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.
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.
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
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!
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.