Why is your coffee maker not working? Six coffee maker problems you might face: Answered
We answer your coffee maker questions, because coffee makers bring us so much joy and often not a few tears as we try to figure out how to get the best out of those darned suckers! Sometimes you wake up in the morning to the sad news that your broken coffee maker is not working anymore!
Is this a broken coffee maker?
What a dismal way to start the day!
At PurelyCoffeeBeans, I’ve answered lots of questions over the years. You’ll find the questions and their answers scattered throughout the site! I’m always open to more questions, if you’re frustrated or curious, or you want to review a coffee, why don’t you drop me a line!
This week we welcome…!
Your Broken Coffee Maker Questions: Table of Contents
- I have a Tim Hortons Coffee Maker and the coffee is not very hot! What can I do?
- How long can brewed Toddy coffee be kept for?
- Why does my coffee machine keep flooding?
- I need to know how much water for 100 grams of coffee?
- Are these coffee beans compatible with my coffee maker?
- How do you remove coffee stains from a coffee maker hot plate?
- Why do oily coffee beans screw up my coffee maker?
Q1: I have a Tim Hortons Coffee Maker and the coffee is not very hot.
I have a Tim Hortons Coffee Maker and the coffee is not very hot!
Do you think this is a broken coffee maker if it’s not working well?
Lukewarm Coffee in US of A!
Dear Lukewarm in US of A!
I looked extensively for information about the Tim Hortons Coffee Maker, and couldn’t find much on the internet. I’m surmising that this coffee brewer isn’t a popular purchase.
Several reviewers commented on how weak the coffee was and noted that it brewed ‘fast’. They also noted that they had to add much more coffee to get a reasonable strength of brew. There were also issues with the hot plate not working properly. I’d consider returning it for repairs, or asking for a refund.
It is produced by a reputable company, called Bunn. So I reckon neither of these asks should be a big issue for them to fix.
I can only advise this is a serious issue with some coffee makers: the only thing you can do is use a coffee thermometer and test the water as it comes out of the heating unit and drips into the basket. Then test the coffee temperature in the basket before it drips into the pot. Lastly, test the ambient temperature in the pot itself to make sure the temperature is within an acceptable range.
For brewing the water, you’d expect the water to come out of the hot water tube at around 90C. Don’t expect the water to be 100C, because searing the coffee grinds will only cause the flavor to decay. Once in the drip basket, I’d expect the water to be a little cooler because some of the water will have been there for a few seconds. I’d be looking at around 85C overall.
As it drips into the jug, I’d test the temperature again. I wouldn’t look at temperatures much lower than 80C in the jug, depending on whether the unit has a heating plate.
Find the source of the big temperature drop
It could be that the problem lies in one of these three places. Perhaps the water isn’t being heated to the optimal temperature range before dripping onto the grinds.
Perhaps the coffee isn’t dripping fast enough so the temperature drops too much while in the basket. Perhaps the coffee heating element in the base is broken or insufficient in a colder environment.
Cold cups and cold milk
Lastly, be aware that once you decant the coffee into your cup and add milk or cream, you’ll also easily drop the temperature one more time. I don’t have hard numbers on this myself, but I have found temperatures ranges from 65C ~ 75C by then. So keep your cup warm by swirling hot water in it, and consider warming the milk gently before adding.
Ultimately, the only real way to keep the temperature fairly high is to shorten the time between the water coming out of the hot water tube and going into your mouth! If your Tim Hortons coffee maker isn’t able to do the job, perhaps it’s time to get another one. It’s not a broken coffee maker, it’s just a crap one!
Q2: Toddy Coffee: How long can brewed coffee be kept for?
How long can brewed Toddy coffee be kept for?
by Concerned Coffee Drinker from NY
I have a jug of coffee I didn’t finish the day before sitting in the fridge. Is it still good to drink?
As a fan of the aromas and taste of fresh brewed coffee, I cringe at the idea of storing coffee overnight. This dislike conflicts with my desire for iced coffee all summer long.
