New Keurig Tastes Like Plastic? Here Are The Tips!


Chris Clark

Chris Clark is the co-founder and chief content editor of With a passion for all things java, Chris has been a coffee blogger for the past 3 years and shares his expertise in coffee brewing with the readers. He's a hands-on expert, loves testing coffee equipment, and has written most of the in-depth reviews featured on the site. When he's not whipping up delicious drinks or experimenting with the latest coffee gadgets, Chris is exploring the local cafe. You can reach him at [email protected].

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On the surface, Keurig coffee makers have almost everything the modern-day domestic brewer could want. After all, they’re super-convenient, they offer a wide variety of excellent beverages at the touch of a button, and they get the job done fast.

However, do you sometimes find that if you’re using a new Keurig machine – or even a new variety of K-Cup pods – that your coffee tastes a little, well, plasticky?

If that’s happened to you, you’re not alone. Thankfully, you can try some easy tips to get your trusty machine producing coffee that tastes less plastic and more fantastic.

This article details the most effective of them.

Keurig Plastic Taste Won’t Go Away?

If your brand-new Keurig produces coffee with a distinctly plastic taste, you may think the issue will disappear after a few uses. After all, surely once the water runs through the system a few times, it’ll naturally remove those unwelcome synthetic tastes, right? Not necessarily. There are several reasons why a plastic flavor might persist. Let’s examine them.

Previously we also listed the most common Keurig coffee maker problems and troubleshooting, you can find more solutions there.

Where Does That Plastic Taste Come From?

New Product Outgassing

Sometimes, the plastic taste in Keurig coffee is down to outgassing. Outgassing is the smell produced by gases released from the plastic parts of the New Keurig coffee maker after it is wrapped in its packing material. Because of that packaging, the plastic smell has nowhere to go, so it sits in the machine’s plastic elements before finding its way into your first cup of coffee.

During the brewing process, hot water inevitably comes into contact with the affected plastic parts, leading to that distinctive plastic taste infiltrating your brewed beverage and spoiling it. However, this is just one of the possible reasons…

Low-Quality Plastic K-Cup Pods

OK, we now know that when water reaches the machine’s plastic, it can leave a plasticky taste in your coffee. Unfortunately, however, this also applies to your K-Cup. That’s because unless you’re using a reusable stainless steel K-Cup, it’ll be made of plastic, too.

However, you’re more likely to experience the plastic taste with lower-quality pods. There are many K-Cup varieties, and not all are manufactured by Keurig. While some third-party K-Cup capsules offer excellent quality, if you opt for cheaper capsules, the quality of the plastic is likely to be lower too, increasing the chance of the plastic taste reaching your cup.

Lack Of Regular Maintenance

So, you’ve given your Keurig a good airing after removing its packing material, and you’re only using high-quality K-Cup capsules. In that case, when you brew your coffee, the plastic taste will be gone, right? Not quite. It’s also important to ensure you take proper care of your Keurig coffee maker.

If you don’t regularly maintain your machine, bacteria will form in the machine’s components and tubing. Therefore, you should stick to a regular cleaning schedule. Otherwise, the accumulation of minerals from the water can cause that plastic flavor to return.

Thankfully, there are some straightforward ways to help see off that plastic problem permanently!

How To Remove The Keurig Plastic Taste


Clean The Keurig Inside And Out

Keurig coffee makers have several parts, which can be quite daunting when cleaning them. However, it’s not difficult to remove the parts you need to give your coffee maker a clean.

Firstly, wipe the outside of your Keurig with a damp cloth or paper towel to avoid dust accumulations reaching the interior.

Secondly, we need to clean each section of the machine.

Remove the water reservoir, the lid and drip tray. Then rinse them in soap and warm water, then let them air dry to ensure lint from your cloth doesn’t enter the machine.

Next, clean the K-Cup holder either in soapy water or in the top rack of your dishwasher at a low temperature.

Finally, clean the exit and entrance needles. The exit needle is at the base of the K-Cup holder, while the entrance needle is above the holder under the lid. Both are susceptible to ground coffee build-up, which you can remove with a paper clip before running a brewing cycle with water only.

Rinse With Fresh Water

If you’re struggling to remove the plastic taste after cleaning your Keurig, you can try running enough brew cycles with fresh water. Firstly, fill the water reservoir to the fill line.

Secondly, place your Keurig at its highest water temperature and run it without a K-Cup. Repeat this step until the water reservoir is empty.

Why is this recommended? Because of the outgassing problem. Running hot water rinse through the machine should remove the plastic residues left over from the manufacturing process, which should see off the plastic taste. And if that doesn’t work…

Rinse With Vinegar

If hot water alone isn’t enough to shift the plastic taste, it’s time to ratchet things up a little.

