11 Ways To Make Really Bad Coffee And How To Fix Them

11 Ways To Make Really Bad Coffee And How To Fix Them


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An unscientific but very descriptive term for bad coffee is ’Yucky’. Are you making Yucky coffee?

11 Ways To Make Really Bad Coffee And How To Fix ThemI regard coffee now is a hobby, not just one of my favorite beverages. The deeper you get into coffee, experimenting with different brews, different blends, and identifying different tastes, the easier it is to tell when you had a bad cup of coffee.

In other words let your own palette be your guide. If it tastes bad to you, it is bad coffee.  The more you drink coffee and actually pay attention to the tastes and waivers the larger your vocabulary will develop.

I like the way one forum member put it

“Chemical tasting, very harsh, over roasted, acrid. Sometimes, if it’s really bad, I make a face and shiver. Sort of like when you drink really bad medicine that’s trying to cover its badness with artificial fruit flavors.”

Do you even have the vocabulary to describe good coffee and bad coffee?

Good Coffee:

  • Big
  • Hefty
  • Strong
  • Thick
  • Heavy, robust
  • Luscious
  • Rich
  • Sweet
  • Fruity
  • Mouth filling
  • Balanced
  • Tasty
  • Pleasing

Good Coffee:

  • Aromatic
  • Delicate
  • Gentle
  • Thin
  • Transparent
  • Soft
  • Nuanced
  • Smooth
  • Buttery
  • Substantial
  • Plump
  • Sticky

Bad Coffee

  • Harsh
  • Overwhelming
  • Severe
  • Bulky
  • Soupy
  • Potent
  • Intense
  • Over-Extracted
  • Dry
  • Bitter
  • Powdery
  • Empty
  • Dusty

Bad Coffee

  • Astringent
  • Dilute
  • Limp
  • Too Weak
  • Scrawny
  • Fragile
  • Muted
  • Flimsy
  • Faint
  • Slender
  • Spasre
  • Under Extracted
  • Watery

#1. You Are Stuck In A Rut.

It’s easy to figure out that you either consistently make bad coffee are occasionally make bad coffee simply by the fact that you’re reading this and looking for solutions.

If you consistently make bad coffee, let me ask you a question. Why are you doing that? Answer, you’re stuck in a rut. Coffee is one of the simplest beverages in the world to make there are only two ingredients coffee and water.

Hot water is added to the coffee to extract the flavors. You drink it. It’s not exactly rocket science.

So, if you are making bad coffee, why haven’t you change things around? There are only three variables to play with really. The coffee, the water, and how you put them together.

Some people say that they know their coffee isn’t that good but it serves its purpose. I contend that there is no reason that coffee should not taste great and also serve whatever secondary purposes you have for it.

So, become the great adventure. Start changing things around. Experiment with different coffees, water, and brewing methods. Remember, if you never tried anything for the first time you would have nothing in your life that you truly enjoy.

So what I’d really like you to do as you read this post, is to commit to yourself you will execute some changes in how you make coffee.

The quest for a great cup of coffee has begun. Let’s look at some problems and solutions.

#2 Using Bad Beans.

When making coffee, everything starts with the coffee beans themselves. When we say using bad beans is problematic we are not necessarily referring to mildewed or soured beans.

In all probability the biggest culprit is still coffee beans. To make a good cup of coffee you MUST use freshly roasted coffee beans. Once the beans are roasted they have a window of maximum flavor of 3 to 14 days. They should rest for a couple days after roasting.

Bad beans purchased in grocery stores can be quite old. Always check the ‘roasted on’ date to begin to figure out with your beans are fresher stale. A label that says ‘best used before’is not necessarily an indicator of freshness. Those beans could be months old.

Once coffee is ground it begins to lose flavor immediately. That is because an enemy of fresh coffee is exposure to oxygen. When coffee is ground the surface area is geometrically increased and staleness starts to set in pretty much immediately.

Here Is The Solution: To make a better cup of coffee use fresh roasted coffee beans, grind them as needed and use right away.

# 3. Using The Cheapest Coffee Beans

How To Get Started Roasting Coffee At Home | A Beginners GuideWe recently wrote a post comparing the relative costs of coffee beans and some brewing methods. The absolute cheapest way to make coffee was to buy a 2 pound can of preground coffee such as Maxwell House or Folgers and run it through an automatic drip coffee maker.

The interesting thing is that I saw the results of a professional blind coffee tasting on Colombian coffee. 10 coffees were evaluated. Maxwell House scored 75 the next worst competitor scored an 89 and the others were in a 91 to 96 range. What does that say about the relative quality of preground canned coffee?

