How to Use a Drip Coffee Maker

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Drip coffee makers have been recently used by many who prefer to make their own coffee according to their taste and preferences. So, here’s a simple guide on how to use a drip coffee maker and create a brew-tiful cup of coffee.

It’s easier to imagine a bird with a dog’s head, or a human with angel wings, than to imagine a morning without your usual best friend, coffee. It’s pretty much a universal buddy, and God’s gift to mankind. The little brown pearls have been a source of comfort, warmth, energy and maybe even a little bit of joy.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Using a Drip Coffee Maker

With a few tips and tricks, you can make the perfect cup of coffee at home.

Start By Placing a Filter Inside The Coffee Maker’s Filter Basket

There are numerous types of filters out there. Some are natural, and some are bleached. But, we’d recommend you use a non-generic filter as much as possible, as cheap generic filters can be inefficient, compromising a good result.

Most of the time, the manufacturer provides you with filters that are made specifically for your machine. These are much better for the environment and can be recycled for later use.

Each type of filter works best with a certain level of coarseness. For example, gold-plastic permanent filters require medium ground coffee.

A flat-bottom filter requires ground beans in sand texture. Cone-shaped filters require medium/fine ground beans (finer than granulated sugar). Make sure you’ve chosen the right filter for your coffee.

Prepare Your Ground Coffee For Brewing

It’s better to pick freshly ground beans or to even ground them yourself according to your preferences. We don’t recommend you get the pre-ground beans, and that’s because coffee flavor comes from some delicate flavor ingredients inside the cells of the bean itself.

When it’s ground, it’s exposed to air which reacts with these ingredients, causing them to lose the essence of the flavor, or even creating altered tastes that ruin your brewed coffee experience.

That being said, it’s best that you store your beans in an air-tight container, to avoid the flavor loss, and ensure an enriching coffee taste for a perfect day.

Estimate The Amount of Coffee You’ll Need

You’ll need to increase the amount of ground beans you add to the filter basket if you need larger amounts of coffee, but you’ll have to pay attention to the coffee/water ratio. It’s recommended to add 1-2 tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water.

In some cases, the manufacturer provides you with scoops for measurement, so make sure to read the machine manual for recommendation, and adjust your dosages accordingly.

If you’re not satisfied with the result your coffee maker makes, you can adjust your input as follows:

  • If you want stronger coffee, use just 4 ounces of water per tablespoon of coffee, and grind your coffee to finer particle sizes.
  • If you want milder coffee, use 8 ounces of water per tablespoon of coffee, and grind your coffee beans to coarser sizes.
  • If you desire a fruitier acidic cup of coffee, use lighter roast coffee.
  • If you desire a bolder, chocolaty cup of coffee, try a darker roast coffee.

For even better results, you can weigh your coffee with a gram scale instead of tablespoons or scoops. So, 15 grams of coffee beans for every 225 grams of water will give you a proper taste.

Measure The Amount Of Water You Need To Brew Your Coffee

You can do that using the measuring line on the coffee pot, or the side of the coffee maker itself. Then, you can pour the water in the open space behind or above the filter basket.

It’s better not to attempt to pour water inside the basket. Also, It’s not advisable to fill your water above the max fill line. In addition to that, it’s best to use filtered water, because even the strongest beans can never mask the bad taste of water.

Also, using too much mineral water will increase the amounts of sediments created inside your machine, which will require regular attention and cleaning to avoid the malfunction of your coffee maker.

After you’re done, place the pot back in place on the warming plate.

Plug in The Coffee Maker

Check the manufacturer’s manual to see if it starts automatically, or it has a manual time setting.

Wait For It…

Now you wait till your coffee is brewed. Some machines include a pause button which will allow you to fill a cup before the whole process is done. You can resume when you place the pot back in place.

The perfect temperature of coffee brewing ranges from (91-96 C) – below boiling. Cold water doesn’t extract the flavor from the coffee beans, and hot water scalds the coffee, compromising its taste.

