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10 Coffee Mistakes You Almost Certainly Are Making

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Sunday, September 17, 2017



1) Your water quality is poor:

“The water you use is very important to the quality of your coffee. Use filtered or bottled water if your tap water is not good or has a strong odor or taste, such as chlorine. If you’re using tap water, let it run a few seconds before filling your coffee pot, and be sure to use cold water. Avoid distilled or softened water.”


2) Your coffee-to-water ratio is off:

“A general guideline is called the Golden Ratio - one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences. Check the cup lines or indicators on your specific brewer to see how they actually measure. And remember that some water is lost to evaporation in certain brewing methods.” 


3)  You’re using the wrong grind. Different coffee makers require their own unique grind:

“Your best bet is to follow the instructions that come with the machine. A helpful tip is to think of common household items before you grind the beans. A coffee press requires a coarse grind, which resembles kosher salt. Espresso grinds look like powdered sugar and a fine grind is the texture of granulated sugar. A medium grind would be medium ground cornmeal.”


4) You’re storing your coffee improperly: 

“Roasted coffee beans oxidize with exposure to oxygen, and this leads to them becoming stale. You want fresh beans, so you want to make sure to keep them away from oxygen, moisture, heat and light. That means storing beans in an airtight container in a cool dry place; a pantry is a good spot, and your kitchen counter in direct sunlight is not. It also means freshly grinding your beans to ensure that you get the freshest taste possible. And no, you do not want to store them in the refrigerator.

“Another key thing to keeping your coffee fresh is buying whole beans. While it might take a little extra time, buying whole beans and grinding them yourself when you want coffee is going to lead to a better cup than pre-ground ones.”


5)  You’re using pre-ground coffee:

“The basic goal of making coffee is to get what’s sealed inside the bean (namely, the delicious flavor components and oils) out of the bean. The original method involved boiling the whole roasted beans in hot water while agitating them. With some patience and lots of time you’d eventually end up with a bitter, high-caffeine, coffee solution.

“Luckily for us our coffee forefathers eventually came up with a more efficient method to extract the goodies from the coffee! By grinding the coffee beans you help the water to extract efficiently the solubles that are responsible for the taste and aroma in coffee….

“A roasted whole coffee bean is a beautiful, protective package that keeps the coffee oils exactly where we want them, namely, inside the bean. As long as you don’t mess with the beans the flavor components, which are very delicate, volatile and water-soluble substances, will be safe. However, break the protective shell and all bets are off.”


6) You’re not regularly cleaning your brewing equipment: 

“You would be amazing at exactly how dirty coffee makers are. While many of us do try to clean it occasionally, the coffee maker often gets ignored in our daily cleaning routines. After all, it is mostly water coming out of there anyway, right? Wrong. Old coffee and other gross leftovers can change the taste of our coffee and it isn’t too good for us either.

“Make cleaning your coffee maker and anything that your coffee touches a part of your regular cleaning routine. Periodically clean out your coffee maker really well and flush out every part of the system. After all, who wants to drink coffee that has passed through a bunch of filth to reach your cup?”


7)  Your coffee steeping timing is off:

“If you let your coffee steep for too long or not long enough, you will greatly impact the flavors in that cup of coffee. In many ways, this is a matter of taste, but no matter who you are you should be able to find the perfect window to create a good cup of coffee. Try adjusting how long you let your coffee steep before you drink it. You may need to try either longer or shorter times to find just the right amount of time for your tastes, but in the end that is part of the fun.”


8) You’re freezing your coffee:    

“If you are dead-set on keeping beans in the freezer (e.g., you stocked up on several bags of beans from your favorite far-away roaster but know you'll only finish one of those bags in a week or two), just make sure the bag is sealed and unopened. Then, before drinking, you'll have to let the beans thaw to room temperature. You may have preserved some of those fresh flavors, but you'll also have created a pain in the neck out of a beverage that's supposed to be convenient and easy.”


9)  You’re beans are not fresh and the coffee tastes oily:

“The bad thing about oil is that not only does it mean the coffee likely is old (roasted coffee ideally should be consumed within a week or two) or over-roasted (which is a nice way of saying burnt), it tastes stale, harsh, and bitter. Once those oils are out, they go rancid fast…..

“How do you avoid oily beans? For one, stop buying coffee that has a one year expiry date on it. Coffee's shelf life - no matter what brand, what package, what certification, or what type - is not and will never be an year long. Considering that it could be is crazy talk. Grocery stores treat it like a can of tuna when really it should be treated like a freshly baked loaf of bread (blog post pending). Buying it from the local roaster …. is like buying from the local baker - get it fresh, get it often. Second, try lighter roasts. Even if you have to hold onto that coffee longer than the optimal 1-2 weeks, the lighter roasts will not extract oils to the same degree as darker.”


10) You purchased the darker roast:

“Dark roast flavors become intense and take the lead in terms of the overall flavor balance quite easily. By developing a coffee to a dark roast can mean you mask and reduce the quantity of certain flavors available for brewing and tasting in the coffee, in favor of adding roasted, carbonic flavors to the beans. This can be a virtue if you prefer them, however for many it is preferential to have other flavors taking the lead in coffee. Darker roasting can be used to cover up defects in coffees, as is the case with a lot of commercial coffee on shelves in stores across the country. It is advisable to check the quality of a company’s darkly roasted coffee, particularly investigating into whether it constitutes a speciality grade coffee, to ensure quality prior to purchase.

“Our advice to minimise drawbacks is to buy 100% Arabica coffees where possible, as it is often found that darker roasted coffee blends have a percentage of Robusta coffee included. It is a species of coffee that has a much higher level of bitterness due to the higher caffeine content, along with a heavier and often unclean earthy flavour to it, that most coffee drinkers nowadays do not tend to enjoy, particularly those seeking quality in their roasts. Furthermore, checking packaging for signs of ethical production is a likely sign that you are purchasing a higher quality product.”






Related (Somewhat)

11 Unusual Uses for Coffee                                                 http://www.instructables.com/id/11-unusual-uses-for-coffee/

Photo: http://www.nobrowcoffee.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/coffee-wallpaper-1306-1433-hd-wallpapers.jpg

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.

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