Yikes! K-Cup Pods Exploding? Save Your Sanity with These Hacks

k cups explodingThe 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…

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:

High Altitude

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.

what causes kcups to explode

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.)

Softened Water

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.

what causes kcups to explodeGive 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!

15 thoughts on “Yikes! K-Cup Pods Exploding? Save Your Sanity with These Hacks”

  1. Jane L DeKraker

    We tried all above suggestions and then realized we had lately installed a water softener. We replaced softened water with bottled water and it fixed the issue of exploding k cups. Thank you for the suggestion, we would never have thought of that

  2. My father uses community coffee pods and they explode in our new Keurig but not our old one.

  3. Cheryl Wheat

    I am experiencing this problem but only Kirkland pods. I’ve never had this happen before. Is this a defective lot? Other brands work.

    1. Cheryl, I have never bought coffee pods by Kirkland so I can’t comment on them…I went to look them up and at first it was showing laundry detergent (in pod form) Lol…Just out of curiosity I had a glance at some reviews…No mention of pods acting up, which leads me to think you may have stumbled into a bad batch, like you said. Yeah, I’d switch brands for now…

  4. otto schroeder

    Great news Keurig reccomds to add extra openings to relive excessive air in the pod. We at Topmarketing Design have responded to Keurig informing them our K-Cup design safety features is inherit in the design and the K-Cup brew customer does not to add openings to prevent bursting and injuries to the consumer. Our safer brew pod minimizes bursting and explosions due to blocked exit needle.and manufacturing defects. The solution is here and now to provide a more safer and better K-Cup brewer pod.

  5. otto schroeder

    Top Marketing Design has a Patented safety Brew pod that prevents explosions and bursting due to blocked exit needle and extra air pressure in the Brew pod
    This pod is a viable to AllK Cup brew providers now.Contact Topmarketing1@hotmail to provide a safer and better product for your beverage consumer. A Safer Brew For All!

  6. I took a Starbucks pod and a McCaffe pod and the difference between the coffee contained in the filter was less than a 1/4” on the Starbucks and almost 3/4” on the McCaffe pod. Bottom needle never penetrates the filter causing it to burst instead of functioning as intended.

    1. Good comparison there…which one didn’t allow for the bottom needle to puncture correctly? This is good info to pass along to others on here.

  7. please tell me if there is a coffee pot that you can use softened water without exploding the pods . i get so tired of carrying water . we drink a lot of coffee!

    1. It’s best just not to use softened water – something to do with the water makeup changing (its chemical structure-the ions and all, I know, very scienc-y -that messes up and inhibits coffee extraction as the grounds swell under soft water.)Filtered is always the best approach – something more compact like a filtration pitcher, e.g. Brita, might be worth looking into.

  8. earl richards

    If I’m 6,000 miles above sea level then I have a bigger problem than my K-Cup exploding.

  9. Thank you for your advice. We punched a hole manually to release air. Then brewed coffee using pod. Worked perfectly.

    1. Glad to hear! I manually punch all my pods too in the middle as the top needle always feels like it’s forcing it through when I close the chamber, and this helps relieve that 🙂

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