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Brewing the best cup of coffee is undoubtedly an art. Sipping on a delicious and flavorful cup of hot coffee after you get up is a necessary morning ritual for most of us.

An auto-drip coffee maker is fast and convenient, and is the preferred choice of many. But this is not exactly the best way to make coffee. The auto-drip process does not allow all the flavors to be properly extracted and often results in a below-potential cup.

But the difference is really hard to make out for the majority of us.

Coffee-brewing involves several aspects and if you manage to work out the correct process that gives you the cup you love, then you can be assured that you will never again feel the urge to spend all that money in specialized coffee-shops.

So let’s see what the important things are that you need to keep in mind while brewing the perfect cup.

What Goes into a Cup of Coffee?

The delicious morning cup of coffee consists mainly, almost 99%, of water. You need to get the proportion of coffee to water right. This will ensure your cup tastes best with the right strength, flavor and aroma.

The heat at which your auto-drip coffee maker brews, and how long it takes to do that also affects the taste of the coffee.

The most important job you need to accomplish is to get the right coffee for brewing.

1. Get Home the Best Coffee Beans

It takes time, patience and some effort to purchase the right coffee beans. There are several varieties of coffee beans available but the best ones are rarely available at the grocery store or the supermarket.

Plan a visit to your favorite local roaster. You are bound to get fresh and flavor-packed coffee from him. Coffee goes stale quite quickly. So buy whole beans that are roasted just right.

Coffee experts suggest a medium roast for the beans. Too light and it will result in less extraction of flavors. Too dark a roast will give a bitter taste to the cup you brew. So go for medium-roasted coffee beans.

Also, do not fret if it is proving difficult to locate a trusted roaster in your area. If you want to lay your hands on the best coffee in the world get on the Internet. Connect with roasters directly and purchase the freshest coffee from around the world.

2. Grind the Beans Properly

Coffee tastes excellent when you grind the beans just before brewing. The impact that freshly-ground coffee has on taste and flavor cannot be overstated. It can greatly enhance your whole coffee experience.

Medium to medium-coarse is the recommended grind for auto-drip coffee makers. Your local roaster will be able to advise you regarding the grind if you specify the type of machine you have and whether it is a cone or a drip.

Medium grind is apt if the auto-drip coffee maker has flat bottom filter, and a medium fine grind is suitable for cone-shaped filters.

If you find your coffee lacking in flavor try a finer grind, and if you find it too strong, go for a coarser grind.

3. Water Should 'Taste' Great!

Hard water can destroy any great-tasting coffee. The resultant calcium and magnesium buildup can harm your coffee maker and make it very difficult to clean. Carbon-filtered water will remove the hardness and the unpleasant flavor of chlorine from drinking water and will leave behind all the good trace minerals.

These trace minerals are essential for the aromatic coffee oils to bind to and get transferred to our cup. Without them what we get will be a bland cup of coffee devoid of that lively snap.

Also if you are an avid coffee drinker, using the wrong water for a long time can damage your coffee maker. When the essential minerals are absent, water will pull ions from the metallic parts of the coffee maker and cause pitting of the heating element.

So make sure you use bottled or filtered water for making your coffee.

The thumb rule to getting the ratio of water to coffee right is to use one gram of coffee for 17 grams of water. Or you can think along the lines of one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for six ounces of water.

4. Ensure the Temperature Is Right

Ideally your auto-drip coffee maker should brew at temperatures in the range of 195-205 degree Fahrenheit, and should take no longer than 6 minutes. If the machine takes longer time to reach this temperature or keeps raising the heat further, chances are that you will end up with a bitter cup of coffee.

5. Do Not Forget the Filter

The type of filter you use also affects the taste of the coffee.

Paper filters are popular. They are affordable and can be disposed after use. But paper tends to absorb and retain the aromatic coffee oils, and thereby takes the punch away from your cup. Some paper filters also lend a ‘papery’ flavor to the brew. Test a few brands and choose one that is best suitable for you.

Unbleached cotton cloth filters are also popular. But they need to be washed and cleaned after each use. Otherwise they will leach rancid coffee oils on subsequent use. Cloth filters also tend to absorb coffee oils and hinder the brew from carrying all the flavors.

Metal and plastic filters are great in that they do not steal flavors from the brew and help you enjoy the full taste.

6. Do Not Let the Coffee Burn

Once you are done with the brewing remove the pot from the heating element and pour the hot coffee into a thermal carafe. This will help it stay hot without turning bitter.

Conclusion

An auto-drip coffee maker will give you a most enjoyable cup, provided you get the ingredients right. Clean equipment and freshly-roasted beans ground just before use almost always will get you a piping hot and delicious cup of coffee.