Storing Toddy coffee in the refrigerator is an acceptable method for those who like coffee for its taste and not specifically for the fresh brewed coffee qualities. If you find you’re a coffee aficionado, then coffee should be made for consumption within the first few hours of being brewed. After those few hours, coffee should be thrown away.
If you are like most coffee drinkers, you simply like the taste of coffee and the idea of caffeine. Then you will not mind as much its having been stored and more than a couple of hours old. Coffee will not lose any of its caffeine through storage. What it will lose is its freshness and to some extent its taste.
Coffee from the refrigerator can offer the drinker a quickly re-heated cup of coffee or iced coffee. Brewing techniques as well as coffee brand both contribute to how long brewed coffee will last refrigerated and whether it will still taste acceptable.
A health threat?
There appears to be no real health threat to those who drink unrefrigerated coffee over a time frame of a couple of days. There are no real indicators as to when coffee spoils. How long you store coffee is strictly up to the individual and their preferred tastes and methods of coffee storage. Reheating in a microwave or on the stove is also a matter of individual taste. It is generally suggested however those if expecting company, brew a fresh pot of coffee.
Why does coffee slowly decay in flavor?
Due to the natural processes that occur to enhance coffee, we can enjoy wonderful coffee. However, some of those processes also will destroy the flavors we enjoy. The enemies of flavor are: time, temperature, air & moisture. Each of these will impact the coffee in both beneficial & unpleasant ways. The actual chemical compounds in coffee that create the sensory experience for our noses & mouths are very volatile and easily destroyed by these enemies.
Avoid adding cream or milk
The most important factor is to not add creamer to coffee that may be stored or may sit for later use. The creamer or milk will spoil, even if the weather isn’t particularly warm. In fact, fresh milk in a moderately warm environment should be out of the refrigerator for no more than 10 minutes at a time.
Don’t keep too long, and don’t add milk before storing
To enjoy the best flavors, I’d recommend you brew & enjoy your coffee as close together in time as possible, whether or not it is iced coffee. Even brewing cold brew coffee one can expect a deterioration in the flavor after a period of time.
If you’re planning to store your Toddy brewed coffee or leave it sitting, put in creamer or milk just prior to consumption. Hope that helps.
Q3: Why does my coffee machine keep flooding?
Why is my coffee maker not working? Why does it keep flooding?
by Ian McCall Paisley, Scotland
I have the Russell Hobbs Satin Take 2 Series with the double cup! But I would love to know …
… why my coffee machine “Take 2 model #10881” keeps flooding all over the tray and my worktop?
It’s seriously annoying, messy and inconvenient!
This machine proves to be an attractive design, very practical & convenient for domestic use. But as you noted, it is prone to leaking all over the worktop. I suspect that there are different possible reasons for this.
So let’s see if we can’t diagnose the problem.
Step 1: What color is the liquid on your counter? If it’s clear, then water might be leaking from the water tank at the back or from the dripper before the water hits the coffee. If it’s coffee colored, then it might be leaking from the chamber that holds the coffee grounds or from the dripper unit. It could also be leaking from the cups themselves.
Step 2: When you see the liquid on the counter, what part of the machine seems wet? Is it the coffee chamber or the hot plate? If it’s the coffee chamber, check to see that there isn’t a crack in the unit. If there isn’t, then check to see if the coffee filter you placed in hasn’t allowed coffee & grounds to flow out.
Sometimes the overflow will allow grounds to get into the dripper and block the flow of water. This results in a huge mess usually, if it’s not discovered early enough.
Step 3: If everything up top looks okay, then take a look at the dripping unit. Your device is unusual in that coffee flows into two, not one, jugs. Look carefully and see if the unit has any hidden cracks in the top. Some users have reported that the coffee maker distributes coffee unevenly (due to blockages?) to each cup. This could result in a cup overflow problem.
