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How to Use a Coffee Maker

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Updated February 12, 2023

If you’re shopping for a premium coffee maker, you need to know how to use one. The drip coffee maker, invented in 1908, is a mainstay of the American kitchen. With multiple types of settings and advanced features, automatic coffee machines are much more convenient than manual pour-over coffee. Luckily, making a cup of coffee with this type of coffee maker isn’t too complicated, just make sure to follow our guide on how to stop your coffee maker from making burnt coffee. That said, this guide will show you how to use a coffee maker, so you don’t miss any key steps.


  • Make sure your coffee maker is plugged in and powered on. Then, fill the water tank.
  • Place a paper or mesh filter into the coffee basket and place your coffee grounds in the filter.
  • Shut the lid and start the brew cycle. Pour and serve when the machine is finished.

If you know how to use a drip coffee maker, you should be familiar with the standard coffee maker models and how they work. Most units consist of a base with a brew button and clock, a coffee pot, and a filter basket. Of course, the kind of coffee grounds you choose is up to you. Still, most experts recommend medium-roast coffee beans for a beginner’s palate. However, if you want to control how strong your coffee is and don’t mind cold coffee, you may want to experiment with how to use a cold brew coffee maker.

If you want a more robust coffee than drip coffee machines, consider learning to use a camp coffee percolator or an electric percolator. That said, you will run the risk of some bitter-tasting coffee if you mess up the coffee-to-water ratio. To ensure a more consistent, better-tasting cup, you can learn more about pre-infusion coffee makers.

How to Brew a Pot of Coffee

Tools: Coffee maker, coffee grounds, brewing water

Insider Tip

You are better off using tap water than bottled water for any coffee maker model. Water that is too filtered will make your coffee taste bitter.

STEP 1 Plug in the Coffee Maker

Make sure your coffee machine is plugged in and powered.

STEP 2 Grind Your Coffee

You can buy pre-ground coffee from the store. That said, coffee aficionados recommend using whole coffee beans and an electric burr grinder to make a medium-coarse grind for the most delicious cup of coffee. If you are out of coffee beans or grounds but have k-cups, don’t worry you can use k-cups to make a delicious pot of coffee as well.

STEP 3 Fill the Water Tank

Add water to the tank. You’ll want to add an amount of water that is equal to the number of cups of hot coffee you want. Use hot water for a quicker brewing process, but nothing will go wrong if you use cold water. Keep in mind that the cup measurement on a coffee maker is equal to 6 ounces of liquid. So for example, the four-cup marking on your water reservoir is equal to 24 ounces of water.

STEP 4Fill the Coffee Filter Basket

Place a paper filter in the basket and scoop your dry coffee grounds into it. The more tablespoons of coffee you use, the stronger your cups of coffee will be, but on average, you’ll want to add one to two tablespoons of grounds for every 6 ounces of water. Close the lid before you start the brewing process.

STEP 5 Start the Brew Cycle

If you have an automatic drip-brew coffee maker, your brewing cycle will begin when the coffee bean basket is closed. With other models, your brewing instructions include pressing the start button.

STEP 6 Clean and Serve

Once your brewing time is complete, you may hear a tone from your machine. If not, check on the device after a few minutes. The hot plate will keep your coffee hot until you’re able to serve it. That said, don’t let it sit too long. If you do, you run the risk of it taking on a burnt flavor.


Do not tamp down your coffee bean basket so that the heated water can saturate the grounds.


Are single-serve coffee makers worth it?

If you want a quick hot coffee, a single-serve machine is a great choice. That said, you’ll wish to purchase additional brewing tools if you need to serve guests.

Why is French press coffee bad for you?

Non-filtered coffee contains a substance called cafestol which causes cholesterol levels to rise in some adults. Since French press coffee is unfiltered, it contains this compound.

Why is milk not added directly into the coffee maker?

Milk will spoil during the brewing process, souring your drink and ruining your coffee maker.

STAT: According to a survey from Gallup, unemployed Americans reported drinking 33% more coffee than the employed. (source)

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