There is nothing quite like waking up to the smell of fresh coffee brewing. Over half of the American population enjoys at least one cup of coffee every morning, and the popularity of this breakfast brew seems to be on the rise.

For many coffee drinkers, running late in the morning might cut down on the number of cups they consume or cause them to put the last cup in a travel mug rather than drinking it leisurely while reading the paper. In this busy society, it’s no wonder that many of the 150 million American coffee drinkers don’t take the time to regularly clean their coffee pot. Overtime, especially if a coffee maker is used each day, hard mineral deposits build up which can greatly affect the taste and quality of the coffee. Following several easy steps, even just once a month, can keep your coffee maker working at its optimal level and your coffee tasting its greatest.

1. Fill your coffee pot with a mixture of white vinegar and water. The mixture should be 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar. For example, a 12 cup coffee pot would be 8 cups water and 4 cups vinegar.

2. Pour the mixture into where you would normally put the water to make a pot of coffee. Do not use a filter for this process in order to clean all parts of the coffeemaker.

3. Once the cycle is complete, allow the coffee maker to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Never fill a hot coffeepot with cold water as this will cause the glass in the carafe to break.

4. Pour out the mixture and rinse the carafe thoroughly. If the coffee pot has not been cleaned before or it has been a long time since the last cleaning, then repeat the vinegar and water mixture one more time. If this is simply your monthly cleaning, run warm water through the cycle 2 more times.

5. Once you feel confident that your coffeepot is clean, wash the carafe with soap and warm water to finish off the process.

Additional tips

* If you are short on time and can’t spend an hour to do a thorough cleaning, don’t forget that most coffeepots are dishwasher safe. While this does not do the job as well as the vinegar cycle, it is better than nothing.

* If you can still smell the vinegar after 2 cycles of water, the run water through again. There is no magic number on the water cycle; simply do it as many times as you feel is necessary to remove the vinegar taste or smell.

* Remember that you cannot have a coffeepot that is too clean; it’s impossible! While the recommended frequency of washing a coffee pot is monthly, feel free to do this on a weekly basis or even more frequently in order to keep your coffee tasting its best.

Summary

Whether you have a small coffee addiction and can’t function without those three cups in the morning, or you simply pull it out when company comes over, it is vitally important to the taste and value of your coffee to regularly clean your coffee pot. Follow these five easy steps as often as you’d like, and you’ll notice a difference in that precious cup of joe.

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