5 Easiest Coffee Hacks

Want to get better coffee without spending half an hour every morning huddled over your kitchen counter, coaxing your water to the right temperature? Here are the 5 easiest changes you can make for better-tasting coffee.

5 Easiest Coffee Hacks

1. Grind Your Beans Fresh

Or grind them at the store when you buy them. Pre-ground beans may have been sitting on the shelf for weeks, losing their delicate aromas and flavors to the air around them (that’s why the coffee aisle smells so good!)

Grinding them at home when you’re ready to brew, or at least the same week you buy them, will result in a fresher tasting, more flavorful cup and is hands-down the easiest step you can take towards making better coffee.

2. Use More Grounds

Some coffee science gurus encourage using up to 2 heaping tablespoons of coffee grounds per 6-oz cup, for less bitterness and more flavor. If that sounds too strong for you, just dilute with hot water after brewing for a smooth, rich cup.

3. Add Flavors

Packaged flavored coffees usually contain artificial additives that just don’t taste right without cream or sugar. But you can add spices directly to your grounds for your own more natural take on flavored coffee.

Try adding a teaspoon of an autumnal spice like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, or nutmeg in with the grounds for a whole pot of coffee – or go for a mocha approximation with cocoa powder.

Warning – Do not add flavors or flavored beans to a grinder or super-automatic espresso machine. The flavors may linger inside of the grinder and this voids most warranties.

Most super-automatic espresso machines have a separate chute for adding pre-ground coffee that bypasses the grinder.  

4. Try a Different Brewing Method

This one might be best to try on a weekend, but switching from a drip pot coffee maker to a French press or even a pour-over device can give you a completely different drinking experience.

Different methods extract different flavors from the beans, and using a mesh filter instead of a paper one leaves behind more insoluble particles, which adds richness and body.

There is some evidence that these particles can contribute to high cholesterol or other health problems, so it might be best to try this only as a special treat.

If you want to try your hand at specialty drinks, a stovetop espresso maker like a moka pot can give you a concentrated brew, or just use the stronger coffee recommended in tip #2 above.

5. Invest in Freshly Roasted or Single Origin Beans

Granted this hack isn’t exactly cheap, but for special occasions, nothing beats fresh, properly-roasted beans (you can find these online at small, independent roasters) or specialty beans from your favorite growing region.

Try at least a sip without cream or sugar for the full effect – the flavors might surprise you!

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About Mike Quinn

Mike Quinn spent 20 years in the US Army and traveled extensively all over the world. As part of his military service, Mike sampled coffee and tea from all virtually every geographic region, from the beans from the plantation of an El Salvadorian Army Colonel to "Chi" in Iraq to Turkish Coffee in the Turkish Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. He spent nearly a decade in the Republic of Korea where he was exposed to all forms of traditional teas. Mike formerly owned and operated Cup And Brew, an online espresso and coffee equipment retail operation.

25 thoughts on “5 Easiest Coffee Hacks”

  1. Hey Mike great post.I didn’t think of adding my own flavour! The girl loves the flavoured stuff but I always felt it was too artificial tasting (I also never add sugar)
    I would like to add to properly and promptly clean your coffee maker. I make sure mine gets a good rinse daily and a good flush monthly.

    • Jony, great point about cleaning your machine. A huge amount of off-flavoring can reside in residue and rancid oils that coat interiors and carafes.

  2. These are some great tips, especially the one about freshly roasted beans.
    Also, I’d like to add that if you are buying packaged coffee, then make sure to check how much chicory they have added to the blend, since most companies add chicory. Lesser the chicory, the better the taste (at least for me)

    • In the US, the chicory is really only included in prepackaged and pre-ground products in the South and then mostly centered in Louisiana.

  3. I’d never thought of adding spices directly to the coffee grounds! This is like a total epiphany to me! I’m going to try adding nutmeg the next time I go to brew my coffee, and hopefully I won’t have to add anything else for a totally awesome drinking experience. Thanks for the hacks!

  4. I actually have done several of these in the past, but have gotten sloppy and lazy, apparently, and need to reform my ways. I vow to pull out my burr grinder and put it to use. I have added cinnamon before, but I always added it directly to the already brewed coffee, not to the grounds, so I’ll have to try that. I’m also going to start using my french press on the weekends, so those brews will feel more special. Thanks for the tips, and the reminder.

    • Just take care NOT to run any spices through your primary grinder. Always use a different device for spices. You’ll be hard pressed to get all of the flavors out of the burrs.

  5. I love coffee, so I’m always looking for new ways to jazz up my morning cup of joe. I have only tried the 1 thing on this list and it was adding flavor to my grounds before I brew them. The other day I added cinnamon thinking it would taste good (because you know, in coffee shops you always see cinnamon or other kind of spices by the lids and sugar); I didn’t use too much because I wasn’t sure how it would work out, but to my surprise I liked how it tasted!

    However, my husband’s response, on the other hand, was to warn him if I was to do it again so he can get his morning hit of black juice at work 😛

    My husband and I are looking into getting a french press too, but our kitchen doesn’t have much space for it. Maybe when we move into a bigger house, then we can finally get one of our own!

    Thank you for these great tips!

    • A French press takes up very little room. If you’re that cramped for space, I’d recommend ditching the drip pot if that’s what you have and buying a press to replace it – or perhaps a Chemex if you’re concerned about cholesterol.

