All coffee lovers start their day with a cup of joe, to set the tone for their day ahead.. It is a welcoming feeling to wake up to that slightly sweet, with fruity or nutty notes, and the silky textured liquid.
But sometimes the taste or texture just seems… off. That sweet taste is burnt, or the taste is weaker than usual, or that silky texture is spoiled by remaining grounds. Something just does not seem right about it.
Coffee lovers who are new to the caffeine filled world, or the connoisseurs who know how to tell the difference between beans by taste alone, have all had this experience before. When we make coffee we sometimes make mistakes without realising it and that is perfectly fine – it is part of the learning experience.
If you are new to coffee (or maybe even a coffee connoisseur) these mistakes can still be made when we are not fully aware of them. Here are some common mistakes made when brewing coffee and some simple ways to fix them.
Too hot or too cold
When brewing coffee, it is important to ensure that your water is at the right temperature. Water that is too hot or too cold can affect the taste of the coffee. Here is how coffee is affected by hot and cold water:
Typically with most coffee brands, the ideal range of hot water you want to use is between 90°C to 96℃.
This doesn’t mean that pouring water that is 100℃ will burn your coffee immediately. However, prolonging the cooking time of coffee for hours can cause the coffee beans to have that burnt bitter taste.
There are also times when the water is underboiled. When water is below the ideal temperature, depending on what type of coffee is being used, the coffee will not be able to fully dissolve.
This means that there could still be coffee grounds left over in the cup, or the coffee is weaker and needs time for the flavour to be extracted.
When making coffee the water or the equipment is not always the issue, sometimes it can be the coffee beans. When the coffee beans are the issue it can be because of numerous different reasons:
- The quality
- They have gone stale
- The beans are pre-ground,
- You are storing the grounds/beans incorrectly
When looking for coffee a lot of us are most likely to go for a cheaper option, and who wouldn’t? Everyone loves a good deal.
But is it really a good deal, in this case, if you aren’t enjoying your morning. Buying a good quality coffee can be a bit pricey but we all deserve to spoil ourselves from time-to-time. Investing in a good quality coffee can add a world of flavour to your morning and be a nice start to any day.
Storing the beans
We all work best when we are in a comfortable environment and when we are out of the environment it isn’t a pleasant experience. In a way coffee is similar, it has environments it prefers and ones which it would rather avoid.
In this case coffee beans can’t stand oxygen and humidity. An easy fix for this is to store your coffee in an airtight container and put it in a dark and room temperature cabinet.
The beans are stale and the coffee subpar
Using old coffee beans that were roasted more than three weeks ago is a way to sabotage your morning routine. When coffee beans are no longer fresh this causes a musty aroma to come from the coffee and unfortunately that is also how it will taste.
Coffee grounds are made with numerous oils, acids, and chemical compounds that when fresh gives that sweet aroma and taste when brewed. Those compounds when exposed to oxygen begin to oxidise and the coffee becomes stale. Coffee grounds that are still fresh have a glossy appearance and leave oil on your hand when touched.
If your coffee is about a month old, make sure that its appearance still resembles that of fresh coffee, there isn’t a musty smell, and check the bag information to make sure it is still good.
Pre-ground coffee beans
One of the reasons coffee connoisseurs generally prefer buying coffee beans and grounding them themselves is because it gives the coffee more flavour. Coffee beans that are already pre-ground are weaker in flavour because once they have been ground that is when they release their flavour.
Additionally pre-ground coffee is more susceptible to the oxidation process, compared to whole beans. Meaning that pre-ground will last for less time and will become stale at a quicker rate.
These mistakes are made by everyone, whether you are new to the coffee world or a connoisseur. Regardless it should not be something that discourages you from learning how to make the perfect cup of coffee. Think of these mistakes as learning experiences and a part of the coffee journey to make you learn and be a little closer to your morning cup of coffee.