what am I doing wrong?

mike79

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Mar 7, 2006
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Probably ever since I have been making coffee (for over five years now), I can never seem to make consistently great cups of coffee. In my current days of making coffee, I make sure everything is clean (wash coffee maker parts every day), use Deer Park spring water, and fresh ground D&D coffee. I store the coffee at room temperature and each time I reseal I evacuate the air through the one-way valve in the bag. I have recently cleaned the coffee maker with the powder cleaner in the store (claims it's better than vinegar), but even that seems to makes no difference.

I have to say that when I first bought this coffee maker, the coffee was great. But it seems as time goes on the coffee is tasting like skunk. I'm really dumbfounded as to why my coffee is tasting like this, after all I'm using good spring water, clean parts, and fresh ground coffee (I grind to a medium granularity). How the heck does D&D make great cups of coffee every day?

I appreciate your advice!

Thanks,
Mike
 

gazebocoffee

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Mar 2, 2006
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I know you must be really frustrated. I am operating my 13 coffee house now and have never had any such problems. The only thing I could imagine would be inconsistencies in the roast and the water. Maybe your roaster is not as diligent in their consistencies and therefore are not providing you with their best product. Also, I have always used in-line filtration systems for my water and have never relied on the possible inconsistent water quality issues in bottled spring water. Don't know if any of this helps but take a look at those two issues.
 
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mike79

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Yes, frustrated to say the least :). I did think about the spring water, and while it's good I'm sure it does have some minerals and such that may be affecting the flavor. I'll try passing the water through another filter. Will a Brita do fine? I also have another coffee maker with a charcoal filter... but I stopped using that because that was making skunk coffee, too.

Some relatives of mine always seem to make good coffee, but then again they have a water softner. I'm sure that plays a factor?

I have always though that Dunkin Donuts coffee was one of the best, but maybe I'm wrong. Do the local stores roast the beans?

Thanks.
 

Natalie's

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Feb 12, 2006
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NH
I noticed that you did not mention anything about your measurements. Make sure that both your coffee and your water are measured the same each time.

Also is the coffee pot brewing at a lower temp now that it is older? If it's not brewing at the correct temp that will effect the flavor too.

I like to measure water with a measuring cup and the coffee with a scale. Also you did not mention if you cleaned the grinder. You should do that too. Hope these suggestions help.
 

Natalie's

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Feb 12, 2006
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also...

Brita is fine for filtration.

The minerals are good as long as they are from a consistant source (town etc.) and then filtered. If you have a well, the well water may have changed quality. You can get that tested too if the water tastes funny straight up. Remember most of coffee is water.

You can also try a french press to see the difference.
 
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mike79

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Natalie's said:
I noticed that you did not mention anything about your measurements. Make sure that both your coffee and your water are measured the same each time.

Also is the coffee pot brewing at a lower temp now that it is older? If it's not brewing at the correct temp that will effect the flavor too.

I like to measure water with a measuring cup and the coffee with a scale. Also you did not mention if you cleaned the grinder. You should do that too. Hope these suggestions help.

I measure the same every morning. I use ~ 5.5-6 tablespoons of medium grind along with five cups of water. This morning I used closer to six and that time it was a boldy skunkish flavor :) I actually cleaned the coffee maker again this morning with the Brew-Rite powder cleaner and 10-cups worth of boiling water. Coffee tasted a bit better, but not significantly.

I cleaned the coffee grinder a couple of days ago. It's a $50 burr-type Cuisinart. Unfortunately, if I could take the whole thing apart I'd clean it down to the burrs (can't get to the one inside), but I did clean the hopper with soap/water (and of course, thouroughly rinsed) and I cleaned the inside with a toothbrush as much as I can. But, I know for a fact that there's still old grinds in there. Maybe I could try some shots of compressed air. Am I nuts for going this far? Seems like I'm doing *everything* and the effort I give is way more than most people, but yet my coffee sucks!! :( My wife things I'm crazy, too ;) ;)

I think I can try buying an already ground bag of coffee from D&D tomorrow and try and rule out the grinder.

Thanks for your help.
 
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mike79

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Natalie's said:
also...

Brita is fine for filtration.

The minerals are good as long as they are from a consistant source (town etc.) and then filtered. If you have a well, the well water may have changed quality. You can get that tested too if the water tastes funny straight up. Remember most of coffee is water.

You can also try a french press to see the difference.

Great. I use Deer Park spring water that is delivered once a month. It's great water, so I didn't have any doubts about the quality.

When I looked in the water hopper this morning, I noticed some film and white stuff, along with a bitter smell. So, I decided to dismantle the entire coffee maker and clean all parts that come in contact with water (including the rubber tubes). Put everything back together and I was surprised to have a good cup of coffee!

I think I may realize what the problem was. A lot of times I have a bad habit of leaving the basket in the coffee maker with the grounds, for as much as en entire day. First guess is the steam (with oils, etc.) would dissipate from the grounds and onto the lid, where it would later fall into the hopper. Usually when I open the lid the next morning, fluid would run down into the hopper, thus mixing with my water. Go figure. Is that too far fetched?

Thanks all for the help. Perhaps I will run some a pot of water after each brew to keep the hopper clean.

Mike
 

mrgnomer

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Jan 22, 2006
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Canada
mike79 said:
I have to say that when I first bought this coffee maker, the coffee was great. But it seems as time goes on the coffee is tasting like skunk. I'm really dumbfounded as to why my coffee is tasting like this, after all I'm using good spring water, clean parts, and fresh ground coffee (I grind to a medium granularity). How the heck does D&D make great cups of coffee every day?

I appreciate your advice!

Thanks,
Mike

As far as I know good coffee is about getting certain variables into an ideal brewing range. Grind needs to be uniform, beans need to be fresh roasted, water temperature needs to be what, 195F to 205F, the grounds need to be fully saturated and the steep time needs to be sufficient to draw out the coffee from the bean. If any of the variables are way off the coffee will reflect that.

Automatic drip machines are notoriously poor at saturation and brew temperature. The best way I know of is to go manual: a kettle and a french press or a vacuum press paired with good fresh beans and a good grinder will make better coffee than any coffee shop out there short of a shop that roasts their own and is very concientious about quality.
 

morrisn

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Mar 27, 2006
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Coffee

It is possible you have some bulidup in your machine, try running through a vinegar/water solution and then several pots of clean water to flush it out.
 

equus007

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Apr 4, 2006
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Austin, Tx
skunk drippings

I would also recommend a french press. A little more work in the morning but much fewer parts to clean.
Also D&D has suprisingly good coffee. You should bear in mind however that like food coffee is always better when somebody else is serving it to you.
 
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