Everyone makes a common mistake or two, and that’s fine. There are plenty common coffee mistakes to avoid while you prepare your coffee. But it sure is a major inconvenience when the error messes up your only chance to feel motivated for the day ahead.
When making your morning cup, a slight slip-up in the daily ritual can cause the coffee to taste like a lifeless, bitter mess. To avoid this early morning disaster, let’s take a look at an extended list of common coffee-making mistakes to avoid. This list can help you save a trip to the coffee shop and get your morning coffee with the purest flavor at home.
As the title suggests, these fall under common coffee making mistakes people makes every day. So don’t feel too bummed out if you are guilty of any common mistakes we are about to mention. You are not alone.
Mistake #1: Not Knowing Exactly What You Like
In all the common coffee making mistakes to avoid, this one is considered to be the number one. If you’ve recently started on the coffee journey, chances are you picked up a fresh bag of coffee beans just because your colleague or friend recommended it to you. But when you brew your cup, you do not like how it tastes.
It’s nothing to worry about. Everyone has a different personal choice, and everyone’s taste palette reacts differently to different types of coffee. Let your taste palate decide by trying out other brews and developing your personal taste.
Mistake #2: You’re Using Water That Isn’t Hot Enough
Many coffee brewers out there don’t reach the ideal coffee temperature (195-205 degrees). To extract the most flavor out of your coffee in any brewing process, you need to ensure you’re reaching the established ideal temperature.
If you feel like your water isn’t hot enough, choose a coffee maker where you can ensure the ideal temperature.
Mistake #3: You’re Using Overheated Water
If the brewing water isn’t hot enough, the coffee comes out as under-extracted. On the other hand, if your water is too hot, it can cause a bitter cup of coffee.
The best way to work around it is to use a kitchen thermometer hand to determine if your water is just the right kind of hot to make your coffee.
Mistake #4: Pouring into a cold cup
Here’s a bit of simple science: if you pour hot liquid into a container at a lower temperature than the liquid itself, the drink won’t stay hot for long. Doing so ruins the taste of your coffee in the long run.
When you’re boiling water for coffee, use a bit of water from the pot to pre-warm the cup so that the temperature of both the coffee and the cup is as close as possible.
Mistake #5: You’re Drinking From The Wrong Cup
If your favorite coffee mug/ cup is going cold too fast, then the fault may be the cups, not yours.
The element of the cup and the thickness of the wall of the mug affect the heat retention ability. When your cup has a thick wall, it maintains the hot temperature for a more extended period.
Pro Tip: Use a thick-walled ceramic coffee mug for the best results.
Mistake #6: You’re Using Stale Grounds
Here’s a quick tip: Always check the roast date when buying your coffee bean. If the bean has been roasted within the last three weeks, you can buy the bean bag with zero hesitation.
If you check the bean bag, you can find the info easily. If you’re more of the online shopping kind, you can find the info about the roasting date on the site itself. And if you’re buying from a local farmer’s market, you can find the date stamped under the bag.
Mistake #7: You’re Putting Price Over Quality
Did you buy a coffee bean bag at a nice discount? Unfortunately, you may have just doomed your coffee experience to bitter hell.
Trying to cut back on the coffee cost can sometimes ruin your entire experience. The best way is to brace yourself for the high price and get the bean that will brew you fresh coffee you will surely love.
Mistake #8: You’re Purchasing Pre-Ground Coffee Beans
When you grind coffee beans, the beans release oils and gasses in the brewer that provide the unique taste you love about your morning coffee.
Unfortunately, when you are buying pre-ground beans, there’s a high chance that the good effects of the beans are already lost and will result in underdeveloped roasts.
To spare yourself a subpar coffee cup, make sure that you are buying whole coffee beans to grind and brew them yourself, instead of waiting on someone doing your work for you.
Having fun nomies? Here, check out our how to prevent grounds in coffee article.
Mistake #9: You’re Adding Low-Quality Extra Ingredients
If you prefer a splash of milk and a bit of extra sugary sweetness in your coffee, make sure that the coffee and the milk are top-shelf quality.
It also applies to sweeteners and coffee creamers that you can buy from a market. But, again, the low-quality mix-ins affect the taste of the coffee.
It’s better to experiment with different creamers and sweeteners to find the sweet spot (pun intended)
Mistake #10: You’re Using An Incorrect Coffee-To-Water Ratio
There is an ideal coffee-to-water ratio for every method of brewing. If you’re applying the perfect ratio of espresso to a latte, your coffee will taste too bad to drink.
Find the correct ratio for the type of brew you are going for, and apply it to your morning coffee brewing routine. You are sure to get much better results.
Mistake #11: You’re Skimping On Water Quality
Tap water can be very tempting for making coffee. It’s free, and you can get it with a flick of the tap. But the water quality affects the taste of coffee.
Tap water contains various chemicals and minerals. When you heat tap water, the chemicals in the water interact with the chemicals released from the coffee solution, which dilutes the overall taste of the coffee.
