The Scary Tale of the Exploding K-Cup…
Yikes! K-cups exploding out of the blue is a scary thing. Especially if this is the first time you have experienced it – all seems to be going well when you pop that baby in, close the brew chamber and hit the button, and go about your business, only to be startled by something going boom!
Then you find out it was the k-cup you inserted momentarily? It might seem like your day is ruined before you get started when you realize what a mess you’ll have to clean up! Gads…
Well, you’re not alone! People report this k-cup going off a tale of woe quite a bit, so you’re in good company. Now I’ll be totally honest here; I have not been on the receiving end of this ordeal; I may have had my refillable cups come open a little, but not this actual situation. Ok, knock on wood😁 .
I know what you’re thinking, what caused the k-cup ka-pow fiasco, and what can you do next time to prevent it? I’m way ahead of you. Let’s look at that now…
Table of Contents
So What Causes the K-Cup Explosion Exactly?
Conventional advice often says or asks, “Did you clean the needle?” Sometimes that is the case, sometimes it’s not. I’ve spent a lot of time poring over forums, articles, and other reviews and it always has a way of revealing patterns as well as answers to questions.
The most common thing that causes your k-cup to blow up is trapped air. Even though a needle punctures it above and below, there may still be air trapped inside. The combination of this and the pressure from the hot water hitting it and passing through, is most likely what led to this blowout. There are a few other factors, too, that should be considered:
If you live at 6,000 miles above sea level be sure to select the High Altitude setting on your brewer. Most of the Keurigs that have the touchscreen feature have this, and if you’re not sure you may want to check your manual, it will walk you through the process. It’s usually just a quick set and forget once you know how.
Defective Pods, Maybe?
Sometimes this can and does happen – I’ve heard people say one brand does fine but another one, well, is a constant source of frustration. It may be wise to discontinue that brand for now – but do make sure to check the rim and be sure the foil is sealed to the cup, as it should be.
Case in point – in 2012, a few particular Tassimo t-discs were recalled for exploding (and cases of injury were reported as a result; not just a mess) As far as more recent examples go, it appears to be that something is amiss with the milk discs redesign (If you will recall from my Tassimo t20 review, one of its specialties is the two-step process that uses 2 pods-one for coffee, one for milk. This model has been discontinued anyway.)
I have advised people against using softened water in an earlier post – it’s because soft water can cause the grounds to swell – and the combination of grounds swelling and the action of hot water and pressure hitting it, not good. You don’t have to ditch your water softener but always make it a habit only to use bottled water in your machine.
Give Your K-Cup a Little “Push”
Next time you grab a pod, before you load it, check the outside for bulges – even slight ones. I make it a practice to do this every time I get one out of its holding place, it only takes a few seconds. Push down gently on the foil lid, then take a pushpin and prick a tiny hole in the center.
I did this with a unique recyclable brand with a plastic lid that the needle didn’t punch easily. They never blew out, thankfully; just a preventative measure. This action will release the pressure built up inside. A lot of people have reported that this works like a charm!
Time to Get a Gasket
Suppose you also use the refillable cups in addition to pods. In that case, the potential for those cups to blow open is present, too – this is the result of the hinge and lever of the k-cup chamber over time, wearing or loosening, which causes the k-cup or the refillable cup not being seated firmly and makes them more likely to blow up.
A neoprene rubber gasket device I found is made to be installed inside your brew head chamber to seat the pods firmly and cut down on friction. A lot of people are raving about them and it is under $5 which is making their brewing experience so much better!
As they say, big things (or really good things?) come in small packages.
Well, there you have it…The many possible WHY and HOW of k-cups exploding out of nowhere, and what you can do to prevent another possible mini landmine in the kitchen again. Drop me a line and let me know if any of these ideas help!