For someone who has never used a coffee maker or even watched someone use a coffee maker, brewing their very first coffee is not easy! If someone asks you to make them a coffee and you don't know how, or if you've just bought your very first coffee maker, follow these few tips for coffee success!
Method 1 of 3: Make coffee
Step 1. Use freshly ground coffee that has been packaged and stored properly
For fresh, tasty coffee, buy coffee beans and crush them yourself at the coffee grinder, rather than buying coffee that has already been ground. The flavor of coffee comes from the cells of the coffee bean. When you crush it, the inside of the seed is exposed to air, reacts with it, but if the coffee is exposed to this air for too long, it loses its flavor.
- Make sure to store your coffee beans in a tight, opaque container. Coffee has odor absorbing properties, which is why you can put coffee beans in your fridge to remove bad smells. Unfortunately, this also means that if your coffee is not kept in a well sealed container, you can find all kinds of unpleasant odors.
- Coffee lovers disagree on whether to store the seeds in a cool place or not. Some recommend putting the seeds in the fridge to keep them for a few weeks and putting the seeds you don't use during that time in the freezer. Others simply prefer to keep them in a cupboard away from light and heat.
Step 2. Place the filter in the receptacle provided for this purpose
Avoid buying too cheap coffee filters, as they tend to be of poor quality.
Most coffee makers have a built-in filter. If this is the case for yours, it is usually easier and more environmentally friendly to use it. It is better to use the filter specially designed for your coffee maker than a paper filter which will retain the flavor of the coffee better
Step 3. Measure how much coffee you are going to use
This will depend on several factors: how many cups you plan to brew and their size, your preferences or those of the person you are going to brew the coffee for (do you or does they prefer strong, medium or light coffee?). Typically, coffee makers are graduated by the number of large and small cups and indicate how much coffee you should use for each amount of water graduated. Usually, it takes approximately one tablespoon of coffee per mug. Strong coffee enthusiasts often count a tablespoon per cup and then add an additional tablespoon of coffee before turning on the machine.
- Some coffees may have a particular coffee / water ratio, refer to the instructions on the packaging.
- Do not confuse teaspoon and tablespoon! If you are using a teaspoon, you may need to double the dose. If your coffee maker comes with a measuring spoon, use it and follow the graduations on the machine. Take a first test and if it does not work, start again by increasing or decreasing the dose according to your preferences.
Step 4. Measure the amount of water needed to make your coffee
To do this, you can use the graduations written on the coffee maker or on the reservoir. Use the coffee maker spout to pour water into the reservoir.
If this is your first time making coffee, it may be tempting to pour the water directly over the coffee in the filter. Don't do this. Pour the water into the water reservoir before it is ready for dispensing coffee. After pouring in the water, put the pouring bowl of the coffee maker back on its base
Step 5. Plug in the coffee maker and turn it on
Some coffee makers will immediately start brewing coffee while others have a manual start.
Step 6. Wait for the coffee to pass completely before serving yourself
Some coffee makers have a “pause” function, which allows you to interrupt the process and refill a cup before the coffee is completely drained.
Step 7. If you are using a paper filter, throw it away as soon as the coffee is ready or at least remove it from the coffee maker
If you take it out too late, your coffee will be made too bitter by the coffee drops that run off later.
If you are using a built-in filter, throw away the coffee grounds (or recycle them) and wash the filter
Method 2 of 3: Getting the most out of your coffee
Step 1. Clean your coffee maker
Like any appliance that uses hot water to operate, coffee makers can build up lime scale and mineral residue. These sediments can give coffee a bitter, faded taste. Clean your coffee maker regularly to preserve the taste of your coffee.
If your coffee maker has a peculiar smell or lime scale is visible or you can't remember the last time you cleaned it, it's time to do it
Step 2. If you are crushing your coffee beans, make sure you have the correct consistency of ground coffee
Depending on the different coffee brewing methods, you will need to grind your beans more or less for optimal flavor. Since coffee beans change their flavor on contact with water, changing the thickness of the coffee powder (and therefore the content that comes into contact with the water) can affect the flavor of your coffee. In general, the more coffee and water must be in contact during brewing, the less coffee must be ground.
