These days, with the widespread availability and affordability of better options, an auto-drip coffee maker is seeing less and less use at home. That being said, it is still a staple appliance of convenience in many households and workplaces.

One of the biggest complaints of an auto-drip coffee maker is that you have less control over certain aspects (like how hot the water gets) than other methods; this lack of control thereby affecting the flavor of the coffee itself.

Here are some ways you do have control over how to make auto drip coffee taste better!

1. Use Fresh High Quality Coffee Beans

For maximum flavor, buy your favorite coffee as whole beans. A medium roast is recommended to start, but it’s largely based on your preferences. Bonus: Buying whole coffee beans will also stay fresh longer than pre-ground coffee. If you must buy pre-ground coffee, check the bag for the roasting date to get the freshest option possible.

2. Hand Grind Your Coffee

There is a noticeable difference in taste when the beans were ground a few minutes ago versus coffee that has been ground for a week (or even overnight). Consider hand grinding your coffee at home right before making it for an exponentially fresher taste. For most auto drip coffee makers, a finer grind is recommended; however, a medium grind will also work depending on what kind of filter you use. If your coffee turns out too bitter, try a coarser grind; if it’s too weak or lacking in flavor, try a finer grind.

3. Use Filtered Water

Water is an often overlooked but important part of the coffee making process. Try using higher quality filtered water if you’re using tap water for your coffee. Since a cup of coffee is mostly water, it makes sense that a purer tasting water would subsequently make the coffee better tasting. You should generally use ~ 1-2 Tbl. ground coffee per 6 oz of water, but it might take some experimenting to match your taste preferences.

4. Take Coffee Pot Away From Heat Source

Coffee that’s already brewed left to sit on the burner just turns into burnt coffee. If keeping your coffee hot is a concern, check out these 5 Affordable Ways to Keep Your Coffee Hot throughout the day.

5. Clean Coffee Maker Regularly

This includes a deep clean every month as well. If you make coffee on the daily, a deep clean should really be done weekly. To do a deep clean, simply run water (with a little white vinegar added) through the machine as if brewing coffee; do this twice, using the carafe as a water catcher. Clean the carafe with soap and water, then add regular water to the machine; run once more to clean out any leftover vinegar. To avoid the aftertaste of old coffee (which is most likely affecting the overall quality of your much needed caffeination), you should clean the maker after every use.

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