  6. I love all of these tips in the article. In the coffee maker I have at home, it has a mesh filter instead of using paper. I would have to try adding spices next time I make another cup as a tasty experiment.

  7. I’ve heard keeping your grinds (not sure about beans though) in the freezer keeps them fresh too. New coffee drinker myself so I’m not sure I’ll be able to tell when they are ‘stale’.

  8. I admit I have spent way too long drinking what most people would consider bad coffee. My journey started at a humble place; I bought the cheapest grinds and then heaped it into my automatic drip pot. I made pure rocket fuel. Later on I graduated to a Keurig when my dad bought me one for Christmas. It was the first time I ever had a flavored product and it really opened my eyes to different flavors and roasts. Then the Keurig broke so now I make cold brew using yummy, freshly ground beans.

    Now that I am making cold brew I am very excited about adding some flavors to the mix like this article suggests! What an inspiring article! Can’t wait to make my next batch!

  9. I’m really bad at making good coffee, so these are some good tips. Some of them are common sense, like freshly ground coffee is bound to be better. However, if you don’t have that option, I suppose adding flavor to cover the taste of bad coffee can’t hurt.

  10. Hopefully these tips help me because I suck at making coffee. It’s probably because I have no desire for it, but my husband LOVES the stuff. Everytime I make it, its just too weak or leaves a weird aftertaste. My husband pretends it’s not that bad, but I know he’s like “why did I let this woman make coffee”? Lol. Anyway, thank you! I’ll let you know how it turns out for me. Great tips. I especially love the idea of adding my own spices.

  11. There are some great tips here. Freshly grounds beans definitely make the best brew. To me there is nothing better then a nice cup to get your morning started and even better when its an awesome one. It makes your day better right from the start. I am not a fan of flavored coffee by my husband is so he would love the idea about adding flavoring. Thanks for such a great article. I will put it to good use.

  12. What a great article! I am such a purist when it comes to my brew, simpler is better for me. I agree with the idea of adding flavorings instead of using pre-flavored blends. If I want something a little different, I add cinnamon or a bit of chocolate or vanilla to my cup.

  13. The art of coffee making is hard to master. The truth is the more time you spend carefully preparing your brew the better it tastes. But honestly with these hacks I think you could get pretty good beverage in a short amount of time. I have never really bought my own beans but I do own a grinder. So I am going to buy some good quality beans grind them and see if it changes the quality of the brew. I love the tip about flavorings. I have never thought of making my own. All those flavored varieties from the grocery store are gross , but a homemade mocha sounds great.

  14. Nice post! It really does remind me to just do myself a favor and buy the beans freshly ground. I don’t know why I never thought of to add my own flavoring. I guess when I think of coffee flavoring, I think of vanilla or caramel sauces. I never thought of nutmeg or cinnamon, but now that it’s mentioned, it sounds awesome! Another addition that some people like is coconut oil. I find the oil to be too greasy, so I use coconut milk instead. I also like that you mentioned to use the same beans on different machines/methods. You may find your favorite flavor!

  15. Great post! I just wanted to say that I can’t emphasise enough how wonderful freshly ground coffee tastes compared to what you get off the shelf. I started grinding my beans at home last year and I’m so glad I did. I can definitely taste the difference. As a daily drinker, life is too short for a sub-par brew!

  16. Quite an informative post I must say, Its been awhile since I indulged in a hot cup in the morning…all due to morning rush, glad to have some hacks close by, to be put to use 🙂

    Eureka! Just bought some spices yesterday…one hack to be implemented tomorrow morning 😉

  17. I love coffee so thanks very much for the tips Mike! I never knew that my paper coffee filter has such a bad health affect. I’ll have to definitely try out tip number 5. 🙂 Well, I know where that bag of coffee is going now (trash, though really sad) and I’m gonna go get myself some freshly grind coffee this weekend! This was a very helpful post – thanks again. 🙂

  18. I’m not a big coffee fan but adding flavors to every cup of coffee of mine since I found out about flavoring them has made them much more desirable to me. I usually overdo it when it comes to pouring the flavor into my cup to the point where it doesn’t even taste like coffee anymore. Hopefully these other hacks can help me find coffee more enjoyable without having to drown it in vanilla extract.

  19. Thanks for sharing these hacks with us! Is actually pretty useful for me since I already have a coffee routine in the morning an all my coffees basically taste the same, and you’ve given me some pretty good ideas, I really liked the adding flavors to it, sometimes what is seems to be a small change can definitely become a game changer if you know the perfect way of how to use it. 😀

  20. I remember that when I was young, my aunt had newly bought a mini-coffee grinder then me and my sister played with it -i.e. simply used it, lol. Then we’ll drink the coffee we brewed from what we just ground 🙂 Man, this sure makes me want to buy a coffee grinder and try to do those tips, especially #3. Hmmmm, cinnamon coffee~ I love cinnamon and I love coffee, what a great mix!

  21. Well I started grinding my own beans a couple of years ago and I have not looked back since, and frankly anything that comes from a jar already ground I am a little weary of. Of course I still drink it, but the taste is not the same. I also agree with switching up the brewing process every once in a while, and having a good French press on hand is a great way of doing that, plus it helps in case the power goes out.

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