If you’re like me and you really enjoy great coffee but don’t always have the time to futz around with any of the more time-consuming methods, you rely on your drip coffee maker. I’ve used the Cuisinart DCC-3200 for the past few years and have been pretty happy with it. Decent coffee with the standard beans from Starbucks, Caribou, etc., but what it really comes down to as far as I’m concerned is the beans. It’s all about the beans! If you don’t start with quality, fresh-roasted coffee beans, you simply won’t get a great cup of coffee out of your drip coffee maker.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a local coffee roaster, you really need to start getting your beans from them. Most local roasters are more than happy to help you dial in your preferred flavor and can even recommend a bean that will perform best in a drip coffee maker. You can be assured of fresh beans—make sure to buy whole beans and invest in a decent grinder. Ground coffee loses its flavor pretty quickly.
If You Don’t Have A Local Roaster
Don’t fret if you don’t have a local coffee roaster. With a little research, you can source some fantastic beans from any number of small-batch roasters online. Try Googling “coffee roasters near me” and you might be surprised at what you find. Find one whose brand appeals to you and give it a shot. I’ve done this numerous times and have yet to be disappointed. If you still can’t find anything online or don’t know where to begin, try these recommendations: https://www.gq.com/story/best-coffee-bags
I’m lucky in that I have really high-quality well water where I live and can make really good coffee with it. If you’re having trouble getting great coffee even using fresh roasted and ground beans, I would suggest trying filtered or distilled water. This really is common-sense and shouldn’t require further explanation.
Another tweak to get the most out of your drip coffee maker is to preheat the water. Ideal water temperature for coffee is between 195 and 205 F. Most drip coffee makers don’t hit 195. You can do a “coffee-less” run of water through the machine—run a pot of water through the machine with no filter/grounds in and then pour the preheated water right back in to the reservoir after adding the coffee. That should bump up the brewing temp enough to pull some extra flavor out of the coffee.
Hmmm….I actually don’t really clean my coffee maker as often as I should. Running some ½ vinegar and ½ water through your coffee maker a few times every month or so isn’t a bad idea. It’ll help extend the life of your machine as well as allowing the heating elements to work more efficiently.
It’s all about the beans. Seriously, if you don’t believe me try it just once. Without doing anything else, get yourself some fresh-roasted beans (roasted within the past 2-3 days), grind them right before you make a pot of coffee (preferably with a burr grinder at the correct setting for a paper filter) and I’ll eat my words if you don’t agree!!!