It is generally agreed that there are four basic elements critical to the perfect cup:
Element 1. Water: Coffee is 98% water. Often overlooked, the quality of the water is as important as the quality of the coffee. A good rule of thumb is that if your water doesn’t taste good from the tap, it won’t taste any better in your coffee. That’s why Cuisinart has added a water filter to the 14-Cup Programmable Coffeemaker. The charcoal water filter removes chlorine, bad tastes and odors, for the purest cup of coffee every time.
Element 2. Coffee: While the bulk of the liquid is water, all of the flavor should be from the coffee. To achieve the same great quality of coffee you receive at a coffee bar, you need to use the same quality beans. Buy the beans fresh and whole, only about a two weeks’ supply at a time for maximum freshness. Once the coffee bean is broken, its flavor degrades very quickly. If it is not practical to buy small supplies, we recommend you separate larger amounts of beans into one to two week portions immediately after purchase, and freeze them in airtight containers. The best way to maximize freshness is to minimize exposure to air, light and moisture. So, once removed from the freezer, beans should be maintained in a sealed container at room temperature, since damaging condensation occurs every time the beans are removed from the freezer or refrigerator. Note that some coffee experts advise against freezing dark-roast beans, because freezing can cause the oils to coagulate. Other experts disagree. We suggest you experiment and decide yourself.
Element 3. Grind: The grind of the coffee is critical for proper flavor extraction. If the grind is too fine, over extraction and bitterness will result. Too fine a grind may also clog the filter. If the grind is too coarse, the water will pass through too quickly and the desired flavors will not be extracted. A medium-fine grind is recommended.
Element 4. Proportion: Coffee that is too strong or too weak is always a disappointment. Add 1 level scoop of ground coffee per cup and adjust the amount according to taste. Note: the maximum capacity for ground coffee is 17 tablespoons for the 12-cup coffeemaker. Exceeding this amount may cause overflow if the coffee is too finely ground.