Can I brew tea in a Keurig?

Picture of Keurig with Cups on a Table

Tea is a delicate and highly regarded beverage dating back to 2300 BCE and was first enjoyed for its flavor and potential benefits in China. Created by steeping the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant in hot water, traditional Chinese tea was brewed in a vessel called a gaiwan.

There are several methods for brewing a hot cup of loose-leaf tea. Some of the more popular options include the western style involving a teapot, the grandpa style where the leaves are steeped directly into a large glass, and the traditional multi-stepped Gong Fu Cha method requiring precision, accuracy, and patience. Most recently, there’s been a lot of buzz around the idea of brewing tea with a Keurig. Although it’s definitely possible and Keurig even sells compatible tea K-cups, you can run into trouble and potentially jeopardize your warranty if you utilize non-Keurig branded items in your appliance.

Keurig Tea K-Cups

For those who love a piping hot cup of tea, the selection of tea K-cups that Keurig has to offer is pretty good. With 21 caffeinated and 12 decaffeinated options available, Keurig markets black tea, green tea, herbal tea, and chai. Some of the popular brands you can purchase and enjoy include:

  • Twinings
  • Celestial
  • Lipton
  • TAZO

Brewing Keurig Tea K-Cups

Making a fresh cup of tea with a Keurig tea K-cup is simple and easy. First, check to make sure the external water reservoir is full. Then, make sure the machine is plugged in and turned on.  

Now that the machine is ready, simply place the tea pod into the K-cup holder. Push the handle of the K-cup holder down and select the size brew you wish. Once the machine is done, you can either enjoy your tea as is or sweeten it to taste.

Once the pod is cooled, the foil top can be removed, and the contents of the pod emptied into the garbage. Like the coffee K-cups, the tea pods are made of polypropylene #5 plastic. Since the pods are made of this material, they can be recycled in select areas.

Pros & Cons of Tea K-Cups

There are many positives to brewing a cup of tea with a Keurig as opposed to more traditional methods. One reason is how fast and convenient the process is. Not only are the tea leaves already measured out for you, but they remain contained even after they are brewed, which makes clean-up a breeze.

The biggest drawback, however, is the taste. Different types of tea require various steeping times and different water temperatures. With a Keurig, you don’t get to choose how long the tea leaves are exposed to the water. This, in turn, can stifle the tea’s true flavor potential.

Although you can perform slight temperature adjustments on your Keurig, the appliance is not capable of exceeding 200°F. This is problematic when looking at the recommended water temperature for brewing black tea, which can be as high as 212°F. Without having precise control over the temperature, the taste of the tea is sacrificed.

Warranty Coverage

When you purchase a Keurig machine, it comes with a one-year limited warranty. If you use only Keurig-approved pods and other Keurig-related accessories, you are covered in the event a repair or replacement is needed. If you experience problems with your machine within the first year and you have used non-Keurig pods or accessories, your warranty is no longer valid and the company will not help you.

Unconventional Brewing Methods

Now that we have explored the Keurig-approved method for brewing tea, there are some other methods that people have utilized to make a hot cup of tea with their Keurig machine. It should be noted, however, that these methods could potentially void your warranty if damage is done to the appliance.

Tea Bags & Loose-Leaf

If you want to make tea with a tea bag, or your favorite loose-leaf tea, simply place a tea bag or measured amount of loose leaves into a mug. Then, place that mug onto the drip tray. Start up your Keurig as you would make a cup of coffee, making sure the K-cup holder is empty.

Once you have done all that, simply select the size or amount of water you want. The Keurig will heat the water up and dispense it into the mug with the tea bag. Follow the recommended guidelines for how long to steep the tea bag, or the leaves, before enjoying. If you are using loose leaves, you may need a second cup and a strainer to remove the leaf debris before enjoying the fresh cup of tea.

Reusable K-Cup

Although this is not recommended by Keurig, you can place a measured portion of loose leaves into a reusable K-cup pod to make a hot cup of tea. This method, although fast and convenient, doesn’t allow the leaves to steep and could result in a weak-tasting brew.

Final Thoughts

Making tea with a Keurig machine is not only possible but also encouraged by the company by means of its tea K-cup pods. As long as you use Keurig-approved K-cups and accessories, and you are within the one-year window, your warranty will cover any repairs or replacements that need to be taken care of.

If you use your Keurig machine to make tea with other methods that are not supported by Keurig and your machine breaks, however, you run the risk of voiding your warranty. Coupled with that, the process of brewing tea is highly delicate and requires precision and accuracy. Not only does each variety of tea require a specific temperature of water for steeping, but the time needed for steeping also varies.

For this reason, if you are looking for the best-tasting cup of tea possible, making some with a Keurig may not be the method for you. If, however, you are looking for a convenient and quick cup of tea, the Keurig could be the answer you are looking for.