They were so far in the cellar of the ratings they needed a searchlight and radar to find their way out.

The ideal solution is to by freshly roasted coffee at a coffee café or supermarket such as Whole Foods where they roast coffee on a regular basis. Our cost comparison analysis revealed that buying specialty fresh roast coffee beans costs about the same per serving as a Keurig K Cup, for an infinitely better cup of coffee.

Here Is The Solution: Spend a little extra for good beans. Once you are in the habit of doing that you can play around with different types of coffee beans to find one that suits your palate

#4. Not Using The Right Amount Of Coffee

There are two types of grinders on the market, blade grinders and burr grinders. You must be using a burr grinder for consistent size in your coffee grinds. A burr grinder rubs the coffee between two plates or cones that are at a set distance from each other this ensures consistency of size.

A blade grinder looks like the blade mechanism in the bottom of a blunder it will actually chop the coffee rather than grind it you will have dusty powder combined with large chunks.

The second aspect of grinding your coffee correctly is using the correct size of grind for the brewing method you are using. For instance, espresso takes an extremely fine grind, almost powdery. Using a French press requires a medium coarse to coarse grind.

Even though we mentioned it previously it’s worth reiterating that the coffee should be ground only in the amount that will be used during that session.

Here I The Solution: Check your equipment’s brewing instructions to determine the appropriate coarseness of the grind for the brewing method you are using The fineness or coarseness of the grind will determine how much of the surface area coffee is exposed to the hot water. This is an important factor in coffee brewing.

#5. You Are Not Grinding Your Coffee Correctly

There are two types of grinders on the market, blade grinders and burr grinders. You must be using a burr grinder for consistent size in your coffee grinds. A burr grinder rubs the coffee between two plates or cones that are at a set distance from each other this ensures consistency of size.

A blade grinder looks like the blade mechanism in the bottom of a blunder it will actually chop the coffee rather than grind it you will have dusty powder combined with large chunks.

The second aspect of grinding your coffee correctly is using the correct size of grind for the brewing method you are using. For instance, espresso takes an extremely fine grind, almost powdery. Using a French press requires a medium coarse to coarse grind.

Even though we mentioned it previously it’s worth reiterating that the coffee should be ground only in the amount that will be used during that session.

Here Is The Solution: Check your equipment’s brewing instructions to determine the appropriate coarseness of the grind for the brewing method you are using The fineness or coarseness of the grind will determine how much of the surface area coffee is exposed to the hot water. This is an important factor in coffee brewing.

#6. You Are Using The Wrong Water At The Wrong Temperature

As mentioned previously, one of the two key ingredients in making a cup of coffee is water. It is amazing how few people pay attention to the water they are using to brew their coffee.

The recommendation is to use lightly filtered water such as spring water or drinking water you can buy by the gallon in the store. You need to be using “live” water. Do not use hard water for coffee are in your coffee makers.
Do not use distilled water. Coffee needs to interact with the minerals in water to develop flavor. In distilled water, those are completely removed. Some automatic drip coffee maker manufacturers will state that using distilled water will void their guarantee as the water can leach particles out of the metal parts of the coffee maker.

The proper brewing t water temperature for coffee is a range from 195°F to 205°F, the ideal is 198° to 202°F. Very few automatic drip coffee makers heat the water to the necessary temperature to brew good coffee. Some of the more expensive models do so however.

I use a French press and away that I accurately judge the water temperature is to bring the water to a boil. I then let it rest for about one minute that drops the temperature approximately 10°. I have verified this with a thermometer. Do NOT use boiling water.

Here Is The Solution: One fix for automatic drip coffee makers is to run a pot of water through the machine to preheat it. Then, run that same pot of water through the machine to actually brew the coffee. You will be much closer to the correct water temperature.

# 7. Your Brewing Equipment Is Dirty

If your coffee brewing equipment is dirty your coffee will progressively acquire and off taste. Is not enough to simply rinse out the coffee pot every time you use it. It should be cleaned.

A simple way to clean your coffee pot is to add about two tables of salt, ice cubes to fill in about half way, and a small amount of water. Just swirl it around for a minute or two. The coffee stains will be removed. I worked in restaurants for many years in this is the method we use their.

My suggestion is to use natural ingredients to clean the working meta-skin is some of an automatic drip coffee maker. We wrote a post on several different methods to clean automatic drip coffee makers with natural ingredients.

#8. You Are Using A Hot Plate

The best hot plate to use to keep your coffee warm is none at all. Unfortunately, a majority of automatic drip coffee makers have this function built-in. The newer trend is to couple auto drip coffeemakers with thermal carafes. This is a much better solution.

