French Presses and Chemexs are awesome and make amazing coffee, but if you’re an average joe like me, you also have a drip coffee maker that gets a lot of use too. I use my French Press a lot on the weekend and the Chemex when I have a new coffee to try, but my drip coffee maker is my go to machine in the morning before I run off to work. However, if you don’t treat that drip coffee maker properly, it can make some pretty bad coffee. To prevent that, here’s my down and dirty guide to making better coffee with a drip coffee maker.
Buy Whole Beans
The first and one of the most important steps is to buy whole bean coffee. Ground coffee gets points for being convenient, but if you want great tasting coffee, you need to buy whole beans. Ground coffee starts losing flavor as soon as it’s ground and can go stale within fifteen minutes. Who knows how long it was sitting on that shelf before you bought it.
The Daily Grind
Now that you have whole beans, you’re going to need to grind them. A twenty dollar blade grinder is a good start, but if you’re serious about getting a the perfect cup of coffee, you’re going to need a burr grinder. Using a burr grinder you can fine tune the size of the grinds to get the optimal amount of flavor out of them. By the way, for most drip coffee makers a medium grind works perfectly.
Clean Your Coffee Maker
When was the last time you cleaned your coffee maker? Depending how often you use it, you should be cleaning it as often as once a week. The minerals from you water and the oils from your coffee can start to build up and it isn’t long before they start affecting the taste of your coffee. And you don’t need one of those special coffee maker cleaning solutions. All you need is some vinegar.
How is the water from your faucet? Do you drink it directly from the faucet? Is it labeled hard or loaded with chlorine? Another easy way to improve the quality of your coffee is to filter your water before pouring it into the water chamber. A water filter that attaches to your faucet or a pitcher with the filter built in will make a huge difference immediately.
Don’t Let Your Coffee Sit Around
I get nervous if my coffee is sitting on the warming plate or in the coffee pot for fifteen minutes. You’re probably safe letting your coffee sit for half an hour or an hour (not on the heater). You’ll get the best results making smaller pots of coffee multiple times, then one huge coffee pot of coffee that sits around all morning long.
And Definitely Don’t Reheat Your Coffee
Microwaving your coffee kills the flavor. Need I say more?
Store Your Coffee Safely
Once you brew up that perfect pot of coffee, you’re going to need to store the beans properly. The best place to store your coffee is someplace cool, dry, out of direct sunlight and in an air tight container. Do not put an open bag of coffee in the refrigerator or the freezer!
Bonus Tip: Invest in a coffee maker. You’re going to be using it every morning, so don’t just buy the ten dollar one that’s on sale. Buy a good one, it’ll last longer and probably produce better coffee. I could do a whole guide about buying the perfect coffee maker, but I’ll save that for a future post.
What tips would you share to make better coffee with a drip coffee maker?
Photo by PJMixer.