Coffee brewing is a simple and complicated process to master.
Indeed, even brewing a simple coffee at home is sometimes challenging because you need to do it the right way.
As a result, it’s inevitable to encounter some mistakes that seriously impact the taste of the end product.
That’s also one reason why most coffee lovers prefer taking coffee at their favorite cafes rather than making one themselves.
They probably want to avoid making inaccuracies when brewing their beloved cup.
Below is a list of common mistakes that you probably make when brewing your coffee. Let’s find out the solutions to avoid them and have a pleasant coffee brewing experience.
Table of Contents
1. Starting with Low-Quality Coffee Beans
Many people just buy any coffee they want or anything that captures their attention for the sake of convenience and popularity. But the problem with that is you might just end up with low-grade coffee beans.
Also, while low-quality grades might be cheaper, they are mostly not worth it since you will not enjoy your cup of coffee as expected.
Some coffee lovers often ignore this mistake, thinking that they can fix it with brewing skills. But the truth is, even if you’re a talented home barista, the overall flavor profile of your coffee still depends on how good your coffee bean is.
The thing is, good coffee comes with great beans. And the characteristics of your beans may break or make your coffee flavor. Therefore, choose wisely, and pick the best coffee in terms of quality, taste, price, and of course, reputation.
The quality of the coffee beans or grounded coffee really matters for a sweet cup of coffee. In the end, you will definitely enjoy a delicious cup of joe while maximizing the money you spent on that coffee.
2. Always Using Wrong Measurements
A lot of people don’t pay attention to this aspect because they think it doesn’t matter. As long as you know how to estimate, you’re ready to brew.
While it’s a valid process, your estimation isn’t always accurate, especially if you’re not doing it correctly. And that’s where the problem occurs.
If you often get a coffee that tastes watery or a brew that tastes bitter, it is sometimes because you always make wrong assessments.
Your coffee-to-water ratio is your recipe; therefore, you need to measure all the ingredients according to your brew ratio to maximize the coffee flavor fully.
For example, the coffee to water ratio depends on how strong you want your coffee, but a 1:13 coffee to water ratio is okay for a sweet cup of joe.
However, most people make inaccurate measurements because they estimate it with the naked eye, which is sometimes not a good idea. While it seems a trial and error, the thing is, you might just end up wasting your coffee or over brewing the coffee grounds.
So, the best thing to avoid this mistake is to have well-operating kitchen scales that will help in measuring the right amount of ground coffee and water.
3. Disregarding Water Temperature
Most beginners don’t pay attention to how hot or cold their brewing water is. But in brewing coffee, the water temperature also affects the coffee flavor.
Some of you might think that the water temperature isn’t that important, but it is the most crucial factor that defines extraction in reality.
For example, if the water is too hot, it might give you a bitter-tasting brew because of faster extraction. And if the water is cold, then that water can’t fully dissolve the flavor.
For a perfect cup of coffee, using cold water or water with a temperature less than 195 degrees is not advisable as it will not fully bring out the authentic natural flavors in the coffee.
It is, therefore, highly recommended to use hot enough water while brewing coffee – hot enough to dissolve the needed compounds nicely. And for accuracy, you can use a thermometer to measure the temperature of the water before brewing.
4. Not Cleaning your Coffee Machine
Some of the common mistakes people make include not cleaning the machine, not frequently cleaning the coffee basket filters, and not upgrading their device.
Brewing your beloved coffee in a piece of dirty equipment might alter the taste of your coffee cup. The dirt in that machine can compromise the original flavors and introduce a very flat and stale coffee.
Also, if you’re not cleaning the basket filters frequently, that forms mold due to previously used leftover coffee grounds. Your machine loses effectiveness and might give an awful coffee experience.
So, avoid making these mistakes and make an effort to wash your coffee equipment properly. Do it adequately to get rid of any remaining coffee grounds left.
Also, make sure you upgrade your coffee equipment upon realizing some change in the taste and quality of your brew.
5. Storing your Coffee Incorrectly
The way you store your coffee is also part of coffee brewing. It also affects the coffee taste and the bean’s general effectiveness when brewed.
