You don’t need to go to Starbucks to get a great cup of coffee — instead, you can brew your own that’s just as good, provided you follow a few simple steps. Consumer Reports has put together a guide for making “exceptional” coffee that includes five easy tips that everyone should follow, although at least a couple of them are common sense.
First, keep your coffee maker clean. I mean, you really shouldn’t have to be told this but having the remnants of stale coffee in your pot will make future pots of coffee taste worse. That said, in addition to standard cleaning with soap and water, Consumer Reports says you should consider rinsing your coffee pot out with vinegar at least once a month to scoop out any leftover odors.
Some other tricks include using water that’s filtered through a Brita instead of plain tap water; grinding high-quality coffee beans that you’ve kept “stored away from moisture, heat, light, and strong odors”; and using a quality coffee brewing machine that can “reach 195° to 205° F and maintain it for five or six minutes.”
For a more detailed breakdown of coffee-making tips, check out Consumer Reports’ full list here.