| Brushes, detergent, coffee pot: Partners in grime. Photo: Erin Meister
First storage, now cleanliness? I guess I'm getting a little domestic on y'all.
Coffee machine cleanliness is super important and, sadly, all too easily overlooked in both the café and the kitchen. The coffee oils that become your French press' ring around the collar are incredibly tenacious little suckers -- think of them as the caffeinated cousins to the crust in a skillet after cooking with oil. If left there, they can turn rancid (yuck!) and infiltrate every cup you make.
But don't pop open that vinegar bottle yet, friends: Vinegar's strong flavor and scent can overpower coffee by lingering if you don't rinse and rinse (and rinse and rinse). Not only that, but it probably won't banish all that stubborn residue on its own.
How to get rid of coffee oils after the jump.
Consider investing in some inexpensive, fast-acting, taste- and odor-free coffee machine detergent, like this or this: A few minutes' soaking and a quick scrub should remove the offending goop from your Mr. Coffee, Chemex, press pot -- you name it.
Using the proper cleaning brush for your equipment is important, too: You want to get in every nook and cranny. For home espresso machines, the Coffeetool is super handy, while for larger pots and carafes a simple bottle brush will do the trick. Even basic scouring pads work wonders. (I also always have a regular paint brush around for sweeping runaway grounds off the counter.)
Make cleaning a regular part of your coffee routine, always remember to rinse everything thoroughly afterward, and rinse your coffee making device after each use -- it'll make life much easier and the coffee much tastier.