Keurig slow drip problem | 7 easy fix that definitely work

By Barath
Last Updated:
Keurig Slow Drip Problem fixed

Here are the 7 best solutions to fix your keurig slow drip problem. The main causes are, coffee grounds stuck in the top needle or exit needle, poor use of the reusable pod, bad K-pod, lack of descaling, or a dirty water filter.

It can be tiresome to identify the problem, so I have a simple technique to help you. Remove any K-pod in your keurig and brew hot water. Fill the reservoir, and press the 8 oz (or equivalent, check the manual) to run hot water through the nozzle.

If the hot water is dripping, there are scales in the pipe (descaling is the only solution). If brewing a coffee pod is causing the slow drip then there could be an issue with the puncture needles/exit pipe of your keurig.

Most Common Problems
Improper descaling processEnsure you do the cleaning cycle using a good descaling agent.
Remove the water tank manually, clean it, and put it back on.
Coffee grounds in the NeedleIf the coffee is dripping drop by drop or spouting out slowly, there is a
blockage in the exit pipe. This could be grounds stuck around the pod holder as well
Top needle has stuck groundsThe top needle is prone to breakage (single-needle keurigs are bad at this). If you
use reusable pods and fill your grounds this could be a definite problem
The most common problem is poor descaling and stuck coffee grounds. Other issues include unclean water filter, bad K-pod, and rarely problematic needle elbow/water valve

Read Also: Keurig K-express vs K-mini | Best cheap coffee maker 2023

Keurig drips slow with the pod

Overall, I have 4 different solutions to clean your keurig if the water drip is slow after the pod is inserted. It is easier to find the problem if you begin by running hot water through the nozzle (don’t insert any pod, and press the 8oz button).

Once you figure out that the problem is indeed after inserting the K-pod, you can follow the below steps.

Solution 1 – Cleaning the needle

Needle cleaning is a recommended way to extend the longevity of your keurig. The problem with slow drip

Keurig 2.0 cleaning using Orange accessory

For Keurig 2.0 variants, there is a Keurig-specific cleaning accessory (it is in orange for some reason so referred to as the orange clean kit).

  • Power off and unplug the Keurig.
  • Fill the brewer maintenance accessory’s silicone bulb with water.
  • Insert the accessory into the pod holder, ensuring correct orientation.
  • Raise and lower the handle five times to remove the coffee grounds.
  • Remove the accessory and observe the extracted coffee grounds.
  • Perform a cleansing brew using water or a cleansing rinse pod.
  • Reinsert the pod holder and water tank.
  • Brew a pod to check if the slow dripping issue is resolved. Repeat cleaning if necessary.
  • Clean the maintenance accessory by washing it with warm water and allowing it to air dry.

Buy the cleaning accessory on Amazon from here.

All other Keurig needle-cleaning

There are 3 parts to the needle, the bottom needle, which is responsible for punching and letting the coffee out, the top needle which pushes the hot water into the capsule and the needle elbow, which is a small tube to lets the water flow into the top needle. Cleaning each of the needles is important and the coffee grounds can be stuck anywhere.

How to clean your Keurig Top Needle Properly

  • Turn off the power, open the lid, and identify the top needle protruding from inside the lid.
  • Are you using the newer Keurigs (K-supreme and variants), you will find 5 needles and other models will have one center needle
  • Straighten one end of a paper clip and gently clean the needle by putting the straight end into it.
  • It is important to do this slowly and gently so that the needles don’t bend. Do not go too deep into the needle.
  • Notice if any coffee ground is falling out.

How to clean your Keurig Bottom Needle Properly

The lower needle may not be immediately visible. You find a pod holder that houses your K-pod and below that is the needle that punctures the pod. Often, a coarse coffee ground gets stuck in this needle hole causing poor drip.

