Coffee Brewing Mistakes - How To Fix Them

Coffee Brewing Mistakes - How To Fix Them

Coffee concentrate on a table with a black kettle

Coffee is a common drink in our everyday lives. But not many enjoy coffee to its fullest potential because of some mistakes. These mistakes are keeping you away from making a perfect cup of coffee. Knowing how to avoid these pitfalls will improve your coffee-making skills greatly. Here, we will look at the common mistakes people make while trying to brew coffee. 

Using overheated water 

An important aspect of good coffee making is using the right water temperature which is 91 to 96 Degrees Celsius. If you use water that is not hot enough, you'll end up with a sour, under-extracted brew. If you use water that's too hot, it will turn out bitter and over-extracted. Thus, when it comes to brewing coffee, water temperature heavily influences the flavour you experience in a cup. 

If you want to master the art of coffee making, you should invest in a good thermometer so you won't get it wrong. Though consistency can be achieved when you brew just one cup, a thermometer is useful when brewing a pot of coffee. 

Using coffee beans that are not fresh 

The time between coffee roasting and brewing is important. It affects the taste of the final pour. The fresher the beans, the richer the cup you get. Buying stale beans is a common mistake people make, they have little awareness about how long coffee beans last. You shouldn't buy coffee beans with no information about when they were roasted.

Checking the roast date is the only way to ensure you have the freshest beans for the best tasting brew. When you buy coffee from coffee hero, we deliver the beans immediately after roasting. BUY HERE. Our coffee also has roast dates. 

Freshly roasted coffee beans from coffee hero

If you have gotten more coffee than you require, you can store them properly in canisters.

Learn more: Best way to store coffee beans 

Brewing with unclean equipment  

It is important to clean your brewing equipment regularly to ensure your coffee is not spoilt by other flavours. The current coffee you want to make may pick up flavour from all the coffees you have made through the coffee maker if it is not washed. Mixing the flavour may make your current brew taste bitter and stale. What's the point of taking time to make coffee with unclean tools? 

To clean the coffee maker, fill it with water and turn the coffee maker on as if you want to brew but without grounds. The water will flush out all particles clogged inside. It is advised that you rinse your coffee filter before using it. Pour a cup of hot water through the filter before you start brewing. If you are using brown filters, rinse them properly. Brown filters tend to have a cardboard flavour that could ruin the taste of your coffee. 

If you are using an espresso machine, clean it immediately after use. Saving the cleaning for later is not a good idea because milk and coffee oils can bake on the machine's surface. This results in a brown sludge that takes time to clean. You can do a quick cleaning by wiping the steam stand to remove surplus milk that may have poured over, then empty the Porta filter, and dispose the coffee puck. Next, clean the dirty drip and wipe the surroundings. Also, avoid leaving leftover mud in the filter holder basket by rinsing the empty filter holder with water, it will remove the oil deposits on the filter. Following this simple cleaning exercise, leaves you with less work to do the next time you want to brew coffee.

You are not using filtered water 

A cup of coffee contains about 98% of water. The kind of water you use will affect the flavour you get. Do not use tap water to brew. Tap water has minerals and containments like dust and rust that can change the taste of your brewed coffee and can clog your machine. So use filtered water for the brew. You can filter the water yourself.

Filtered hot water for coffee brewing

Brewing stale ground coffee or refrigerated coffee 

Coffee beans once ground begin to degas faster. You've got only around 30minutes to 1 hour of freshness left. To get good results, make sure you grind just before brewing. Grind only the quantity you need so that you won't need to store them. You shouldn't store coffee beans or ground coffee in the freezer to prolong its life. If you freeze the beans, they can be ruined because as they unfreeze, the flavour will be lost. In case you have excess ground, store it in an airtight jar. You should keep it inside a cupboard or pantry and consume within a week of grinding. This is because coffee doesn't react well with oxygen and is better preserved in a dark place. Remember, you shouldn't store it inside a cupboard near the oven as it is often too warm. 

Using the wrong size of grounds 

Not using the right grind size will lead to over-extraction or under extraction. You should know that different types of coffee require different grinds. Grind size has 3 effects on coffee: extraction time, flow rate, and contact time. Thus, the finer the beans are ground, the higher the extraction will be. If the beans are ground coarsely, less surface is exposed which will result in a slower extraction and need more contact time. For example, If you want to make an espresso, your grind should be finer. For cold brew, the grind should be coarse. 

Getting the wrong water to coffee ratio 

Having weak coffee or bitter coffee can ruin your experience. To get the most flavourful cup, we recommend using 10grams of coffee to 180ml of water. But if the coffee brewed this way is too strong for your taste, add more hot water. You can adjust this ratio up and down, depending on your taste bud. 

Reusing brewed coffee grounds for another cup 

Reusing ground to get another cup without following the brewing process again is wrong. Once coffee grounds are brewed, they lose all flavour and aroma. If you pour water over it again, you will only get water that smells a little like coffee. You don't want this. After the brewing process, just recycle the coffee grounds. 

How to fix coffee brewing mistakes 

So you brewed a bad pot of coffee, instead of dumping it, there is a way to to make it better. 

To fix bitter coffee 

  1. Put a teaspoon of sugar into the coffee to cut down on the bitterness. It will give your coffee a sweeter taste. White sugar or brown sugar would do. 
  2. Put a dash of salt in the coffee. Are you surprised? Adding a dash of salt will suppress the bitterness. You can use common table salt for this. Bear in mind that adding salt will not make the coffee taste salty or ruin its underlying flavour. 
  3. Add milk or cream: This is an easy option, the fat in cream and milk counteract the bitterness in the coffee.

Iced coffee placed on a tray with coffee beans

To fix weak coffee 

  1. Serve the coffee iced instead: If you want a quick handy fix, pour ice cubes into the coffee or change your iced coffee game by freezing the coffee and making iced cubes out of it. Then you can make refreshing iced coffee with a new batch of stronger coffee and use the weak coffee ice instead of plain ice to get a richer drink. 
  2. Add some instant coffee if you have some around.
  3. Blend your coffee with flavour enhancing condiments: This is a fun way to serve coffee if it is weak.

You can add

  • Flavour extracts: They come in many forms including coconut, orange, nuts, and chocolate. Note that they don't contain calories which gives you a calorie-free way to dress your coffee.
  • Cinnamon: It adds great flavour to the coffee. If you love adding sugar to coffee, you can replace it with cinnamon. 
  • Hazelnut oil: This is one of the most popular coffee flavours because of its buttery sweetness. Add a bit of hazelnut oil to your brew and you are good to go. 
  • Maple syrup: This syrup has a smooth rich taste that blends with coffee flavours. It is a great addition to cold coffee drinks as it doesn't need to dissolve. So next time you make brewing mistakes, you can whip up an iced maple latte. 

As much as there are things you can add to a bad pot of coffee, it doesn't mean you shouldn't be mindful to avoid making these mistakes. These pitfalls can deter you from enjoying a perfect cup. 

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