Coffee is 98% water and only 2% coffee beans, but most people think much more about the coffee grinds than the water.
Distilled water is considered the purest form of water, so I started researching how it impacts Keurig coffee machines.
I was surprised by how much it changes the coffee, but there are some serious pros and cons to using distilled water.
In this guide, I'll explain whether or not you should be using distilled water and help you determine the best water for making the perfect cup of coffee.
Why You Should NOT Use Distilled Water In Your Keurig!
Keurig advises not using distilled water in a Keurig coffee maker.
However, that doesn’t mean you can never use distilled water in Keurig machines.
I'll explain which type of water you should be using in a second, but let's start by looking at the reasons why Keurig advises against it:
Those Pesky Sensors In The Machine
Some Keurig machine models have sensors to detect water in the water reservoir. This is how the coffee maker knows if it has enough in the water tank to brew.
The water reservoir sensors don't actually sense the water. Instead, they use electrical impulses to detect minerals in the water.
Distilled water has no minerals, so the Keurig machine can get false readings that the water tank is empty, even when it isn't.
These false readings will stop your Keurig from brewing a full cup even if you add water.
The Keurig 2.0 models all have these sensors, but this range has since been discontinued.
Thankfully, Keurig discovered the machine error with these sensors and did not use them to detect water in other models.
However, a Keurig 2.0 coffee maker will still not work with distilled water and will give you an error message.
This issue with the sensors is one of the main reasons why Keurig still recommends against using distilled water.
It Might Ruin The Taste
The type of water can really impact the flavor of your coffee. The minerals in the water (particularly the magnesium and calcium) can help to absorb the flavor and add to the coffee taste.
Distilled water has no minerals, which can impact the taste of your coffee.
There is some debate in the coffee world about how much minerals impact the taste of your coffee.
Some coffee purists claim that these minerals give you better-tasting coffee because they impact the acidity and alkaline qualities of the water.
Other coffee brewers claim that it doesn't matter which water you use.
I have used distilled water in my Keurig a few times, and I always notice that the coffee tastes flat. It’s still drinkable but isn't as full-bodied as a regular K-cup coffee made with tap water.
If you want a rich, intense brew, avoiding distilled water is your best option.
Mineral & Scale Buildup
Using distilled water in your Keurig machine can prevent the buildup of minerals and limescale.
Good right? Well, only partially. There are two main issues:
- 1The lack of mineral content can damage the machine.
Distilled water absorbs impurities aggressively. This can actually lead to the water-absorbing metal or plastic parts into the water. Over time, this can cause lasting internal damage to the coffee maker.
- 2Users neglect their cleaning.
Some people may assume that if they use distilled water, they don't need to descale to remove the impurities, but that’s not the case.
Keurig advises against using distilled water because it could mean users won’t clean their Keurig, or at least not as often.
Descaling solution helps to dissolve contaminants within the machine and keep it running. If the cleaning schedule is disturbed, it can cause longer-term issues with the coffee maker.
Health & Safety Concerns
Distilled water is purer, but some concerns have been raised about the safety of drinking water without any minerals.
Regular water contains minerals your body needs.
Without them, you could be missing out on some key nutrients for your body and even be left slightly dehydrated.
Distilled water can also absorb other impurities. Pure water acts as a vacuum and will try to absorb any chemicals or contaminants it comes into contact with.
This includes bacteria plastic or metal parts in your Keurig machine.
This plastic and metal absorption and lack of minerals means that distilled water can actually be hazardous.
When Is Using Distilled Water In Your Keurig Okay?
Keurig may advise against using distilled water in your coffee maker, but there are a few instances where it's actually beneficial:
You Live In An Area With Hard Water
Coffee and espresso machines are susceptible to limescale and mineral deposits. These are caused by the water flowing through your machine, and it's natural for them to build up over time.
However, if you live in an area with hard water, there will be a much higher mineral content. The hard water can cause limescale buildup to happen much more frequently.
