7 Rookie Coffee Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
1.) Use Old Beans
Coffee’s unique taste is derived from a variety of delicate aromatic compounds. These compounds are vulnerable to light and oxygen. The second a bean is ground into powder, a clock starts ticking. Opening the sealed bag your coffee comes in makes the clock tick even faster. The longer you wait to brew that coffee, the more flavor is lost as the chemical compounds that make a perfect cup decay. Buying whole coffee beans and grinding them yourself can help you avoid losing out on those subtle flavors. Storing them in an airtight container will also extend their shelf-life.
2.) Punt on Your Quantities
We get it, morning rolls around, and you haven’t wiped the crust out of your eye before you start pouring an indeterminate amount of coffee into your machine. Whatever looks good enough, right? Wrong! Most consumers are woefully unable to guess measurements accurately. Instead of guessing how much coffee you’re brewing, get a measuring spoon and have a standard. Using the same measurement each day will make your coffee more consistent day to day, so you always know exactly how much morning pep you’re going to get.
3.) Use a Dirty Machine
If you use a drip coffee machine, when is the last time you cleaned it? If you don’t remember, it has been far too long! Hard water, mold, and bacteria can build up in these machines if they go too long between cleanings. That build-up imparts an off-flavor to your coffee and distracts from the clean, fresh flavors of the actual product. While each machine has specific recommendations regarding how often they should be cleaned, cleanings should be performed at least every few months. Regular maintenance will help your coffee taste better, keep the machine running longer, and protect you from potentially harmful mold or bacteria.
4.) Use a Dying Machine
Is your coffee machine getting a little worse for wear? The heating element may be wearing out. The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is about 200°F. If your machine can’t reach a temperature of at least 195°F, your machine is failing to brew the coffee. If your coffee isn’t brewed, what is it really but hot bean water? Use a thermometer to check the temperature of the coffee coming out of your machine. If it’s inadequate, it may be time to get the machine repaired or invest in an entirely new device.
5.) Fail to Try the Pour-Over
If you have never made coffee with a pour-over, it is time to step up your brew game. The pour-over offers a simple, clean cup of coffee that is as much a joy to make as it is a joy to drink. Pour-over coffee has a ritual to its preparation that will give a pace and rhythm to your mornings. Unlike coffee machines or percolators, the pour-over brews directly into your favorite mug and involves the simplest clean-up. If you’re interested in the best cup of coffee you’ve made at home, then pour-over is a must-have. You can learn more about it here.
6.) Get Lazy on Filter Changes
If you use a drip machine or something like a French press, your filter may be a problem. For drip machines, you should use a new filter for each batch of coffee. After you finish each batch, you should throw away the filter and used coffee grounds immediately. Leaving them too long will introduce mold into the filter basket and, ultimately, the machine itself. Reusing a paper filter isn’t recommended.
If you use a metal filter for a pour-over or a French press, clean it immediately after use. Letting old grounds sit too long will lead to a grimy, dirty filter that percolates poorly. After you wash it, dry it and put it away. Metal mesh strainers will rust if left in the sink too long. Every drop of coffee has to pass through your filter, so keeping it clean and functional is a priority.
Bonus tip: If you use paper filters in your pour-over, wet the filter with hot water and allow it to drain out before adding your coffee to the filter. This rinses any tiny particles of paper or dust off of the filter before you use it, which keeps any “papery” flavors from contaminating your coffee.
7.) Use Plastic of Styrofoam
If you like coffee, you know the importance of the perfect cup. Some prefer drinking from the same mug daily. Others may have a collection of mugs that quickly outgrows the cupboard they’re stored in. Whatever the case, avoid plastic and Styrofoam.
Plastic and foam cups add off-flavors to the coffee and potentially pollute it as chemicals are released into the hot liquid. Glass and ceramic vessels won’t react with any off-flavors the way plastic or metal containers often do. They can be kept at home or in the office, and many coffee shops will happily fill a mug you bring from home instead of a paper or plastic cup.
Mugs are a great way to show off what makes you happy. We love drinking from old diner mugs, mugs with floral patterns, merchandised mugs from our favorite shows, and of course, mugs with dogs.
And speaking of dogs, if you want a coffee cup that supports animal rescue, 10% of the profits from our mugs go to dog rescue and programs that support animals. Why not drink coffee and know you made a difference?
Brewing coffee is more art than science, but these tips can help you get the best possible quality from your beans. We know that quality beans are the key to great coffee; that’s why our team at Hugo Coffee Roasters is dedicated to making great coffee and great coffee products.