Coffee Cup(60405)I am the consummate coffee drinker. I have been drinking this marvelous brew since I was a little kid. I never understood why my grade school teachers always wrote on my report card that I was hyperactive. I was just overly caffeinated!

You don’t need to shell out a couple bucks of your hard earned cash at coffee shops because you can make your own java at home for a fraction of the price. Here are my five tips on how to make great coffee at home.

#1 – Start with a Clean Coffee Maker

A common fallacy about making a great cup of coffee at home is that you need a top-of-the-line coffee maker. I’m here to tell you that it’s just not true. Whether you have a French press, or an auto drip, what you need is a clean coffee maker. I simply use white vinegar and baking soda and make sure everything is thoroughly clean.

First I use baking soda. I remove the basket and give it quick rinse using fresh water. Then I add a few tablespoons of baking soda directly into the basket. Use a sponge or a brush and give the basket a good scrub. If necessary add a little water and let it soak for a few minutes. Apply the same technique to the carafe.

Second I use vinegar. Assuming you have a 10 cup auto drip coffee maker I fill the water tank with 10 cups of undiluted white vinegar. If your machine has a “clean” setting, use this. If not, simply run as usual. Once this cycle is complete I rinse out my carafe and run 2 more cycles consisting of 10 cups of water per cycle.

Finally using warm water and a soapy sponge, wash and rinse both the carafe and basket.

#2 – Coffee

Coffee Beans(60404)There are coffee purists that will tell you a great cup of joe begins with grinding your beans fresh. If time permits, freshly ground coffee is absolutely preferable, but for daily use and for the sake of convenience, I have my coffee pre-ground.

Organic coffee is my bean of choice. I find the taste is smoother and less acidic so I can drink more! As you probably know, there are hundreds of brands of coffee from various regions throughout the world. Your choices go up exponentially when you add various flavors; caffeinated, versus non-caffeinated; etc. Go ahead and experiment a little until you find a brand or blend you enjoy and crave.

#3 – Water

I always use freshly filtered water when making coffee. Tap water is okay, but if your water is overly treated or chemically, it will affect how your brew tastes.

#4 – Filters

Use untreated paper filters. Again, the less chemicals involved in the treatment process, the better your brew will taste.

#5 – Accoutrements

I was always a coffee and milk drinker, until I discovered heaving whipping cream. The beauty of whipping cream is you don’t have to use a lot to get the taste you want. I use one tablespoon and my coffee is always delicious.

Sweeteners are always an option. If you chose to use sweeteners, I recommend sugar cane, or sugar in the raw.

And that, my fellow coffee drinkers, are my five tips on how to make excellent coffee at home. Enjoy!