The iconic Keurig machine completely changed the coffee industry when they invented k-cups and single serve brewers back in 1998.

While intended to be used in offices, I think we can all agree, these single serve coffee machines have taken over college dorms, households and everywhere in between.

While Keurig put their home brewers on the market in 2004, Cuisinart was quick to follow and by 2005, Cuisinart created their own single serve coffee makers.

They now offer six different single serve brewers in total, with some even having the options to grind your own coffee beans, where the grounds go directly into a reusable k-cup.

This particular brewer, the DGB-2 Series, has even been listed as the best single-serve coffee maker with a grinder attached by Good Housekeeping.

This guide mainly applies to many of these single serve coffee makers (such as the Cuisinart SS-15) but does not cover ones such as the DGB-2 series we widely.

Problems are unfortunately unavoidable when it comes to owning a more mechanical product like a coffee machine but doesn’t mean they can’t be easily fixed so you can get back to spending some quality time with a cup of good coffee.

Today, we’ll delve into seven of the most common problems with Cuisinart single-serve coffee makers, along with potential solutions if you come across any of these issues!

7 Common Problems with Cuisinart's Single Serve Coffee Makers

Problem #1: My Cuisinart coffee maker won't turn on / Power Issues 

Cause #1: The machine isn’t plugged in

Yes, it sounds silly but we have all been there!

Either we forget to plug the machine in or someone else accidentally unplugged it. This is an easy and quick potential fix to the problem.

Cause #2: The power source isn’t working

The best way to test if the power outlet you are using is bad, is to plug in something you 100% know will work.  My go to is my phone charger since I use it every day.

If the outlet is not working correctly, try resetting the correct switch on your circuit breaker to see if that helps.

Cause #3: The power cord or internal circuit board is damaged

The last potential cause for your Cuisinart coffee maker not turning on is that the power cord attached to it, or a separate internal component may be damaged.

To check the cord itself, unplug the machine and look for any wires that might be poking out of the cord. Any cracked areas of the cord could also be signs of damage.

If you don’t see any damage on the outside of the cord, the issue may be internal. At this stage, I would recommend calling the Cuisinart Customer Service line to get the machine serviced.

Problem #2: There are coffee grounds in your cup

If you find your k-cup’s exploding or if there are a lot of coffee grounds making their way into your cup, there are two potential causes for this.

Cause #1: The pod has been incorrectly placed

When you’re placing a K-Cup or coffee pod into the holder, make sure it is fully clicked into place, and that the arrow on the coffee pod holder lines up perfectly with the arrow on the machine itself.

Cause #2: The piercing & exit needles are clogged

The second potential cause for this issue is that the piercing & exit needles (the needles that go into the k-cups) have grounds in them and have gotten clogged.

This can lead to water not being able to correctly flow through the needles and thus a pressure buildup causing the cup to “explode”.

These blocked needles can actually cause quite a few common problems for these single serve coffee makers so we’ve created a section dedicated to cleaning them.

 Click here to jump to the section!

Problem #3: My coffee maker is only brewing a partial cup of coffee

Cause #1: The “add water” indicator is on / there is a lack of water in the reservoir

It’s an easy fix for this one! Be sure to double check the water level in the reservoir and fill it accordingly. Cuisinart recommends adding at least 11oz to the container if water is needed.

Cause #2: The piercing needles need to be cleaned

Again, clogged piercing needles can cause many problems. If you’re coffee machine isn’t brewing a full cup, it may be time to give the needles a clean.

Click here to jump to the section with a detailed description and video on how to clean these needles.

Cause #3: The capsule holder & funnel needs to be cleaned

If you have ever used your single serve machine, you are definitely familiar with the brewing chamber or capsule holder area!

This is just the section of your coffee machine where your coffee pod sits.

To clean this section of your single serve coffee maker is really similar to cleaning the needles!

To start, lift the handle on the coffee maker to open. Grab the top of the holder and pull it out of the section.

Once you have the holder out, you can remove the funnel off the bottom fo the holder by twisting it off. Once you do this you will see one of the piecing needles which you can clean using the method above.

Both of these parts, the capsule holder and funnel are top rack dishwasher safe, so feel free to pop those in on a low temperature to clean.

Once taken everything out as well, you can clean the piercing needle that is located in the brewing chamber if you want to be thorough.

