If you own a coffee maker, you are probably a lover of the brew. This means that when your brew has an off taste, or isn’t absolutely perfect, you can tell. One of the key aspects of keeping your coffee maker happy so that it will give you pot after pot of bold, delicious coffee is by keeping it clean. Sure, you may rinse it after each use, maybe even wash it every week with soap and water (which is a no-no) but the coffee maker is one of those appliances of convenience that are not the most convenient to wash and keep clean. From hard water to coffee oils, the coffee maker has its share of woes. Do not be discouraged though, here are some tips on how to clean a coffee maker so that it makes flavorful coffee without imparting any flavors of its own.
First of all, why do you need to clean your coffee maker? Other than the obvious hygienic reasons, the coffee maker has large amounts of water run through it every day. This water is heated, then poured through coffee grounds, and then collected in a kettle. The water part of the process is prone to scaling and mineral deposits from hard water that can affect the taste of your finished product. The grounds are held in a chamber through which large amounts of oil dissolving hot water is poured. The very flavors of coffee bean oils and solids when rancid can take a perfectly good coffee maker and turn it into a horrendous brew destroyer. Finally, the kettle which holds the finished product is expected to hold large amounts of heavily flavored and solute rich water without taking on a flavor of its own after repetitive use. All these things are reasons you need to keep your coffee maker clean, so that it can do what it is supposed to-make delicious coffee.
As for the hard water effects on your reservoir and water lines, you should take one part vinegar and one part water and run it through the system. The acid will break down mineral deposits, and carry them out through the filter holder into your awaiting kettle. After you run the mixture through, do it two more times with fresh clean water. This will take care of any residual vinegar.
When you want to clean your kettle, don’t just use soap and water. Soap can react with the oil deposits in your kettle and impart a bad flavor to your brew. If you want a nice, neutrally clean kettle; just toss a cup of ice in it with a few tablespoons of salt and about a quarter cup of lemon juice. Swirl this mixture around the kettle at least once a week.
These techniques should be used at least once a month. If you apply them, and remember not to use your kettle to measure and pour water into your coffee maker (the oils inside the kettle can impart an off taste over time to the water reservoir), then you will taste the difference in no time. This is the most effective way how to clean a coffee maker.
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