According to some estimates, there are approximately 20 million U.S. households with a Keurig machine in them. That’s a lot. I know some of you 20 million want to know how to get a decent cup of fresh roasted and fresh ground coffee out of your machine, but don’t want to experiment around with it. Have no fear. I got chu.
The first step is to measure how much water each setting puts out. This is simple. Place a mug on your scale and tare it so the scale reads zero. Then add that mug under the machine and select your usual cup size setting. Return the mug to the scale and see how much water came out. Voila! Easy day.
The next step is to measure how much coffee you want to use. I have found I can get 18 grams of freshly ground coffee into the little basket most Keurig machines come with. That basket then sits in this gray bullet-looking device, and that bullet replaces the black K-Cup holder inside the machine. Be careful taking the black K-Cup holder out, because it does have needles in it. Only stupid people poke themselves with it, but if you have, don’t worry- you’re in good company.
The next part is to do a little math and adjust accordingly. Most K-Cups are sitting at about a 1-25 ratio. You likely want either a 1-20 or a 1-15 ratio. That means 1 gram of coffee for every 15 or 20 grams of water.
If you use 18 grams and want a 1-20 ratio, you need to select the cup that gives you 360 grams (ml, really, but whatever) of water into the mug. If you’re selection gives you less than that, you adjust the amount of coffee accordingly. For example, your have a 12 ounce mug (336 grams), and your selector gives you 10 ounces, or 280 grams. Using a 1-20 ratio, you’d put 14 grams of freshly ground coffee into the basket. For a 1-15 ratio, you’d use the full 18 grams (18.66, but whose counting, really?).
With a little experimenting, it’s relatively simple to get a good cup of coffee out of the Keurig. My only problem is, I usually want a little bigger cup at a 1-15 ratio. This means having to make two baskets and run two smaller cups through in order to get my desired result. The wife typically likes a 1-20 ratio, and the Keurig does a decent job at that ratio.
The Keurig also has a good water distribution over all the grounds, so you get a fairly even extraction. It’s always a good idea to check the basket as you clean it out to see if there are any dry pockets in the coffee. This would mean an uneven extraction, and you would know you’re not getting the best cup you can.
But honestly, over the long haul, loading up that tiny basket, cleaning it out, and slipping it in and out of the gray bullet (all while very hot), is kind of a pain in the neck. And if you bought the Keurig machine, it’s not because you were trying to make getting a cup of coffee more difficult, you were trying to make it easier. This isn’t really easier. And it really doesn’t give much satisfaction in the way of the ceremony surrounding brewing a great cup.
But, ultimately, it is a faster way than making a pour-over. If you’re in a crunch for time or resources, at least you know how to make a good cup from your Keurig machine if you have to.