Step 4: The last possibility is the cups aren’t aligned properly with the coffee flow, leaving coffee to drip (or pour) between the cups, and on to the warm plates. This would also mean that the bottom of your cups will be dirty, and could stain your clothes, bag or car!
General Advice: I would suggest that you run a mug of water through the system to check that the water flow is even. Just don’t add coffee. Then if you notice a problem, make sure that the unit is cleaned. Those finer coffee grounds can get just about anywhere in the machine.
Keeping your coffee maker in top shape will result in better coffee, cleaner machines & more efficient processing.
Oh, and a last tip: If you live in an area with water that has a lot of sediment (‘hard water’), then you may find that the furring from the deposits could be the reason it’s getting blocked.
Since this entire design (not just the model) seems to have been discontinued by Russell Hobs, replacing it might be the best option, especially if the warranty has expired. You will probably have to buy a different brand.
If you have had experience with messy coffee makers, how did you fix the problem? What advice do you have to share? And if you’d like to drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you!
Otherwise check out these top notch coffee makers:
Q4: How much water for 100 grams of coffee? Let’s Answer Soh’s Question
I need to know how much water for 100 grams of coffee?
by Soh from Singapore
How much water should I use for 100 grams of fine ground coffee powder?
Everybody loves their coffee made to perfection as many of us often rely on a cup of coffee to galvanize us into action in the morning. The secret behind a great cup of coffee is the freshness and quality of the coffee itself. But how much water do you need to brew your perfect cup of coffee for a 100 grams of fine ground coffee powder?
What method are you using?
The answer really depends on how finely ground the coffee is, and THAT depends on how you are making the coffee. So the answer will vary.
If you are making coffee in a drip pot, then you should easily make 7 cups of coffee at about 14g per cup. Finer ground coffee is the most suitable for making the best quality cup of coffee.
For espresso, you’ll probably get only about 3 or 4 small cups of espresso; but that is not likely the kind of coffee you are drinking. The volume of water used in espresso is much lower because the espresso is usually much stronger and destined for use in making cappuccino.
What kind of water?
Of course, you will need clean water but not particularly pure water. The coffee flavor goes best with some minerals to bind with it and bring out that distinct taste. The method you use to heat the water is up to you to choose from, but remember not to use boiling water if you’re making coffee by hand.
I don’t recommend using mineralized water… but if you live in an area with lots of sediment in your water from calcium deposits and/or your water isn’t particularly clean, running it through a water filter will help to balance and clean it.
How much water for 100 grams?
The finer coffee you grind, the more water will be absorbed by the grounds; expect to ‘lose’ some water due to absorption by the coffee paper, the coffee grounds, as well as some wastage due to water becoming steam. If you don’t have a standard coffee spoon, it’s a good idea to settle on one of these…
Useful Coffee Formula
For 100g of coffee, you should find that 200ml per cup is okay. So you’ll be looking at about 1.5~1.6 liters of water.
To work out how much water to use, here is a simple formula:
( coffee weight in grams / 14.5g ) * 200 ml of water = how many cups of water.
Hope that helps. I would be interested to know how much coffee other people use. Commercial capsules, drip bags and coffee pouches, like the Nespresso system or Starbucks Origami series, only use 7~10g at most resulting in an unsatisfying cup of watery coffee if you don’t pay attention to how much water is needed.
Factor for the water!
If you are using a manual pour, you can always control the final amount of water for sure. In fact, I’d suggest that you heat at least 33% more water for the following purposes.
- a little extra for evaporation… hot water evaporates! Who knew?
- dousing the paper filter to get rid of the coffee filter flavor
- coffee absorption (which depends on the coffee and can vary significantly from 12% to almost 20%)
- warming the cups, esp. for colder climes where ambient temperatures can reduce the coffee temps in your cup
Larger Mugs of Coffee
Of course, if you’re like me, you prefer a larger mug of coffee, I’d estimate that you’d get about 4 full mugs out of 100g of coffee, using a slightly lower ratio of 24g per 400ml of water. Don’t forget that coffee grounds absorb water, so you will not get exactly the same amount of coffee out as water in!
