You’ve tried everything! Yet you’re still scratching your head wondering why your coffee tastes terrible? You’re buying your beans from a hipster roaster and grinding them fresh. And you’ve tried all the wives’ tales, like sprinkling salt on the grinds and rinsing the machine with vinegar. But still, no matter what, your beloved beverage remains barely palatable. Let us help you.
There are three main reasons that you’re likely running in to trouble: The quality of your water is terrible (or too good); the grind is off; or most likely your coffee maker is junk. We’re going to deal with the latter in this brew guide. We’ll address the other challenges another day.
The problem with most coffee makers is the water doesn’t get hot enough. Coffee professionals recommend a brewing temperature of 195 – 205F. Tepid brewing water prevents the flavor from being extracted from the coffee grinds leading to a sour, muddy cup of coffee. Your brew will also lack body and acidity.
If you want a delicious cup of coffee that resembles what you get at your local café, you’ll have to address many more variables: brew time, coffee dose, water flow, and extraction. No one wants to spend his or her morning dealing with this. Luckily us coffee nerds have spent a lot of time and money testing brewers that hit all of these marks. These few brewers have been given the coveted SCA Certified Home Brewer designation. We’ve had personal experience with a few of the listed brewers and have to agree that the difference is obvious.
After looking through this list you’ll notice three main differences. The most obvious is a thermal carafe vs. a glass carafe. This difference is one of the hardest decisions for us to make. On one side the glass carafe leaves a cleaner taste, but on the other side the hot plate accompanying the glass carafe scorches the coffee the longer is sits. The other big difference in brewers is the ability to let the coffee “bloom”, and programmable timers. The later two are more for personal preference and convenience. You’ll also notice that these machines come at a hefty investment, but remember that it’s nearly impossible to get a $20 bag of coffee anywhere near café quality with a $20 brewer.
Luckily for coffee lovers this list of brewers is growing and quality is ever improving. So take a peak around and find a Certified brewer that’s best for you.
Check back often with Calioh Coffee for more tips and tricks. If you want a reminder next time we publish a brew guide or offer a promotion sign up for our email list and subscribe to our social media channels.
Photo by: Vicente Partida - Specialty Coffee Association