Again, feel free to use the method & videos above to help!

Cause #4: The machine needs descaling

Scale in a coffee machine occurs when a variety of minerals found in water (mainly tap) start to build up in the machine and on the components.

 It’s important to descale your machine to ensure that it runs correctly.

Cuisinart single serve coffee makers do have sensors that will notify you via the screen when the machine needs to be descaled.

However, they also recommend doing it every 3-6 months or as often as you need even if the “descale” display does not come up.

Click here to jump to our section on how to properly descale your Cuisinart single serve coffee machine.

Problem #4: My brewing temperatures are inconsistent

Inconsistent brewing temperatures are typically caused by issues with the boiler or heating element within the coffee machine.

If scale, or minerals from the water, builds up on this heating element, the boiler may not heat correctly.

This temperature variation is not only annoying but can also affect how your coffee tastes since it isn’t being brewed properly.


Like our last problem, the solution here is to give your machine a nice clean via descaling.

Click here to jump to the section on descaling your machine!

Problem #5: My Cuisinart isn't dispensing any water or coffee

Cause #1:  The piercing needles are clogged 

If your machine isn’t properly dispensing your drink, the piercing needles may be clogged and therefor water cannot get through.

Again, this is a common problem so click here to jump to the section on how to clean these needles properly!

Cause #2: The water reservoir isn’t filled correctly

If your water reservoir doesn’t contain enough water, the machine won’t dispense your coffee!

 Double check by filling your reservoir to the max fill line or having at least 11 oz of water in the container.

Cause #3: The machine is acting up 

Sometimes you just need to give your machine the ol’ reboot.

Unplug your machine and leave it off for at least thirty seconds or longer. Once enough time has passed, plug it back in, turn it back on and try again.

Problem #6: There is a leak coming from the water tank / reservoir

Cause: The O-Ring needs cleaning or replacing

O-Rings are a type of seal found commonly in equipment or machinery.  In the case of your coffee machine, they help prevent leaks and also keeps the pressure regulated.

In your single serve coffee maker, there is most likely one at the connection point of the water reservoir and the machine, as well as in the brew basket.

If the O-Ring is dirty or broken, it doesn’t seal water in correctly, which can cause water leakage from the bottom of the reservoir.

Cuisinart put out a video breaking down the best way to go about it here!

Problem #7: There is a leak coming from the dispenser or brew head

Cause: The piercing needles are blocked 

If your machine keeps leaking after you’ve brewed a coffee, the piecing needles may be blocked. with coffee grounds or other things!

Click here to jump to the section on how to clean these needles properly.

Problem #8: There is constant mineral or scale build up in my machine

Cause: Using mineral rich tap water

If you find yourself constantly having the same problems such as scale buildup in your coffee machine, it may be time to look at the type of water you’re using.

Unfiltered tap water is considered “hard water”. It contains a number of minerals and other particles that can cause scale build up in your machine and water hose.

By using filtered or “soft water” to brew your coffee, you can minimize the amount of scale build up. In turn, you may not need your Cuisinart machine as much!

An extra bonus to using filtered water is that it makes a much better cup of coffee, as you don’t have all the extra minerals interfering with that flavor coffee lovers enjoy.

Maintenance Tips & Tricks for a Cuisinart Single-Serve Brewer

Cleaning clogged piercing needles:

While this solution requires slightly more effort, it is still very easy to do.

First start by taking the k-cup holder out from the coffee machine.

Once this is completed you should be able to twist it apart, leaving you with an upper and lower half.

Then, take a paper clip and straighten part of it out. Insert the paper clip into the upper needle and twist to remove and grounds or grime.

Then, repeat this step with the bottom needle.

Once both needles are cleaned, piece back the k-cup holder and reinsert into the machine.

Are you visual learner? Here is a video from Cuisinart themselves showing the process.

Before brewing another cup of coffee, run a cycle or two using a vinegar water mix to ensure the needles and machine are clean completely.

Descaling Solution

Although Descaling may sound complicated, it’s actually easy and only involves you adding a bit of vinegar to the water reservoir system and brewing like normal.

