5 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Coffee at Home

5 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Coffee at Home

  • The first way to immediately improve your coffee at home is by getting a scale.  Do you make pour over coffee, do you use a drip coffee maker, or do you just toss the grounds in a pot of boiling water before filtering it through a paper towel? It doesn’t matter! No matter how you brew, using a scale to measure both the coffee and water by weight will make an instantly recognizable difference. A well brewed cup of coffee is a balanced extraction using a specific ratio of coffee to water. And the sure-fire way to ensure this ratio is accurate to the tenth of a gram, is by using a scale. Scales specific to coffee will be accurate to even the most minute amount, and many include timers which can be used to time your extraction and flow rate.


coffee brewing on scale

  • The next way to see very clear and distinct positive changes in your cup of coffee, is to deep clean your equipment.  I’ve known even the most scrupulous coffee professionals to neglect the equipment in their house. Compared to cafe service, making one or two cups of coffee at a time throughout the day doesn’t require you to deep clean your equipment daily. But overtime, the oils from the coffee will cling to everything. And these oils are usually pretty stubborn, and seem to be impervious to normal dish detergent and elbow grease. Not to mention the small grooves and crevices many coffee brewers have that are nearly impossible to reach with a sponge. The answer? Cafiza or similar coffee-equipment cleaner. This stuff works absolute magic, no real scrubbing even required. Through magic (or specialized ingredients that I am too lazy to look up) these coffee cleaners dissolve built up coffee (and tea) oil with ease. And if you use a drip coffee maker, running a diluted mix of white vinegar and water through the machine will help eliminate scale build up inside.


  • One way to avoid or minimize scale buildup is to use filtered water.  Not only will it slow the calcification of your coffee maker’s innards, it will also improve the way your coffee brews. Coffee brewing is dissolving soluble matter in water. So the existing makeup of soluble minerals within your water will impact, typically negatively, the flavor of your coffee after brewing. Most reputable coffee shops take their water filtration very seriously, either employing a reverse osmosis system or some other form of filtration. Using filtered water when you brew your coffee will improve the flavor and put a little less wear and tear on your brewer.


  • It is also always a good idea to grind your coffee beans just before brewing.  I know, you’ve heard this a million times from countless different sources, but until coffee drinkers stop grinding their beans a whole bag at a time, I will not rest. Coffee grinders are not all that expensive. I am not the person to say every coffee drinker needs a $300 boutique grinder, but any moderately priced burr grinder is better than grinding the bag in advance at the coffee shop or the grocery store. If you have any desire to have the coffee you brew at home replicate what you experience in a specialty cafe, grinding your beans just before you use them is an imperative step.


coffee beans in grinder

  • The last way you can easily see a change in the flavor of your coffee is by controlling the temperature of your water.  Temperature is commonly an oversight with amateur coffee brewing. Boiling water is too hot. Full stop. If you’re using water fresh off a boil to make coffee, you should stop. Before I had an electric kettle with a temperature gauge, I used to swear by 45 seconds off a boil. The exact temperature that will get your water to will obviously vary depending on the ambient temperature, but anything less than boiling is a step in the right direction. While it varies from coffee to coffee, I feel like 205 degrees is a pretty optimal range to brew coffee. Too hot of water will extract too much flavor and lead to bitterness, and too cold of water won’t extract enough from the coffee and leave a weak or sour cup.


There are countless other ways to fine tune your coffee at home, but these are 5 ways to do it quickly with very minimal trial and error. Good luck!
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