We all love coffee, but for many people, it can be difficult to make coffee taste good at home. Basically, the taste of coffee can be affected by a variety of factors, including the type of beans used, the brewing method, and even the water. But with a little bit of knowledge and some simple techniques, anyone can learn how to make coffee taste good. In this article, we will discuss some tips and tricks for making the perfect cup of coffee, from selecting the right beans to mastering the art of brewing. Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or just looking to improve your morning brew, this guide will help you achieve that perfect cup of coffee every time.
Remember!! The “perfect” cup of coffee is the one that tastes good to you.
Table of Contents
Start With Good Water
If you want to know how to make coffee taste good at home, Water, is the single most important ingredient for a perfect cup of coffee. Also, it is the most often overlooked. The average cup of coffee contains over 98% water.
Never use: hot tap water, water that contains chemicals (chlorine, fluoride, etc.), artificially softened water, sparkling water, mineral water, water that has been standing, or any water that has any undesirable taste or odor.
Aerated, naturally soft water is the ideal. More readily available, bottled spring water is a good second choice.
If you must use tap water, install a good commercial type chemical, taste & odor filter in the line. These cost anywhere from about $70.00 to $150.00 but the benefits are well worth the investment. No matter how efficient your brewing device or how fresh your coffee, you will never get more than a mediocre cup of coffee without good water.
The amount of soluble solids dissolved in water, is usually expressed as a percentage of the weight of the coffee grounds. Optimum extraction of 19% can be obtained by using one Approved Coffee Measure (1 ACM = 2 tablespoons or more precisely one third ounce) of coffee per six ounce cup of water, using proper brewing procedures of course.
Grinding coffee too fine for your brewing method (to make it go farther, make it stronger, etc.) is probably the most frequent abuse of good coffee today and only results in over-extraction and a bitter cup of coffee.
Grinding too coarse results in less than 19% extraction, producing a weak, light-bodied coffee. See our Grinding Guide. Even properly brewed espresso does not exceed 19% extraction.
Always use freshly roasted, fresh ground coffee. No matter how it’s packed, coffee beans begin to lose their peak flavor one week after they are roasted and three days after ground.
Whenever possible, purchase your coffee from a small, experienced, discerning, local, specialty coffee roaster. They usually buy the best grade of green coffee beans, do not roast more than they can sell in a few days and you will get a better grade of coffee for less money.
If there is no local roaster, ask your coffee merchant when the coffee was roasted and be sure that he will guarantee his coffee. You gain no advantage over ground, vacuum packed or canned “store” coffee by grinding beans from a “gourmet” store that are more than a week out of the roaster.
Never store ground coffee in the refrigerator
coffee stored in a refrigerator will sweat from condensation resulting from taking it out and putting it back, will lump up and the flavor will be altered.
Coffee is best stored in the bean form in specially designed laminated foil, one-way valve bags. The materials are designed to keep the coffee fresh while keeping foreign odors out.
If you are not going to use the beans in a week, place the bag in a freezer and grind only what you need right out of the freezer. Make sure you turn the top of the bag down to the unused portion of the beans, and close it with the attached tin-tie, to remove all possible air (something you can’t do with a rigid container).
A rigid container will leave an air space when beans are removed, allowing “freezer burn” when returned to the freezer. Never use a polyethylene plastic container as it breathes and will allow foreign odors to contaminate the coffee.
Preparing the Brew
There are many methods of brewing coffee: percolator, drip, French press, vacuum, espresso, cold water, etc.
Never use a percolator as they only boil the coffee over and over resulting in over-extraction. Automatic, programmable coffee-makers are fine if gadgets or gimmicks are your thing, but water that sits overnight looses oxygen, becomes stagnant and will alter the taste of the coffee.
Even the ones that grind the beans are more for the person who has everything, not the serious coffee gourmand. Because the “drip” (Melitta or filter) method is generally accepted as the most efficient (the design allows you to use a fine grind), that is the one we will discuss here.
Even this method is improperly referred to as “drip,” but that is another story.
Appropriately grind the correct amount of coffee beans for your brewing method (fine grind for Melitta type filters) and place it in your filter. If you use an electric coffee-maker, you may have to do some experimenting with different grinds as that will be your only means of controlling extraction.
Boil the proper amount of cold, fresh, spring water (boiling aerates the water – not possible in an electric coffee-maker). By the time you remove the water from the burner it is no longer boiling and will be the proper temperature when you pour it over the ground coffee.
(You can skip the boiling part if you like your coffee iced. Instead, use the Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker to make your brew.)
Notice that the coffee grounds adhere to the sides of the filter. By design your filter cone has small ribs that allow the water to pass through the sides of the filter as well as the bottom, thus insuring proper brewing time for optimum extraction.
Never make more coffee than will be immediately consumed as coffee left on a warmer more than one-half hour will oxidize and lose its flavor. If you must keep it warm for longer periods, pour it into a pre-heated vacuum thermos.
Remember, the measurements discussed above under “Extraction” apply no matter what brewing method you use. Using the optimum extraction of 19%, all coffee is the same strength. If you want a stronger flavor, use a different variety of coffee. If you require a weaker coffee, make it regular strength and add hot water.
How to Find Quality Beans
Specialty coffees require special care to ensure a rich, flavorful reward. One of the most important considerations in buying coffee beans is the length of time the beans have been stored after roasting. Find out what day the store you shop in gets shipments from its wholesale roasters, or better yet, if possible, buy direct from an experienced, discerning, specialty roaster. Coffee begins to stale right after roasting and it really becomes noticeable after two weeks. Stale beans will have a musty or dusty scent to them.
Pay attention to how the beans are displayed. Can foreign particles get into the coffee? Are customers allowed to handle or smell the coffee? Is smoking allowed? Are the employees allowed to smoke around the coffee? Is ventilation adequate to remove strong cologne & perfume odors?
Coffee is best displayed in disposable containers. Stale oils left in re-usable containers will contaminate the next batch of coffee stored if not cleaned regularly. Is the storage air-tight? Does the package they sell the beans in provide adequate protection after leaving the store? Air, dampness and foreign odors are the enemies of freshly roasted coffee.
7 FAQs on How to Make Coffee Taste Good At Home.
- What are the best beans for making coffee?
I dare say that the best beans depends on personal taste, but generally, Arabica beans are considered to be of higher quality than Robusta beans and have a more complex and nuanced flavor profile, hence a superior taste. You can never go wrong with coffee beans that are whole beans, freshly roasted, have a clear roast date, and are from a reputable source.
It is important to check the roast date, since coffee loses its flavor a month after roasting. That is why most coffee beans found on the grocery store shelves do not have a roast date. You can find fresh coffee in local coffee shops around you or local roasters. All you have to do is ask for freshly roasted coffee, preferably, 2 – 3 weeks old coffee when at its peak flavor.
However, if you are clueless on where to start, always buy specialty coffee since it has been graded by experts who know all the nuances there is to know about coffee.
- How should I grind my beans?
The grind size should be appropriate for the brewing method you are using. For instance, a fine grind is best for espresso, a medium grind is best for drip coffee, and a coarse grind is best for French press.
Pro-Tip: Always grind your coffee minutes before brewing to enjoy a superior taste. Coffee starts to lose its taste 30 minutes after being ground. Thus, you want it freshly ground.
For beginners, a medium to medium-fine grind will work just fine for you, as you develop your flavor profile.
- How much coffee should I use?
A general rule of thumb is to use 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water. This means 1 tablespoon for lighter coffee, and 2 tablespoons for a stronger taste. Therefore, the amount of coffee you use depends on personal taste and the preferred strength of the coffee.
Most people wonder how the golden coffee ratio translates to brewing their pot of coffee at home using a coffee maker. Ideally, as standard coffee maker brews 12 cups. Thus, you will need 12-24 tablespoons of ground coffee. This produces 12, six ounces servings, equivalent to 6 standard coffee mugs that carries 12 ounces. To achieve a different serving, adjust the ratio accordingly.
Pro-Tip: Once you have established your perfect cup of coffee, kindly write down your favorite coffee recipes and ratios for different brews on a stick-note and keep it next to your coffee station. This saves you time and ensures you enjoy a consistent flavor profile.
- How can I make sure my water is the right temperature for brewing?
The ideal water temperature for brewing coffee is between 195-205°F (90-96°C). If the water is too hot, it can scorch the coffee and make it taste bitter. If the water is not hot enough, the coffee will be under-extracted and taste weak.
Kindly note that most automatic coffee makers do not boil to the correct temperature. If your coffee maker does not have an automatic thermometer, run it without any coffee and use a thermometer to check when it reaches the optimal temperature for coffee brewing. Alternatively, you can pre-boil the water manually by letting the water come to a full boil. Let the water sit for a few minutes before using it to brew the coffee.
- How long should I brew my coffee?
The brewing time will depend on the method you are using. For drip coffee, it should be around 4-6 minutes. For French press, it should be around 4 minutes. For pour-over, it should be around 2-3 minutes. Again, all this depends on your preferred taste.
- How can I improve the taste of my coffee?
Experimenting with different beans, grinds, brewing methods, and water temperatures can help to improve the taste of your coffee. Finally, using fresh beans and clean equipment will also make a significant difference in the taste of your coffee. So, keep experimenting and in no time you will be a pro in how make coffee taste good at home.