30 Easy Tips for Making the Perfect Cup of Coffee

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Our All-Time Top 30 Coffee Tips

If you have a regular automatic drip grinding machine in your kitchen like most homes, you probably drink your morning coffee while wishing you could enjoy a brew from a coffee shop instead. 

But, the problem might not be your machine, at least entirely. Check out these tips to improve your brew and enjoy a perfect cup of coffee.

1. Grind right before brewing

Pre-ground beans save time and effort, but unfortunately, they also taste worse. Once your beans are ground, they quickly begin to lose flavor as they are exposed to air. By the time you brew them, they are likely to have lost considerable flavor leading to a weaker brew.

For this reason, airtight storage is essential, even if you don’t grind your own beans. If you do want to start grinding your own beans, aim for Burr grinders. These grinders produce a more consistent grind that will allow you to get more flavor from your grounds.

2. Chill Your Coffee Beans

According to a recent study, grinding your coffee beans when cold can lead to more uniformly ground smaller particles that create a better flavor. This means you can get better flavor from using an equal or lesser amount of coffee.

To try this, just pop your beans in an airtight container in the freezer and grind them when you are ready to use them. Just remember to still use fresh beans instead of leaving them in there forever.

3. Use a Pour-Over Dripper

Making coffee with a pour-over device takes more effort than using an automatic drip coffeemaker, but it really allows you to control the entire coffee-making process. This gives you the ability to change the end result, in other words, the flavor.

Plus, your average automatic drip machine sprays coffee in making short streams. Whereas in a pour-over, it is possible to keep the grounds saturated with a constant stream. This prevents temperature loss and brews coffee faster as well.

4. Preheat Your Machine

Making good coffee requires a precise water temperature, preferably between 198° to 200° Fahrenheit. However, the first time your machine runs for the day, its parts are all cold. This can lead to temperature losses before your water has time to brew your beans.

Luckily, this is easy to solve by running your machine before you insert the grounds. This will preheat your system and give it a good cleaning too. Depending on your machine, this can easily add 20° onto your system the next time you run it.

5. Reusable Coffee Pods

There’s no denying it, K-cups are convenient, but often they just get in the way of making coffee the way you want it. Fortunately, there is an easy solution to this problem without buying a new machine. Purchase a reusable K-cup.

These are sold by many manufacturers, even Keurig themselves. With this, you can make coffee the right way and more environmentally friendly at that. Now you can grind the beans right before making the coffee and generally use nearly twice the grounds typically contained in a K-cup.

6. Store Your Beans Correctly

Your beans aren’t going to last forever no matter how you store them, but with the correct techniques, you can make them last a lot longer. The best way to store your beans is to vacuum seal them with a one-way valve to let gas exit.

However, this can be costly and difficult, so a simple mason jar can suffice. Try using a mason jar roughly sized for the amount of coffee you are storing.

7. Prepare Your Grounds

Most coffee makers skip one easy step that can help your coffee’s flavor, pre-infusion. This step is often referred to as bloom by coffee enthusiasts. This process is done by pouring some hot water over your grounds to allow carbon dioxide gas from roasting to escape the grounds before brewing. Otherwise, it can repel water during the brewing process resulting in a weak brew.

To allow your grounds to bloom, simply insert the grounds into your filter, then heat about ¼ cup of water to about 200°. Pour the water over the grounds wetting the whole thing. Wait 45 seconds, and you are ready to brew.

8. Use a Weighing Scale

This is where pro coffee makers and amateurs are separated. Most people scoop out some coffee grounds, add water, and finish by mixing in cream and sugar. But, this inexact measuring can lead to too concentrated or diluted of a brew.

With a weighing scale, on the other hand, you can precisely measure your components to ensure the right ratio of components every time. This may seem extreme, but it’s actually not very hard to use most kitchen scales.

9. Pick the Right Coffee Bean

Coffee beans come in many different types, such as Arabica, Robusta, and many other less-produced varieties. These can have an enormous impact on the final flavor of your brew.