For a classic coffee as explained in the first part, a medium ground coffee (as you find it in packets) is fine. If you are using a more original method of brewing coffee, such as a French press or Italian coffee maker, see the instructions for the thickness of the coffee as shown on this page
Step 3. Use the correct temperature
To brew coffee, the water should be between 90 and 95 ° C, just below the boiling temperature. Colder water will not extract the flavor from the coffee enough, while hotter water will burn the coffee and affect the taste.
- If you are boiling water to make your coffee, boil it, then remove it from the heat source 1 minute before pouring it over the coffee.
- If you keep your coffee beans in the refrigerator, the brewing process will not be affected. However, if you are making an espresso, you should let your beans stand at room temperature before brewing them. Because an espresso uses a small amount of water that comes in contact with the coffee for a short time, using beans that come out of the refrigerator can affect the taste of the coffee.
Method 3 of 3: Problems encountered
Step 1. Identify the problem
Like all household appliances, your coffee maker can have problems if you use it daily. Below are the most common problems that coffee drinkers face and some suggestions for solving them. Before attempting to solve a problem, make sure your coffee maker is unplugged and the reservoir is empty.
Step 2. “My coffee tastes weird
As mentioned in Part 2, hot water can leave lime deposits in your coffee maker, which when accumulated, can affect the taste of your coffee. It is recommended to clean your coffee maker (inside and outside) once a week if you use it regularly.
Think about the mistakes to avoid when storing your coffee. Make sure it has not been left open to the air or in contact with ingredients that could contaminate it, as coffee absorbs the smell of other foods very quickly
Step 3. “Water does not appear to be flowing through the filter
»If only very little or no water is flowing through your coffee maker, there may be a blockage in the tubes of your machine (especially the aluminum tubes). Operate the coffee maker with white vinegar and without coffee or filters. Repeat until the blockage is resolved, then run water twice through the unfiltered coffee maker again to remove the taste of the vinegar.
Step 4. “My coffee maker makes too much or too little coffee
Most newer coffee makers have options to control the flow and amount of coffee obtained to allow regular drinkers to pour their coffee straight into their cup. Make sure your coffee maker is set up correctly and that you have enough water in the reservoir before making your coffee, you may need to consult the user manual for more specific instructions.
Step 5. “My coffee is not heating up
»There is probably a problem with the heating elements of your coffee maker or with the electrical components. Replacement parts can be difficult to find and the replacement process should be done by a professional, so your coffee maker may be best replaced.
If you still want to fix the problem on your own, be sure to unplug the coffee maker and empty it first. You can find guides and tutorials for electrical repair on the internet
- After pouring the coffee into the filter, close the coffee package tightly or place your coffee in an airtight box so that it retains all its flavor. It should not be exposed to oxygen.
- If you find that your coffee is too bitter, regardless of the dosage, change the brand or type of coffee or pour 2 to 3 pinches of fine salt (or a grain of coarse salt) into the filter on the grind. This will reduce the tartness of the coffee and give it even more aroma and scent!
- For a little more originality, pour a little cinnamon powder on your grind. This will sweeten your coffee and give it an exotic flavor.
- Although the methods described above apply to all coffees with minor variations, there are advanced methods for making specific coffees, used by professionals or serious coffee enthusiasts:
- coffee in pods;
- the Italian coffee maker;
- the piston coffee maker.
- You can reuse the coffee grounds. Once used to make your coffee, the grounds can be used as an air freshener in the fridge or as an abrasive for washing dishes or making scrubs. Coffee beans contain phosphorus and nitrogen, so it can also be used as a fertilizer for some plants.
- Always remember to turn off the coffee maker after you have finished using it. Even though this is rare, a fire due to electrical overheating can still occur, especially if your coffee maker does not have the automatic shut-off feature.
- Never turn on your coffee maker before you have poured water into it, as this will break or damage the carafe if it is on the hotplate.