There are only two ingredients needed to make a great cup of coffee in a drip machine: coffee and water. The quality of each of these will drastically affect the final outcome.
Choosing the Coffee Fresh-ground coffee is the best choice for your drip coffee machine, rather than the canned, pre-ground coffee on your supermarket’s shelf. Coffee begins to gradually lose its flavor after it’s been ground, so stick to freshly ground beans.
If you decide to use whole bean coffee you will also need to purchase a grinder, unless your machine has a built-in one. Of course, for those who don’t wish to spend the money for a grinder, you can have your beans freshly ground at the local coffee shop or another establishment. Just be sure that you order the appropriate grind for your coffee machine, and remember nothing can beat using whole bean coffee if you want the most flavorful cup of coffee possible.
Balancing the right grind with the freshest coffee is the key to producing the best cup of coffee possible. Drip coffee is generally ground to a medium or coarse setting similar to the texture of unrefined sugar. If the grind is too coarse, water will flow through the grounds too quickly and produce an under-extracted, watery coffee. Coffee that is too fine can seep into the pot and result in a muddy, over-extracted coffee; or it can prevent water from flowing through at the correct rate, resulting in an overflow.
Water Affects Taste Too
The kind of water you pour into your machine greatly influences the quality of coffee produced. Tap and well waters often have a high concentration of minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and these elements can build up on the inside of any coffee machine, altering the flow of water. By using high quality carbon filters, you can ensure that most of these harsh elements are removed and only those particles needed to make a great-tasting cup of coffee will remain.
Neither deionized nor distilled water are recommended for use in drip coffee makers. Using deionized water will eventually cause pitting of the metal components that come in contact with the water. Distilled water also produces similar results and can cause your coffee to taste flat. However, you can avoid these problems by adding a cup of regular tap water to either of these types of water.
The Right Brewing Formula
There is more to brewing with a drip coffee machine than just dumping coffee and water into it and then pressing the button. Before you start your machine, take a minute to consider how much coffee and water you should use and what size filter is appropriate.
The number of cups of coffee you want to make determines how much water and coffee to use. The recommended proportion is 10 grams of coffee for every 6 ounces of water, however if you are brewing smaller pots, you may notice some flavor difference by following this formula. That’s because you are using fewer grounds, but the water is flowing at the same rate of speed as it would over a larger amount of grounds and you have a shorter extraction time than you would have with larger batches. For smaller batches, use less water and more coffee to produce a stronger brew, and more water and less coffee to decrease the strength. Remember it’s all about your individual taste.