6 Steps To Get the Best Coffee from a Drip Coffee Maker

By | April 12, 2015

… Filter Coffee Maker: Tips, Tricks and Todos

It’s not difficult to use a Drip Coffee Maker or Filter Coffee Maker for the first time, as long as you make sure that you have read the instructions for your machine. Also, don’t forget to read the drip coffee machine tips and advice page, too.

If you are using a drip coffee machine with a filter cone, you will certainly need an unused paper filter or a cleaned gold filter. For other supplies, check the coffee supplies page, first! Once done, come right back!

Step 1: Measure once, measure twice

Measure the cold water into the pot and pour it into the coffee maker container; you will also need to measure carefully the coffee.

The general rule I use: Using too much water is a much bigger mistake than using too much coffee. So load up the coffee, about one large coffee spoon per cup of beans ground.

Step 2: Grind the coffee

Put the coffee in your grinder, and set to medium fine to ensure a better quality flavor. If you grind the coffee too coarsely, you’ll find the extraction quite weak and watery. The grounds were just too big to absorb the water quickly. It might take you a couple of experiments to get the grind of your coffee just right.

Also note that in this method, the coffee grounds are finer than a Coffee Press, so they will absorb more water, as will a paper filter. This means some of the water in the container will not result in any drink. Do experiment.

Step 3: Set up the drip coffee maker

Open the coffee maker, place the filter cone (with the paper filter, if needed) in the container, and add the coffee grounds to the filter. Close the filter securely. Make sure the jug is placed beneath the filter cone as required or coffee will spill out everywhere over the counter ( I also found that out from experience!

Double check that everything is set.

Step 4: Turn on – watchful waiting

Turn on the drip coffee maker and wait. You may find that it takes a couple of minutes before water starts dripping into the jug, that’s okay. Don’t move the jug or open the filter at this point – you might burn yourself.

Once the machine has heated the water to the appropriate temperature, the coffee will drip regularly until nearly the end of the process when the machine may start to make a little more noise as the water chamber and steam pipe are emptied of water.

The drip coffee maker will start heating the water and piping it through the coffee grounds. It will take a couple of minutes before you see much coffee in the jug. The later coffee coming through will be weaker than the initial coffee, but overall the flavor will balance well.

Step 5: Finished Dripping – Wait a little more

When the drip coffee maker is finished dripping, you will recognize this by several ways: the jug is NEARLY full, the sound has stopped, and the water tank is empty. There may still be some water in the filter cone, so don’t remove the cone until the machine has cooled.

Wait until you are satisfied the drip coffee maker has stopped brewing before you remove the jug. Don’t leave the jug sitting on the hot plate too long, either. Why?

A common mistake of many restaurants is leaving the coffee jug ON the hotplate for too long, sometimes even hours. This absolutely kills all of the flavor, and returns the most awful bitter drink imaginable. Oh, and don’t forget to turn off the coffee maker.

Step 6: Serve Immediately

When you’re ready to drink the coffee, pour out the coffee into cups. Serve as you like, adding milk/cream or sugar. And enjoy the flavor. Do serve the coffee immediately, and you should have a flavorful cup of coffee, perfectly brewed.

Guatemalan Coffee, Freshly made

Don’t forget to rinse the pots out, remove the filters and clean out the cones. Old coffee grounds can be thrown down the sink or in the kitchen waste garbage.

Additional Tips

Because of the delicate flavor of brewed coffee, the longer you leave the coffee pot on the hot plate, the more the flavor will spoil. I usually turn it off within one or two minutes of finishing the process because even after ten minutes the flavor becomes ‘stewed’ and ‘bitter’, spoiled by the prolonged and excessive heat.

If you don’t drink the coffee immediately, pour the coffee into a vacuum flask that keeps the heat, excludes the oxygen as much as possible, and you should have a potable cup of coffee even several hours later.

If you can’t drink it immediately or keep it appropriately, resort to making it as you need so that you always have the best tasting coffee. You can also experiment with brewing smaller batches. I’ve had success brewing half pots, but I do tend to use a little more ground coffee proportionally.

Video Tutorial: Using a Drip Coffee Maker

After Use: Simple Steps to Look After Your Drip Coffee Maker

Once you empty the coffee pot, don’t forget to put it back on the hotplate (so you don’t break it!), and TURN OFF the machine so the coffee dregs don’t burn into the drip coffee maker pot. If you forget, and leave the coffee pot on, you’ll have a very hard time trying to clean your coffeemaker, that’s for sure!

Also, keep the hotplate clean otherwise if you burn the spilled coffee on to the hotplate, cleaning the hotplate will remove the non-stick surface and make it harder to remove the pot – this typically happens on older machines, anyway.

Should you burn the coffee jug/pot, and the coffee is black and stuck to the bottom of the jug. First, don’t use a rough cloth or scouring pad to clean it off because you will also shave or scratch the glass. Also, don’t use unnecessary pressure on the base of the pot. Both of these steps may cause you to break the jug!

You should turn off the heat, and remove the jug from the hotplate. Fill the jug with clean cold water and let it soak. Most of the dried coffee will rehydrate, and a gentle wash/rinse will remove it. A light 3M cleaning pad will help remove any remaining dross, if you are careful!


The drip coffee machines make a decent cup of great coffee, doesn’t need much supervision, and is one of the most common methods of making coffee today in homes, offices and restaurants all over the world.

A little terminology note: in the USA what is referred to as a drip coffee maker is called filter coffee maker in other parts of the world. I use the term synonymously.