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Have you ever cleaned your coffee maker?

If you are like most, the answer is likely never.

It is easy for overlook your coffee brewer and grinder as equipment that needs to be cleaned.

By regularly cleaning your brewing equipment you help extend the life of your coffee brewer and grinder. Plus, you can continue to enjoy great tasting coffee.

CLEANING THE COFFEE BREWER

Coffee brewers often require cleaning in two areas: removing scale in the water tank and removing coffee oils from the sprayhead/brew basket.

Coffee oils are left behind after each brew cycle and can be tricky to remove. But please, do not clean your brewer with vinegar! Not only does it make it extremely difficult to remove the vinegar afterwards, but vinegar can void your coffee brewer’s warranty. Rather, equipment cleaners are designed to dissolve the buildup of oils and are fragrance free.

Descaling powder works in both espresso machines and coffee brewers. If you notice mineral scale build up in your water tank and on the heating element, it is time to clean the tank. Mineral scale builds up over time from the calcium and magnesium that is left behind in the water. If you are noticing that your water is not getting hot enough, or you see flakes of scale floating in the water tank, it is time to use a descaling powder.

Cleaning powders address the need to clean coffee oils from the sprayhead, brew basket and carafe. The cleaning powders do not leave a flavor residue behind in the coffee maker. Cleaning powders are great for removing tough coffee stains from your favorite mug. If you notice oils at the bottom of your Chemex or Hario drip pot, mix some cleaning powder in with hot water and let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing.

CLEANING THE COFFEE GRINDER

Most coffee grinders are not designed to be taken apart for cleaning. With electrical motors and burrs water cannot be used to clean grinders. A word of caution: do not grind rice to try to clean your coffee grinder.

Grinder tablets are specially formulated to draw out the coffee oils from around the burrs and can help prevent clogging. All you have to do is run one packet of cleaning tablets through your grinder, and a little bit of coffee afterwards to remove any bits of tablets left behind by static.

We recommend cleaning your coffee grinder once a month. However, if you are often grinding dark roasts or flavored coffees, you may want to clean your grinder more often because these beans are oilier.

CLEANING AN ESPRESSO MACHINE

Espresso machines can be the trickiest to clean. Espresso Machine Cleaning Tablets are designed for easy rinsing and cleaning of the inner working of your espresso machine. Each model of espresso machine has a different frequency of cleaning schedule so you will want to look at your machine’s user manual and follow the directions outlined by the manufacture. Espresso machine brushes are specially designed to clean the group head and espresso machine screens.

By taking time to clean your brewing equipment you will be able to continue enjoying great tasting coffee at home.

Brewing a great tasting cup of coffee does not require a lot of fancy equipment. With a few tweaks you can get great tasting coffee from any coffee maker.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you brew the best cup of coffee.

Use freshly roasted coffee.

Look for coffee roasters, like Red Cedar Coffee Co., instead of grocery store coffee brands. For some grocery brands it may have taken 6-9 months for the coffee to work its way through their distribution system from being roasted to being placed on the store shelf. By comparison, you can enjoy coffee from a local roaster just days after it was roasted.

Pay attention to water.

Start off with good tasting water since coffee is approximately 98% water. Filtered or spring water can improve the taste of your coffee.   

Clean your grinder and coffee maker from time to time.

Use specially formulated equipment cleaners to make sure your coffee maker brews good tasting coffee. Please, do not use vinegar to clean your coffee maker! Click here for more information on cleaning your coffee maker and grinder.

Weigh out your coffee beans. 

We are often asked “Do you use a measured or heaping scoop of coffee?” Using a digital kitchen scale helps to brew coffee with consistency and accuracy. It is a small step that is extremely helpful to make sure that you are replicating the same brewing recipe each time. Oftentimes a brewing recipe will show a brewing ratio such as 1:16 (one-ounce coffee grounds to 16 ounces water). We find that the brewing ratios of 1:14, 1:15, 1:16, 1:17 works well for most.

Using a pour over? Consider weighing your water, too.