Use bottled water for morning brews instead of tap water to avoid the nasty flavor of the chemicals.
Mistake #12: You’re Leaving Old Grounds In The Filter Basket
If coffee is your occasional refreshment instead of a daily go-to, make sure that you clear out your filter basket and get rid of the used grounds before brewing a new batch. Even after a few days in the basket, they can get moldy you must clean them to ensure a healthy coffee cup
Remember to clear out the filter basket when you’re done brewing for the day before putting your machine back up.
Mistake #13: You’re Storing Your Coffee The Wrong Way
The best way to store coffee is somewhere the beans are away from direct sunlight and humidity in a cold container.
Any airtight container with a sealed lid should do the trick (like a mason jar). Storing the coffee in the freezer can seem like a good idea, but the freezer has a humid environment and takes the taste away.
If you plan to store coffee in a sealed bag on a shelf at the back of the pantry, make sure you are brewing them before they are sitting on the shelf for too long.
Mistake #14: You forget To Clean Your Machine
This is a very obvious mistake. When you aren’t keeping your equipment clean at a scheduled interval, you are risking the quality of your morning coffee.
Dirty equipment mixes old grounds and other weird chemicals with your coffee, making your coffee taste sour, bitter, or stale.
Make sure to take your device apart and keep your equipment clean at all times.
Mistake #15: You’re Using Outdated Equipment
Like everything in this universe, even the machines have their lifespans, and they start going out of whack after a certain point. And that applies to your dad’s old coffeemaker as well.
It’s always good to have a keen eye to understand when your machine is not working up to your expectation, even when you’re sure you’re taking good care of it. When you’re sure your coffee machine is not at its peak anymore, it’s time to replace the family heirloom.
Mistake #16: Your Grinding Method Isn’t Right
When grinding your coffee beans, you need to ensure that you aren’t using the wrong grind. This is because grind size affects the brew methods and also the taste.
If you use coarse grinds, you will have under-extracted coffee. However, when you grind your beans too fine, the coffee ground can pass through the filter most of the time, and it will result in bitter coffee.
Experimenting with different grind sizes can help you find the proper middle ground between coarse and fine grind (and, of course, pun intended).
Loving our piece on common coffee mistakes to avoid?
Then you must read out our tips aeropress users should know article.
Mistake #17: You’re Not Paying Attention To The Paper Filter
Consider this a three in one package cause there are three mistakes associated with paper filters when brewing coffee:
- You’re not pre-rinsing your paper filter
- You’re pouring water around the edges of the paper filter
- You’re not pouring water over the paper filter the right way
Paper filters leave a papery taste in your coffee if you don’t pre-rinse them. Soak the filters in warm water for around 30 seconds to get a smooth taste.
If you pour water around the edge of the filter, you risk adding extra water to the coffee that doesn’t interact with the coffee grounds. Doing so results in a bland cup of coffee.
And finally, don’t pour water too fast. It will either cause in under-extracted coffee, or you will end up spilling hot water on yourself, and in case you’re having a case of the Mondays, both can happen. To avoid this, make sure you pour water into the machine slowly and steadily.
Mistake #18: You’re Not Letting The Grounds Bloom
If you pour all the water in your coffee simultaneously, you are missing out on the blooming process and the extra flavor it produces.
Pour some water, and let the coffee bloom for around 30 seconds by letting it sit still. After blooming, start pouring water to begin the extraction process.
Mistake #19: You’re Reusing Brewed Grounds
You might think that leaving the already brewed grounds in the coffee maker is a good idea if you want to grab another quick cup.
After the roasted bean grounds have been brewed entirely, they lose all the aroma and flavor. So if you use the same grounds and try to brew coffee again, what you’ll have in your hands is just coffee-flavored hot water.
Mistake #20: You’re Not Tamping Espresso Coffee Grounds Correctly
Even if you’re not a professional, you can master the basics of properly tamping your espresso in minutes. Tamping the right way can distinguish between drinking proper espresso or a bland, watery mess.
Invest in an excellent plastic tamper if you want to get the best out of the process. To use the plastic tamper the right way, put your thumb and forefinger on the rim of the tamper. Then, put the shaft on the palm of your hand.
Remember to place the coffee puck on an even surface and apply firm pressure on the tamper.
Mistake #21: You’re Not Paying Attention When Pouring The Espresso
The espresso pour says a lot about the state of your espresso. If your flow is too slow, it indicates that the grounds are too fine. If the flow is too fast, the grounds are too coarse, and there is not enough coffee in the puck.
The crema, which is a unique trait of the espresso, can tell you a lot about the current state of your espresso as well. If your crema is under-extracted, it simply means the extraction pressure, the blend quality, and the water temperature are all messed up.
If the crema is too dark, it’s signaling multiple red lights, indicating bad coffee.
