You drink a few cups every day, so naturally, you consider your coffee making abilities above average. But regardless of how long you’ve been making morning coffee, you probably often overlook a few of these steps. Fix these 10 flaws with your process and you’ll make the best, boldest, most delicious cup of joe you’ve ever brewed.
You don’t use water that is hot enough
Professional coffee shops always reach the ideal 195º to 205º temperature window for brewing, and that’s part of the reason their product tastes so great. Water temperatures in this range extracts the most flavor from the grinds. While you probably can’t make your commercial pot get any hotter, you can switch to the French press/pour over method, where you basically just pour hot water over ground beans and steep for four minutes. A French press will only run you about $30, but it allows you more flexibility in your brew.
You use pre-ground beans
The minute coffee beans are ground, they start to lose flavor. So if you’re buying pre-ground beans, by they are shipped, stocked, and sold to you, it’s likely already been a few weeks. This isn’t mentioning that it may take you another month to use up the bag! It’s best to buy a low-cost grinder (manual or electric) for your home. Either one of these will have coarse or fine ground options, giving you further customization of your cup of coffee.
If that’s not something you want to get into, at the very least, grind your own beans at the grocery store.
Also see, 8 ways to recycle coffee grounds.
You use a cold coffee cup
Restaurant food stays warm and satisfying longer because they warm the plates. The same can happen for your cup of coffee. Prolong your sipping experience by pre-warming your cup. You can use a bit of the boiling water from your pot or even just let it sit with hot water from your faucet until it’s time to pour.
You drink from any, old cup
Those dainty cups that came with your place settings, or those crappy mugs you inherited aren’t doing you any favors. Thin cups like those lose heat faster. Choose a thick-walled cup, like those used in a diner, to help maintain the coffee’s perfect temperature.
You use stale beans
Sure, you bought the bag of beans and you want to use them all up. But if you’re only an occasion coffee drinker, chances are pretty good, your beans are going stale. The best tasting beans have been roasted within the last three weeks. Always check the expiration date before you buy, and never buy more than you think you can get through within another week or two.
Buy in as small of packages as possible, and go back when you need more.
You store your beans wrong
There isn’t one right place to store your coffee beans, but you want a spot that is low humidity — ideally humidity free. You also don’t want to store your beans in the bag they came in. Transfer beans to an airtight container and place them on a cool shelf in the back of the pantry.
You overlook the extras
Coffee shops are great because they let us choose from special sugars and milks. If you’re just splashing in your everyday skim milk from the fridge, and sprinkling in plain white sugar, no wonder it doesn’t taste as good as Starbucks. Purchase those brown packets of raw sugar (turbinado sugar), which just taste better. As for the milk, add a pint of whole milk or half-and-half to your shopping list every week, and you’ll enjoy your homemade coffee much more.
You don’t make exact measurements
If you’re eyeballing the amount of beans and water you’re using, you’re going to need to break that habit if you want your coffee to get better. Great coffee comes from precise measurements. For a standard-sized (34-ounce) French press, use about eight heaping teaspoons.
For any coffee maker, the rule of thumb is to use two heaping tablespoons of coffee beans per cup, and then modify to your taste from there in future brews.
You don’t clean your coffee maker
Like any other appliance, you can’t ignore your coffee pot — it needs to be cleaned regularly. The carafe, filter basket, lid, and exterior, all need to be cleaned with soapy water after every use. At least once a month, you should run a cycle with water and vinegar to help rid it of any odd flavors or smells.
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