A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

5 Tricks for Making Perfect Coffee You’ll Wish You Knew All Along

Updated: Apr. 23, 2021

If savoring a morning cuppa is maybe your favorite part of the day, you need these coffee-making secrets now.

1 / 5
Cup of coffee, bag and scoop on old rusty background
Ilja Generalov/Shutterstock

Cool coffee beans

According to the New York Times, a new study has shown that cooling your beans before grinding them can lead to a more consistent and higher quality taste: “Colder beans produce smaller, more consistently sized particles when ground, yielding more flavor from less coffee.” Enclose your desired amount of coffee beans in an airtight container and stick them in the freezer before you head to bed. After you wake up in the morning, grind and brew the beans. Check out these surprising foods you never knew you could cook in a coffee maker.

2 / 5
Coffee bean inside the glass coffee grinder tray on the professional scale preparing for brewing pour-over coffee. Professional barista equipment prepare for brewing drip coffee.

Use a scale

This adjustment may seem senseless, but using a scale to measure quantities before brewing is an easy way to improve the quality of your coffee. The coffee bean-water ratio is one of the most important aspects to brewing a great cup of java, but many coffee machines mark a cup as five ounces instead of eight. Additionally, people often just add a scoop of coffee grounds, which is not a subjective unit of measure. The Specialty Coffee Association of America uses a ratio that calls for 55 grams of coffee for every 1,000 grams (one liter) of water. Digital scales are an inexpensive addition to your kitchen and will help to ensure you’re brewing the best cup of coffee possible. If you accidentally spill your coffee, don’t worry—here’s a guide for how to remove coffee stains.

3 / 5
Coffee grinder and coffee beans

Grind right before brewing

Though purchasing pre-ground beans may save you a couple minutes in the morning, ground coffee loses flavor over time as a result of prolonged exposure to air, making it less flavorful when brewed. This is why it’s also essential to store your beans in a container with an airtight seal, so as to keep beans fresh and flavorful for as long as possible. Grinding beans yourself can be a fairly nuanced project, and it’s important to invest in the right kind of grinder. Burr grinders are more effective and produce a more consistent product than a cheaper blade grinder, but evenly extract flavor for a better taste. Watch out for these ways you’re using your coffee machine wrong.

4 / 5
Man pouring hot water in coffee maker. Businessman preparing coffee on breakfast table with a laptop computer by the side.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Consider water quality

A typical cup of coffee is almost 99 percent water, according to mentalfloss.com. So if the water you use to make your coffee tastes funky, chances are your coffee will, too. Use the purest water possible when brewing so your coffee comes out tasting just the way you want it to. It’s also important to make sure your water is the right temperature for maximum flavor extraction, which the Specialty Coffee Association of America says is between 198°F and 202°F.

5 / 5
Making pour-over coffee with a filter dripper
Yulia Grigoryeva/Shutterstock

Get a pour-over dripper

A pour-over setup may require a bit more effort than an automatic coffee maker, but it will also allow you to tweak different aspects of the brewing process at your discretion and adjust the way your coffee tastes. And unlike many automatic brewers that produce coffee by soaking grounds with several small streams of water, a pour-over allow the beans to be saturated with one steady stream that will reduce temperature loss that arises from increased surface area. Hotter water will brew coffee faster, too. Next, find out these myths and facts you’ve always wondered about how coffee affects your health.

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest