You probably already have your tried-and-true coffee-making routine. Sure, you’ve figured out how to make a decent cup of joe over the years, but there’s always room for improvement. There’s even a chance that a simple error is holding you back from achieving that perfect cup.
Make sure you avoid the following mistakes to take your coffee game to the next level.
This one seems like a no-brainer, but it bears repeating. We’ve all made the mistake of using old beans from that mystery bag sitting in the back of the kitchen cabinet. Don’t do it – freshness matters.
The longer you wait to brew coffee beans after they’ve been roasted, the less flavor they’ll have. Try to use your beans within a month of their roasting date for the best results. Two weeks or less is even better.
The best way to make a fresh cup of coffee is to grind the beans yourself. Only grind as much as you’ll need for one brewing. Otherwise, the volatile flavor compounds that you crave are dissipating into thin air with every passing moment.
If you choose to buy pre-ground coffee for convenience, try to buy in smaller quantities. This way, you won’t be stuck with dull, uninspiring grounds at the bottom of the bag.
Water is water, right? When it comes to coffee, not really. It’s a factor that most people overlook. But think about it, most of the stuff in your cup of coffee is water, so it definitely makes a difference.
Instead of using tap water, try using filtered water or bottled mineral water (not distilled). Impurities in tap water can affect the taste. It’s a primary reason your home-brewed coffee doesn’t taste like the stuff from the café around the corner.
While we’re on the topic of water, make sure it’s not too hot or too cold. This may be hard to do if you’re using a standard drip brewer, but it certainly applies to pour-over methods or a French press. A common mistake is to simply boil the water and use it at that temperature.
To get it ‘just right,’ buy a kitchen thermometer and bring the water temp to between 195°F (90.6°C) and 205°F (96.1°C). This temperature range is perfect for extracting the most flavor from your coffee beans.
We get it. It can be easier just to eyeball the measurements, especially when you’ve just gotten out of bed or are late to work. But the ideal ratio of coffee grounds to water is one of the keys to a perfect cup.
If you want to aim for perfection, invest in a kitchen scale and measure out the right proportions for your brewing style. It will pay off by producing consistent results every time.
Different brewing methods require different coffee ground coarseness. For example, espresso uses very fine grounds, while coarser grounds are better for a French press. Regardless of the style, your grounds need to be uniform so that the water can filter through in the optimal way.
If you’re using pre-ground coffee, then there’s a good chance it doesn’t match your brew method of choice. Instead, invest in a high-quality burr grinder like our Bodum Electric Burr Grinder, and you’ll be surprised by the difference in quality.
Coffee beans decrease in quality over time, but you can extend their life with proper storage. Fresh beans have two main enemies: oxygen and humidity. So, make sure that you’re using an airtight container and storing it in a cool, dry location. Some people might tell you to keep your coffee in the fridge or freezer, but those places are too humid.
You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money for a good cup of home-brewed coffee. Still, equipment does matter. Take some time to figure out what kind of coffee you like and which equipment will suit you best. Pour-over will produce different results than an Aeropress, so you’re bound to find your favorite with a little bit of experimentation.
Also, keep in mind that your choice of cup has a role to play too. Use a thick-walled ceramic mug or a glass coffee cup to keep your coffee hot for longer. Temperature has a significant effect on flavor. To start things right, pour some hot water into your cup first to warm it up and then dump it just before adding your coffee.
Feeling lost on what to do next? Check out our Brewing Gear Collection here, where we have all the best options for the perfect cup of coffee!
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