Drip coffee machines are the most popular coffee makers in the world. They are relatively cheap (although you can get pretty smart ones with their own grinders), easy to use, and easy to clean. Using the machine is easy, and anyone can crank out an average cup of coffee without even thinking. However, to get a really good brew, there are a couple of things that are worth knowing:
Use high-quality coffee
You may have a taste for dark roast or mild, but whatever it is, go for the quality. Make sure that you get vacuum sealed beans or ground coffee, not the kind that is displayed in supermarkets in plastic bins. When coffee is exposed to air, the oils that give the rich flavor evaporate quickly. Choose a brand that has a good name, although opinions may vary on which is the best. It costs more, but it is worth it!
Grind fresh coffee
Store your coffee beans in an airtight container, and grind them just before you make the coffee. The reason for this is that after the coffee is ground, the surface area of the bean is increased and there is more exposure to air and so more evaporation of the flavor oils. Investing in a coffee grinder is definitely worth the price of a good cup!
Keep it clean
Like any oil, coffee oils can go rancid, so it is really important to clean your pot, filter basket and the water spouts just above the filter regularly. Descale your machine once a month, and more if you live in an area with hard water.
It is important to keep your filter clean, because of the oil residue. Some people like to use a paper filter because it is easier to just dump the paper than to clean the permanent gold or nylon filter. However, if you use cheap paper, it has its own oils and residues that can seriously affect the taste of your coffee. Also, just because you use filter paper does not mean that there will be no residue on the permanent filter – you must still clean it properly.
Use enough coffee
You need a full tablespoon of coffee for every 8 ounces (240ml) of water in order to make a good, rich brew. This seems like quite a lot of coffee, but again it is worth it if you want a truly heavenly brew!
Don’t let the coffee cook
When it is finished brewing, take the pot off the warming plate and use immediately, or you can pour it into a thermal pot that has a vacuum seal.
And that’s it! There is not much to it, but if you do it right, you will get a good brew every time. It does mean spending a bit of money on good coffee, a grinder, and decent filter papers, but you will still spend a lot less than you would in a coffee shop, and probably get a better brew every time.