Why is it that my coffee I bought from the coffee shop doesn’t taste the same at home as when I bought it there?
I’m glad you brought that up. This happens way too often; you have a really good cup of coffee at a shop and decide to buy a pound of it to make at home, but when you make yourself a pot it tastes nowhere near as good as it did at the shop. Why is that? The truth is, just because you buy a good coffee does not mean that you’re going to automatically make a good cup at home. There are several factors involved in making a great cup of coffee, let’s go over some of the big ones.
Think about it, coffee is made up of something like 98.5 % water, so if your water tastes bad then it’s definitely going to affect how your cup tastes.
While you don’t have to buy imported spring water to make a great coffee, consider getting some kind of filtration system that will take out some of those funky tap water tastes.
If you grind your coffee at home, odds are your coffee grinder is something akin to a blender. While these “whirley blade” grinders are nice and cheap, they fail to grind your coffee evenly. With different sized grounds, the smaller grounds extract faster than the larger ones which can result in some bitterness in your coffee.
Ideally you should have a burr grinder which grinds coffee into even pieces, resulting in an even extraction. While burr grinders are a bit more expensive, you can find some fairly reasonable priced ones at you local kitchen supply store. Do some price shopping online to find a good deal.
-The Coffee Maker
When brewing coffee, water should reach a temperature somewhere between 195F and 205F. Most consumer coffee makers just don’t get the water hot enough which gives you an under-extracted brew.
Buy a better coffee maker! Look for coffee makers that advertise water temperatures and make sure it reaches a temp high enough for your coffee to brew properly. A cheaper option would be to switch to a french press or manual pourover coffee maker, where you boil the water yourself so you know it’s hot enough.
There are many things that go into creating a good pot of coffee, and the above list is just a few of the big ones.
“But James”, you say, “every suggestion you made for making my coffee better requires me to spend money, I just don’t have the extra dough to spend on coffee stuff.” True enough, most of the improvements listed above cost money, and those prices can add up if you do them all together. So, in the spirit of thrift, here are a few things you can do to immediately improve your coffee experience without spending any extra money.
-Buy Your Coffee Fresh
Buy coffee that has been freshly roasted (such as Cup to Cup Coffee Roasters Coffee hint hint) and try to buy only enough coffee you can drink in a week. The longer your coffee sits on your shelf, the more flavor it loses.
-Preheat Your Cup
Heating your cup before you put coffee in it will really improve the taste. Try it! Just keep your cup filled with warm water until your coffee is ready.
-Grind Right Before
If you do own a grinder, only grind enough coffee for what you are immediately going to drink, and grind it right before you brew it. Coffee stales fast enough as a whole bean, but even faster when it’s ground.
I hope this little article gave you some helpful hints on your home coffee experience. Now go out there and make a pot! Peace.