5 Things that’ll ruin your coffee & how to fix them
Author: Bliss Coffee Roasters Date Posted:17 November 2020
Coffee can show delicate flavours in the cup, with floral, fruity or nutty notes. It can also mud, ash or brunt wood – yes! All of these are actually on the tasting wheel for coffee.
So, here is 5 things that will ruin your coffee, but are also really easy to fix.
1. Bean Storage
It all begins with the coffee beans and how they’re stored. If you set your new bag of coffee in the right place, it could remain at peak freshness for two or three weeks. The wrong place, however could bring it to its doom in half the time.
Coffee is an agricultural product that needs to be stored correctly to maintain maximum freshness, just like any other fruit, meat, or cheese.
A Dark Place - X-rays, UV rays, and other unseeable realms of the light spectrum are damaging to foods, including coffee. These are in high concentration with sunlight, but even light from regular lamps can still damage coffee’s flavor. Ideally, you want to store your coffee in an opaque container.
An Airtight Container - Oxygen is the great killer of food freshness. It causes aromatic oils to evaporate, causes coffee cells (and flavor) to collapse, and even provides a setting for microbial life to grow. Store your coffee in a container that you can seal after opening.
A Cool Location - Chemical reactions in food (coffee included) happen more quickly at higher temperatures than lower. Avoid storing your coffee beans in a location that periodically heats up, like next to the oven or a warm window. At the same time, don’t use your fridge or freezer. The cool end of room temperature works well, like in the pantry.
If you don’t store your coffee carefully, you’ll kill it before you even get to brew it. For some more specifics on the best ways to store your coffee, check out How to store your beans
2. Dirty Coffee Equipment
If your brewing gear isn’t clean, your coffee won’t be clean either.
Calcium buildup is a universal issue. Almost all natural water sources have some calcium, and that calcium builds up overtime on your coffee equipment. This mutes the nuanced flavors of coffee and removes any sweetness, so you want to give your brewing equipment a good clean after use or at least few uses.
Soak your coffee brewer in a vinegar and water mixture for a couple hours, then wash by hand. Doing that every month or two will keep your gear and coffee clean, mold free, and flavorful.
Once they’re out of the roaster, whole coffee beans have only a few weeks of optimal drinking before they begin to decline rapidly in flavour and quality. Ground coffee only has about 30 minutes.
Like I mentioned in the storage section, oxygen breaks down food. This is a slow process for whole beans, because they have a small amount of surface area and it takes the oxygen a long time to invade all the way to the center. Ground coffee, on the other hand, has a lot of surface area and takes no time at all to infiltrate entirely.
Batch grinding is a sure way to reduce the quality of your coffee beans. The aromatic oils will evaporate quickly. The cells will break down and take the flavor with them. There’s no way to bring stale coffee back to life, so it is best to not let it go stale to begin with.
Instead, you should always grind your coffee just a few minutes before brewing. This preserves the fresh qualities until you’re ready to experience them.
We highly suggest you consider buying a hand coffee grinder. They’re affordable and will elevate your coffee quality dramatically!
4. Hard Water
The water you use to brew with, makes a difference.
This relates to number 2. The water you use has calcium and hard water, or water high in calcium will have a detrimental impact on your coffee. Hard water generally tastes minerally and unclean. If you’re using water with an odd minerally flavour, that flavour is going to end up in your coffee.
Coffee is 99% water. So… use good water.
Purified or filtered water is going to give you a much better coffee than water straight from the tap, and spring water will be even better.
5. A closed mind
Coffee is an incredible thing. It features a wide variety of flavors, mouthfeel, acidity levels, and aftertastes. The landscape of possibility is vast and worth exploring. But if you have a closed mind, you won’t be able to explore it.
Be curious, explore, and play. Brew coffee three different ways, find your favorite, and go from there. Buy beans from a region you’ve never tasted before, or maybe never even heard of before. Try a new coffee brewing method. Learn to taste coffee.
The grand world of coffee is waiting to be explored. We are always on this adventure of coffee. Are you up for the adventure?