How to Use a Coffee Maker: 4 User-Friendly Tips

We’ve been wondering if there’s anything that can perk us up in the morning like a fresh cup of hot coffee—and, well, we think not. Before you enjoy the different types of coffee, you’ll need to learn how to brew them. You can start with the simplest brew method—drip.

It’s pure bliss when the bag opens and that intoxicating aroma is released. It’s a morning ritual, grinding the beans, adding them into the filter and, not to mention, the excitement of pressing the button on your drip coffee machine to let that alchemy run its course. 

Of course, to achieve this, you’ll first need to know how to use a coffee maker. This article will give you step-by-step instructions on exactly that. We'll also talk about the basic anatomy of drip-style coffee machines and a few tips to ensure an quality brew.

Drip Coffee Maker Anatomy 101

Rise and shine—it’s almost coffee-making time. But before we lay out the steps on how to brew one of the world’s most beloved beverages, let’s explore the fundamental parts of the drip coffee maker:

● Filter basket – The filter basket is where the ground coffee will be placed. This is also where the water will be delivered over the top of the grounds and ultimately defining your drip coffee maker. Simply allowing gravity to push the water through the grinds is what separates this method from others. The basket is usually found above the carafe and will be accessed by either removing the basket or opening a lid to reveal it. The brew basket can hold either a single-use coffee filter or a reusable filter such as cloth or wire mesh.

● Filter – As mentioned above, there are single-use filters made from paper and reusable filters made usually from cloth, mesh, or metal. This is where the ground coffee will be placed before brewing.

● Reservoir – This is where the water used in the brewing process will be poured. Most coffee makers will have indicators for measuring the exact amount of coffee you wish to brew. 

● Carafe – More commonly known as “the pot,” the carafe is typically made of glass or metal and is the last stop in the brewing process. It sits below the filter basket and typically has it a lid that will contact some sort of stop-valve to allow the brewed coffee to begin dripping. Always make sure your carafe is clean and in place before starting your brew cycle.

● Warming plate – Not all coffee makers will have a warming plate, and if they do, they will typically be paired with a glass carafe. A warming plate is added to engineer a direct source of heat to keep your brewed coffee hot. But beware—if your coffee sits too long on this plate, the continuous heat will begin to break down the chemical compounds and expedite the evaporation of some of the solution, resulting in a bitter-tasting coffee.

It’s important to identify any additional features on your coffee maker before you start a brew cycle. 

For instance, some of the more advanced drip coffee machines on the market come with adjustable temperature settings to let you heat your water precisely. Others allow you to adjust the flow rate, thereby enabling you to choose the perfect contact time between water and coffee. If this is the case, your coffee maker will likely come with instructions for these special features.

The 4 Steps of Using a Drip Coffee Maker

Brewing coffee using a drip coffee maker is relatively simple. Let’s take a look at the following steps below:

1. In most cases, you’ll first need to ensure the coffee machine is plugged in and ready to use. Some coffee makers come equipped with the option to preset timers for drip coffee to be ready when you wake up in the morning, and you’ll want the machine to be turned on for this automatic feature to function.

2. Now, it’s time to add coffee to the filter. If you choose whole coffee beans, you’ll need to grind them to a medium or medium/coarse grind size before placing them into the filter. You can learn how to grind coffee beans in a few simple steps. Then, the standard practice is 1-2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water, depending on how strong you like your brew. Use 1 tablespoon for a lighter coffee and 2 for a stronger coffee. We always recommend using a scale whenever possible and using the Specialty Coffee Association’s guideline of 55g of coffee per liter of water.

3. Add water to the reservoir. It’s important to remember how much coffee you place into the filter because this will determine the amount of water needed. Remember, standard practice is 1-2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water or 55g of coffee per liter of water.

4. Turn the drip coffee maker on using the button or switch (depending on your model) and the brewing process will begin. Most brewers will take up to a minute before the actual brewing begins as they need to heat the water up to a proper brewing temperature. Always wait until your brewer is completely finished before removing the carafe or pouring any coffee out.

Pod Coffee Maker Anatomy 101

Now that we know how to use an automatic drip coffee maker, let’s check out the pod-style coffee maker. One of the most significant differences is the serving portion. The pod-style coffee maker is designed to make a single cup of coffee versus multiple servings. The typical pod-style coffee maker has two main external parts:

● Reservoir – It’s similar to the water housing used on the drip-style coffee maker, although the size can vary depending on the model. On average, it can hold enough water for up to six cups. 

● Pod housing – This takes the place of the filter and filter basket on the drip-style coffee maker. Lift up the handle on top of the coffee maker, and you’ll find a cup holder inside. This is where the pod is placed, and when the lid shuts, a metal pin will penetrate the pod. 

In case you aren’t familiar with the “coffee pod,” it’s typically a small plastic cup that has a small filter with a single serving.

Steps for Using a Pod Coffee Maker

If you’re using a pod-style coffee maker, you’ll simply place the pod into the cupholder and shut the lid firmly.

The convenience of a pod-style coffee maker is that you don’t have to worry about serving sizes or ratios. Each pod already contains a single serving of coffee, and the presets automatically determine how much water is needed to fill the serving size you choose. 

First, make sure your machine is on. To begin brewing, choose the serving size and press the brew button. Wait until the brewing process stops before removing your hot mug and reveling in that delicious brew.

Now that you know how to use your coffee maker, learn how to clean a coffee maker properly to keep it in the best condition.

How Does Making Espresso Differ from Drip and Pod Coffee?

While drip and pod coffee machines both allow you to prepare coffee using a brewing method, making espresso requires a different machine and technique altogether. When you use an espresso machine, it forces hot, pressurized water through the coffee grounds. The process of using an espresso machine typically includes:

1. Preparing the espresso maker, usually by preheating the group head and portafilter by running hot water through them

2. Grinding 18–22g of your freshly roasted beans and tamping them into the portafilter.

3. Setting a cup underneath before extracting the espresso shot (a process that should only take 8–10 seconds).

As you can see, this process is quite different from making drip coffee—but if you enjoy the taste of espresso, learning to make it at home is undoubtedly worthwhile. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help you learn how to make espresso.

Begin Your Coffee-Making Odyssey with Breville Home Drip Machines

Now that the path is forged and you know how to use coffee makers let your brewing odyssey begin with Breville. We offer a variety of drip-style coffee makers for connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike. 

Each drip-style coffee maker is finished in brushed stainless steel and comes equipped to maximize the potential of whatever style of style of coffee you like, no matter its origin or roast. At Breville, our coffee makers come with an adjustable flow rate and temperature control, allowing control over how you like to brew your coffee.

Brew good coffee that sings with Breville. 


National Coffee Association. NCA releases Atlas of American Coffee.

National Coffee Association. How to Brew Coffee.

JES Restaurant Equipment. How Coffee Carafe Sizing Works.

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How to Use a Coffee Maker: 4 User-Friendly Tips