Common mistakes in making coffee… and how to overcome them
Coffee is the most popular drink consumed around the world, in the UK alone it’s estimated that we drink 70 million cups a day. How many of these have been brewed correctly to be enjoyed at their optimum level? No stats for that question I’m afraid, however there are many common mistakes made by the non-baristas of the world.
There are many different ways to make coffee; French press, drip filter, espresso, chemex, the list goes on! We are going to address a few key points which apply to most methods, in an attempt to improve both the taste of your coffee, and your overall coffee experience.
Fresh, quality beans
Seems to be a pretty obvious one, right? Well the beans are the vital first step to take to enjoying a great cup of coffee.
Picking the right beans and roast for you is important for the passionate coffee lover, there are some great everyday blends you can buy too. Here are our tips on bean origin flavours. To get the most flavour it is best to grind the beans as you go, but of course this isn’t always practical (especially for home brewing). When buying readily ground coffee follow the storage instructions, fridge or a cool dry place. To keep it fresh and flavourful, try keep to buying every week or two.
For each different coffee preparation method, a specific grind of coffee is needed to extract the optimum flavour from the roasted beans. If your coffee tastes bitter, it may be over-extracted, or ground too fine. On the other hand, if your coffee tastes flat, it may be under-extracted, meaning your grind is too coarse.
This is key to achieve the desired taste of your coffee. You need to strike the right balance for the method you’re using. Brewed too long you will have a bitter, acidic tasting coffee, but not brewed for long enough you will end up with a bland flavourless coffee.
Using a professional coffee machine, you wouldn’t need to worry about this.
Here’s a rough guide to start with:
- In a drip system – contact time approximately 5 minutes
- French Press- contact time 2-4 minutes
- Espresso – contact time 20-30 seconds
- Cold brew – should steep at least overnight (about 12 hours)
Water temperature is another important factor to the quality of your coffee.
The water should be between 90-96 degrees when it comes in contact with the coffee. If brewing yourself, boil the water first, then let it sit for a minute before pouring over the coffee. I know you’re eager for a cuppa in the morning but using boiling water can burn the grounds and spoil your brew. For the froth lovers however, milk should be between 60-70 degrees.
Again, coffee machines have this part covered too.
This part is very commonly overlooked! Even if you get all the other elements perfect, not cleaning the equipment properly could be your downfall.
If the machine contains used coffee grounds or a build-up of coffee oil, this will taint the flavour of your coffee. Unless a burnt, bitter, acidic after taste is what you’re after of course! Please make sure you consider this when looking to purchase a coffee machine.
So, there you have it folks, just follow these few steps and you’ll be well on your way to better tasting coffee. Or you could have a coffee machine do it all for you; easy to use, easy to clean, perfect cup every time. Consistency is key in coffee machines, you won’t have to worry about whose turn it is next to fetch the coffee, you’ll know it will taste great. Check out our range of filter, bean to cup and hybrid coffee machines.