Ever had one of those mornings where you’re in a massive rush, yet your coffee maker’s in slow-motion? You crave just one cup of coffee before your morning meeting.
But your coffee maker doesn’t brew in time. You have to show up to your meeting all caffeine deprived. Bummer!
Let’s avoid this situation by talking about why your coffee maker is slow. We’ll discover how to fix and prevent a slow coffee maker in the future. So that your mornings can always be powered by some much needed caffeine.
Main Reasons Why Your Coffee Maker’s Slow
Below are the most common reasons why your coffee maker is slow. We’ll quickly go over them and then jump into several solutions.
Too Much Ground Coffee
Water needs to pass through both your coffee grounds and filter. Otherwise you’ll have a slow brewing coffee maker and weak coffee.
Try using less ground coffee to see if your brewing time speeds up. Don’t reuse coffee grounds. And don’t use more than one paper filter!
I used to love piling on more coffee grounds since I’m lazy! But that just meant weak coffee and having to wait for longer.
Tap water is the biggest reason for mineral buildup. This takes the form of calcium and limestone—both of which build up inside your coffee maker’s valves, hoses, and other components.
Minerals can stop water from getting to the grounds basket which means you’ll need to wait longer to get enough water to extract your coffee.
Other Sources of Clogs
For similar reasons as a mineral buildup: not cleaning your coffee maker can make it slower.
Over time coffee particles, dust, and even mold can get trapped throughout the coffee maker parts.
Broken Coffee Maker Parts
Examples of broken parts include: faulty pump, leaky valve, or a lower temperature heating source.
All of these can stop coffee brewing from working properly.
This is the last reason you should consider for a slow coffee maker though. We’ll try several methods to speed up your coffee maker before looking at annoying warranties or repairs.
Solution 1: Examine Your Coffee Grounds and Filter
We already discussed using less coffee grounds and only 1 paper filter. Another easy fix could be your coffee filter.
So let’s think about different types of filters:
- Try a thinner paper filter: this can speed up brewing time
- Clean your reusable filter, especially if you have a ceramic coffee filter which clogs easier than other types
If you’re in doubt: try a different filter to see if you can brew coffee faster.
Solution 2: Descale Your Coffee Maker
Please see our full My Kitchen Sensei guide on how to descale and deep clean your coffee maker.
We’ll go into way more detail there. But here’s a brief overview of the process for drip coffee makers:
- Get distilled white vinegar and add 2 cups to your water reservoir.
- Add 2 cups of water and then turn your coffee maker on.
- Let the solution brew, as if you’re brewing coffee normally. Discard the solution.
- Repeat steps 1-3 but turn off the machine halfway through. Let the solution sit for a few hours.
- Finish the brewing cycle and discard the solution again.
- Brew 4 cups of water through your coffee maker a few times. Good as new!
Solution 3: Fix Your Coffee Maker
I don’t suggest taking apart your coffee maker in most cases. You need to be careful to unplug the coffee maker, then let it cool down and dry completely.
There’s also the risk of voiding your warranty. Better to let trained professionals take a look, especially if the warranty covers it!
Even if warranty does NOT cover your coffee maker, a licensed technician can quickly figure out the issue and decide how to fix or replace your coffee maker.
That being said—I’ve taken apart my cheap Mr. Coffee maker and sped up the brewing time via these steps:
- Again: unplug and dry your coffee maker! Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove the filter basket and coffee pot.
- Unscrew the hoses and valves near the pump and heating element.
- Rinse the hoses and valves with water.
- Use an old toothbrush with a bit of dish soap to remove coffee debris from the parts.
- Screw the hoses and valves back into the coffee maker.
Disclaimer: I wouldn’t try this on a newer, more expensive coffee maker!
Solution 4: Find a Better Coffee Maker
Maybe it’s time to check out a new coffee maker. Here are some factors to consider:
- Warranty. If your current coffee maker started brewing slowly within 1-2 years of purchase, a multi-year warranty can ease your worries.
- Material. For example: choosing a stainless steel coffee maker instead of a plastic one. This might keep your coffee maker in good condition for longer. Worth considering if your coffee maker now has cracks, leaks, or other signs of wear.
- Descale Light. A coffee maker with a descale light will remind you to clean your coffee maker regularly. This helps prevent clogs which makes your brew cycles slower.
- Self Cleaning. Even better—the coffee maker will clean itself!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
First, try Solution 2 above to descale your coffee maker. Try brewing coffee again and see cleaning helps.
Also, keep your eyes and ears open for any leaking. You might try Solution 3 above, which involves taking apart your coffee maker to remove clogs and check for any damage to your parts.
On average, a standard drip coffee maker should be able to brew 2 cups of coffee every minute.
Of course this can depend on a few factors: how much ground coffee and water you use, the strength of the coffee maker’s pump and water flow, and brew strength (for example choosing the bold setting).
If nothing we covered can speed up your coffee maker’s brew time, then you likely need to fix or replace your coffee maker. Sorry about that.
By day, Bryan is a software engineer with experience at startups and top software companies. By night, he runs and writes for My Kitchen Sensei. Bryan is especially proud of his cheap excursions to cheap Michelin rated restaurants throughout Asia and in Hong Kong during his exchange there. His favorites include nitro-cold brew coffee and steak.