Perils of Travel: Keurigs Won’t Work in the Car, Y’all.

I have recently managed to make Dave a believer in certain products that seem overrated/overpriced.  One of those products is the Keurig.  Why would one need a Keurig when they already have a working coffee pot?  Enter the beauty of having a fresh cup of coffee ready in under a minute, whenever you want it.  He’s sold.

So when we realized we’d be in the car for a combined total of around 40 hours on our recent roadtrip to/from Portland,  Dave had the idea that we should bring the Keurig in the car.  How awesome would that be?  Driving down the 5 in the middle of nowhere, and fresh coffee available on command!  I, being the lawyer, could only think of all the ways that could go wrong (mainly of the spilling hot coffee all over my car/all over myself variety).  Imagine that lawsuit:

Girl Sues Keurig When Hot Coffee Spills All Over Her Lap After Trying To Use A Keurig In A Car While In Motion

I would never live that down.  But Dave was convinced it was a good idea, so I decided to give it a whirl.  I left the machine sitting on the floor in the passenger seat.  I hooked it up to the adapter, poured in the water, put in the k-cup, and pushed brew.   NOTHING.  The machine made a sound for a second and then shut off.   Was it a balance issue?  Did we blow a fuse?  Was there not enough power?  We didn’t know, but Dave was we were determined to figure it out.  This might come as a surprise, but apparently people don’t really google “How to make a keurig work in a car,”  and FAQ lists just don’t cover this issue either.  Why aren’t others as brilliant as we are?  Why hasn’t anyone else tried this awesome idea??

Unable to find any help via google, we tried various alternatives.  (Honestly, I was totally up for giving up at this point but Dave was determined to find a solution).  If it was a balance issue, maybe finding a flatter surface would help.  No cigar.   I tried the handy unplug-replug idea.  Nothing.  I tried holding down the brew button, which ultimately forced a brew of cold, weak coffee.

I was pretty sure at that point that something was up with the heating element.  So Dave suggested I google how much power it takes to make a Keurig work.  It turns out it takes 1500 watts to be able to heat up.  It also turns out our adapter only put out a maximum of 300 watts.  Mystery solved!  Dave’s solution?  “We need to get a bigger car!”

With our instant Keurig coffee dreams shot, we were forced to “rough it” with gas station and Starbucks coffee for the rest of our trip like normal people.  Clearly, this is not as rough as the people who travelled via covered wagon back in the day, who did not have coffee machines and heat, and google at their finger tips, but it’s all relative, right?! On the bright side, what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.  😉


8 thoughts on “Perils of Travel: Keurigs Won’t Work in the Car, Y’all.

  1. Hey, I am glad some out there tried this. I want to take our mini Keurig with us on our roadtrip. So it is all about the wattage converted at the outlet. Some SUV’s have a 120 volt outlet. So now I have to rig a DC/AC power inverter with at least 1500 watts output AC. My concern is the wiring to the cigarette lighter outlet heavy enough to handle power load without overheating and melting the wire or starting an electrical fire. And what size of AMP fuse will be needed at the car’s fuse box.

    We need some auto electrical engineer for each model.

    • Funny that we’re not alone! This post actually gets quite a few blog hits from people researching this question. I was really worried about blowing/burning something up with an inverter! Are you going to try it?

  2. I’m looking to set up something similar for long drives to work… so…. not a bad idea. I think liability issues are why the “car-coffee-maker” idea hasn’t been widely sold (there is a car espresso maker you can buy in Europe).

  3. 1500 watts / 12 volts car battery = 125 amps!!
    you need to install an inverter near the battery to swap your large amperage # for a large voltage # in short distance from the battery to minimize the wire and fuse size needed to get to your Keurig location.
    1500 watts / 120 volts = 12.5 amps…. much more manageable for the trip from the inverter to the Keurig. We’ve been discussing this in the carpool all this week ^^.

  4. Car’s battery would be fine for a while. 125 amps will last on the battery for about 20 minutes. It takes about 2 minutes to heat the water and make a cup of joe. Make sure the car is running while you make the coffee. Don’t server coffee to the neighborhood and you should be fine. Also you will need a 3000 watt or higher inverter as most will not run at full power for more that 1 second.

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