Saturday, December 3, 2011

How to Clean Your Drip Coffee Maker

By Lawrence Reaves

Coffee is the juice that gets us going in the morning. It can comfort us on a cold rainy day or help us to stay awake for that late night project. Coffee is a social drink and a conversation starter. "Let's get a cup of coffee and talk" is an almost universal phrase meaning "I'd like to get to know you better."

But spending all our time in a coffee shop could be pricey.

The drip coffee maker revolutionized the way we make coffee at home. We no longer have to wait and watch for the pot to percolate on top of the stove. Percolators are still available, but they might brew your coffee at higher temperatures and they might run already brewed coffee back through the beans.

That's why drip coffee makers became popular beginning in the 70s. And while single cup coffee makers have gained in popularity, drip coffee makers still brew the morning caffeine in most American homes.

For the best coffee, it's important to keep the coffee maker at home in good working order.

With regular use lime scale, minerals and oils from various types of coffee beans will build up in your coffee maker, and it's not always the best or most economical solution to try to replace it when a simple cleaning process will restore it to near new condition. It's best to do this on a monthly basis.

One of the best cleaning elements for a coffee maker is vinegar. Here's how to use vinegar to clean your coffee pot.

Mix 1 part white vinegar to 2 parts water. Mix enough to fill the pot. If it's been a while, or if you've never cleaned your coffee pot, make the mixture half vinegar and half water.

Follow these steps:

Put your usual filter in your coffee maker.

Pour the mixture of vinegar and water into where you normally pour water for brewing.

Run your regular coffee cycle and let the mixture work completely through your coffee maker.

Once this is done, pour out the filter and the mixture.

Turn your coffee maker off and let it cool, then rinse the coffee pot.

Repeat the above steps twice, but don't add more vinegar. Use plain cold water. This will flush the vinegar and water solution through your coffee maker.

Never wash the coffee pot with soap. This will bind with the oils deposited by the coffee and will leave a taste behind. Do not wash in the dishwasher for the same reason.

If you have a coffee pot made from tempered glass be careful. While this glass is sturdier than regular glass it can still shatter. Be careful to never move any type of glass directly from heat to cold.

If you don't want to use vinegar, you can consider these mixtures.

Use enough water to fill your pot and add two denture tablets. You'll want to dissolve the tablets in a separate container of water to avoid additional rinsing if all of the tablets don't dissolve in your coffee pot.

Dissolve 1 ounce of citric acid in 4 cups of hot water. Add 4 cups of cold water to the mixture.

You can use straight bleach to dissolve baked-on coffee in glass pots. Don't use bleach in metal/thermos types of carafes.

Caution: Never, ever mix vinegar and bleach. Use one or the other. The fumes are toxic. And never use 1 part baking soda to 4 parts warm water. This mixture can clog and permanently damage your coffee maker.

Using this simple technique will extend the life of your coffee pot for years of enjoyment.

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