5 of the Easiest Coffee Hacks for a Tastier Brew

Talk to mostly any busy adult about their morning routine, and sooner or later they’ll tell you how much they rely on coffee for a little added energy boost.

There’s a certain protocol every morning, a regimen to follow. And most of us have a repeat procedure that we have personally perfected, an unbreakable ritual that gives us the liquid power we need to go, go, go!

But even when we think we have our routine down to a T, there’s always room for improvement in how we prepare one of our favorite beverages.

Horizontal image of a mug filled with a hot java beverage on a small plate next to beans on a wooden table.

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Do you want to enjoy better java, without spending half an hour or more every morning hunched over your kitchen counter coaxing your water to the right temperature?

When mornings are already strapped for time, you don’t have to overcomplicate what you have in your mug – but there are some quick hacks you can incorporate into your morning drinking routine.

Here are five of the easiest changes you can make for better-tasting coffee.

We’re keeping the options simple – from switching up the type of beans you buy to finding quick ways to reduce food waste.

Read on for more details!

Let’s get grinding!

1. Invest in Freshly Roasted or Single-Origin Beans

Enjoy all the benefits of fresh, expertly-roasted beans, or those grown and produced from a single, identifiable origin!

Visit your local, independent cafe if they roast their own beans directly on the premises. This is a fantastic way to support the businesses in your community, and gives you the big advantage of a fresher product.

Another product to purchase is a bag of specialty beans from your favorite growing region, offering you both a taste unique to the terroir and a transparency in production values.

Image of Stonewall Kitchen's Single Region Caribbean Sea Uno Whole Beans.

Vermont Coffee Company Organic Uno Caribbean Whole Bean Coffee

We like the light and sunny flavors of the Vermont Coffee Company’s Organic Uno Caribbean Whole Bean Coffee, a single-region arabica variety from the Caribbean. Buy a 16-ounce bag from Stonewall Kitchen.

Either of these options will make for the perfect gift for any java lover.

And we recommend trying at least a sip without cream or sugar for the full effect – the flavors might surprise you, in the best way possible!

2. Grind Your Beans Fresh

Grind whole beans at home, or grind them at the store when you buy them.

As soon as a bean is ground, it begins to release its volatile compounds. Pre-ground, pre-packaged options may have been sitting on the shelf for weeks, and continue to lose their delicate aromas and flavors over that time.

Why do you think the coffee aisle at the grocery store smells sooooo good?!

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder

Grinding them at home when you’re ready to brew will result in a fresher tasting, more flavorful cup and is one of the easiest steps you can take towards making a better beverage.

Need more help? Read our ultimate guide to purchasing the best grinder.

One of our top-rated models is the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Grinder. Read our in-depth review of this appliance before making your purchase on Amazon or Sur La Table.

The consistency of the grind is also a point to consider, as well. A coarsely ground bean works best for French presses, while a medium-fine grind medium is better for drip coffee.

For the freshest drink possible, it’s best to grind them immediately before brewing. But we understand the necessity to manage your time efficiently and take a few shortcuts!

You can choose to grind at home in bulk – but don’t grind any more than what you will go through within one week.

And it’s best to store anything ground properly – instead of pouring them back in the bag, use an airtight container to safely store them.

3. Try a Different Brewing Method

Experiment with different brewing techniques and appliances for an exciting update!

Switching from a drip pot maker to a French press or a pour-over device, such as the Chemex, can give you a completely different drinking experience.

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

Image of the Breville Bambino.

Breville Bambino Espresso Machine

Interested in trying your hand at crafting more specialty drinks?

An espresso machine is a serious purchase to consider for a java-focused home.

One with a milk steamer and frother will give you even more options for crafting a variety of cafe favorites like lattes and cappuccinos in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Simple and streamlined, Breville’s Bambino Espresso Machine is a compact machine that will fit easily on your countertop, and provides all the essentials you’ll need for the perfect shot of espresso.

It features a built-in steam wand for frothing milk, as well as simple push-button controls for ease of use.

Find the Breville Bambino now from Sur La Table or Amazon, or buy it directly from Breville.

4. Add Flavor

Packaged flavored products usually contain artificial additives that just don’t taste quite right to a consumer who values quality, authenticity, and purity.

But if you prefer a little more flavor than the coffee itself every now and then, you can add spices directly to your grounds for your own more natural take on a flavored drink.

Vertical image of one bottle of light orange liquid, with two glasses and two squash in the background.
Photo credit: Meghan Yager

All-Natural Pumpkin Flavored Creamer – Get the Recipe Now

Try mixing in one teaspoon of ground warming spices like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, or nutmeg with your grinds for a whole pot – or go for a mocha approximation with the same amount of cocoa powder.

But here’s a serious warning: do not add spices or flavored beans to a super-automatic espresso machine. The flavors may linger inside of the grinder, and the oily additives may clog the appliance, causing a malfunction. These damages may void most warranties.

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

If you don’t want to add dry spices, there are other ways of enhancing the flavor of your morning beverage.

Homemade syrups can be poured into your cup for an easy flavor update. Make a medley of infused simple syrups, and keep them in containers in your fridge for three to four weeks.

You can also make your own creamer – we have a lovely homemade pumpkin-flavored creamer for an autumnal treat, with no preservatives.

And for a perfect weekend or day-off treat, make any of our boozier beverages!

5. Freeze Leftovers

Do you often have leftovers, either because you miscalculated slightly and made too much or were too busy rushing out the door to finish the pot?

You might just reheat anything remaining to enjoy the next day, but many of us are guilty of just pouring it down the drain.

Vertical image of pouring milk into an iced beverage with ice cubes on a wooden plank.

Don’t let that lovely liquid go to waste in your household!

A smart solution is to freeze the leftovers!

Pour and divide the liquid into small ice cube trays, place them in your freezer, and let them set for a few hours to make cute and tasty ice cubes.

You can then use them in your homemade iced beverages – we think they would be perfect in a glass with our Vietnamese-style iced drink, or in a cold cocktail like our refreshing dark mint dream cocktail with espresso, cream, and white rum.

Just the Start!

While these five fabulous hacks are our personal favorites, there are tons of tips and tricks out there to transform your morning beverage routine into a better experience.

While you’re exploring various paths to boost the efficiency and enjoyment of your java, don’t lose sight of pursuing quality over convenience.

Aim your focus on finding options grown, roasted, and produced ethically and sustainably, purchasing high-quality equipment from reputable companies, and determining ways to reduce food waste in your kitchen.

Horizontal image of a hot, steaming beverage in a white mug surrounded by whole beans.

What are your own favorite hacks to save time without sacrificing flavor or quality? Let’s talk in the comment section below!

Need more advice on brewing the perfect pot of java? Foodal has the best brewing practices and advice to share with you. Here are three other guides to read now:

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Stonewall Kitchen, Amazon, and Breville. Uncredited photos via Shutterstock. Originally published July 5, 2015 by Mike Quinn. Last updated February 18, 2024.

About Nikki Cervone

Nikki Cervone is an ACS Certified Cheese Professional and cheesemonger living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.

25 thoughts on “5 of the Easiest Coffee Hacks for a Tastier Brew”

  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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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)

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

      Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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 ๐Ÿ˜›

    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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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’.

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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 ๐Ÿ™‚

    Eureka! Just bought some spices yesterday…one hack to be implemented tomorrow morning ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Reply
  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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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!

    Reply
  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.

    Reply

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