How to fix common coffee mistakes

9 Common Coffee Mistakes and How to Fix Them

Getting your cup o’ Joe just right might be trickier than you imagine. This is why, even with the right equipment and beans, you may not be able to brew the perfect cup. Well, there is good and bad news for you.

The bad news is that you are probably doing more than a couple of things wrong. The good news is that the tips below will help you correct these coffee mistakes right away.

So, let’s get started on finding out how to get the ultimate brew and correct those coffee mistakes right now.

1. Not Matching the Roast to the Brewing Method

French press with medium roasted coffee and beans

At the end of the day, it is up to each coffee drinker to decide how he or she wants to brew their java. However, did you know that you need to match your roast to your coffee brewing method? Well, probably not and that might be why your coffee lacks that ultimate flavor.

Now, you are probably aware of the different types of roasts but let’s go over them anyway.

The spectrum is organized like this:

Light Roast > Medium Roast > Medium-Dark Roast > Dark Roast

Typically, the lighter roasts are more acidic while the darker roasts have a bitterer flavor. Considering this, you need to use the right roast for your brewing method.

  • If you prefer using a French Press, then a light or medium roast will be best. 
  • Relying on a drip coffee maker? If so, a medium roast will offer up the ideal flavor. 
  • With a Pour Over brewing method, you have a few more options – medium, medium dark, and dark roast are suitable, depending on your palette.
  • For brewers with an espresso machine, a medium to dark roast will give you the best possible flavor.

2. Storing the Beans Poorly

Two airtight jars with coffee beans on a counter

As you are well aware, coffee has a number of health benefits for you. It can boost your brain and body and make it easier to ward off a number of other diseases. However, if you don’t store your beans properly, all of these advantages will go out the window.

See, when coffee beans are stored properly, there is an increased chance of them getting moldy. As you can imagine, drinking a cup brewed from moldy beans is going to get you pretty sick. Even if it doesn’t, rest assured, you are going to end up with a nasty tasting cup of java.

There are a few rules to follow when storing coffee beans:

  • Rule 1: Buy a smaller amount
  • Rule 2: Don’t store beans for longer than 2 weeks  
  • Rule 3: Keep beans in a glass, airtight container
  • Rule 4: Place the container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight
  • Rule 5: Don’t place beans in the fridge or freezer for any reason!

As long as you stick to these guidelines, you will be fine.

3. Inconsistent Grind Sizes

Getting a good grinder is the first step to a great cup of coffee, but there is more to this process. The next thing that you have to focus on is getting the right grind size, each time. This, as you may have already learned, isn’t all that easy.

Coffee grinds that are too coarse will end up making your drink sour. Overly small grinds, on the other hand, create a too-bitter cup of Joe. To make sure that you are getting the right texture each and every time, use a coffee sieve.

As the name suggests, this sifts the coffee grinds, allowing the finer particles to sift through. It makes it easier to decide which of the grinds you should actually add to your coffee maker.

4. Using Tap Water

Filling up filtered water jug in kitchen sink

What’s the other main ingredient in your coffee apart from the grinds? That’s right, the water. So, it only makes sense for you to pay attention to what you are putting in your drip machine, French Press, or coffee maker.

While tap water is easier (and cheaper) to use, you may want to make the switch to filtered water. See, you have no idea whether the water coming through your taps is completely clean and it isn’t unusual to find chlorine and other minerals in it.

While these aren’t bad for you, they can alter the taste. However, by using filtered water, you are eliminating any unpleasant surprises and improving the overall flavor of the coffee.

5. Incorrect Beans to Water Ratio

For some reason or another, few coffee enthusiasts actually bother to get their coffee to water ratio just right. Well, this can throw off the balance of the two ingredients, resulting in a less-than-great flavor. So, let’s see how you can fix this.

According to the US National Coffee Association, there is a Golden Ratio to follow. You should use one to two tablespoons of ground coffee beans to every six ounces of water. The exact amount that you use will depend on how strong or light you like your coffee.

6. Using Dirty Equipment

If you use a coffee maker, then you are probably guilty of not washing it out as quickly or as often as you should. Hey, you’re busy in the mornings – it’s understandable. Unfortunately, it might be this slightly soiled equipment that is contributing to sub-par java.

To avoid this in the future, make it a point to dump out the grinds the moment you are done using it. Then, wash out all the parts with soapy water and dry them. If you are relying on a coffee machine, make sure to give it a good clean every month or so.

7. Not Thinking About the Cup

Four glass coffee cups pouring coffee into another glass cup

Brewing coffee is a process that goes beyond the beans, water, and brewing equipment. The cup that you pour your java into also contributes to the experience. This is why you need to start paying closer attention to it.

To start with never, ever use a plastic cup – glass is the only way to go. In fact, if you want to keep your coffee warmer for longer, opt for a thick-walled mug. These insulate the drink better.

Finally, always warm up the cup before pouring your hot coffee into it. First, add hot water to the cup, let it warm up, get rid of the water, and then pour in the coffee.

8. Using Milk and Sugar

Adding milk and sugar to a cup of coffee

Sure, there is nothing wrong with adding milk and sugar to your brew. However, if this is something you always do, you may want to ask the question why?

See, coffee that is brewed to perfection doesn’t really require any additions. Therefore, the need to add milk and sugar may be a sign that your coffee process needs some tweaking.

If you really can’t go without these additions regardless of the quality of your java, then make sure to use good stuff. Opt for whole milk and raw brown sugar or honey.

9. Not Keeping Track of Your Brewing System

Finally, brewing the perfect cup takes time, patience, and experience. Of course, there is a good chance that you don’t remember your brewing process from one morning to the next. If this is true, how can you possibly improve or stick with something that you did yesterday?

The solution to this problem is to start taking down notes every morning. Write down the type of beans and roast that you are using. Then, note down the grind size, grind and water ratio, brewing time, and more.

This will allow you to keep tweaking your process until you get it right.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, all of the coffee mistakes that you may be guilty of. Don’t worry, though. If you stick with the necessary solutions, you will find your daily cup of coffee improving in no time at all.

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