Getting the best possible coffee out of your drip coffee maker comes with making sure to have fresh coffee beans (or fresh ground coffee), the right coffee to water ratio, and the right water temperature.
For most auto-drip coffee makers, you will want to use a fine-medium grind, depending on the type of filter you’re using in your drop maker. For flat bottom filters or plastic permanent filters, you should use a medium grind. For cone filters, use a medium/fine grind. Experimenting with your coffee to find your preferred grind is recommended. A finer grind will give you more flavour, while a coarser grind will make it less bitter. If you’re grinding your coffee yourself, the best time to grind the beans is right before making coffee.
If your tap water isn’t very good, or has a bad taste, it’s best to use filtered water with your coffee dripper. The taste of the water can affect the taste of your coffee. You also want to get the water to coffee ratio just right. This may take some trial and error as your preference may be different than others, but a general rule of thumb is to have approximately 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water.
Coffee should be brewed between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. If your device is cheap, it may have problems with consistent temperatures. A cheaper coffee dripper may not be able to get to the optimal temperature quickly enough and you might end up with a bitter cup of coffee. A way to combat this is to heat your water first in your coffee dripper by brewing just the water through and then putting it back in the device to brew your coffee regularly. The water will already be hot and will be closer to optimal temperature.
Once your coffee is finished brewing, it is important to take it off the warming plate quickly. Leaving it sitting there can burn your coffee, making it bitter. It’s also important to keep your drip brewing clean as to not have residue from previous brews. If you drink coffee daily, cleaning your drip pot device once a week is recommended.