By the Fix-it Team
When coffee beans and water mix, there’s a chemical reaction that extracts bitterness from the beans. If you haven’t mixed them right, the coffee and water will over-extract that bitterness and what do you end up with? A terrible cup of coffee.
Here are five steps you can take to make that problem go away:
Don’t Let Your Coffee Steep for Too Long
This is a bigger problem for people using a French press since they tend to leave the coffee in the press too long. The longer the water and the beans are left together, the more bitterness they extract. Once your coffee has steeped for about 4 minutes, pour it into an insulated travel mug and get rid of the beans.
For coarsely ground coffee, you will need to steep it for 6-8 minutes as it will need more time to extract all the flavors. Once you surpass these guidelines, the longer you leave your coffee in, the more bitter it will be.
Grind Your Beans Properly
If you grind your own coffee beans, it could take a bit of trial and error to find just the right balance. If they’re too coarsely ground, the water and beans will under extract, giving you coffee that tastes flat and sour. If it’s ground too fine, you’ll over-extract those flavors and get too much bitterness.
For optimal results, buy unground coffee and grind it yourself. This can be done at the grocery store when you purchase it, or at home with your own grinder. With a little practice, you’ll be able to grind perfect coffee every time!
Check Your Water Temperature
If your water is too hot, it will over-extract and make your coffee bitter. Boiling water is too hot for your coffee. The ideal temperature for your water is between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. Since water boils at 212 degrees F, if the kettle has boiled let the water sit for a couple of minutes before pouring it over your coffee grounds.
For lighter roast coffee, you’ll want to err on the higher side of that range, bringing the water closer to 205F. With darker roast coffee, aim for the lower end, closer to 195F.
Clean Your Coffee Machine
A dirty coffee machine has residues and mineral deposits that can affect the flavor of your coffee. Give everything a good clean after each use. To easily clean inside your drip coffee maker, pour 2 parts water and 1 part vinegar in your coffee reservoir, let it sit for a few moments before running a full brew cycle, and then let the water sit in the carafe (with the burner element off) for 15-20 minutes.
For tough stains in the carafe, sprinkle some baking soda over the stain and scrub with a soft sponge. To clean the outside of your machine, simply wipe it with a soft, damp cloth.
Add Some Salt
Salt and coffee sounds like a weird mix, but many people swear by it. The salt can help to balance out the bitter flavor. To do this, you want to add the salt before you brew. Adding soft after will not turn out great, in fact it’s going to be pretty gross.
It’s recommended that for every 6 tablespoons of coffee added to your coffee maker, you want to add a quarter teaspoon of salt.
A bitter cup of coffee is a bad way to start your day. We hope that these five simple steps help get your day started right with a great cup of coffee! As with most foods and drinks, everyone likes their coffee slightly different.
To find your ideal cup, try out different steep times, finer/coarser grounds, or brewing at different temperatures. While it may take some trial and error, the result will be a much better-tasting cup of coffee every day.
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