How to Use a Drip Coffee Maker

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Drip coffee makers take the guesswork out of brewing coffee.
Drip coffee makers take the guesswork out of brewing coffee. (Image: Closeup of white coffee cup next to coffee machine image by Olena Talberg from Fotolia.com)

Many require a fresh cup of coffee to wake up and start the day on the correct note. However, brewing in a coffee press sometimes requires more time than the morning rush allows. Luckily, drip coffee makers allow you to prepare your coffee and walk away to complete other tasks as it brews. It takes less than a minute to prepare a drip coffee maker for brewing and typically less than five minutes to brew.

Things You'll Need

  • Coffee filters
  • Measuring spoons
  • Fresh roasted ground coffee
  • Water (tap, filtered or bottled)
  • Measuring cup
  • Vinegar
  • Mild dish detergent

Preparation and Brewing

Plug the coffee maker into an electrical socket. Remove the carafe from the warming plate and fill it with cold water.

Pour the water into the coffee maker's water reservoir. Use the measurement markings on the side of the reservoir to determine the water level. Fill the reservoir to the desired level of cups. Pour any excess water out of the carafe. Place the carafe back on the warming plate.

Open the lid at the top of the coffee maker. Lift and remove the filter basket out of the coffee maker. Place a new, clean filter in the basket. Spoon 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee per six ounces of reservoir water into the filter. Generally, one cup of coffee as marked on the reservoir is equal to six ounces of water. However, check your coffee maker's instruction manual to determine exact measurements.

Place the filter basket back into the coffee maker and close the lid. Turn the coffee pot on to start brewing. Allow the coffee maker to run until the reservoir is emptied of water and you no longer hear or see coffee dripping into the carafe.

Remove the carafe from the warming plate and pour the desired amount of coffee into your cup. Replace the carafe on the warming plate. Leave the coffee maker on as long as there is at least one cup of coffee in the carafe. This will keep the coffee warm. Turn it off if there is less than one cup remaining or if you do not plan to drink the remaining coffee. This will prevent the coffee from burning and damaging the carafe or causing a fire.

Cleanup

Turn the coffee maker off and allow any unused coffee to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the carafe from the warming plate. Pour any leftover coffee out and replace the carafe on the warming plate.

Open the lid at the top of the coffee maker and lift out the filter basket. Remove the used filter and coffee grounds from the filter basket and dispose of them. Place the empty filter basket back in the coffee maker and close the lid.

Combine one cup of vinegar and two cups of warm water in the measuring cup. Pour the mixture into the water reservoir. Turn the coffee maker on. Allow it to run until the reservoir is empty and you no longer hear or see drips falling into the carafe. Turn the pot off and let the liquid cool in the carafe for 10 to 15 minutes. Pour the cooled water and vinegar mixture out of the carafe.

Refill the carafe with clear warm water. Pour the water into the reservoir. Turn the coffee maker on and allow it to run until the reservoir is empty and you no longer hear or see drips falling into the carafe. Allow the water to cool and pour it out. Refill the carafe again with water and repeat the process. Do this a total of three or more times.

Turn the coffee maker off and unplug it. Remove the carafe and filter basket and wash both in warm water and mild dish detergent. Allow both to dry and place them back in the coffee maker.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some coffee makers are equipped with an alarm or light that signals when the coffee is done brewing.
  • Drink your coffee within 15 minutes of brewing for the best taste.
  • Wash your carafe and filter basket after each use to ensure great tasting coffee.
  • Run the vinegar and water mixture through your coffee maker at least every two weeks.
  • Never reuse a coffee filter or coffee grounds. This will result in bitter tasting coffee.

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