7 Common Mistakes To Avoid When Making Coffee


Woman drinking a cup of coffee or tea. Gray background

Coffee is a popular beverage and brewing a cup seems like a simple enough task, but why is it that making it at home isn’t the same as going into your local coffee shop? There are many reasons for this, mistakes are commonly made by coffee lovers everywhere which affect their result.

Mastering the art of coffee making is less about the fancy gadgets available and more about your technique. A gorgeous morning coffee can be yours everyday if you avoid the most common mistakes. The head roaster at Coffee Direct Phil Smith has shared the 7 mistakes which catch everyone out, after reading this, you will never make them again!

Happy Coffee

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1. Pouring into a cold cup

If you pour your coffee into a cold container, the contents won’t maintain a hot temperature for long. By pre-warming your cup, your coffee will stay hot for much longer. A great way to do this is to pour some water into your cup before it reaches the full boil. Leave it in there until the coffee has brewed and empty it out before filling it up with fresh coffee. This will set your cup to the perfect temperature so you can enjoy your fresh coffee for longer.

2. Using old beans 

For the best taste, use beans that have been roasted within the last three weeks. Ensure you check the roast date which is normally found on a label or stamp on the packet. Stale beans will lose their natural essence you’ll find with fresh beans resulting in a much blander coffee and will look dull, especially the darker roasts. If you don’t know the roast date, simply grind a small sample so you can analyse the state by the smell.

Studio Shot of Coffee Beans in a Bag

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3. Using water that isn’t fresh

When brewing coffee, you should always consider the quality of the water you use since it plays a big part. Tap water contains minerals and chemicals that can make your coffee taste bitter. Both hard and soft water can change the taste and aroma of your coffee. For a smooth taste always use purified or filtered water.

4. Clean your coffee making equipment frequently 

Making coffee does involve using different equipment and tools. It is very important to clean these regularly to ensure your coffee is fresh. This seems like a simple task, but many people think it is harmless to clean the equipment right before they use it again, but it’s important to clean the equipment as soon as you use it to remove the grease and oils that are present in the coffee, these can leave a bitter taste if they aren’t removed.

Brunette in kitchen with coffee maker

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5. The water to coffee ratio

The coffee to water ratio is very important to understand in order to achieve the perfect cup, it also determines your strength. The general ‘golden’ rule here is 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water. This can be adjusted to suit individual taste preferences. Check the instructions that come with your brewing equipment to see how they measure and remember some water can be lost to evaporation in certain methods.

6. Not using enough coffee

If you’re guessing measures, chances are that you’re under-estimating. Most people use a lower amount of coffee per cup than is required, this can be for many reasons such as trying to stretch out resources. Being stingy with your supplies can result in a bitter and watery cup, if you are aiming for a weaker cup, add in more hot water as opposed to brewing with less beans. Everyone has different preferences of intensity so try different roasts in order to find a flavour which works for you.

Spoon with ground coffee over the white empty cup against a brown bamboo background. Making coffe

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7. Masking the bitter taste

Some people prefer to have their coffee with milk and sugar to avoid the ‘bitter’ taste, in fact this is only present if the coffee is brewed incorrectly! Many people mean the coffee is too strong for their liking when they declare it bitter. Try a freshly ground or perfectly brewed coffee without any extras (and calories) and you might not feel the urge to add in milk or sugar. You will surprise yourself in realising the bitter taste you try to mask isn’t there anymore!

The key to the perfect coffee cup:

“Selecting the correct grind for your brewing process is probably the most important factor. The wrong one will mean the incorrect extraction of the coffee. It is always best to grind the coffee just before brewing to get the best flavour. If you want the freshest possible coffee taste buy a grinder.”

Woman smiling drinking tea on blue background. Young beautiful multiracial Asian / Caucasian female model joyful.

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Hope Wilson

I'm new to the My Weekly team as the Travel Editor and am excited to join this amazing team! Obviously I'm interested in all things travel, however I'm always open to learning and writing about a range of topics!