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Brewing Magic at Home Part 1: Evaluating Your Auto-Drip Setup

Hey Everybody. Over the next few weeks I’ll be taking you through some steps to get the best possible coffee experience at home.

This week we’re going to look at the heart of most folks’ brew setup, the Auto Drip Coffeemaker. It’s a machine so ubiquitous even folks who don’t brew that way and folks who don’t even drink coffee often have one lying around.

Even at the Haircut Store!

Auto-drip is quite convenient and it’s possible to get great coffee out of many of these brewers. After all, it is the most common method coffee shops and restaurants use to brew their coffee.

“OK coffee guy,” you may ask, “Why does the coffee at my local cafe taste so much better than what comes out of my machine?”

The short answer is: It’s hotter. Try this next time you brew at home. Or go do it now, it’ll work even without any coffee in the filter basket. Run a brew cycle and take the temperature of your brewing water as it comes out of the filter basket. Use an instant-read thermometer like this:

I hope you all have a few of these rattling around your kitchen.

You can also use a meat thermometer like this if you don’t have an instant read thermometer:

Meat is Optional.

Just kinda get the stem of the thermometer into the flow of things:

It looks like I'm taking Darth Vader's temperature.

If you don’t have a thermometer, think about the very first sip of your first cup out of a fresh pot. Is it scalding hot or can you gulp it down immediately? If you’re not in danger of moderate-to-severe burns from your coffee, it isn’t nearly hot enough.

Your brewing water should ideally be between 195° and 205° Fahrenheit (90-96°C.) Some homestyle auto-drip machines top out at a wimpy 140°F. Gross. That’s the difference between Mister Coffee and the industrial-strength gear your favorite Coffee Joint uses.

(Not the actual time)

So what do you do about it? I’ll get to that next time. For now, let me know in the comments how your machine stacks up. The key to brewing better coffee at home is probably already in your kitchen.

If you have any other questions for the Zeke’s Coffee Lab, leave ’em in the comments here or contact us through the website.

Thanks and see ya soon!