How To Make Coffee in an Auto-Drip Coffee Maker
By Lisa Frania — / Coffee Talk
Why does life have to be so complicated? We only have so many hours in the day to get things done: our honey-do list is a mile long, we have too many responsibilities to juggle and our energy is zapped, to say the least.
If you love your coffee, achieving that perfect cup doesn’t have to be something complicated, too. For most coffee drinkers—especially for those who want that rich aroma, great taste and jolt of caffeine to be ready as soon as they roll out of bed in the morning—the best way to make coffee is with a simple auto-drip coffee maker. It’s convenient and easy to use (maybe not quite as easy as instant coffee though).
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The auto-drip coffee is the most common household brewer, making its appearance in the US in 1972. Since then, it has been the go-to device for coffee lovers. Around 41 percent of coffee drinkers today use the auto-drip for their coffee consumption. For beginners, it’s the easiest, most consistent and quickest way to make several servings of fresh coffee. It will also work with any coffee you like.
What’s the secret? The right grind, good water and proper cleaning. Here's a quick step-by-step tutorial on how to do it right.
1. Make sure your grind is right
Your coffee grinds should be ground to "medium." Typically, a bag of ground coffee is already perfect for an auto-drip. If you want the freshest coffee possible, grind your own whole beans. Here are some more tips for fresh coffee.
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2. Add Water
Think about how much coffee you'd like to make. If you'd like to end up with 8 cups, add slightly more than 8 cups to account for the water that will be absorbed by the coffee.
Fill your coffee pot to a little over the "8" cup mark that’s usually located on the side of the pot. Be sure to set the pot down on a flat surface for proper measurement. Then, pour the cold water into the machine—and remember that water quality affects the taste of your coffee. Running your tap water through a water filter will give you the best results, but bottled water will work, too! Avoid distilled water—it lacks the minerals needed to bring out the best flavor notes in your coffee. You can find the water vessel on the top of the pot.
Grim Reaper Pro Tip: Try using half as much water as usual so you can substitute ice instead. Put the ice directly in the coffee pot and let the coffee drip right onto the ice for flash-chilled iced coffee.
3. Add your coffee
You can opt for a reusable filter or a paper filter. If you’re using a paper filter, pre-soak it before brewing to avoid getting a papery taste in your brew. After placing the coffee filter into the basket, measure and add your coffee.
Death Wish calls for 2.5 tablespoons for every 6 ounces of water. This is about on par with the Specialty Coffee Association of America brewing ratio for coffee. Feel free to adjust depending on taste preferences.
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4. Turn on your coffee maker
The best part about the auto-drip machine is that it does almost everything for you. Simply switch “on” and brew. Different auto-drip coffee makers may have different settings, so make sure to look at your model’s instruction manual if you’re having trouble. Don't forget to turn it off, or you'll end up with a mess—or even a fire.
5. Remove grinds
As soon as the coffee starts to make a sound similar to a purr, take the old grinds out. If you don’t remove the grinds, the coffee will over-extract and become bitter.
Now your brew is hot and fresh and ready to drink! If your coffee maker has a glass carafe and an electric warming plate, it’s best to take the carafe off the warming plate. Too much time on the heat will make the coffee taste bitter. If you have some leftover coffee and want to keep it hot, pour it in a tumbler.
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7. Bonus: Keep it clean
It’s also important to keep your coffee maker clean in order to get the best-tasting coffee every time. It will also ensure your coffee maker lasts a long time, too. Since coffee creates a lot of oils and leaves sediment behind, that can build up over time and affect the flavor of the coffee. Rinse all the parts of the coffee maker after each use and wash them with soap and water once a week. It’s also smart to run a deep clean for your machine every three months.
Life doesn’t have to be complicated, after all. No wonder this simple brewing method is a caffeind favorite. Enjoy it in your favorite mug—with plant-based or homemade creamer, sugar or nothing at all!