Dark crema in your espresso suggests a few things among many:
- Your coffee is over-extracted
- Your coffee has too much ground in it
- The extraction pressure is too high
- The group head screen is dirty
- The extraction happened over an extended time
Only you can find the right balance and create the best espresso.
Mistake #22: You’re Not Tasting Your Espresso
Have guests over and can’t wait to show off your barista skills with a fine cup of espresso? Don’t forget to taste it first!
Tasting gives you the idea of changing anything in the final serving by adding elements and tweaking the brew.
It’s better to laugh at your own silly mistake by yourself before your friends start roasting you for bragging about being as skilled as a barista.
Mistake #23: You’re Not Serving Espresso Correctly
Another espresso-related mistake, but it’s a common one, so it qualifies for the list.
Your espresso needs to be served in style. The presentation is not just for the aesthetics when it comes to espresso; it can affect the taste.
Let’s go back to the guests’ scenario again. You’ve tasted your coffee, you’ve made some essential changes, but if you don’t serve it the right way, your coffee can still taste bad.
If you use poor-quality cups and serve in incorrect sizes, your coffee can taste terrible. The best way is to use a mug warmer to ensure your coffee stays warm for a longer period if it’s just for yourself. However, in the case of your guests, use demitasse cups of decent sizes to get the best results.
Having fun to read common coffee mistakes to avoid?
You’ll love to read our piece on making espresso in aeropress article.
Mistake #24: You’re Buying Instant Coffee
Instant coffee may be a cheap, quick fix for your morning coffee needs, but it does count as a mistake because why would you choose instant coffee?
Instant coffee cuts back on the major flavor factors that make your coffee taste like real coffee. The manufacturing process alone strips the roasted beans of all their coffee flavor with methods like freeze-drying and high-pressure brewing.
Instant coffee consumption can also be considered unfair for the coffee farmers since 9/10 times; the farmers are not well-compensated for their efforts that go into instant coffee.
Mistake #25: You Don’t Know How Much Caffeine You Are Consuming
This mistake can be fatal for your health in the long run. So when making coffee, always keep tabs on how much caffeine you consume.
Drinking a cup or two every day is pretty standard and stays within the average consumption. But even then, you need to keep your caffeine intake in check depending on the type of brew you are drinking.
The time to brew determines the amount of caffeine in your coffee, not the density of the drink itself. Unfortunately, this is a common misconception among many, making them believe espresso has the highest concentration of caffeine.
Mistake #26: You’re Using A Spice Grinder Or Blade Grinder
Never, I repeat, NEVER use a spice grinder or a blade grinder.
Spice grinders have hints of spice flavor, and aroma stuck in them forever, even when you wash them off with soap or vinegar. If you use a spice grinder for coffee, your wrath will surpass the God Of War when you realize your coffee now tastes like ginger and onions.
A blade grinder can’t grind the roasted coffee beans finely, and as a result, the final grind is so bad that you take one look at it and feel demotivated to make coffee with it. The best way to go is to get yourself a burr grinder.
A burr grinder crushes all the coffee beans equally, and it ensures that your extraction process goes smooth, just like the coffee you’ll get afterwards.
Mistake #27: You’re Not Following The Manufacturer’s Instructions
This is one of a beginner’s biggest mistakes, which is completely understandable. Every freshly purchased coffee machine comes with a book of instructions. But who’s got time to read when you’re overly excited about your soon-to-start coffee adventures?
If you’re a pro in the scene, you may not pay much attention to the instructions as well. But knowing a new trick or two for the new, advanced model can always save you from a potentially distasteful cup of coffee.
Mistake #28: You Aren’t Taking Notes About Your Perfect Cup
I know it sounds tedious and annoying, but this is important.
Don’t you love how you wake up one morning and outperform yourself by brewing the most perfect cup of coffee you have ever brewed? Don’t you wish to recreate it again?
That’s why the note-taking part is important. Note down every step you took to reach that point, and re-run the same strategy, again and again, to get the best out of your future brews.
Coffee is the only motivation for many people to even wake up from their bed in the morning to start the day. So avoid giving your day a bad start by making these common coffee making mistakes to avoid, and get yourself the perfect daily grind.
May your coffee game be strong and your brew even stronger. Cheers!
This happens when the cup isn’t preheated. The mug seeps out all the temperature from the coffee liquid to warm itself up, while the coffee goes cold fast.
There are quite few common coffee making mistakes to avoid that beginners make when making coffee; the most important ones are not reading the instructions for the coffee machines, not choosing a coffee type based on their taste palate, using tap water just because it’s easier to access, etc.
The 17:1 ratio works in terms of weight.
A coffee sieve is a small device with metal screens inside it all over and is used to stop coffee grinds from getting into the mug while pouring.
By considering the common coffee making mistakes to avoid guideline, you should descale your coffee machine at least once a month. It’s also a good practice to descale the machine when you are on vacation and won’t be using it for a while. The descaling process prevents additional minerals from building up in the machine as it sits still on your shelf.