The Most Common Brew Method
If you walk into the kitchen of just about any household in America you'll surely see a drip coffee machine on the counter. After all, the most common method of brewing coffee is with a drip coffee machine with a paper filter. Why? Cost and ease of use are the easy answers.
Drip coffee machines tend to be fairly inexpensive, usually. Of course, you can find more expensive machines with various added attributes--think timers, built-in grinders, etc. And using a paper filter makes for easy cleanup. Just dump the entire thing into the trash and give the basket a quick rinse.
With a drip machine, you don't have to worry about the temperature of the water. You don't have to take the time to slowly pour the water over the grounds yourself. To get a good cup of coffee, all you have to do is:
- Add the required amount of water to the reservoir,
- add your ground coffee to the filtered basket,
- turn on the machine,
- and walk away.
The machine does all the work for you.
A Little History
The first drip coffee machines were made available in the early 1970s. Mr. Coffee came out with a coffee machine that revolutionized at-home coffee making. Prior to this, most people used percolators to make their coffee. Many even drank instant coffee (!!). The addition of the drip machine to the modern kitchen made it easy to make a more delicious cup of coffee.
Make it Better
Like we mentioned, using an automatic drip coffee machine does make a better cup of coffee. And makes it much easier to make that coffee. But are their ways to make that coffee even better? Sure!
Start with your coffee beans. Use high-quality coffee beans. We have a few you might like. Once you've chosen your favorite bean, make sure the grind is right for drip machines. A medium grind is ideal for drip machines. It is perfect for the amount of time that water is in contact with the grounds.
Water temperature is also a key element to better extraction of flavor. Most machines heat the water to the correct temperature. This temperature is around 200 degrees. However, some machines may start dripping the water through the grounds before it has gotten up to temperature. If your machine does this, try turning on your machine a couple of minutes before adding water to give the heating element adequate time to warm up.
Go ahead and brew a full pot every time. Sure, your machine has markings for smaller amounts, but it is specifically fine-tuned to brew the maximum amount. Your machine will not work quite as well when brewing a smaller amount. If you are consistently making too much coffee, consider the size of your machine and maybe trade it in for a smaller one.
As convenient as it seems to have your coffee ready to go when you wake up in the morning, you may be adversely affecting the taste of that morning joe. Setting up your machine too early leaves your coffee grounds exposed to air. This can greatly reduce the aromas and flavors of that delicious coffee. Consider having everything ready except the grounds then add them just before turning on your machine. If you grind your own coffee, your most flavorful pot of coffee will be the one that you grind your beans just prior to brewing.
Once your coffee is done brewing, don't leave it sitting in the open carafe on the burner plate. Consider pouring it into a thermos or a carafe to keep it warm. This will reduce the burned flavor you might have experienced in the past.
Finally, make sure to clean your coffee machine often. We've discussed cleaning your coffee makers before. The more often you clean the elements of your machine, the less likely you will be drinking sub-par coffee. The oils in the coffee can adhere to the coffee basket and eventually turn rancid. Yuck! A dirty carafe can impart a burned flavor to your otherwise tasty brew. Ew! And old water in the reservoir can collect limescale and even bacteria. You definitely don't want any of that in your coffee. So, clean that machine often.
Hopefully, these tips help you to enjoy your automatic drip coffee maker just a little more.