me to get a new 2.0 version. Well I could not be more disgusted. The first one tasted strongly of plastic or chemicals. I did the vinegar thing – running two tanks of vinegar through the machine and soaking the brew head. It did nothing. I called Keurig and they were great. I’m guessing it’s because they are well aware of the problem. They agreed to send me a whole new machine. I assumed that must mean they have some machines that do not have this issue. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get one. This second machine is just as bad. I’ve spent hours trying to eliminate this awful smell and taste, and it has almost no impact. I shouldn’t have to try so hard just to get this product to do what it is supposed to do. I’m disgusted bc I really enjoyed my Keurig and now I’ve got two useless hot chemical pumps and $50 worth of bad tasting coffee.

  18. My husband bought me the new 2.0 In September for my birthday. Well the first one kept saying preheating and the water wouldn’t come out to make the coffee. I had to get the machine replaced. I got the 2nd machine and it has that plastic taste to the coffee and you can smell it bad when it’s brewing. Ran vinegar and water through it and still is horrible. I called Keurig back and they t ok ld me that they don’t suggest running vinegar through this model. I told her that’s funny cause I was doing what the customer service representative told me to do. Well, got my 3rd one and guess what. Ran water through it and cleaned it well. The first cup tasted so good. Went back for a 2nd cup and it tasted like plastic again. I’m going to be making a phone call tomorrow cause I’m done with this machine. I don’t suggest the 2.0. Thanks

  19. My new Kuerig has a plastic taste too..I had one before this and had no problems but this has to be returned. .it didn’t taste funny the first few times we used it? I also tried vinegar and running the water through. .it was ok for 1 cup then I tasted that terrible taste again. I hope I can return it. .it was a xmas gift.

  20. Work in an office that has multiple Keurigs. Two are large with auto-dispose k-cups. Coffee tastes great. One small Keurig sounds just like the ones mentioned above. Coffee has strong plastic taste – it’s incredibly awful. Expensive water filtration systems feed all the coffee makers in the office. The only explanation is that some models have a problem. This model has been in use for over a year. No one in the office uses it anymore. Every once in a while I will try it to see if it’s any better, but still the same foul taste.

  21. We have the Keurig 2.0 and had the same problem with the plastic taste. We noticed it more or less depending on the k-cup variety we used. The only brand that didn’t make the coffee taste like plastic was the Starbucks variety. I wonder if the plastic used for the K-Cups is different from one K-cup manufacturer to another? I’ve seen reusable stainless steel K-cups by ecobrew, which seem to get great reviews on Amazon for eliminating the plastic taste, but they only make them for the older Keurig models.

    • We are getting the terrible chemical/plastic taste even when brewing just hot water. Time to call Keurig. Making a cup of coffee shouldn’t be this challenging or time consumming.

  22. Hi Paul,

    I noticed your comment (below) and I also am looking for cheaper alternatives to bulletproof coffee beans (and
    MCT oil etc…). I was wondering if you found anything out? I was considering ordering some of the kicking horse coffee myself but thought I’d see if you found anything better or ?

    Thanks!
    Liam

    When I first heard about bp coffee and decided to give it a try, I went to
    amazon to find something comparable. Typed in “bulletproof coffee”, and the
    first one that came up was this one – Kicking Horse Coffee
    .
    Looking through the comments I saw that a few people claimed it was
    comparable to upgraded coffee for much cheaper, so I went ahead and grabbed
    it. Now that I know more about what to look for, I’m not really sure about
    how great it is. I can’t find anything about the method of processing,
    altitude, etc, and it looks like it’s a blended mix of Indonesian and
    Central American beans. It’s also a dark roast, which isn’t as good as
    medium roasted apparently. All of a sudden it’s not looking like a very
    good alternative.

    The 12 oz upgraded coffee is pretty expensive @ $36.18/lb (including
    shipping to austin tx)

    The 5 lb bag is also expensive, but more reasonable @ $18.23/lb (including
    shipping to austin tx)

    The kick ass coffee is $12.27/lb with free shipping, but is probably not
    the best quality.

    I suppose I’d be willing to fork over the money for a 5 lb bag of the
    upgraded coffee, but I’ll still be on the lookout for something cheaper
    with comparable quality.

    • I’ve actually gone a much cheaper route that takes a little more work. I buy 16lb bags of unroasted green coffee on ebay, then roast it myself using a popcorn maker. The quality seems just as good to me. I agree, the prices are pretty ridiculous for upgraded coffee.

  23. Wow! that is admirable! I must confess to being too lazy for that approach 🙂 did you ever find a source of ROASTED beans of similar quality to Bulletproof that were more affordable? Or might you know someone I could ask?

  24. I have two Keurig machines. One I bought at BJ’s Wholesale Club in 2006 and it’s a wonderful coffee maker we use at my small office. Now we bought another at BJ’s as well (the 2.0) for our home and it tastes AWFUL. I think will try to contact Keurig directly regarding this issue.

