For millions of people, a cup of coffee in the morning is a ritual they can’t do without. Their day doesn’t truly begin until they’ve had their first sip of a hot cup of joe.
There’s just one problem. The coffee looks like muddy water and tastes like battery acid. Who wants to start their day with that?
The solution is to find better-tasting coffee. But for those unwilling to spend $5 a day on Starbucks or unable to spend 15 minutes in line every morning, doing so is easier said than done.
Fortunately, brewing better-tasting coffee at home is not impossible. Here are seven tips for making it happen:
Clean the machine
When was the last time you cleaned your coffeemaker? If the answer is, “I’m supposed to clean my coffee maker?” It probably explains the bad-tasting brew. Luckily, coffee maker cleaning is a simple process. Fill the carafe to the brim with a half-and-half mix of water and vinegar. Pour the entire contents into the coffeemaker and hit the brew button. When the water volume indicator reaches halfway, turn the machine off and wait 30 minutes. Resume brewing until the process is finished, dump out the vinegar mixture, and run a pure water mix through the machine for five or six cycles. The result will be a cleaner coffeemaker and a better-tasting cup of coffee in the morning!
Buy whole beans
Store-bought coffee comes in two forms: whole beans and grounds. While grounds are more convenient, they don’t retain their freshness as well as whole beans. With this in mind, buy a coffee grinder and whole bean coffee. You will be shocked by the difference in terms of aroma, flavor, and quality. You’ll wonder how you ever managed to enjoy home-brewed coffee made with pre-ground beans. And with grinders selling online for around $20, it’s one of the most affordable decisions you’ll ever make.
Try new methods
There’s more than one way to brew coffee. You could try espresso coffee, Chemex, Keurig, or AeroPress. That’s not to say the classic homestyle coffee maker won’t brew a delicious cup, but the flavor profile you seek might be better achieved through alternative brewing methods. Since buying a new machine might not be the most cost-effective way to find a better-tasting cup of coffee, consider taste-testing different methods courtesy of family members and local coffee shops. Chances are your sister-in-law owns a Keurig while the corner cafe serves espresso.
Try different roasts
Are you someone who only buys light roast? Or are you someone who prefers medium to dark roast coffee? If so, it’s possible you’ve been understandably misguided. While it might seem as if the darker the roast, the more caffeinated and flavorful the final product, it’s more complicated than that. In fact, the lighter the roast, the more potent the coffee. Roasting coffee beans is like grilling steak; the different cooking levels lead to different outcomes, but the differences aren’t linear. With this in mind, consider trying different coffee roasts in order to find the best tasting cup possible.
Experiment with flavor
Purists may insist on black coffee being the only true coffee, and anything with added flavor is something else, but let’s ignore the coffee tastes of the toffee-nosed for the time being. Let’s also agree that cream, milk, and sugar aren’t the only flavor agents available to the coffee drinker. Try cinnamon, chocolate, french vanilla, and ginger. Flavored syrups are another option to consider. The perfect cup of coffee could be as close as adding a touch of this and a splash of that.
Adjust the measurements
We’re taught to follow directions. If the instructions on the bag say to brew the coffee a certain way, who are we to question their wisdom? Surely they know better than us! But coffeemakers vary greatly in terms of design and brewing quality. Going by the instructions might result in coffee that’s too weak or too strong. With this in mind, tweak the measurements for a few days to see if you can’t brew a better-tasting cup of coffee.
Does the coffee you drink at home taste terrible? If so, it’s not because Starbucks owns the patented secret to great-tasting coffee. You’re closer to great-tasting coffee than you think. It takes different brewing methods and perhaps a change in the type of coffee you buy.
Julie Steinbeck is a freelance writer from Florida. She enjoys covering topics related to business, finance, and travel.