White vinegar rinse is often extremely effective at eradicating any unwanted flavors, as it’s a disinfectant and a deodorizer, and has acidity capable of dissolving most build-ups in your Keurig.

First, wash the machine’s water reservoir with soap and water. Then rinse it to remove any soapiness.

Next, fill the tank with decent-quality distilled white vinegar, or you can dilute it with water at a 1:1 ratio. 

Now, attach the reservoir and run brew cycles until the reservoir is empty. When it’s finished, thoroughly wash the reservoir again in the same way you did earlier and run a brew cycle with water as mentioned above. After all, you don’t want to replace one unwanted flavor (plastic) with another (vinegar taste).

Now brew some coffee. All being well, the plastic taste will be gone. However, you might have to repeat the process if any hint of plastic remains. 

Besides vinegar, you can also try using baking soda or food-grade activated charcoal with water to remove plastic taste of your smelly coffee maker. 

Try Reusable K-Cups

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It makes sense that if the plastic taste is due to the hot water making contact with the plastic parts of your Keurig, the less plastic it touches, the better.

It’s easy to overlook, but the regular, disposable K-Cup holding the coffee grounds is plastic, too. Therefore, if you opt for Keurig My K-Cup Universal Reusable Filter, or a stainless steel reusable K-Cup from third parties, the water will have less low-quality plastic to contact. In the end, you’ll have less chance to get that dreaded synthetic chemical taste in your cup of coffee.

Add in the extra advantages of saving money over time (because it’s cheaper to buy batches of coffee grounds than separate K-Cups) and the benefit to the environment, and it’s a win-win-win!

Try Higher-Quality K-Cups Brands

If you’d rather use disposable K-Cup capsules than reusable one, there is another way to minimize the chance of your coffee tasting like plastic – the quality of the K-Cup.


Keurig produces a large range of K-Cup varieties, but many third-party brands make them, too. As with many products, some brands use higher-quality plastic in their manufacture than others.

Look out for K-Cups from established brands, such as Starbucks, McCafe, Folgers, etc., for a consistently high standard. Meanwhile, specialty roasters with solid reputations in the coffee world, including Death Wish and Peet’s, also produce K-Cup capsules that should help ensure your coffee tastes beautiful.

Descale The Keurig

It’s important to descale your Keurig from time to time, but, if anything, this is one of the easier methods to overlook because the need to do it is so infrequent.

Thankfully, many Keurig machines have an indicator that tells you when it’s due for descaling. However, you should generally aim to descale your machine every three to six months.

Descaling your machine involves running a special descaling solution through it, without a K-Cup in the holder, so the parts you can’t reach by hand get a thorough clean.

There are several descalers on the market, but we recommend using the one manufactured by Keurig. Whichever one you choose, ensure you follow the instructions for the best chance of doing the job properly and eradicating that off-putting plastic taste in your finished drink.

Regularly Clean The Keurig

One of the best ways to ensure the plastic taste stays out of your coffee is to regularly clean your Keurig. We recommend doing this weekly, although you can get away with cleaning the K-Cup holder once every two weeks.

If you can’t stick to a weekly timescale, in general, if you notice the machine’s not been brewing as efficiently or the Keurig coffee tastes burnt, it’s time to get cleaning.

Because of time constraints and the number of parts in your Keurig, many domestic brewers take the “out of sight, out of mind” approach to keeping theirs clean. In other words, it rarely happens! However, this is far from the correct approach.

A weekly clean will ensure the unwelcome taste stays at bay while your Keurig produces consistently gorgeous coffee.

Final Thoughts

The problem of a plastic taste in Keurigs is most common in newly opened machines. Unfortunately, however, that’s not always the case, with the issue often lingering long after you’d assume it should have disappeared.

As this article has explained, that’s because there are several reasons your Keurig may brew coffee with a less-than-palatable plasticky taste, and not just because your sparkling new machine needs a few brew cycles to hit its stride.

Thankfully, the solutions are straightforward enough to carry out, meaning that with a little process of elimination, some careful K-Cup procurement, and a regular cleaning schedule, your Keurig will be consistently churning out beautiful coffee – and without the merest notes of plastic to be found.

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Chris Clark

Chris Clark is the co-founder and chief content editor of With a passion for all things java, Chris has been a coffee blogger for the past 3 years and shares his expertise in coffee brewing with the readers. He's a hands-on expert, loves testing coffee equipment, and has written most of the in-depth reviews featured on the site. When he's not whipping up delicious drinks or experimenting with the latest coffee gadgets, Chris is exploring the local cafe.