  25. I was excited when I won a new K130 Kuerig about a month ago. After multiple times with all the suggestions given it still tastes terrible. I emailed Kuerig, and they replied that they would promise me a solution, but first had to pay a $45. fee, and required my credit card number!! I emailed them again, and said that the solution for that problem should not be charges on a brand new machine. They again said if I wnated to talk to an agent, they required the fee–if the solution they say works. Needless to say–I clicked off.

  26. I have several Keurig’s for my home and office. They have worked great. Recently I decided to replace my old ones with a new ones. Omg I think this was a big mistake. The 2.0 550 was not getting hot and the Office Pro Premier had the worst burnt taste.

    I return the 2.0 550 but read some of your posts. I tried the baking soda, white vinegar and added Clorox mixture. I let it sat in the reservoir for about 15 minutes then ran through with largest cup size. After running through to empty I washed the reservoir with soap and water. I filled with hot water (doing this twice) and ran through using the largest cup size.

    Last I did another hot water rinse. After doing this made a cup of tea and it taste great. I know it was a lot for paying over $200 for the Office Pro but so far it has worked. If the taste returns I will return to Keurig. Hopes this helps.

  27. I am so disappointed! My old Keurig developed problems so I bought a new one. The coffee is horrid. I descaled it 3 times to no avail! I called the company and they are sending a new water reservoir, so we shall see.

  28. Just brewed my first cup in the Keith 2.0 and it’s plastic tasting / from the posts here it’s not fixable long term. Very annoying – great thread however and thanks to all.

    Going to contact Keurig

    Eddie

  29. I tried the suggested alcohol process twice and could not get rid of the plastic taste.
    The plastic smell is so heavy I called Keurig. I have them the serial number off my daughters offending office pro and they informed me it was mfg 09/2012.
    They sent me a new reservoir without making me explain much. Shipped it free and the new unit does not stink. The outside of the reservoir package was marked Rev B.
    Thanks for your efforts Paul but in my daughters case the chemistry of the original reservoir was extremely bad. Glad it’s helping some folks.

  30. If any members of Keurig’s board are reading this thread I would suggest a top down review of senior management. The bad taste will not soon leave the machines or the publics psyche…

  31. Keurig coffee maker is no good. It is a new model. I had a Proctor and Gamble one(purchased at a food market) that would use K-cups, but it did the same thing (coffee that tastes like plastic). This is likely not genetics of taste buds. It is likely cheap plastic that leaches into the water when either cold, or especially if hot. Back to the othe store to get money back on this new one too. The taste still lingers. Yuck!

  32. Good morning! My Keuring of 9 years finally pooped out and I bought a new Keurig55. Same disgusting taste you all describe..after trying 3 K cups and they were all awful, I had fortunately saved the reservoir from my old machine and popped that on. Problem solved! Must be in the new plastic they use. Kind of reminds me of the plastic they use in packaging crackers and chips and stuff, if you don’t use them within like a year that plastic permeates the food and they’re garbage.

  33. Good Morning All,

    Just got a new Keurig K compact and the plastic taste was terrible. I did as suggested but trying get all the vinager out in the same fill took a little while which if anything helped. Finally got the vinager out and ran plain water about two fills or so and all is well. Thank you.

  34. I admire all the consumers who have run all sort of stuff through their Kuerig coffee maker to try to get rid of the plastic taste and smell. After running several water only through the machine I gave up and returned it. In reading all the comments by other unhappy consumers, this goes back to 2012, what has Kuerig Ben doing since that date, looks like nothing. Kuerig, great work keep it up.

  35. Same problem. I just bought a new Keurig 145 office model. I use it mainly for tea and once in a while-hot chocolate. The smell and taste were not worthy of drinking a cup of tea. I totally cleaned the reservoir and ran vinegar through it and then plain water…it did not help.
    Fortunately I had an old reservoir and cup and replaced them both. So far it is much better…not perfect. I will have to wait to see if the smell and horrid taste returns.

  36. I have the K150 and I did the following BEFORE making a cup of coffee:

    Soaked it in hot soapy water for 24 hours (kept refilling to keep the water hot).

    I then put vanilla extract in the reservoir with hot water until the water got cold. I then rinsed and cleaned and there is no more smell/taste.

    The vanilla also works if your freezer thaws and sits for a couple of days while you are away.

  37. I had the same problem with the ‘plastic taste’….I experimented, bought the separate piece to put my own ground coffee in and brewed it..delicious! Now what I do is cut the pods top off, pour the coffee (flavored, hot chocolate or tea) into the separate insert and brew…makes a tremendous difference! I also use distilled water.. I think the heat from the machine is melting the plastic pod and the flavor is going into the cup of coffee… just saying that this works for me!

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