Two jobs and many coffee cups ago, an ex co-worker and I were partaking in our morning ritual of gossiping in the break room while making the finest office coffee you can find. I do not mean to brag, but I usually make the tastiest office coffee in all the land (at least I thought so until I started working for the BeverageFactory.com, go figure there are lots of people here who make a mean cup of coffee!).
This morning, however, was different. My old co-worker offered to brew the morning coffee and I grudgingly complied. To my utter horror, she did not rinse the pot she was about to use which was crusted with yesterday's stale coffee remnants. Nor did she rinse out the coffee maker's permanent filter. Apparently where she comes from, it is acceptable to simply dump out the old grinds (at the rate she was going I was amazed she even managed this).
As she sloppily filled the coffee maker's reservoir with tap water and carelessly dumped the coffee in the filter that I had generously taken home and ground the night before, I could only shutter thinking of the stale and bitter brew that awaited me. To my old co-worker, you know who you are and I hope you are out there reading this now. Clean your coffee maker! It is neither difficult nor time consuming. Follow these simply steps and you too will be a drip coffee luminary!
5 Simple Steps to Clean Coffee
Step 1: Remove your coffee maker's filter. If your coffee maker contains a permanent filter simply dump out the grinds and wash it. If your coffee maker uses disposable filters, just remove the filter and throw it away!
Step 2: Remove the filter holder on a regular basis (probably every other brew) and rinse it out as coffee grinds have a tendency to settle there.
Step 3: Clean your carafe with soap and water after every brew. Not only will coffee stain your carafe, it will leave behind residues that will effect the taste of your next brew.
Step 4: Wipe your coffee maker down with a wet rag paying special attention to the hot plate (when it is off of course) as this area tends accumulate coffee drips that will send the lovely smell of burned coffee throughout the house when you next turn on your coffee maker.
Step 5: Just like espresso makers, coffee makers should be decalcified every 3 months in order to remove the minerals from your water that have built up in the machine and negatively effect taste. You may use a decalcifying agent or white vinegar or water. Which ever you choose needs to be added to a pot of water which is run through the machine as if you were brewing just without the coffee.
Follow these simple steps, and you will allow both your coffee beans and your coffee maker to reach their full brewing potential.