  • Turn the power off and open the lid.
  • Grip the pod holder (if it doesn’t move freely check the corners for stuck coffee grounds), and gently lift it upward to remove it from the brewer.
  • On the pod holder, press the bottom half and pull it apart to remove the housing and the needle separately.
  • Put the straight end of the paper clip into the needle (gently, don’t press too much) and rotate it in a circular motion several times.
  • Rinse the pod holder with water and set it aside.
  • Open the handle and inspect inside the machine to see if extra coffee grounds are lying around (most often the culprit). You can use a Q-tip/earbuds to gently rub the insides to remove any coffee grounds stuck on the exit nozzle.

Note: I found this useful comment on a forum, where someone found a small piece of plastic stuck at the exit needle (can happen if you are re-using the same pod again). Inspect more thoroughly using a flashlight to ensure it is properly clean.

Clean the Keurig Needle Elbow/Needle water valve

The needle elbow is the small pipe that connects the water inlet and the needle at the top. Often, there are scales or even coffee grounds stuck here that slow down the water flow.

  • Lift the lid and remove the screws on the lid.
  • Gently pull the cover off from the top.
  • A small white tube is visible that is connected to the lid (This is on the outer side of the lid and not the inner).
  • Lift the plastic ring around the tube.
  • Remove the tube and clean the insides with the straightened paper clip then clean it with water.
  • After following the cleaning procedure, brew a pod to see if it works fine now. If this still doesn’t solve the problem, you should attempt to replace the needle gasket.
Keurig Clean the Needle elbow
Keurig Clean the Needle elbow by removing the top cover

Solution 2 – Needle gasket replacement

It is easy to replace the needle gasket yourself (the bottom needle) if you can see any damage. There are keurig branded gaskets that I found which seem to have fixed the problem for many. Instead of throwing the keurig away, you can do this to save money on a new machine.

Keurig Gasket

Rating – 4.7

Non-keurig brand

Fits all except K-mini, Keurig 2.0

Keurig 2.0 Gasket

Rating – 4.6

Non-keurig brand

Fits Keurig 2.0 variants only

Important: If your top needle is broken or bent, there is no way to replace it. It is time to call the keurig support ????

Solution 3 – Replace your Re-usable Capsule

Sometimes the re-usable capsules from knock-off brands (Amazon mostly) do not have proper outlet holes. This can restrict the coffee movement.

I also find most people (myself included) leave the reusable pod in the pod holder and fill the coffee grounds directly into it. The coffee spills around and we don’t care about cleaning the reusable pod after every brew.

This brewed/wet coffee grounds that are not cleaned out after every brew results in a build-up right near the exit nozzle. Clean it after every brew, discarding the brewed coffee grounds and cleaning it at least after every 2-3 brews.

Solution 4 – Replace your Non-Keurig capsule

Some keurig models like K-mini do not have a capsule scanner. This lets you use any generic coffee pod that you can get your hands on. Be careful as some of these capsules have a thick outer membrane which causes improper puncture. The best way is to see if the capsule is properly punched after it is ejected.

Also, inspect if there is a lot more water stuck in the capsule even after ejection. This means the water does not fully flow out during the brewing process. The best way to check is to get a good keurig pod and test your machine.

Keurig drips water slowly even without the capsule.

Descaling is mandatory, with any coffee maker. The recommendation from keurig is to descale every 250 brews, but as the machine gets older (1 year or more) the efficiency of the machine goes down.

A scale that is only 3/16” thick will cause the machine to use 27% more water/energy and cause your coffee to taste poor. Consider using filtered water and not water directly from the tap for a longer machine life. [1]

Descale Keurig Fully

If you follow the manual, descaling the keurig is straightforward (or not!!). However, some keurig variants (K-supreme like models) have a problem where the machine doesn’t come out of the descaling mode. This can be annoying causing you to skip this process every time this happens.

Follow this short and quick descaling process that is common for all keurigs (Might differ based on your model slightly).

