Craving a latte or maybe even hot chocolate? It might seem like a good idea to put milk in your Keurig reservoir and just brew your preferred drink with the push of a button. Is that a good idea? Here’s what you need to know.
Brewing drinks in a Keurig machine with anything other than water in the reservoir is likely to result in a very dirty machine and clogged needles so the machine will be unusable until cleaned thoroughly. To make milk drinks in a Keurig, brew the smallest cup size so the coffee is stronger and add milk after.
Why is putting milk or liquids other than water in your Keurig a bad idea? Find out below.
Brewing Keurig with other liquids
Of course normal coffee is brewed with water. But what if you want to make something like a cappuccino or hot chocolate? Can you put milk in the reservoir and simply brew milk drinks with the push of a button?
Brewing with milk in a Keurig machine is a very bad idea. I’m sure you’ve seen what happens when you heat milk in a pot. It burns very quickly and then leaves a residue that’s hard to remove and takes some scrubbing to get rid of. That happens before the boiling point. A Keurig machine takes the water temperature up to about 200 degrees F which is more than enough to burn milk.
So putting milk in a Keurig reservoir will leave a residue on many of the internal parts, not only making it very nasty and dirty but it will likely clog the machine to a point it becomes unusable. If you get any liquid out of the machine, it’s likely it’ll taste burnt as well.
The heating element will be covered in burnt milk solids but maybe even worse, the water needle gets clogged easily. A Keurig machine has a small needle that punctures the K-cup to inject water through. The hole in this needle is quite small and can get clogged pretty easily even while using water. Using milk will make sure you clog that needle in a few cups and cleaning it is a massive pain.
So milk is not a good idea but what about any other liquids? Well, what other liquids would you like to use? Pretty much everything with sugars in it will burn and leave a very stubborn residue that can plug up the needles and more. You also risk leaving some leftovers in the machine that will leave the taste of whatever you used for many cups after.
Some things that don’t leave bad residues might work but do you really want to try and drink the resulting drink? If you want to do some experimenting with brewing coffee with other liquids, It’s much safer to do so with a simpler brew method like a pour over cone. Pour over cones are cheap and easy to clean so if something were to go wrong, it’s not that big of a pain.
How to make milk drinks with Keurig brewer
Want to make milk drinks with your Keurig brewer? Adding milk to the reservoir is a bad idea as you can see above.
The best solution is just to add it after brewing coffee or other drink with water. Cappuccino doesn’t come out of a single outlet in an espresso machine. The espresso and milk foam are made separately and mixed after both are finished.
Keurig coffee is usually not as strong as espresso so you might feel it’s a bit too diluted when adding milk later on. To minimize this problem you can brew a small cup of coffee and add milk to that. With a Keurig, a smaller cup is a bit stronger so it cuts through the milk more. You’ll have to add less milk so you end up with a smaller cup but it’s probably better balanced.
If you want something like cappuccino, brew the smallest size cup possible with your Keurig and turn on the ‘strong’ setting if your machine has one. This won’t brew espresso but it’s the closest you’re going to get. Using a dark roasted coffee will help as well. Then foam milk separately. You’ll need a milk frother or French press to do this.
Keurig Latte maker
There is another option to make lattes with your Keurig machine but it will require buying a new machine.
The Keurig K-cafe is, made to make latte besides normal coffee. There are a few differences this machine has compared to most other K-cup brewers. The first is that it’s capable of brewing a 2 oz. shot. On many other machines, the minimum size is 4 oz. The amount of grounds in the K-cup stay the same so if you push less water through it, it will result in stronger coffee. 2 oz. is about the same amount of coffee as a double shot of espresso.
Latte and cappuccino are traditionally made with espresso. A single shot of espresso is about 1 oz. but a real espresso is going to be quite a bit stronger than any coffee you get from a Keurig, even the 2oz. shot from the K-cafe.
The other part of a latte is the milk. A latte consists of 1/3 espresso (or the 2 oz. cup from the K-cafe in this case), 2/3 steamed milk and a thin layer of foam on top. The K-latte makes steaming and foaming milk super easy. Just put enough milk in the frother and push the button. It won’t mix the coffee and milk for you but after you get your coffee and milk done (both just require the push of one button each), you can easily mix them up.
And if you’re not feeling like a latte, the K-cafe is also perfectly capable of making other sizes of coffees like other Keurig machines.
If you already have a Keurig, it’s much cheaper to just get a separate milk frother, however, most other K-cup machines are not capable of brewing the strong, small, 2 oz. shot that comes close to espresso. 4 oz. is usually the smallest possible size which will be about half as strong. That will change the taste and texture of the latte.
Recommended Keurig Equipment
- Simple and Cheap: Just want a Keurig machine that brews coffee and does it without a confusing amount of buttons or taking up a lot of space? The Keurig K-Slim (Amazon) is the one you’re looking for.
- Feature Rich: If you want more features like brewing more different sizes and over ice, the K-Elite (Amazon) is a better choice.
- K-cups: Good coffee is always important but tastes are different. Try this variety pack (Amazon) with tons of different K-cups so you can figure out what you like.
- Reusable K-cups: Prefer to use your own coffee? Filling reusable K-cups (amazon) with your own freshly ground coffee is the way to go and will likely brew even better coffee than pre-made cups.