So, allow water to boil for a bit, then remove it away from the heat source and wait for 1 minute before pouring it inside the coffee maker.

Clean Your Coffee Maker Filter

If your machine uses a paper filter, you have to discard it as soon as you’re done to avoid bad bitter taste which will accumulate with time after each use.

If it uses a mesh type, you can remove it, wash it, discard the coffee grounds or recycle it, dry it, then put it back in place to be ready for next use. Also, make sure to periodically clean the coffee maker itself, to avoid the accumulation of mineral sediments.

Deep Cleaning of Your Coffee Maker

It’s recommended to deep-clean your coffee maker at least once a month if you brew coffee daily, and every 40-80 times of brewing if you don’t consume it daily, to ensure a good flavor and to elongate the life of your machine, facing less technical troubles along the way. Cleaning is of course an important part of how to use a drip coffee maker properly.

Start With Washing The Basket And The Carafe

Detach the basket and the carafe from their positions in the machine and wash them with soapy water. Washing these parts with water only doesn’t inhibit the build-up of coffee beans’ oils with time. And though these oils don’t necessarily damage the machine’s function, it’ll definitely create off-flavors which will ruin your morning.

Experts recommend using detergents to wash away most of the oil, claiming that they have the same capacity to remove the oil as the products made especially for coffee makers. Soak your carafe and basket in warm water with detergent once every week, scrub the oil away, wash, and dry.

If you noticed some deep stains in your pot that won’t fade away with water, you can use a soft sponge and baking soda to remove the stains. If they don’t come off, mix 2 cups of baking soda along with 4 cups of warm water inside your coffee pot and let it sit overnight.

The Filter Head Comes Next

Over the filter basket, lies the filter head. This is where hot water is filtered and sprayed on the grounds. It’s recommended to clean it once a week using detergents and water.

After you’re done cleaning and drying these parts, put them back in place inside the coffee maker.

Now, for the Deep Cleaning Procedure

Prepare a mixture of 1-part white vinegar to 2-parts warm water. Make sure the user’s manual doesn’t recommend a lesser dose of vinegar, which you’ll have to adjust in that case according to your manufacturer’s instructions.

After you’ve prepared your solution, pour the mixture into your carafe. Make sure that the solution you’ve prepared is enough to fill the water reservoir completely.

Now the descaling process starts.

Start by running a half brew cycle. Pay proper attention to the coffee maker while it’s brewing to make sure it’s not completing its cycle. Once it’s halfway done, turn off the machine.

Let the maker sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour, to allow the vinegar solution to wash away the deposited calcium and sediments stuck in different parts of the machine.

After an hour has passed, un-pause the brewing process and let it complete its cycle. If you happen to see white or brown fragments inside the coffee pot, it means that the deep cleaning procedure is going as planned, cleaning away all the debris.

Detach the coffee pot from its place, and pour away the solution inside down the sink. Wash the carafe with warm water and soap to make sure all the debris is gone, then make a final wash with water only to wash away the soap bubbles.

To remove the vinegar from the maker itself, pour the maximum amount of fresh water the carafe can handle inside the machine, and don’t mix it with any more vinegar. Start the brewing process again, and let it complete its cycle.

Repeat the last step 3 times, with 3-5 minute break between each cycle. If the smell of vinegar still persists, consider repeating 2-3 times more.

After you’ve poured out the water of your last brewing cycle, start washing the outside of your machine using either soapy water or undiluted vinegar spray. You can use some Q-tips to properly clean the hard-to-reach area in the machine.

Rinse everything with fresh warm water after you’re done cleaning.

Reassemble your machine back in place.

Final Thoughts

So, that concludes our brief guide on how to use a drip coffee maker, including which beans to pick and how to properly clean your coffee maker afterward, using just water and vinegar.

Enjoy your coffee!

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