10 Reasons Your Coffee Tastes Bad and How to Fix itCLICK HERE to subscribe to our weekly emails on finding and brewing amazing coffee!
I see your face. That isn’t a pleasant face that you should have after taking a sip of coffee. That looks more like you just licked the back of a lizard. We’ve all been there, and there is nothing worse than a bad cup of coffee.
While a bad brew is sometimes unavoidable, there are many common reasons why we make bad cups of coffee. Let’s take a look at 10 reasons why coffee tastes bad and what you can do to fix it so you never have that awful lizard licking look ever again.
Reasons Your Coffee Tastes Bad
And now what you have all been waiting for. That’s right, we are finally to the reason you are here in the first place. Do you want to make better tasting coffee? Then you need to listen up, well, read up anyway. The following reasons could be why you are having a hard time creating a truly spectacular cup of coffee. So start taking notes and give these different solutions a try. Once you do, please comment and tell us about your results.
Your coffee beans aren’t fresh.
There is nothing worse than sipping on a cup of coffee that has been created using stale coffee beans. Unfortunately, beans don’t have a very long life after they go through the roasting process, and the longer you wait, the more the taste will be affected.
Coffee beans don’t last forever. In reality, they are meant to be used pretty quickly from the time they are first roasted. When you buy coffee, check the roasting date and then make sure you use it rather quickly. If you do store it, make sure you store it in a container that will seal in the freshness for as long as possible.
Your timing is off.
If you let your coffee steep for too long or not long enough, you will greatly impact the flavors in that cup of coffee. In many ways, this is a matter of taste, but no matter who you are you should be able to find the perfect window to create a good cup of coffee.
Try adjusting how long you let your coffee steep before you drink it. You may need to try either longer or shorter times to find just the right amount of time for your tastes, but in the end that is part of the fun.
Your beans were not roasted properly.
While you don’t want to think about it, you could have a bad batch of beans that somehow didn’t get roasted properly. If you are trying to roast them yourself, mistakes during the roasting process can have a very negative effect on the taste of your coffee.
If you bought the beans, try a different batch of that same bean or look for a different type of coffee altogether. If you are roasting at home, make sure you roast them thoroughly according to instructions before you grind them and use them to make your next pot of coffee.
Your brewing equipment isn’t clean.
You would be amazing at exactly how dirty coffee makers are. While many of us do try to clean it occasionally, the coffee maker often gets ignored in our daily cleaning routines. After all, it is mostly water coming out of there anyway, right? Wrong. Old coffee and other gross leftovers can change the taste of our coffee and it isn’t too good for us either.
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Make cleaning your coffee maker and anything that your coffee touches a part of your regular cleaning routine. Periodically clean out your coffee maker really well and flush out every part of the system. After all, who wants to drink coffee that has passed through a bunch of filth to reach your cup?
Poor water quality.
How good or bad your coffee tastes can depend greatly on the quality of water you use in your home. If your water quality is poor, say, for example, it is too hard, then that will affect the taste of the water which will, in turn, alter the taste of your coffee.
Instead of using water from the tap, instead try purchasing filtered water by the bottle and use that when brewing your coffee. Before you do, please refer to the previous reason and make sure you clean your coffee maker very thoroughly to get rid of any residue left by your poor water.
Your water temperature isn’t just right.
Just like Goldilocks, coffee likes its water not too hot and not too cold. It has to be just right. Ideally, when brewing your coffee, you want the water temperature to be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything lower or higher will impact the taste.
Try using a thermometer when heating your water and don’t rely on your coffee maker to give you the perfect temperature without testing it first. If you boil your water by hand, check the temperature to make sure it is just right before you combine it with your coffee of choice.
You’re using the wrong grind size.
The finer the grind, the easier it is for the water to extract both the good and the bad from your coffee beans. If you grind it too fine, you may find you have a bad tasting cup of coffee, especially if you use some of the more specialty brewing methods.
Try a courser grind of coffee. If you have a blade grind, it may still come out too much like powder. You may need to switch to a burr grinder in order to reach the desired level of coarseness in your coffee.
Brewing too much at one time.
Brewing coffee takes time, and during a busy day it may seem easier to just brew a big cup of coffee and let it sit there on the warmer. But have you ever seen that last little bit of coffee in your coffee maker at your office actually get used? That is because no one wants to drink it because it is, well, nasty.
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Coffee is meant to be enjoyed fresh. So instead of brewing a large 12 pot cup that will last you for hours, try brewing up maybe a 4 pot cup and brewing a few more pots than normal. While it does take a little extra work, your taste buds will thank you for it.
You are brewing incorrectly.
Ah the classic human error. It happens more often than you think, especially for anyone new to the world of specialty coffee. Most everyone is familiar with a traditional drip brewer, but a French press or pour over maker? These can be a mystery to many people.
Practice makes perfect, as they say. But first, make sure you read all the instruction manuals for your new coffee maker before you use it. You can also check right here at Roasty Coffee for many different guides to brewing your coffee using some of these, shall we say, fancier coffee makers.
Poor coffee quality.
I know we hate to talk about this. But not all coffee is created equal. Some coffee is just better than others. At some point you will buy a bad bag of coffee. Accept it. It is just a part of shopping around and trying new types of coffee.
Before you buy, be sure you do your homework. Read about what others are saying about a particular type of coffee and the type of roast they used before you buy it. Most coffees can’t hide for long, so you should be able to find out something about it before you dip into your wallet to buy it.
As you can see, there are many reasons why we brew a bad cup of coffee. The good news is that many of them can be easily avoided. In fact, you can put a stop to bad tasting coffee pretty easily no matter what the problem is. As they say, knowledge is power, and now that you know the reasons why your coffee tastes bad, you can correct your mistakes so you can start brewing a cup of coffee that will impress even the snootiest of coffee aficionados.
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