The Chemex and Hario drippers are great ways to brew coffee but can be very difficult to eyeball the right amount of hot water. Place the pour over, filter and coffee grounds onto a digital scale and then tare out the weight. Then, you will want to weight the amount of water you are using (pour the hot water over the coffee grounds). Again, with the help of a digital scale you can with brew consistently.

Grind your coffee before brewing.

Did you know coffee begins to start losing some of its flavor and aromatics as soon as it is ground? Grinding your coffee beans fresh is one of the best ways to brew a more flavorful cup of coffee. Burr grinders are best because they grind coffee consistently.   

Use the correct grind style for the coffee maker you are using.

There are several grind styles when it comes to grinding your coffee. To name a few there is fine, auto-drip and coarse. You want to make sure that you are using the correct grind style for your brewing method. This is important because if the grind is too large, you will end up with a weak cup of coffee. If the coffee grind is too fine for your coffee maker then you end up with a bitter, over-extracted cup of coffee. Most drip coffee makers and single serve units work well on the auto-drip setting. If you are using a French press or Toddy cold brew system, you will want to have your coffee ground coarse.

Preheat your coffee carafe, Chemex or French press prior to brewing.

This is helpful especially during the colder months when heat loss is more noticeable. Heat up some hot water ahead to time and pour it into your coffee maker’s carafe, or your Chemex or French press before you brew. The hot water will take the chill out of the coffee maker and your coffee will stay hotter for a while longer. After sitting for about 10 minutes, pour out the hot water and then brew your pot of coffee. This trick also works great for travel mugs.

Carefully store your coffee. 

Coffee beans can be sensitive to temperature, moisture, and air. Keep your coffee in an airtight container at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. Avoid storing your coffee in the freezer or refrigerator.

Happy brewing!

Did you know coffee begins to start losing some of its flavor and aromatics as soon as it is ground? Grinding your coffee beans fresh is one of the best ways to brew a more flavorful cup of coffee.

If you like to have the flexibility of grinding for different brewing devices or wish to get the most flavor out of your coffee, you may want to consider grinding your coffee before brewing.

BLADE VS. BURR GRINDERS

When it comes to choosing a coffee grinder you have two options.

Blade grinders are ones that have a whirly-style blade (like spice grinders) that spins to grind the coffee bean. These grinders can heat the coffee as they operate due to friction. Many blade grinders have a button that must be held down to grind; depending on who is grinding the coffee, it is harder to achieve a consistent grind on a blade grinder.

Burr grinders have two revolving abrasive surfaces (“burrs”). Burr grinders slice through coffee beans more consistently which is best for brewing flavorful coffee. Look for a burr grinder with numbered settings. This will help grind your coffee consistently.

ELECTRIC OR HAND GRINDER

Electric coffee grinders are plugged into an electrical outlet. These grinders take up more kitchen counter space, and most models provide the option to keep some coffee beans in the hopper. Some grinders have timers so you can replicate your grind time.

If you have the need to travel with your coffee grinder, or do not have the kitchen space, you may want to consider a hand grinder. These grinders are manual which means you are the grinder’s motor. Some brands, like Hario, have burr hand grinders.

WHY WE PREFER BURR GRINDERS

Burr grinders help you brew coffee-shop quality coffee at your home or office. They grind the coffee consistently which takes out any guesswork. These grinders are sturdy, and most will serve you for years to come. That is why we recommend burr grinders.

MAINTAINING YOUR GRINDER

Oils accumulate over time and using the Full Circle grinder cleaning tablet can help you get the most life out of your coffee grinder. If you are grinding dark roast coffees or flavored coffees, you will want to clean your grinder on a more frequent basis.

The grinder tablets have been formulated specifically to remove the coffee oils and residue on the grinder’s burrs and can also prevent jamming of the grinder.

Here is a short article that explains how jams occur and how a little cleaning can prevent them.

The Full Circle grinder tablets we carry in the Tasting Room are food-grade safe and are the same quality of cleaner we use for our grinders.