Coffee maker for Christmas? This is how to get the most out of a coffee maker

Learn how to make full use of your new coffee maker just in time for the New Year.

An example of how to get the most out of a coffee maker, an espresso machine in front of light blue, wooden pannels
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new coffee maker is one of the best gifts you can receive ov. If you are a coffee connoisseur or aspiring home barista, there are a number of ways you can elevate your home coffees with a new coffee maker.

However, top-line models are packed with complicated tech and a rabbit-run of different wants and pipes. It can be daunting, and sometimes it's difficult to avoid common coffee maker mistakes.

That;' why it’s essential to learn the ins and outs of using your coffee maker correctly, especially when it comes to how your coffee beans are ground. With a little attention, your home coffee makers will create outstanding results.

How to get the most out of a coffee maker

o help you make the most of this wonderful gift, here are our expert tips:

Use fresh and quality coffee

Cuisinart Grind and Brew coffee maker

(Image credit: Cuisinart)

‘The biggest way to get the most out of your coffee maker is to put the right beans into it,’ says coffee expert Kayla Stavridis. ‘People say the taste of your coffee will never exceed the quality of the beans used. So if you are using low quality coffee beans, do not expect it to compete with your favorite coffee shop.’ 

To get the most out of your coffee maker, you should use high quality beans that have been recently roasted (within the last 2-4 weeks).  A good test to see the quality of coffee beans is if they have a 'roast date' or just a 'best before' date. High-quality coffee beans will include roast date, while mass produced beans will just have a best before date and may have been roasted months before. 

Finally, don't be afraid to experiment. If your coffee maker allows, play with brewing times and temperatures to find what works best for you. Coffee is a world of flavors waiting to be explored. Try different bean varieties and roasts to discover new and exciting profiles.

Kayla Stavridis
Kayla Stavridis

Kayla Stavridis is the head of marketing at Barista HQ, a site dedicated to helping customers to find the right coffee equipment and improve their barista skills.

Mind the water

The choice of water significantly impacts the flavor profile of your coffee. Opting for filtered water over tap water ensures a cleaner base, free from the potential impurities and mineral content that can affect the taste. There are a number of water filters on the market, but you'll notice the difference even if you just use a cheap Brita 6 Cup water filter from Walmart.

Filtering the water not only enhances the purity of your brew but also allows the delicate notes and nuances of the coffee beans to shine through. It's a simple but effective step in elevating the overall quality of your coffee, ensuring a smoother and more enjoyable cup.

Moreover, remember to measure out enough water to brew your coffee. To measure, you can use the measuring lines on the coffee pot or on the side of the coffee maker. Pour the water from the coffee pot into the coffee maker – there is usually an open space, called a tank, behind or above the filter. 

For first-time coffee maker users, the inclination is to pour the water directly into the filter basket. Do not do this. Pour into the compartment intended to hold the water before brewing. After pouring, put the coffee pot back on the warming plate.

Try adding new flavors

According to Genevieve Kappler, Director of Coffee at Roasting Plan, adding flavors to your coffee can transform a regular cup into a festive and personalized delight. Experiment with various additions like a sprinkle of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg, or the indulgence of flavored syrups, like this Torani syrup variety pack on Amazon.

These flavor enhancements not only introduce a sensory richness to your coffee experience, but also allow you to tailor your brew to match the festive spirit. 

Whether you're aiming for a cozy hint of spice or a touch of sweetness reminiscent of holiday treats, this creative step amplifies the joy of sipping your coffee.

Genevieve Kappler
Genevieve Kappler

Genevieve Kappler is the Director of Coffee at Roasting Plant. Here she is a roasting technologist too, so she knows all the science behind what makes a full-bodied brew.  She has years of experience behind her, so is well-placed to advise us on coffee content.

Regular cleaning and maintenance

Cleaning a coffee maker with hot water

(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the greatest recurring issues that many users have with their coffee maker is decreasing quality of coffee. For some reason, it feels like the coffee it makes just doesn't seem as good as it was. 

The reason for this is almost always a failure to look after your coffee machine. If you never clean or service your car, you're bound to run into some problems. A coffee maker is no different. 

There are two parts to this; regular mini-cleans, and irregular major cleans. You should clean your coffee maker after every use. Purge water through it, clean the exterior, clean and purge the steam wand if it has one. This takes about 20 seconds but makes a world of difference. However, probably once every 6-12 months you need a more comprehensive deep clean and descale.

That's because a worsening taste of coffee is usually due to a build up of limescale in the machine from the minerals in your tap water. Descaling is usually easy and most machines have a simple descaling method, or inbuilt descaling program. depending on the machinebut we recommend just paying someone else to do it. Alternatively, you can pay a professional, but this is rarely needed. 

Pair with good cups

An espresso cup on a wooden table

(Image credit: Getty Images)

‘Make sure that you spend the little extra money to buy coffee mugs that you enjoy drinking out of,’ says James Hyslop, Coffee author at The Coffee Folk. ‘It might seem like a small thing but it actually makes a qualitative difference in the enjoyment of your freshly brewed coffee.’ 

In fact it is scientifically proven that the cups we drink out of change our experience of coffee, beer, wine etc.  We’ve explored coffee mugs on the market and we like the set of 4 Glenna Mugs from Anthropologie. So look online and spend the extra money to buy coffee mugs that you will look forward to drinking out of. You will be surprised by the difference it makes.

James Hyslop

James Hyslop and his wife Amy are the creators of The Coffee Folk. They are lovers of coffee and share coffee and brewing guides for people at home.


How much coffee do I use per cup?

For the perfect cup of coffee, you should use between 1½ to 2 tablespoons of coffee ground beans. If you want an alternative measurement use 5 ounces or approximately 8g to produce one cup.

By embracing these tips, you'll not only maximize the life of your new coffee maker but also enhance the taste of every cup you brew. Coffee aficionados will tell you that different coffee makers require different grinds to make the best possible brew. A French press, for example, requires a coarser grind, while aeropresses and espresso machines need a much finer grind. Remember, making coffee is both an art and a science – enjoy the process and the delicious results.

Seraphina Di Mizzurati
Contributing Editor

Seraphina is a contributing editor at Homes & Gardens, writing Solved features on organizing and storage. She loves to decorate and also grow her own produce from her home in London. Her previous experience includes working at Women's Health and Fabulous Magazine.