And that’s where the problem happens. A lot of people purchase more coffee beans that they can’t consume shortly. And when they have an excess supply, they store it improperly, which makes the freshness drop immediately.
Humidity is considered to be very bad for coffee beans. Once the beans are overly exposed to oxygen, this makes their flavors and vibrant nature dwindle immensely. So, the way you store your coffee plays a significant role in keeping them unexposed.
You should store your coffee in a place free from hot temperatures, light, and air to ensure the flavors are well preserved.
One of the best ways of keeping coffee fresh is to store them in an airtight container and place it in a cool and dry place – definitely not in the fridge.
In the end, this will make brewing coffee a very nice experience and ensure a flavor-filled cup of brewed coffee. Be sure to check our guide on how to store coffee beans the right way for more details.
6. Using Tap Water
Using tap water is also a prevalent mistake. And some beginners in the community don’t know this aspect.
I don’t also really pay attention to this at first. Is water really that important? I mean… It’s just water, right?
But that’s not the case. The quality of water in brewing the perfect coffee is still important. And this condition is a little bit scientific.
The thing is, tap water might prevent you from enjoying the good coffee flavors. Tap water has some minerals and salts that tend to alter the taste and affect the brewing process.
Also, tap water contains chlorine, which takes away those essential elements of beans.
To avoid this problem while brewing coffee, you should use filtered water that is free from contamination. Using filtered water has an added advantage since it prevents the brewing equipment from corroding, thus ensures durability.
7. Using a wrong Coffee Cup
This is one of the mistakes that most millennials make when it comes to coffee. Some of them think that it’s okay to use any type of cup just because it’s cool.
The cup you use while brewing is also essential in determining the overall taste. Besides, it is important to know what the cup is made of. Plastic, for example, is not a good idea to put your hot coffee in it.
Depending on the material, there’s a potential hazard that may occur under some circumstances.
Using plastic cups in every coffee highly affects the taste because of some health issues. Over time, plastic wears out and might release some chemicals into your coffee which compromise the flavors.
Avoid brewing your coffee with a plastic coffee cup and use a better material instead. The best cup, or even mug, is a while thick-walled glass teacup.
A ceramic cup is preferable since it helps store the temperature for a longer time. In the end, this allows you to enjoy the sweet coffee flavors fully.
8. Neglecting your Coffee’s Freshness
Many coffee lovers often disregard the freshness of their coffee beans. Since coffees are considered shelf-stable dry products, they buy coffee stored for over a month on supermarket shelves.
This is one of the mistakes you shouldn’t make. The freshness of coffee beans or ground coffee is also a determiner of the final flavor profile.
Of course, coffee beans can take years to go stale, but that doesn’t mean they have an eternal shelf life.
The quality of your coffee degrades over time. Speaking of freshness, coffee beans stored for more than three weeks will not give you the best coffee flavor upon use.
And when coffee overstays, especially when already ground, it loses its flavor, making it very flat or bitter upon brewed. Also, a coffee stored inside your kitchen cabinet for a year will give you a rarely bad and undesirable taste.
So, avoid this misconception and buy freshly roasted coffee beans instead. While purchasing the roasted coffee beans, always confirm the roast date and make sure to consume them within three weeks to one month.
9. Poor Understanding of Brew Recipe
One of the common brewing mistakes some people make is choosing the wrong grounded coffee texture for a given brewing method.
Many coffee lovers just buy ground coffee to brew a cup of joe. But the problem with that is sometimes the grind size doesn’t suit your preferred brewing method. And as a result, your coffee doesn’t taste exactly the way it should be.
Remember that having a poor understanding of recipes can lead to an average tasting cup when it comes to coffee brewing.
The thing is, texture ranges from coarse to fine coffee particles. And choosing the grind consistency depends mainly on the brewing method or type of brewer you will use.
For example, coarsely ground coffee is suitable for professional coffee brewing, such as Chemex and even French press brewing methods.
Medium ground coffee is ideal for the pour-over brewing method, finely grounded coffee is suitable for Espresso, and finally, very finely ground coffee is perfect for Turkish coffee.