Try experimenting with your coffee bean selection and choose the ones that taste best. For the two most common types, Arabica is generally thought to have the best flavor, and Robusta has the most caffeine.

10. Regulate the Heat

Heat and flavor go hand in hand when brewing coffee. If the water is too hot, your coffee will often come out bitter but too low, and it is thin. For the best flavor, try brewing your coffee between 198° and 200°.

11. Experiment with Various Coffee-Making Methods

There are many ways to make coffee, from a drip machine to French-pressing to countless more. Many of these methods are easy such as coffee bags, pour overs, and cold brewing.

So, why not try a few and see what you like. You just may find a method that you like more than your old automatic drip machine.

12. Watch Water Quality and Quantity

Most homeowners simply fill their machine at the faucet and brew but remember, what goes in your coffee maker comes out. So, if your water quality is poor, it will affect the taste.

Also, many homes have hard water, which will give a mineral taste to your coffee. So, if you find your water doesn’t taste great, consider getting a filter and using it for your coffee water.

13. Try Some Cold Brew Coffee

Drinking cold brew coffee is not only tasty, but it can also save you time as well. You can make enough for a whole week if you want. Then, you don’t have to worry about making coffee for a while. You can make up a batch of concentrate and then add water when you are ready to have your coffee. You can add cream and sweetener as well.

14. Have Your Own Coffee Mug

It’s a good idea to have your own coffee mug, one you really like. This makes it more likely that you’ll make your own coffee. Although, you need to keep it clean and ready to use. Otherwise, you may not be inclined to make your own coffee. It could be tempting to just buy a cup of coffee. But, if you have a nice clean mug of your own ready to be used, you might just save yourself some money and make your coffee yourself.

15. Arrange Your Coffee Supplies in One Place

One thing you can do to make brewing coffee easier is to keep all your supplies in one place. You could set aside an area of your kitchen just for making coffee. You can put all your supplies in this area, such as your coffee maker, coffee, mugs, sugar, and anything else you think you will need. This way, you don’t have to run around gathering supplies every time you make coffee. You can use the time you save to relax and enjoy your coffee.

16. Warm Your Mug

Keeping your coffee properly warm can help preserve its flavor. This is especially true of pour-overs. It’s a shame to get the temperature just right and then pour it in a cold coffee cup. It’s even more of a shame if you’re using expensive coffee. So, it’s a good idea to warm your coffee mug before pouring your coffee into it. You can use hot water to do this. You’ll find that preheating your mug will help your coffee stay warmer longer and keep its flavor.

17. Use Your Coffee Beans Quickly

It’s tempting to use your coffee beans sparingly, especially if they are expensive, but this isn’t a good idea if you want your coffee to be good. When coffee gets beyond its freshness date, it begins to taste like cardboard. This isn’t a pleasant taste, so it’s better to use your coffee beans while they still taste good. It’s also a good idea to buy smaller bags of coffee to help ensure that you use the coffee quickly.

18. Don't Use Boiling Water

Coffee is usually better if you make sure the water you use is just below the boiling point. 200 degrees works best, to be precise. But, you may not want to be quite this precise. So, one way to get the temperature about right is to wait about 30 seconds after your water boils before using it to make your coffee. If you’re willing to take this little bit of time, you should find your coffee tastes better.

19. Ratio

The ratio of water to coffee is an important part of making coffee. Generally, you’ll want a 1 to 16 ratio of coffee to water, although this can vary depending on the beans.

A better way to get the correct ratio is to weigh your coffee. 22 grams of coffee to 352 grams of water works best. Typically you are going to want to use 3 tablespoons of coffee for every 12 ounces of water. Although, some people like their coffee a bit stronger or weaker. You can experiment until you find what you like.

20. Be Careful Where You Buy Your Beans

Freshness is important. You want to know when your beans were roasted. If you buy your coffee beans from a roaster, you can probably ask when they were roasted. If you can’t do that, sometimes this is marked on the packaging. If you don’t have a date, vacuum-packed bags are best as they can help preserve the freshness. Buying coffee from bins in the grocery store is not a good idea. The beans are almost sure to be stale.