Quite frankly, in almost all coffee makers and incorporate a hot plate the coffee is being held it in incorrect temperature. On some very expensive models the hot plate temperature is adjustable.

If you absolutely have to, you can always pop your coffee mug in a microwave and heat your coffee up, there’s really no sin in that. It’s probably better than leaving your coffee on a burner for a long time because that will cause a breakdown in the coffee increasing the bitterness.

Helpful Tip: Studies and measurements have shown that adding hot coffee into a cold mug or cold carafe will immediately dropped the temperature by 10° Preheat your coffee mug and/or coffee pot. Studies have shown that if you pour coffee into unheated mugs or pots, it immediately drops 10° in temperature. You’ll enjoy your coffee more if you drink hot drinks hot.

#9. You Are Not ‘Blooming’ Your Coffee

Blooming your coffee is an often neglected yet critical step producing an exceptional cup of coffee. Generally, automatic drip coffee makers do not have the Capability built-in to take this important step.

All blooming your coffee means is that it you pour a small amount of brewing temperature of water on the coffee, enough to wet it. Wait 30 seconds to one minute. This important step allows the coffee to start to develop its flavor and to purge and released the last of the CO2 that is inside the bean and replace it with hot water so the brewing and extraction process can begin.

The “bloom” is visible as the coffee were actually bubble up a bit when the water is added. If that bubbling does not occur it meets the your coffee is not fresher was improperly stored.

Helpful Tip: the bloom process is a brewing a chemical reaction and can have a large impact on the flavors and aromas of the cup of coffee you brew. Not only does it develop the flavors but allows you to know whether your coffee is fresh before you even complete the brew.

#10. You Are Not Storing Your Coffee Properly

These three factors can ruin your coffee. It is vital to take efforts to store your coffee properly.

Temperature. Temperature affects the rate at which coffee beans will lose flavor and become stale. Warmer temperatures accelerate the process in which beans goes stale. Keep them cool. The literature is not really done any measure of differences that might’ve resulted from freezing coffee. In other words effects are intuitive at this point rather than measured.

Moisture. Moisture has been consistently demonstrated to accelerate coffee beans getting stale. The coffee beans will pick up the moisture and this accelerates chemical reactions will shorten it shelf life. For goodness sake, don’t get coffee beans wet and store them. There shelf life can be shortened by high humidity also.

Oxygen-exposure to air. A lot of studies pointed to oxygen as being the primary culprit in effecting coffee beans going stale for a number of reasons. It has been found that most of the compounds responsible for the aroma of freshly roasted beans are very susceptible to oxidation and can be lost quickly after roasting.While freezing may be a great way to store food, it isn’t good for your whole bean coffee. The freezing process actually robs the coffee of some of its gases that help give it the taste that you know and love. Instead, using proper storage methods for your beans is the way to go.

Helpful Tip: The solution is to buy a dedicated coffee storage container. Partial vacuum seal and have a one-way valve that let’s carbon dioxide to escape and prevents oxygen from leaking in. The one I bought from Amazon is available in 13 different colors. These can be purchased for weigh under $20.

#11. You Need To Try A New Brewing Method

Obviously, there is a human factor to brewing coffee. Some people might achieve artistry and one brewing process and completely flub up another. Some people might not want to bother much further than pushing a button and having the coffee be automatically produced for themselves.

Other people might be open to experimentation. When I started considering coffee as a hobby, I was brewing my coffee in a $20 Mr. Coffee for cup automatic drip coffee maker. I decided to try something new and bought myself a French press. The coffee produced in the French press is astronomically better than in the automatic coffee maker. Ironically, it takes the same about of time to make. It just takes a little more involvement.

Here are some simple suggestions for brewing processes that are not complicated that produce exceptional cups of coffee.

  • French press
  • Aeropress
  • Chemex

Try them you might like them.

If you insist on the one step push-button convenience of an automatic drip coffee maker there is a coffee maker the produces exceptional coffee, consistently, without fail. It is the gold standard of all automatic coffee makers. It has a coffee blooming cycle, it preheat’s the water to the proper temperature, it exposes the coffee to the hot water for the correct amount of time. It is a handbuilt precision instrument. It is also expensive but worth the investment check out the Technivorm Moccamaster.

Conclusion:

There you have it, 11 ways to make a bad cup of coffee and solutions for them all. Your job is to identify which ones might be pertinent to you, and start applying some corrections.

Making good coffee can seem like a hopelessly complicated ordeal, especially if you’re talking to a coffee connoisseur.

There is another way to look at it. It is one of the simplest recipes on the planet Earth. Combine two ingredients, coffee and water, and you have coffee.

We hope you put some of these tips to good use.

Wishing you the best in your coffee adventures.

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