Maybe everyone already knew this, but I will say it anyway. The secret to making good coffee is the water. Or, as the Mrs. said, "it's the water, stupid!"
Tap water with chlorine and who knows what all just doesn't make good coffee. You need filtered water. Or, if money is no object, bottled water. (Which we had to use in FL because the water down there was so toxic.)
We used to have one of those screw-on faucet filters. It worked OK, but it was ugly and we suspect it was starting to make the faucet leak around the base. (Tip: Kohler faucets have a lifetime warranty and knowledgeable customer service reps who can tell you exactly what part you need and how to install it, and ship it out to you right away at no charge.)
For a while we had an undersink filter, but it affected the water pressure and didn't seem to filter water very well which is sort of the whole point. Plus it's wasteful to filter all the time even when you don't need filtered water, like for washing dishes or whatever.
Now we have one of those Pur pitchers. It takes a little extra time to filter and fill the pitcher, but it works great. We chose Pur filters because they theoretically filter more stuff than Brita or some of the others.
You could also use your refrigerator's water filter if it has one, but they generally don't seem to filter as well plus you will have to replace them more often and they are expensive.
What you don't need is a $175 Krups coffee maker. (In fact, I have given up on them after having a couple fail prematurely.) All you need is a $20 Mr. Coffee, or you can spring for an extra ten bucks to get one with a timer so your coffee is ready when you wake up in the morning.
Good coffee is obviously important, too. Right now we like the Dunkin Donuts Original Blend drip grind. It's available at stores, but you can get 1 lb. packages at Dunkin Donut shops that work out to be a little cheaper. There are lots of good coffees, though, and the quality makes a difference but not as much as the water.
Another secret to enjoying good coffee all day long is a good insulated carafe. If you leave the coffee pot sitting on the warmer very long it will scorch the coffee and ruin it, even if you have a fancy maker that cycles the warmer. After you get your first hot cup or two, pour the rest off into a carafe and it will stay hot for a remarkably long time.
We have found that the ones with a stainless steel exterior look nice but don't keep the coffee as hot for as long as the plastic ones for some reason. We have tried a couple, and even the stainless Thermos brand was a disappointment. Maybe the stainless steel acts as a thermal conductor causing more rapid heat loss. Who knows? Anyway, we have had good luck with the Copco brand thermal carafes.
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