If you follow the steps in this article about how to make coffee taste better, I guarantee it will make every day better and not just from a coffee perspective but it will enhance your whole outlook to each day.
Most people drink at least 2 cups of coffee every single day. If you are going to do anything twice a day then you might as well make it feel as good as possible.
The crazy thing when it comes to coffee is that even though you consume so much of it most people never even come close to experiencing the maximum enjoyment from the worlds most popular beverage.
About 1.4 billion cups of coffee are consumed each day and a lot of those are just guzzled down mostly because it’s a habit and also to get a caffeine hit to set us up for the rest of the day but mostly we don’t care too much about the flavour.
When it comes to wine, we mostly know the kind of wine we like the most. White, red, fruity. dry etc but when it comes to coffee it will tend to be the type of coffee drink we like as opposed to the type of coffee.
Perhaps you like a cappuccino or a latte or an americano or an espresso but you won’t know what type of coffee you actually like and that makes a massive difference.
When you go to a restaurant you get to choose the type of wine that you would like to drink because they present you with a wine list to choose from but when you go to a coffee shop you have to take what you get. The number of choices is precisely one – the house blend.
You then get to choose whether to take it straight up (espresso), add some water to it (americano) or add some milk to turn it into a cappuccino or latte.
The problem is in most coffee shops if you ask for a latte they will serve you a pint of milk that has no coffee flavour at all because it is so diluted and they have no idea whatsoever how to make a cappuccino.
Not only that but you will pay upwards of £3 for the privilege of receiving something that you don’t really like and isn’t what you actually asked for (for example a pint of milk instead of a latte).
The good news is that you don’t need to tolerate it anymore. Ditch the coffee shop that overcharges you for cheap coffee and poor coffee making skills and make it yourself with better coffee and just how you like it.
The other good news is that you should probably drink more coffee than you actually are. I used to drink only or two cups of coffee a day because I assumed that more than that must be bad for me. I was wrong. Not only is drinking four or five cups of coffee not bad for you but it has been scientifically proven that coffee is good for you.
So we know that drinking loads of coffee is good, now let’s have a look at how we can make it taste as good as possible.
1. Start with the right coffee
The single most important thing you can do is find the coffee that you like the most. If you have spent your whole life buying instant coffee from the supermarket then there is a whole world of joy out there waiting for you to discover.
It’s like buying Lambrusco or Blue Nun wine (not great if you haven’t heard of them) and then discovering Grand Cru Chablis. It will transform your life (I’m not kidding).
And the thing about coffee is that everyone has a different palette so the most expensive coffee may well not be the one that you like the most.
Try different types until you find one that resonates with you. You’ll know when it does because it will taste delicious.
2. Beans, Beans, Beans
That’s not a typo, whole coffee beans are about 50 times better than instant coffee and about 20 times better than pre-ground coffee (in my estimation anyway). The difference between instant coffee vs ground coffee vs coffee beans is huge and should not be underestimated.
Coffee starts to lose its freshness and flavour within 30 minutes of it being ground and it doesn’t matter that it gets vacuum packed, the flavour will deteriorate quickly. This is the reason why coffee shops always grind the coffee just before they serve it to you.
Check out the beans next time you are in the supermarket and see if you can find some with the “produced on” date or the “roasting date”. The more recently the beans have been roasted the better the flavour will be.
3. Get a coffee grinder
If you have never ground coffee beans in your life then it’s about as easy as it gets. Pop in some beans, press down on the top of the grinder and in less than 30 seconds your freshly ground coffee is delivered to you.
If you are just getting started then you can try a cheap blade grinder and they start from about a tenner. Once you realise how much better freshly ground coffee is then you can consider a burr coffee grinder that will give you a more consistent grind enhancing the coffee flavour even further.
Never grind more than you need for one or two days to ensure you always have the freshest possible coffee.
4. Choose a brewing method
There is no best way to make coffee but there are many ways that you can make it.
There are 5 methods that make up about 98% of the coffee that everyone drinks on a day to day basis.
The Americans call it a French press and us Europeans call it Cafetière. Cafetière is French for coffee maker but it doesn’t really matter what you call it.
This is the cheapest way to make a proper cup of coffee. You can pick up a cafetière for less than the price of a cinema ticket and combine that with your coffee grinder and for a very low initial outlay you can turn your daily coffee consumption into an experience rather than just a habit. Here is how to make coffee in a french press or cafetière.
Filter coffee machine
This is a method similar to a cafetière but the machine does all the work for you. pop in the ground coffee to a basket, press a button and the machine will pour water over the ground coffee and it will drip through into a jug below.
This method is more suited for people that like to make a jug of coffee rather than just one or two cups.
Pod or capsule coffee machine
Lots of people have chosen to go down this route in recent years. It is the most convenient way to make a decent cup of coffee but it’s not the best. You pop in a pod, press a button and your coffee is delivered in under a minute.
Bear in mind that the pod contains pre-ground coffee so its nowhere near as fresh or as good as grinding your own whole coffee beans and the pods work out a lot more expensive than grinding your own beans yourself.
If you are happy to trade quality for convenience then this method is worth considering but if you want the best tasting coffee one of the other ways is better and cheaper.
If you are prepared to pay out a bit more upfront then you can combine the convenience of a pod machine but have the benefit of freshly ground beans as well. Choosing the correct bean to cup coffee machine can be a minefield as there are many different types with different specifications and functionality but choose wisely and this is one of the most satisfying ways to enjoy a great cup of coffee without any hassle.
If you are willing to put in a little bit of work then this is the best way to control all of the variables. If you are looking to replicate the coffee shop experience then you can learn how to make an espresso like a professional barista in the comfort of your own home with a traditional pump espresso machine.
5. The correct brewing method for you
For a more intense stronger coffee experience then a bean to cup machine or a pump espresso machine will get you a coffee that is most like a cappuccino or latte or americano that you would get in a coffee shop.
A filter coffee machine or cafetière will generally provide a smoother more mellow coffee.
It really does come down to personal preference so our recommendation would be to try a cafetière first as it’s the cheapest way and if you want to try something else after that then you are only going to be of pocket a few quid and it will get you used to grinding your own beans and brewing your own coffee.
6. Grind your coffee correctly
Grinding your coffee to the correct level of fineness for the brewing method you use is very important. Here is a detailed look at how to grind coffee beans but in a nutshell a coarse grind is better if you are using a cafetière and a much finer grind is required for espresso.
7. Use the right water
Coffee is 98% water so it makes sense to use unpolluted water to make your coffee with because any tap water with high levels of chlorine or limescale will come through in the taste and will affect the flavour of your coffee. Here are some tips to help you identify what is the best water for coffee but basically it’s better to use bottled water than tap water for the best flavour.