Most of us consider a cup of coffee as our first step before officially beginning a day. A quick visit to a local coffee shop seems to be the most convenient option. However, it becomes a luxury if you add up all the costs we spend on coffee every time.
When getting out of the house is not possible, we will most likely use our coffee makers instead. And very often, we experience inconsistencies in terms of flavor–perhaps a little too bitter. The main culprits are the coffee residues and mineral deposits from water which probably built up over time.
Suppose we do not clean our coffee makers thoroughly. In that case, the buildup will not only affect the flavors of the coffee we make but might also cause impairment on your brewer's operation. Moreover, leftover coffee grounds may become an environment for mold, yeast, and bacteria.
So, what should we do then? How do we clean our drip brewer at home? Below is a step-by-step hack so you wouldn’t have to worry about a dirty coffee maker.
Things You Will Be Needing:
- Coffee Maker
- White distilled vinegar
- Paper filter
- Baking soda
- Soft cloth
Step 1: Mix the vinegar and water.
Combine equal parts of water and vinegar, just enough to fill up the coffee maker’s reservoir. This solution will be your natural coffee maker cleaner. You can use the carafe for a more accurate measurement. You can also increase the ratio of the vinegar depending on how nasty the buildup is. The vinegar will sanitize the coffee maker and carafe as well as remove any mineral deposits accrued inside.
Step 2: Pour the mixture into the reservoir.
Make sure both the carafes and brewer baskets are empty. Begin to fill the reservoir with the water and vinegar mixture.
Step 3: Run and soak.
If you are using a paper filter, lay it in the basket. Turn the coffee maker on and start the brewing cycle. Midway through the process, switch the brewer off to allow the vinegar solution to soak in the water chamber and carafe. Usually, this will take about 30 minutes to an hour.
Step 4: Finish the cycle.
After the specified number of minutes, turn your coffee maker back on and allow it to finish the brewing cycle.
Step 5: Discard the solution.
Once the cycle is all done, remove the paper filter (if any), and pour out the remaining vinegar solution.
Step 6: Do a water cycle.
You can flush the lingering vinegar scent and taste left in your coffee maker by running a water cycle. To do this, fill the brewer’s reservoir with water. Then, place your filter into the basket and let the coffee maker complete another cycle. Once finished, toss the filter out, remove the water from the reservoir out and repeat the whole process for a second or third time.
Step 7: Dry and finish.
Wipe down your brewer with a clean cloth. Thoroughly clean the basket and carafe with liquid soap and water. You can make use of baking soda for more meticulous sanitation. You can wipe the carafe and basket or let them air dry for a couple of minutes. After everything is deep-cleaned and ready, reassemble your coffee maker and start brewing a fresh batch of coffee.
How To Clean A Coffee Pot Without Vinegar
If you’re not comfortable using vinegar in your coffee maker cleaner recipe, you can use lemon juice instead as an alternative. How to clean a coffee maker with lemon juice? Use the same steps above but replace the vinegar with lemon juice. This solution uses citric acid to clean coffee maker build-ups and has the same effect as the one using vinegar.
Tips to Keep Your Brewer Clean
The deeper cleaning and descaling of your brewer with a coffee cleaner should be done only after every three months. If you’re using water with heavy mineral content, a monthly cleaning is advised. Even so, please give your coffee maker a little extra love. Make sure you are proactive in maintaining it clean always.
We’ve listed some tips to keep your coffee maker in its pristine condition at all times:
- Use distilled water. This will lessen the mineral buildup in your coffee maker. However, brewing with distilled water may cause a flat coffee flavor.
- Clean the basket and carafe with hot, soapy water each time they’re used. Also make sure they’re completely dry before putting them back on the coffee maker.
- Never leave used coffee grounds inside the brewer for an extended amount of time. This will lead to the growth of bacteria, mold, or yeast.
The process of deep-cleaning a brewer also depends on what kind of brewer you have at home. French presses and ceramic pour-overs can easily be sanitized just with soap and water. Keurig machines and espresso machines require more thorough and detailed cleaning and maintenance, usually found in their respective instruction manuals.
Since you are now fully aware of how to clean coffee maker build-ups and how to maintain its immaculate condition, you won't be stressing out about your cup of joe tasting awful anymore. Maybe it's time for you to drop the frequent, expensive visits to the café and begin brewing a fresh and delicious (and clean) coffee for yourself!