  1. Unplug your machine
  2. With the power button not lit, press and hold the 8oz and 12oz buttons (k-supreme) or 8 Oz + 10 Oz (K-express-like models).
  3. Descale light should go from blinking to solid ON
  4. Fill the tank with the descaling agent of your choice.
  5. Press the brew button and wait for the descaling fluid to drip completely.
  6. If the brew button stops but the tank is empty, press it again to let the remaining fluid through. Remember to not use more than 8oz of descaling fluid for the first time.
  7. Important: Once the reservoir is empty, remove the tank to clean it and fill it with water. Not removing the reservoir might still cause your descaling light to be on after you are done.
  8. Press brew to let the water drip. Repeat until the water tank is fully empty.
  9. The descale light should be out by this time. If it still doesn’t turn off, consider using a rinse pod to clean up the scales in your K-cup holder and needle
  10. Press the power button and wait for the unit to turn on normally.

Bonus tip: I found this when trying to descale an old model K-supreme that kept descale blinking after 2-3 brews. This might not work on all machines or if the machine has seen only hard water for a prolonged period.

Otherwise, you can pour the descale solution as always, and as the machine starts to whir and start dripping the solution out. Turn the power off. This lets the solution go up the pipe and fill the chamber but not discard it fully.

In this stage, “let it sit for 30 minutes” (IMPORTANT!). Once done, power the machine on and continue the descale process as usual to empty the remaining descaling solution.

Read Also:

Clean the Water reservoir filter properly

Debris often restricts water from flowing into the machine at all. You often hear a distinct sound of water flowing into the machine at the start.

Pay attention to the machine as it starts heating up to identify if the water is even going in smoothly. I recommend cleaning the water filter after every 20 brews with a brush and replacing it after 100 brews.

For any of the latest keurig models, you can find the cotton-like filter available on Amazon. While older models(not sold anymore) like K-10, K-B31 have a metal mesh filter that is screwed to the bottom of the water reservoir. You have to unscrew it and clean it separately using a brush and running water.

Water Filters for Keurig except 2.0

Rating – 4.7

Non-keurig brand

Fits all except K-mini, Keurig 2.0

Charcoal filter for Keurig 2.0

Rating – 4.7

Non-keurig brand

Fits K-slim and Keurig 2.0

Customer care

If nothing works at the end of the day, call keurig customer care to replace your machine if it is under warranty. Honestly, I have had 2 machines that broke down and keurig was helpful to send a replacement. But with the time it takes to connect and get the machine replaced, you can very well purchase a new machine.

If you are looking for a good Keurig replacement (I moved to Nespresso completely), I would suggest you start looking at Nespresso Pop(Newly released 2023) or Nespresso Vertuo Next. Both are great entry-level Nespresso (costs under $100) and have a longer shelf life compared to Keurigs. You can make better coffee without worrying about fixing the machine every 100 brews.


The brew dripping slowly is a fixable problem. Start by removing the capsule and brewing hot water (press 8 oz or the lowest brewing quantity in your keurig). Notice the flow of water.

Is it slow even without the capsule? Then you start descaling. If not, you might have a problem with your keurig needle.

  • Solution 1 – Clean your Keurig needle (Top needle, bottom needle, and the needle valve)
  • Solution 2 – Change your Needle gasket (bottom needle problems can be easily fixed with a different gasket)
  • Solution 3 – Change your reusable pod. Knock-off pods have a poor design that blocks the coffee from flowing out smoothly
  • Solution 4 – Change your K-pod. Are you using a poor knockoff K-pod? Change it before you throw the machine away
  • Solution 5 – Start descaling your machine.
  • Solution 6 – Bonus tip with descaling. Let the descale solution sit in the brewing chamber by turning the machine off right at the time the machine starts dripping.
  • Solution 7 – Contact customer care/replace your machine by switching to a Nespresso!
Barath is a coffee lover, who has been brewing his coffee at home for several years. He talks about coffee tasting, brewing guides and much more in home coffee wizard. Follow barath on X (twitter) @diputsC