How to Get Rid of Cigarette Smell and Taste in Your Used Keurig

Coffee on table

Coffee is a beloved beverage that awakens our senses and provides a much-needed boost of energy to start our day. However, some coffee lovers have encountered a puzzling phenomenon: their coffee tastes like cigarettes. This unexpected flavor can be off-putting and confusing, leaving coffee lovers wondering why this peculiar taste occurs. In this article, we will explore the possible reasons behind the startling connection between coffee and cigarettes and shed some light on this intriguing topic.

Common Chemical Compounds

One plausible explanation for the similarity between the taste of coffee and cigarettes lies in the chemical compounds they share. Both coffee and cigarettes are products of combustion, so they may contain similar volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to their distinct flavors. When coffee beans are roasted, they undergo chemical changes that release VOCs that contribute to the aroma of coffee. Some of these VOCs, such as pyrazines, are also found in cigarettes, which can create a perception of similarity in taste and smell.

Brewing and Burning Tobacco

The brewing of coffee and the act of burning tobacco have similarities in the release of chemicals into the air. When coffee grounds are heated during brewing, VOCs are released that contribute to the aromatic experience. Similarly, when tobacco is burned, VOCs are also released, creating the characteristic smell associated with smoking. While the processes are not identical, the release of similar VOCs during brewing and burning can result in an overlap of aromas, leading to the perception that coffee tastes like cigarettes.

Dark Roast Coffee

Another factor that can contribute to a cigarette-like taste in coffee is the roast. Dark roasted coffees, which are subjected to higher temperatures and longer roasting times, tend to have a more robust and smoky flavor profile. These longer roasting times can lead to an increased presence of VOCs in the beans, which are then released during brewing. As a result, individuals who consume dark roast coffee may experience a stronger hint of cigarette-like flavors compared to lighter roast varieties.

Psychological Association

The human brain is a complex organ capable of making connections and associations between different sensory experiences. Many people have developed a psychological association between smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee based on personal experience or observation. For example, observing parents or loved ones enjoying a cup of coffee while smoking can create a subconscious association between the two activities. This psychological association may lead individuals to perceive a similarity in taste between coffee and cigarettes.

Cleaning and Maintenance Tips to Eliminate Cigarette-like Smell and Taste in Your Used Keurig

In addition to the previously mentioned reasons, another possible explanation for your used Keurig machine smelling and tasting like cigarettes is a lack of proper cleaning and maintenance. Over time, coffee residue, oils, and bacteria can accumulate in the internal components of the Keurig, resulting in unpleasant odors and tastes.

To avoid this problem, it is important to clean and maintain your Keurig regularly. Here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Clean the exterior:
    Begin by thoroughly cleaning the exterior of your Keurig machine. Wipe down all surfaces, including the body, buttons, and display, with a mild detergent or vinegar solution. Pay particular attention to areas that are frequently touched, as they can accumulate residue and contribute to the lingering odor.
  2. Descale your Keurig:
    Mineral deposits from water, known as scale, can not only affect your Keurig’s performance, but also contribute to unpleasant odors. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to descale your machine, using either a commercial descaling solution or a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water. Run the descaling solution through the brewing cycle, followed by several cycles of clean water to rinse away any remaining solution.
  3. Clean removable parts:
    Remove and clean all removable parts of your Keurig, such as the water reservoir, drip tray, and K-cup holder. Wash these parts in warm, soapy water and rinse thoroughly to remove any buildup or residue. Allow the parts to air dry completely before reassembling.
  4. Flush the system:
    To further eliminate any trapped flavors, run a few brew cycles with clean water and no coffee pods. This will flush out any remaining residue and help refresh the internal components of your Keurig.
  5. Replace components if necessary:
    If the odor and taste persist, consider replacing certain components that may be retaining the odor, such as the water filter or silicone gasket. These parts can retain odors even after cleaning and may need to be replaced to completely eliminate the cigarette smell and taste.
  6. Use fresh water and high-quality coffee pods:
    In the future, use fresh, filtered water to brew your coffee. This will help ensure clean-tasting coffee without lingering odors. Also, opt for high-quality, fresh coffee pods to enhance the flavor and avoid potential cross-contamination.

