Here's the secret to a really good cup of drip coffee

Brew the perfect pot of coffee every time with these easy-to-follow steps for using a standard coffee maker.

Before you brew, it’s important to note that a cup of water is 8 ounces, however, a coffee pot cup is 5 ounces.Grace Cary / Getty Images

A classic coffee maker may not seem like the most exciting way to make coffee these days but, with just a few simple steps, you can turn that slightly bland cup of joe into a fantastically flavorful brew.

The drip coffee maker, aka a standard coffee pot, is what you'll find in most American households — at least it was for years, until the recent popularization of single-serve coffee makers, like Keurig and Nespresso.

Drip coffee makers are easy to clean and come in a variety of customizable options. Some coffee makers grind beans, some can be pre-programmed to start brewing coffee right when you wake up (it's basically an aromatic alarm clock) and others drip coffee into a carafe that will keep your special brew hot for hours.

A drip coffee machine is one of the easiest ways to make coffee because you can usually make it in advance and it will stay warm.

The cons? When using this type of machine, you don’t have control over how long the coffee brews or the temperature of the water, so it’s important to control what you can, which means it all comes down to the type of coffee beans used, the grind of those beans and the coffee-to-water ratio.

Before you brew, it’s important to note that a cup of water is 8 ounces, however, a coffee pot cup is 5 ounces. So a 12-cup capacity coffee maker is actually 60-ounces of liquid, or roughly 7 cups of coffee. If you only want to make 10 cups of coffee, for example, then use about 50 ounces of water.

Before using a coffee maker for the first time, make sure to thoroughly clean it. Wash all removable parts (including the decanter, decanter lid and the filter basket) separately using a mild dish soap. Put all parts back onto the machine, then run a brew cycle using only water to thoroughly clean the entire brewing system. When the cycle is finished, discard the cleaning water and you're ready to brew coffee.

How to make coffee in a coffee maker

Beans: Coarse to medium grind. Coffee beans with a medium grind resemble kosher salt. If grinding beans at home using a coffee grinder, pulse the beans in short 3-5 second intervals. A coarse grind will take about 10 seconds of total time; a medium grind will take no longer than 15 seconds.

Coffee to water ratio: 2 tablespoons of coffee to every 8 ounces of water


  • For 12 coffee cups: 15 tablespoons coffee, medium grind and 60 ounces cold water
  • For 10 coffee cups: 12 ½ tablespoons coffee, medium grind and 50 ounces cold water
  • For 8 coffee cups: 10 tablespoons coffee, medium grind and 40 ounces cold water


  1. Place paper or reusable filter in the basket of a coffee maker.
  2. Add the desired amount of coffee grounds into the filter.
  3. Add water to the reservoir.
  4. Press the start button to begin the brew cycle.
  5. When the cycle is finished, enjoy your perfectly brewed cup of coffee.