In Search of a Great Cup of Coffee
I started drinking coffee very late in life at the age of 50. By this time I had given up sodas and I don’t do drugs or smoke so I needed a vice and decided on coffee. I started with baby steps and my daughter told me that McDonald’s had nice cup of coffee for a fair price and I should start there. So every day for a month or so I went through the drive through and built up a tolerance to coffee. Of course I needed Splenda and creamer to make it palatable to my delicate taste buds.
I am not the type of guy to spend $3.00 on a cup of coffee. I do not like lattes or specialty drinks that are the price of a good used car. My daughter loves this stuff but I do not need the calories or the hit to the wallet. Coffee should not break your bank account. However, in the interest of science I have found that Starbucks and Caribou have tasty coffee for a couple bucks a cup and that Caribou will refill the thing for free if you sit in the coffee shop to drink it. I like both of these coffees but I also have no issue with McDonald’s coffee either. I will drink anything by these three entities.
This leads me to my quest in search of a goof cup of coffee. My wife has always been a coffee drinker and we have had a Cuisinart coffee maker for decades. The model we have grinds the beans for you just before you brew it which results in a fresh cup of coffee. I have become great at making coffee and can disassemble all the pieces, wash them, and make another pot quicker than my wife can. I buy the Costco brand roasted coffee that is roasted by Starbucks. $10 for two pounds is cheap and it is great tasting.
I then did more reading and discovered that a clean machine helps with the taste of coffee. Over time the oils of the beans build up in the machine and that results in a more bitter taste. The trick, I learned, is to clean the machine with vinegar every month or so. I also found a product on line which works well, Dezcal. This product helps remove all the mineral build up. I like it but may have found a better product, Brew Rite. The reviews are phenomenal.
Anyway, yesterday was spent cleaning my coffee pot. I ran through one package of Dezcal and followed that by running through three pots of vinegar. I buy it at Costco and do not dilute it so it smells like vinegar after I use it. I then run through three pots of clean water until the vinegar smell is gone and the water going through ends up clear. I could never get the inside of my aluminum pot cleaned, however. I tried baking soda and vinegar and nothing. I tried this several times. Nothing. Then I read an article by Mary Hunt and got the greatest piece of advice on cleaning a coffee pot.
Salt and ice. Yes, salt and Ice. I poured a generous amount of course kosher salt in the pot. Enough to cover the bottom. I then added ice to about 1/3 full in the pot. You put on the top and then shake the hell out of the pot. Empty the pot and rinse it and repeat. I did this five times. The black sludge that came out of my pot looked nasty. I have heard that Brew Rite cleans the pot witch it why I put it in this article.
Results of my coffee oddesy
After doing all of the above I had a coffee pot that was 90% clean. I had a muscle spasm in my arm from shaking the pot so long because each round of cleaning took about three minutes of shaking. My pot sparkled and there was no dirty coffee water coming out the last time I ran the water through the machine. I then replaced the filter (I would take the filter out or replace it after cleaning if your machine has a charcoal water filter for the water tank). I prepped the machine for the next morning’s coffee and went to bed.
Results? This morning I woke up and had the best and smoothest cup of coffee I have ever made at home. Cleaning all the components of your machine (I could never get the pot clean in the past) results in a coffee that is so smooth and rich that it could come from any coffee house. It was fantastic. My wife even threw a compliment my way and that was completely worth it.
Do yourself a favor. Clean you coffee machine and save hundreds of dollars a year on expensive coffee house coffee.