By following these cleaning and maintenance practices, you can help eliminate the cigarette-like smell and taste from your used Keurig machine and ensure a more enjoyable coffee drinking experience.


Although the phenomenon of coffee tasting like cigarettes may seem puzzling, there are plausible explanations for this sensory experience. Common chemical compounds, the brewing process, roasting levels, and psychological associations all contribute to the perception that coffee can mimic the taste of cigarettes. It is important to note that not everyone experiences this taste similarity, and individual sensitivities and preferences can vary.

Ultimately, the connection between coffee and cigarettes serves as a reminder of the intricate nature of our senses and the fascinating way our brains interpret flavors and aromas. So the next time you enjoy a cup of coffee that reminds you of a cigarette, you can now appreciate the scientific and psychological factors that may be at play.


Why does my used Keurig machine smell and taste like cigarettes?

If your used Keurig machine smells and tastes like cigarettes, it could be due to the presence of residual smoke particles or contaminants in the machine. Cigarette smoke can leave behind strong odors that can adhere to surfaces, including the internal components of your Keurig. Thoroughly cleaning your Keurig, including descaling and sanitizing, may help eliminate the cigarette-like smell and taste.

Why does my coffee taste like tobacco?

There are several possible reasons why your coffee may taste like cigarettes. One reason could be the presence of common chemical compounds between coffee and cigarettes due to their similar combustion products. In addition, the brewing of coffee and the act of burning tobacco release similar volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air, which may contribute to the overlapping flavors. Finally, if you are using dark roast coffee, the longer roasting time may result in a smoky flavor reminiscent of cigarettes.

Why does my Keurig have a weird taste?

Several factors can contribute to a strange taste in your Keurig brewed coffee. One common cause is mineral buildup or scale inside the machine, which can affect the taste of the water used for brewing. Regularly descaling your Keurig can help remove these deposits and improve the taste. Another possibility is the presence of residual flavors from previous brews. Flushing the system with clean water and running a few cycles without a coffee pod can help eliminate any residual flavors. Finally, using substandard or expired coffee pods can also result in an unpleasant taste. Be sure to use fresh, high-quality coffee pods for the best taste.

Why does my coffee smell like an ashtray?

Stale coffee beans often produce bitter notes that can be perceived as ashy. The fourth possible culprit for a smoky, ashy or burnt coffee taste is your hotplate. Try to get your coffee off the hot plate as soon as possible- use a vacuum thermos or opt for cold brew.

Why does my Keurig stink?

A Keurig, drip coffee maker, and other coffee-making devices generally have a reservoir where water sits for varying lengths of time. This moisture combined with the plastic material of the device itself creates a recipe for mold growth.

Why do I smell like cigarettes?

You may not feel it, but it’s there, releasing a smoky odor. The absorption of nicotine, both into the lungs and through the skin, also affects the sweat glands. Nicotine makes you sweat more, and taints the way your sweat smells. If you sweat profusely, your skin will start to smell like rancid smoke.

Does coffee taste like tobacco?

The taste is important to the aroma. In the case of an arabica coffee with a coffee aroma ofcinammon, the coffee also tastes cinnamon. Additionally, a coffee that smells or tastes like a cigarette would be like one that also tastes like cigarette. Thus, that is a sign of coffee of low quality (low price).

Can I use vinegar to descale Keurig?

Grab the vinegar: White distilled vinegar will help descale (remove lime and scale buildup) your coffee maker, which is key to helping it run. (You can also use a descaling solution.) Fill the water reservoir halfway with vinegar. Add water: Fill the reservoir the rest of the way with water.

How do I get rid of the nasty taste in my Keurig?

The most effective way to descale the Keurig is to use vinegar; white vinegar is a disinfectant, deodorizer and acidic enough to dissolve most buildup inside the machine. Empty the water reservoir and fill it with 48 oz of white vinegar. Run the vinegar through the Keurig until the reservoir is empty.