Sitting down with a nice cup of coffee in the morning is a great way to wake up and take a few moments to yourself before rushing out the door. But how is your coffee tasting? It's easy to get used to a routine and find yourself not really enjoying the taste of your trusted coffee. The great news is that you can take some simple steps to give your brew a boost.
01 of 10
Choose a Better Bean
It's easy to pick up the same coffee you've been drinking for years, but today's coffee selection is vast and impressive. From the local coffee shop to the grocery store, there are many great coffees available to explore.
A well-roasted coffee bean doesn't have to cost a lot, either. You can find some quality and affordable coffees if you're willing to give unknown brands a try. Simply look for the one-pound bags, and be sure to sample different roasts. The right bean for you is out there; you just have to find it!
02 of 10
Store Your Beans Properly
Once you get those coffee beans home, they need to be stored correctly so they stay fresh. That means an airtight container placed in a cool, dark, and dry location—not the freezer. If you use a clear container, put it in a cupboard away from the heat of your appliances.
Also, avoid stocking a large supply of coffee beans because they taste best shortly after roasting. Try to use whole beans within a month and ground coffee within two weeks.
03 of 10
Find the Best Grind
Freshly ground coffee is the most flavorful, and worth a few extra minutes of your time. There are several coffee grinder options, and everyone is going to find a personal preference. Some electric models automatically grind the beans as finely as you want, while others require manual adjustments and experimentation.
Once you find the best grinder for you, it's time to match the size of the coffee grounds to your brewing technique. The grind size determines how fast water passes through the coffee and how much flavor it extracts. If the water goes through too quickly, the coffee is under-extracted and will taste sour or acidic. Over-extracted coffee is the result of slow water flow and creates bitter or tasteless coffee.
The water pressure and flow are different for each style of coffee brewer, so it's important to choose the right grind size:
- Turkish Coffee: Super-fine grind like powdered sugar
- Espresso: Extra-fine grind similar to flour
- Stovetop Espresso (Moka Pot): Fine-grind the consistency of table salt
- Pour-Over Dripper: Medium-to fine-grind or (for Chemex) medium-to-coarse grind
- Drip Machine and Siphon Brewer: Medium grind similar to sand
- Cold Brew, French Press, and Percolator: Coarse grind like coarse sea salt
04 of 10
Measure the Ground Coffee
Each brewing method will require a different ratio of ground coffee beans and water. Use too little, and you have no flavor; too much, and you get thick mud.
The key is to find the perfect amount of beans for your brewer and how many cups of coffee you make at a time. A standard drip machine, for instance, uses one tablespoon of coffee for every cup of water. If needed, measure your beans with a kitchen scale to get the perfect amount for your taste every time.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Use Clean Water
No matter how you make it, coffee is nothing more than coffee beans and water. When you take care to select the right beans and find the ideal grind, the next logical step is to look at your water.
The best water to use when brewing coffee or tea is clean and cold. Distilled bottled water or filtered tap water will produce a better, cleaner tasting cup of coffee than water straight out of the tap.
06 of 10
Try a Different Brewing Technique
There are many methods to brew a cup of coffee, so you're not stuck with a traditional drip coffee maker. You might try, for instance, a pour-over style or a French press. Stovetop espresso makers, like the moka pot, and the popular Aeropress are excellent options as well. Each of these will create a rich, flavorful cup of coffee that often outshines a drip brewer. They may take a little more time and attention, and won't brew as many cups at once, but the result is often worth it.
If you have a small kitchen, these alternatives can free up valuable counter space and reduce paper filter waste as well. The same theory applies to single-serve coffee machines, which are convenient but leave you with no control over your coffee.
07 of 10
Clean Your Equipment
A coffee pot is not a cast-iron pan and it does not get better as it becomes "seasoned." The residue left behind from the brewing process will diminish the taste of your coffee, so it's important to clean your coffee pot.
With most presses, brewers, and stovetop pots, you can simply hand wash the pieces once a week or so. Some can be tossed in the dishwasher, but check with the manufacturer first.
If you notice that the coffee isn't brewing quite right, it may be time for a deep clean because tiny particles of coffee can clog up the brewer and filters. Check with the manufacturer for cleaning instructions. For many, you can use a vinegar solution: Mix equal parts of vinegar and boiling hot water and let the brewer pieces soak for several hours, then rinse thoroughly. If you heat water in a teapot, descale it regularly with vinegar and water as well.
For a drip coffee maker, clean the inner parts to remove coffee and mineral buildup. Use one part vinegar with two parts water and run it through the machine. Rinse it out with two or three passes of water until the water is clear and the vinegar smell is gone.
08 of 10
Avoid Old Coffee
Bitter, bad-tasting coffee is often the result of overheated or burnt coffee. It typically happens when you leave the pot on a warming burner until it dries up or someone at the office becomes desperate enough for an afternoon jolt. Worse yet is the practice of reheating it in the microwave!
If you want to truly enjoy your coffee, brew a fresh pot or cup. It's best to leave a pot on the warming plate for no more than an hour. To avoid wasting the coffee, place it in the refrigerator and enjoy iced coffee later in the day.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Explore Sweeteners and Creamers
Any cup of coffee can be doctored up with a variety of sweeteners and creamers. Some people say that a good cup shouldn't need additives, but it's your coffee, so mix in whatever you want!
Try a small slab of butter rather than milk or cream. Cinnamon makes an excellent sugar substitute, and flavored simple syrups are easy to make. Freeze some of that leftover coffee with milk and sugar into coffee cubes for a quick iced coffee, or create your own Irish cream (skip the whiskey if you like). Have fun, follow your mood, and you'll never have a boring cup again.
10 of 10
Learn to Make Coffee Shop Drinks
Watch the barista at the coffee shop whip up a few drinks, and you'll realize that they're not complicated. There are many ways that you can easily create coffee shop drinks at home.
For instance, a latte requires foamed milk, which requires a whisk and a saucepan. A café Americano can be made with a stovetop espresso pot and a teapot of water. Do you like flavored drinks? Syrups are the secret! Once you figure them out, you'll enjoy making them and save a lot of money in the process.