Coffee:Water Ratio Websites
I typically use an electronic kitchen scale and cooking thermometer to measure both the coffee, the temps, and the water used. It helps a lot to standardize my coffee brewing! And don’t forget to experiment with the amounts of coffee used. I typically eyeball the coffee in the dripper to determine how much water can still go through.
Tip For Coffee Drippers and Manual Methods
If you’re using another way to make coffee, I suggest you have a little extra water on hand to add while brewing. With espresso makers, stovetop devices, etc. you’re already dealing with fixed inputs, so disregard that advice!
Q5: Are these coffee beans compatible with my coffee maker?
Are these coffee beans compatible with my coffee maker?
I just bought a Saeco Odea Giro Plus fully automatic capuccino/expresso coffee machine and I would like to know if the Kirkland signature dark roast expresso blend coffee beans compatible with my machine?
I’m sorry but I didn’t catch your name. Apologies for the delay in posting this answer, it was a little while in the making!
I had a look at the specifications of this machine. Since it doesn’t use any form of cupping system (a la k-cups), you should be able to use any brand or blend of coffee bean with this machine, without issue. That’s not saying you will get a drinkable result, though, every time.
With the kind of coffee you suggest, though, you are off to a reasonable start. If I may, I suggest that you get on my 3-stage training plan.
Step 1: Stick to Quality Brands
First, buy quality coffee. I particularly like Lavazza & Illy coffee for the quality of product, consistency & availability. You can buy them in whole beans easily. That way you will get to know espresso coffee much better. But they may not be the absolute best coffee you can buy. Once you can get the machine making reasonable coffee… it’s time to experiment.
Stage 2: Experiment with different roasts/grinds..
Buy some cheaper espresso coffee (1/4lb size) to practice pulling different shots of espresso. The settings on your machine will allow you to vary several factors (read the manual). Then go to a coffee store that sells really good coffee, and get the best espresso you can afford. Ask the baristas for advice on what to use, go home and experiment a couple of times. You’ll notice a qualitative difference between the expensive & cheap coffees: the flavors, the shot of coffee, the crema… note the differences. Note what you like/don’t like.
Stage 3: Avoid cheap coffee
Then when you learn the equipment, using a coffee like the one you suggest may produce the results you like. Perhaps not. One tip, though, don’t waste money buying unnecessarily cheap coffee. Otherwise you’ll really regret buying an expensive coffee maker, the coffee you get won’t shine.
It would be probably better to buy decent coffee and practice on that, so at least you can take some pleasure in what comes out. I seem to remember buying coffee once from Ikea of all places. They ended up ground to make anti-funky smell pods in the refrigerator. So I learned that the hard way!
Stage 4: Follow your machine’s maintenance guide carefully
Really, if you suspect the beans you’ve tried are clogging up the machine, you may want to double up on the cleaning regimen. Inspect, and monitor the quality of the coffee coming out; check the machine for regular problems.
The oils from the beans will slowly accumulate on the grinding mechanism, particularly. So you should pay much attention to checking these.
Q6: How do you remove coffee stains from a coffee maker hot plate?
How do you remove baked on coffee stains from coffee maker hot plate and
keeping your drip coffee maker spick and span?
by Donn Smith from Michigan
How do you remove burned on coffee stains from a hot plate on a coffee maker?
PurelyCoffeeBeans reckons you won’t be able to remove those white coffee stains with anything. I think this means that the non-stick coating has already come off, and the underlying metal surface has been exposed. Vigorous scrubbing will only remove the remaining coating FAST! Be careful you don’t burn your coffee pot by leaving it standing on the pot.
Without a non-stick surface, you may find that the coffee pot burns easily, and may seem to ‘stick’ to the electric plate a little. Gently remove the jug from the coffee pot. If at any time you think the glass jug will break, stop! Don’t ever force the jug off… otherwise you may find that you end up pouring a jug of hot coffee and broken glass all over yourself.