This mineral buildup can stop you from brewing and cause damage to your Keurig brewer.
If you live in an area of hard water, you can use distilled water to prevent mineral buildup. This will let you brew coffee without interruptions and preserve your Keurig machine.
If You Use It Infrequently
Keurig K cup brewers are designed for frequent use, but if you use yours infrequently, it can be beneficial to use distilled water.
Using distilled water for infrequent brewing will limit the volume of minerals and other contaminants traveling through your machine.
This protects the water tank, water filters, and tubes.
Infrequently brewing with distilled water is unlikely to cause any internal damage to plastic or metal components, too.
You’re still better off using filtered water than distilled water for a great cup of coffee, but distilled water can work well in small doses.
What Exactly Is Distilled Water? (An Overview)
Distilled water is considered to be the purest form of water. It’s water without any impurities. That means no chemicals, minerals, or microorganisms - just hydrogen and oxygen.
How Is Distilled Water Made?
Distilled water can be made from tap water or spring water. It’s boiled until it becomes steam and then condensed into a clean vessel.
This process removes the impurities and leaves you with fresh water.
Distilled or purified water can also be made using reverse osmosis. This involves passing tap water through several layers of filters to remove any solid particles.
Reverse osmosis isn’t the same as distilling, but it’s more effective at removing volatile chemicals.
Pros & Cons Of Distilled Water
Where is distilled water most commonly used?
Distilled water can sometimes be used in coffee makers for brewed coffee, but it’s typically used in:
Do You Need To Descale Your Keurig If You Use Distilled Water?
Yes, you still need to descale your Keurig coffee maker if you use distilled water. Using distilled water in Keurig coffee makers will reduce the mineral content flowing through your machine.
However, it won’t completely stop the mineral buildup.
Over time, the mineral content will build up to the extent that it stops your Keurig coffee machine from brewing coffee.
Regular descaling on your Keurig coffee machine is the only way to remove this mineral buildup and get it working again.
I recommend descaling your Keurig coffee maker every 3-4 months to keep it in good condition.
However, if you only use distilled water to brew, you probably only need to descale it every 5-6 months.
What Kind Of Water Should I Actually Use In My Keurig?
The answer depends on the water quality in your area, but generally, filtered water is the best option.
If you live in an area with hard water, I recommend using spring water or purified water. These are pure but, unlike distilled water, don’t have the minerals removed.
If you live in an area with regular or soft water, I recommend using tap water or filtered tap water. You can use bottled water, but it will be much more expensive.
Only use distilled water in your Keurig if you live in an area with hard water and can't use bottled water because it can make your coffee taste flat.
Common Distilled Water In Keurig Questions
Can I put cold water in my Keurig?
Yes, you should put cold water in a Keurig brewer because it has a heating element to warm it to the right temperature.
Should you use bottled water for Keurig?
Bottled water works well in a Keurig machine and is often the best water to use for the best results. The higher quality water should give you a cup of coffee full of flavor.
Is distilled water good for brewing in other machines?
Most coffee machines and brewers advise against using distilled water because it can impact the machine’s functionality and give you inferior coffee. The specific user manual should tell you the best type of water, so always check it before you add water.
Is boiled water considered distilled water?
No, boiling water has just been brought up to boiling point (100 degrees Celsius), whereas distilled water has been boiled, and the steam has been gathered in a clean container to be condensed back. Boiling water will remove some harmful bacteria and contaminants, but distilling water will remove minerals, microorganisms, and all impurities.
In general, you should not use distilled water in a Keurig machine. The lack of minerals will give you flatter-tasting coffee and can damage most Keurig machines.
Plus, if you have a new Keurig or a Keurig 2.0, it may not even work with distilled water.
Most people will be better off using filtered water in a Keurig machine. If you live in an area with hard water and more minerals than usual, you can use distilled water - but it’s not ideal.
I strongly recommend using mineral water or spring water instead of distilled water because you’ll get a better cup of coffee.