Why Does My Keurig Barely Drip? (and what to do about it!)

One of my favorite things in the morning is a fresh, hot cup of coffee. But one of my least favorite things is my coffee maker not working correctly. So I’ve wondered why does my Keurig barely drip?

Here’s what I found out after looking into it:

A Keurig that barely drips, or doesn’t dispense the correct amount of coffee most likely has excess scale built up inside the water lines. However, the exit needle may also be clogged. Performing a Keurig descale and cleaning the exit needle usually fix these types of issues.

But that’s only the beginning for fixing a slow-dripping Keurig. So let’s keep going!

I honestly can’t think of anything much much more frustrating in the morning than waiting for ages for a single cup of coffee to brew. I mean, the whole reason people purchase a Keurig is to have a cup of hot delicious coffee quickly.

So if you’ve wondered why does my Keurig barely drip and how do you fix it, just keep reading to find out!

How do you fix a slow dripping Keurig?

There are two main reasons for slow dripping coffee.

  • One is a clogged water line
  • The other is a clogged puncture needle

There are a couple of things you can try to fix your slow dripping Keurig.

The first and easiest step to try is to descale your brewer.

Luckily, I have the #1 most-read article on how to do that. So check out (and bookmark) this recent article on why your descale may not be working. There you will also find tips and tricks to get your descale to work.

Just click the link to read it on my site. 

Descaling your Keurig or following some of the other suggestions in that article can help to unclog your water lines.

Puncture needles can often get clogged with coffee grounds or cocoa. Unclogging them with a paperclip should fix any issues with a slow dripping Keurig.

More on that 2 sections down!

Why is my Keurig only giving me half a cup?

When your Keurig doesn’t brew the selected cup size, it may be caused by a clogged needle or need to be descaled.

If your Keurig is only brewing half a cup, start by descaling your machine. Over time, scale builds up in your water lines. Descaling removes this buildup.

Keurig recommends descaling every three months.

To descale your full-sized Keurig, follow these steps:

  • Empty the water vessel
  • Remove the coffee pod
  • Turn off the “auto-off” feature (if you have that)
  • Turn the brewer off
  • Pour in an entire bottle of Keurig descaling solution into the water container in your brewer
  • Refill that bottle with cold water and add to the water container
  • Place a large coffee mug on the stand
  • Lift the Keurig handle up and then back down
  • Select the 10oz button (the largest one) and press it to start the process
  • Pour out the contents and repeat the process until the “add more water” light comes on
  • Allow your Keurig to sit (power on) for 30 minutes
  • Dump out any remaining water mixture in the water container and fill with fresh water up to the limit
  • Repeat the brewing process (still without a K-cup) at least 12 times to rinse the unit (adding more water if necessary)


If you have a mini Keurig, the steps are very similar, just use ⅓ of the descaling solution. To descale your mini Keurig, follow these steps, without a K-cup in the machine:

  • Lift the handle, wait 5 seconds, and then press down and press brew
  • Once the cup is full, discard and repeat but don’t press brew
  • When the brew button turns red and starts to dispense, turn the power off
  • Let sit for 30 minutes
  • After 30 minutes, turn back on and press brew
  • Discard the water
  • Then repeat with just water (no descale solution) for a total of 3 times

If your machine is still giving you only half a cup, your puncture needles may need to be cleaned. Read about how to clean your puncture needles in the next section.

How to clean Keurig needles

To clean the Keurig needles, the only tool you need is a paperclip.

To clean your needles, follow these steps:

  • Ensure there is no K-cup in the machine
  • Power down and unplug the machine
  • Remove the water reservoir
  • Remove the pack holder by gently pulling it away from the brewer
  • When the pack holder is out, press the buttons on both sides to separate the pack holder from the housing
  • Push the lever on the pack holder to reveal the bottom exit needle
  • Hold the lever down and turn the pack holder over
  • Insert the straightened paperclip into the exit needle to loosen any clogs
  • Rinse the pack holder thoroughly with water and reassemble the pack holder and housing
  • Next, clean the top entrance and exit needles
  • Open the handle and look underneath the top. You’ll see two needles.
  • Use the paperclip to clean both holes.
  • It’s okay to tilt the brewer slightly to get a better view. Just don’t tilt it too much because there is still water inside the machine.
  • Put the pack holder back in the brewer and put the reservoir back on.
  • Fill the reservoir and run a cleansing brew, with no K-cup.
  • Repeat as necessary

Refer to this handy video if you’re more of a visual person:

How to fix my Keurig not dispensing water

A major reason for your Keurig not dispensing water is clogged water lines. Well water and hard water have lots of minerals and calcium.

These minerals and calcium build up in the tiny lines of the machine. As a result, the system gets clogged.

Try descaling your machine and cleaning the needles using the steps above. If that doesn’t work, it could be that there is air in your lines.

To bleed the lines of air, follow these steps:

  • Fill your reservoir about a quarter full.
  • Lift the reservoir up and down rapidly until you see small air bubbles coming up from the bottom. Keep doing it until there are no more bubbles.
  • When you don’t see any more bubbles, fill up the reservoir. You should be good to go.

While it may be tempting to put hot water in your machine to descale or unclog your machine, one thing you should never do is put hot water in your machine.

Not only is it not likely to clear out any built-up scale, but it won’t brew coffee any hotter, and it could actually damage or destroy your Keurig. Learn why in this recent article.

Just click the link to read the article on my site.

Do Keurigs have a reset button and how do I reset it?

Sometimes when our Keurig coffee maker descale is not working, we get desperate for a reset button.

However, if you’re looking for a reset button like you find on the bottom of a garbage disposal you may be disappointed.

Keurigs do not have a simple reset button.

However, unplugging the unit for up to 5 minutes acts a reset for the unit, and opening and closing the K-cup holder acts as a reset to the brewing cycle.

There is nothing user-serviceable inside the unit.

One other question people have with their Keurig coffee makers is whether you can leave them on all day or if you should turn them off after using.

I answer the question of whether you can leave your Keurig on all day in this recent article. There I talk about how much energy it uses and whether it poses a fire hazard. So check it out if you leave yours on for long periods of time.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Did I answer all of your questions about why your Keurig barely drips?

In this article, we explored the reasons your Keurig is barely dripping. We also talked about reasons your Keurig only brews half a cup of coffee at a time.

We talked about how to fix these annoying issues. Try descaling your Keurig first, but then take a look at your needles. The needles get clogged and likely need to be unclogged.

But what do you do if your Keurig coffee tastes bad?

Most people buy a Keurig because of the convenience; not because they are coffee snobs. But that doesn’t mean we like bad-tasting coffee!

If the flavor of your Keurig coffee isn’t what it used to be or what you want it to be, there are some things you can do!

Just read this recent article on my site to find out why your Keurig coffee tastes bad and what to do about it.

What is your favorite Keurig coffee flavor?


Photos which require attribution:

Keurig coffee machine by Tony Webster is licensed under CC2.0

Jeff Campbell

Jeff was a leader for Whole Foods Market for over 2 decades and is now a recovering foodie. When he's not spending time in the kitchen, he can usually be found with his wife & 3 daughters, he can usually be found practicing martial arts, making music, or blogging on his other sites. Click to learn more about me

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