If the non-stick surface is still intact, but dirty! Hey, it happens! Gently clean with a plastic scouring pad! If that doesn’t work, try some non-stick pot or oven cleaner (make sure it’s safe for non-stick surfaces). People have reported good results with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar applied with an old toothbrush.
Clean off with a wet cloth, then dry before using it again. You may find commercial solutions at Amazon, too. If the pot is still sticking, and you find it a problem, it might be time for a new machine!
Cleaning Tips for a Drip Coffee Maker
When you’re finished with your drip coffee maker, simply rinse the jug out using the same caution as you would a french press. You should also empty the plastic filter cone, and either rinse out the gold coffee filter or throw away the paper filter and contents. Don’t leave grounds in the basket for days as it will encourage mold to grow and put nasty stains on your coffee machine. It may even affect the flavor of your future brews.
Wiping the unit down will help keep a clean coffee maker – just use a damp cloth. Never do this while the machine is plugged in or turned on, in case you electrocute yourself.
The filtering can be messy, so the drip unit at the top, the basket, the filter unit, and the hot plate will all need cleaning, too. Clean off the grounds and the stains after use, and you will find you brew a better cup more often!
If you spill coffee on the hotplate, don’t scrub the non-stick surface or you will find that the jug starts to stick to the surface, making it harder to remove and perhaps causing more spilling or accidents. The scrubbing action will remove the non-stick surface.
The used grounds can be dried and used for ashtrays to absorb the bad smells, and some friends have recommended using the grounds in their refrigerators for the same reason.
It’s a good idea to run through the entire coffee brewing process every few weeks using vinegar instead of water to get rid of excess deposits. A clean pot keeps the coffee flavor pure and fresh. After the vinegar cycle, run fresh water alone through the system, and you’ll be ready to go!
Maria Cleaveland Offers Her Tips
Maria Cleaveland of Equator Estate Coffees & Teas offers some practical tips on how to clean your coffee maker in this video.
Reddit Users often have useful things to say about cleaning coffee makers! User K8Seren asks: “How do I properly clean these devices so that I don’t damage them or impart any nasty flavors into the brew? Is Dawn dish soap fine? Should I wash with soap after every brew or less often?” Read the answer here…
Hope that helps, but it may be time to look at a new machine if the stains are too serious to clean. If the coffee stains are on your clothes, you might want to look this article.
Q7. Why do oily coffee beans screw up my coffee maker?
Oily Beans Screw Up My Coffee Maker
We have an automatic espresso/coffee machine that requires dry (non-oily) beans. I cannot see the beans in the bags due to the opaqueness of the containers to see if they are non-oily.
Which of the coffees at Costco have non-oily beans? Oily beans screw up the mechanics of the machine.
Sorry to hear about your problem. Typically, the oils are only expressed in the later stages of darker roasting; so French Roast, and other dark roasts will have tend to have a coating, that appears ‘shiny’.
While medium roasts aren’t typical for espresso beans, they can make a decent espresso if chosen carefully. The definition of ‘medium’ does tend to vary a little towards dark with some roasters, like Starbucks Coffee.
Needless to say, medium roasts also make decent cups of coffee with more hints of the bean, and less of the roast. The darkest roasts tend to be inferior in quality of the coffee, so perhaps that’s why they are roasted so dark.
In short, I’d recommend simply buying beans that are medium roasted to avoid unnecessary oils and/or buy your coffee beans from a retailer where you can actually see the beans before you buy.
One coffee from Costco coffee that you may want to try (it’s not an espresso) is the Jamaican Blend from Magnum Exotics. It’s listed on my page. I’m not sure if they are suitable for an espresso maker, though.
And as a backup plan, learn to make coffee another way so if you do make a purchasing mistake, you can still enjoy the darker roasts!
Hope that helps.
Looking for new equipment, check out the coffee makers, coffee grinders, and bean roasters page.