Follow these steps to de-scale your unit:

1. Empty the reservoir

2. Disable the AUTO OFF and OFF TIME features

3. Making sure there is no capsule in the brewing chamber, fill the reservoir with 20 oz. of white vinegar, plus 40 oz. of water

4. Place a large mug on the drip tray. Press and hold the HOT WATER and RINSE buttons to start the de-scale process. Discard contents of mug.

5. Repeat Step 4 until ADD WATER is displayed on the control panel.

6. Rinse the water reservoir thoroughly and fill with fresh water.

7. Run another Hot Water cycle (see page 11). Discard contents of large mug.

8. Repeat hot water process until ADD WATER is displayed on the control panel.

9. You may need to perform additional Hot Water cycles if you detect any residual vinegar taste. Note: If DE-SCALE is still displayed on the control panel after completing the procedure, repeat the de-scaling procedure above. Maintenance: Any oth

Cuisinart states in their own troubleshooting guide that if you have de-scaled your machine twice already and the issue persists, contact customer their service team. 1-800-726-0190

Use filtered water

While it may seem a bit fancy to only use filtered water in your coffee machine, there are real benefits to it!

Firstly, you’ll most likely have to clean your machine less often. Scale buildup is one of the biggest issues when it comes to having a coffee machine. Tap water contains so many minerals that build up on various parts of the machine, causing it to not work as well as we might want.

Filtered water often has substantially less of these minerals, often leading to less scale buildup and overall, a cleaner machine,

Beyond cleanliness, the lack of minerals in filtered water leads tooa  clenaer and better tasting cup of cofee being brewed.

Pro Tip: The SS-10 actualyl comes with a charcoal water filter attachment in it. Having this filter helps prevent scale and other gunk from getting into the internal parts and water lines of your favorite machine.

Routine inspection of machine components

The best way to take care of your machine is to do proper maintenance or regular cleaning on it 9or at least semi-regularly!)

This way you can catch a potential problem before it gets bad.

There are simple ways to do this, either by setting a time every month to descale your machine, or just giving the capsule holder a good rinse every now and then.

Cuisinart put out a video on how to properly clean your single-serve brewer to help ensure you can have it for as long as possible!

Brewing with a reusable filter cup (reusable k-cup)

If you have one of the handy refillable pods at home with you, that’s fantastic! The process to brewing a fresh coffee is pretty much the same as if you were using a normal k-cup. All you need to do is pop out that brewing capsule that you would normally place your k-cup in, and replace it with your resuable one.

note: when you’re filling your reusable k-cup with coffee grounds, be sure not to fill it above the max line and leave it loose or untamped.

When to Seek Professional Help

Sometimes you can try everything, and the problem still won’t go away. When this happens, it’s best to leave it to the professionals and call customer support for help.

There are a few instances when Cuisinart actually suggests this, rather than keep trying to solve the issue. One of these instances is if you have descaled the machine properly twice and the descale alert will not go away.

The good thing is, most, if not all, of Cuisinart machines come with a 3-year limited time warranty. This warranty takes place from the date of purchase IF you have proof. If you haven’t kept your receipt since you’ve bought it, it will go from the day the product was manufactured.

If you’re interested in getting your product serviced. you can call the toll-free Cuisinart number at 1-800-726-0190. Note this is only for the US & Canada (and with exceptions for California)

Lastly, all warranty information (and also more cleaning guides!) should be in the manual that came with your coffee brewer. If you’ve thrown yours out (like I do!) they actually have all of them, even the discontinued ones, on the website!

Just click here to access it! 

If this add water indicator doesn’t turn off after the water is added, there may be a different issue and it’s recommended to call the customer service line.


Cuisinart machines are fantastic and have found their way into so many homes around the world. Maintenace problems are expected as with most machines, but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world!

We covered a lot of information today for the 7 most common issues when it comes to Cuisinart single serve brewers, but the two main causes for these issues across the board was the piercing needles needing to be cleaned or the machine might need a good descale.

Thankfully both of these are easy to fix and it definitely helps that Cuisinart has put together a number of great videos to help you through the process.

You can find both of these videos below this summary as well as a general cleaning video here.

If you keep having problems with your Cuisinart or these solutions don’t fix your problem, you most likely have a 3-year warranty on your machine.

Cuisinart has a toll-free customer service number for US and Canada customers to help get a service started!

And lastly, remember, the best way to take care of your single-serve brewer is to clean it more often than not!