21. Serve Carefully

It’s easy to feel you’re done once you’ve done a good job making the coffee. But, you’re not finished yet. How you serve your coffee can affect the taste as well; even the cup you choose matters.

One reason for this is that smell is important for the taste of coffee, and some cups do a better job of preserving the coffee’s aroma. Thick cups hold in heat better and keep the coffee’s aroma longer. Espresso is served in these kinds of cups, which helps keep the coffee warm and pleasant smelling longer.

Watch how you keep your coffee on the heating plate as well. Leaving your coffee heating too long can affect the oils and ruin the taste of the coffee. If you need to keep your coffee warm for a while, put it in a thermal carafe. When it’s time to drink the coffee, you’ll be happy you did.

22. Make Sure Your Coffee Beans are Fresh

If you want a good cup of coffee, good quality coffee beans are a necessity. For coffee beans to be good, they must be fresh. Coffee isn’t really good beyond three weeks after it is roasted, and it’s best used within a week.

Most people don’t realize this, and so they don’t even check the roasting date. But, it’s essential you check for this date if you want quality beans.

If you want to lengthen the shelf life of your coffee beans, you can freeze them. Just be sure to use an airtight container. You may also find it convenient to separate the coffee beans into portions.

Cold brew coffee is another option for outdated coffee beans. Cold-brew coffee seems to turn out fine even with less than fresh coffee beans.

23. Create Your Own Blend

It’s not very difficult to create your own coffee blend. Choose two or three coffees that you like and think will go well together and blend them to make a customized coffee flavor.

You can’t do this wrong. It’s really a matter of taste; just start with coffees you like and put them together in any ratio you think would work well. You don’t need to use equal amounts.

Once you create your blend, make a cup of coffee to try it out. If it’s not good, you can try again.

24. Add Some Cinnamon to Your Coffee

Cinnamon is an excellent way to add some flavor to your coffee. It works well whether you like your coffee black or with cream. It’s also good for your health due to its anti-inflammatory properties. So, give it a try.

25. Use Liquid Sweeteners

If you use sugar to sweeten your coffee, you may find it sitting on the bottom of your coffee cup as you finish drinking your coffee. This is especially true if you’re drinking iced coffee.

One way to avoid this problem is to use a liquid sweetener. There are several varieties of liquid sweeteners you can use. Simple syrup is one of the more popular choices. But, whichever liquid sweetener you choose, it should blend into your coffee better, even with iced coffee.

26. Try Adding Some Orange Zest and Honey

It’s not unusual to flavor coffee with vanilla or cinnamon, but there are other interesting flavors. An interesting flavor combination you could try in your coffee is orange zest and honey. If you have the time, you could also make some coconut milk and add it to your coffee as well.

27. Avoid Adding too Much to Your Coffee

Adding milk, sugar, or some flavorings to your coffee can improve its taste. But, if you add too much, you can lose the taste of the coffee. It’s nice to improve the taste of your coffee, not cover it up. Try tasting your coffee before adding anything to see what it tastes like. Then, you can judge what you think will improve the taste.

28. Don't burn Your Coffee Beans

If you roast your own coffee beans, it pays to be careful. Roasting your beans longer won’t increase the flavor. You should roast the coffee beans for around 10-20 minutes. If you burn the coffee beans, you’ll end up with bitter coffee.

29. Drink Coffee While It's Fresh

You can keep your coffee warm on a warming plate, but you can’t keep it fresh. You’ll just be drinking warm, stale coffee. Rather than keeping your coffee warm for hours, why not brew a fresh cup? You’ll enjoy it more.

30. Use a Reusable Filter

One thing you can do to try to improve the taste of your coffee is to use a reusable mesh or plastic filter. Some people believe that paper filters can taint the taste of coffee made in a drip coffee maker. Paper filters can also remove some of the oils from the coffee, thus removing some of the flavors.

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