Keurig Says Prime? Here’s How You Need to Respond!

This article will help you better understand how your Keurig works, and it will guide you through its cleaning process.
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer
Samanta Fryer is our senior editor and content writer, at CoffeeVibe. Apart from writing and reading, she’s fond of the coffee brewing process and enjoys tasting new coffe read more
Reviewed By
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks
Ryan Hendricks is our tester, who puts products through their paces. He used to be a barista and is now a full-time coffee enthusiast. He’s always testing out new gadgets, read more
Last updated: September 08, 2023
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Coffee makers are very convenient appliances, and many manufacturers make these machines nowadays. These machines may be fitted with one or more unique features to help them stand out from the other brands in the market. One of the most popular brands of coffee makers available in the Keurig.

Despite the durability and reliability of this Keurig coffee maker, a big source of dread is when Keurig says prime. That isn’t a slogan or a movie. Rather, it indicates a popular error that the machine gives out when its function is impaired.

No reason to worry, though; we are here to help. Screaming and complaining would not do the trick, but with the aid of our comprehensive guide to taking care of this problem, your machine should be ready to keep making you coffee in no time. Read up and return to stress-free brewing.

What does “prime” mean?

Keurig coffee makers always come fitted with a water reservoir for more convenience. A prime error message on a Keurig coffee maker is an indicator that the water reservoir attached to the machine is not dispensing water correctly. This might be a result of a couple of issues, and we are going to be tackling each of these potential issues. The tips that would be provided to tackle these issues are also relevant for pod coffee machines as well.

What to do?

The solution to solving your problem might be as simple as switching off the coffee maker, checking the attachment of the reservoir to ensure it is properly attached and then, restarting the machine. However, as stated, this is the simplest solution and not an all-encompassing one. So, if your error code persists, you should try the rest of these tips.

Clean the reservoir

Keurig Says Prime? Here's How You Need to Respond!

Minerals from your water can affect the service of your coffee machine. This would be represented by limescale or an accumulation of minerals in the reservoir. Thankfully, this is an easy problem to take care of. To do this, the following steps should be followed:

  1. Switch off and unplug the machine before removing the water reservoir.
  2. Drain the reservoir scrub the insides with a damp cloth and mild soap.
  3. Once clean, reattach the reservoir to the machine and run water-only cycles to wash out any residual minerals.
  4. If it works perfectly, the error clears, and the machine is ready for use.
  5. If the problem persists, rewash the reservoir but use a proprietary descaling product instead of just soap.

If these steps do not result in the clearance of the error, move on to the next tip.

Clean the filter screen

The filter screen could be the source of the error as well. If the above tip didn’t solve the problem, switch off the machine again and unplug it. Once that is done, detach the water reservoir from the coffee maker and pull it upwards to expose its base. The base should be cleaned, preferably with a damp microfiber cloth.

There is usually a mesh filter on top of the reservoir. Run water through this filter to push whatever debris is logged there out of the way. The reservoir should then be drained and refilled with clean water. Finally, running a few water-only cycles should be enough to rinse out whatever dirt might still be present.

Clean the needles

If cleaning the reservoir properly and the filter have failed, you should move on to cleaning the holder and needle. You would need to turn off the machine and unplug it first for safety. After this, gently remove the holder and dislodge the funnel within it.

Check the insides of the holder for debris and use a straightened paper clip to scrape the walls and force any debris to fall off. Once done, flush the funnel and holder beneath running water to wash out the debris. The clean funnel should be reinserted in the holder, and the holder should be replaced on the machine.

After the holder is clean, divert your attention to the entrance needle underneath the head of the brewer. You should raise the handle to find the small entrance and then use the straightened paper clip again to remove any dirt inside.

Run a few water-only cycles after performing both tasks to your satisfaction.

Extra steps

The design of the coffee machine might also require that certain extra steps be taken to ensure that the error is canceled. As earlier stated, many of the modern coffee machines come with modifications that help them stand out, such as coffee machines with hot water dispensers as well.

The modifications might be different from model to model, but if your Keurig coffee maker has any, these extra steps might be relevant for you.

Take a look at the attachments

Some coffee machines are hyper-fitted to provide more functions, especially if it is some kind of a coffee and espresso maker combo. Take, for example, the Keurig K-Café Single-Serve K-Cup Coffee Maker, Latte Maker, and Cappuccino Maker that comes with Milk Frother and Coffee Shot compatibility. That’s a lot of fittings and a lot of accompanying attachments.

The increased functionality might also contribute to problems. To prevent such problems or to rectify them, all the attachments to a coffee machine such as filters, cups, pots, and grinders should be properly cleaned.

Ask customer support

If you have tried all of the above steps and the error is still there, then it might be time to consult your manufacturer. They might have extra tips for you to try out, or it might be time for you to consider the warranty as an escape route.

Even for a brand as reputable and reliable as Keurig, a product or two could be bad now and then. If you draw the short straw and end up with such a bad product, you could also contact customer care.

If the need for a return arises, you should still consider the Keurig brand as they remain a top manufacturer of coffee makers. According to reviews, the Keurig K55/K45 Elite Single Cup Home Brewing System rarely goes wrong and is easy to use.

Final Thoughts

I hope that the error on your coffee maker has been cleared long before you got to the end of this article and that you’re reading up to this point is solely out of loyalty and the need to know more. If yes, I’m happy to have been of service in your quest to enjoy more stress-free coffee anytime you want.

Honestly, the “prime” error is a perfect basic one as many of the tips provided in this piece should constitute regular maintenance practice in caring for your coffee machine. As such, even after performing them now and clearing the error, normalize doing them all every 3 to 6 months. They could be the difference in your coffee machine lasting for longer. In summary, care for your coffee maker so that your Keurig says prime less often.

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