This desperate plea arrived a couple of weeks ago from a reader:
Help! I make the most horrid coffee. I have tried every brand available (even your fav. store in Kingston!), grind my own beans, tried different coffee makers, Bodums, etc and it is still bitter and tastes awful!
Oooh, coffee. Such a personal choice. Andrew loves French roast so dark it looks (and smells) like asphalt. I like an espresso roast for my latte and a medium roast for your average cup. Some people like theirs black while others can’t take anything stronger than a double-double*.
If you’re still searching for the perfect coffee, here are some points to keep in mind:
- Switch to a lighter roast if you’re using a dark roast and find it bitter.
- Try beans from a different county. You might not like the terroir of the beans your currently using.
- Add a pinch (tiny pinch) of salt to the beans before adding the water.
- Play with the ratio of bean to water. First time, follow the manufacturer’s directions. If it’s too weak, add more beans the next time. If it’s too strong, cut back.
- Buy from a roaster to ensure the beans are fresh. Look for oily beans, since the oil indicates they’re fresh. Dry beans are old.
- Purchase smaller quantities — enough beans to last 2 or so weeks. Resist bulk purchases since beans start to go stale after a couple of weeks.
- Store your beans at room temperature in an airtight container and grind as you need. Don’t store them in the freezer.
- Drink the coffee right away. Coffee gets bitter if it sits longer than half an hour. Don’t reheat cold coffee and don’t keep it hot on a warming burner.
This last tip comes from Kristine Hansen, cyber-friend and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Coffee and Tea.
- Fill your coffee mug with boiling/hot water while the coffee is being brewed. This way the coffee will retain its heat and not plummet several degrees when you are ready to sip.
- Use a thick-walled mug. It tastes SO MUCH better this way!
Got any tips on non-bitter, great tasting coffee?
*Double-double is a Canadianism for a coffee with double cream, double sugar.
Photo © jRa7. Published under a Creative Commons License.