So, step up your coffee brewing experience by learning and understanding how a brew recipe works. To get the best result, always grind your coffee specific to your preferred brewing method.
10. Not Grinding your Coffee Properly
They always say that the best-tasting coffee is the result of a better grind.
As mentioned above, grinding coffee beans will also affect brewing in terms of the ground coffee’s texture. And you will find yourself in a difficult position if you aren’t doing the grinding properly.
However, that aspect is only viable under some circumstances. Besides having a poor understanding of the brew recipe, most people make another mistake using a low-quality grinder.
Most of the time, you tend to have inconsistent grinds because you use either a blade grinder or a troublemaker burr grinder.
While it’s not always accurate, a very cheap and low-quality grinder doesn’t produce the correct and consistent grind size that matches your brewing method—especially a blade grinder, which slashes the beans to uneven ground particles.
Different brewing methods call for different ground coffee bean textures ranging from coarse to fine particles, as discussed above. So, to avoid these grinding mistakes, at least consider having a proper burr grinder that can produce uniform particles.
In the end, when it comes to coffee brewing, a coffee grinder is the most essential and empowering coffee gear that you must have. You might want to check our guide on how to grind your coffee beans properly for more tips.
How to Avoid these Mistakes?
These are some of the mistakes that you probably make when brewing coffee. But I want to focus on two things. Often problems occur because:
You are not using the right proper tools.
Or mainly because of lousy brewing technique.
In that case, I will provide three practical ways to minimize making mistakes when brewing coffee. First, outsource your coffee wisely. Secondly, upgrade your equipment, and finally, have constant practice.
Outsource Your Coffee Wisely
There are many great places out there to outsource your coffee beans. But the most common choices are local roasters, subscription services, and buying from reputable online brands.
Local roasters – Your local roaster is one of the best places to purchase freshly roasted beans. I highly recommend buying coffee directly from them to get high-quality beans.
Subscription Services – You can also join a subscription service to receive freshly-roasted coffee beans regularly. Bean Box is one of the best out there. They deliver your coffee fresh to maximize and enjoy the peak flavor of every cup of joe.
Brands – You can also buy quality coffee from well-known and legitimate brands’ stores. You can buy directly from their websites. One of our favorites is Volcanica coffee. They regularly produce freshly roasted coffee, which ensures freshness and quality.
Online Marketplaces – Amazon is the largest online marketplace to outsource coffee. While it seems not that ideal, it’s still one of the best places to purchase quality and fresh coffees. Just do your research and always check the roast dates to ensure freshness. Check Amazon’s best selling roasted coffee beans.
Upgrade your Equipment
While you can still use some coffee brewing equipment for another couple of years, it’s still best to upgrade your old gears to prevent possible mistakes from happening.
Once your coffee maker, or grinder, has already reached its full potential, you may need to invest in better and durable equipment.
Start with your coffee grinder. This is also a must-have tool for anyone who loves to brew better coffee. Be sure to choose a quality and reliable unit that provides high-end performance and will last for many years. Here’s a list of some of the best coffee grinders out there.
Then, check if you need to transition into a more versatile and better coffee maker. It’s your choice to pick whatever coffee brewing methods you like. But be sure to have the best item that does the brewing perfectly.
Here are some resources for choosing the best coffee makers.
Finally, coffee brewing is something you can learn through basic knowledge and practice. Therefore, practice, practice, and practice.
You can follow tutorials from the internet or watch videos from YouTube. You may also want to constantly visit your favorite coffee shop and learn from their experiences.
While it seems like anyone knows how to make coffee these days, mistakes are still inevitable and can sometimes ruin your coffee without knowing it.
But luckily, as considered before, there are some practical ways that you can use to minimize and even eliminate those oversights.
If it happens to encounter mistakes, don’t think it is the end of your coffee brewing experience. Some are better than others at doing just that, but brewing a great-tasting coffee requires effort and constant practice.
So, give the effort to practice, gain knowledge, and learn. You will then level up your coffee brewing over time.
I hope this article will help you to make excellent coffee!