Everywhere you look, people give advice on how to make a good cup of coffee. There are blogs about the topic and even full-length books dedicated to it.
Today, I want to tell you how to make a bad cup of coffee. Whether you’re just an average Joe or a certified coffee snob, I’ve got some advice for you. Much thanks goes out to my accomplices on Facebook and Twitter who helped me put together these pointers on making truly terrible coffee.
The first thing to do is buy your coffee at the grocery store. It’s pretty obvious that most of those stores care only about profit margins, so you know they aren’t going to be focusing on quality coffee. If you happen to find anything decent there, they must be having an off month.
When you’re at the grocery store, look for the giant plastic tubs of coffee, preferably one that’s on sale for some ridiculously low price because who cares if the farmers can’t make a living growing the beans for our morning wake up call. For an added bonus, look for a tub that includes Robusta beans. Sure they taste bitter but they have more caffeine.
I almost left this tip out because it’s so obvious, but make sure you buy pre-ground coffee! Coffee starts to go stale within fifteen minutes, losing it’s flavors and aromas, so you want to make sure you buy pre-ground that’s been sitting on the shelf at the store for who knows how long.
If you do have to buy whole bean coffee, at least use that coffee grinder at the grocery store. You know the one that’s never been cleaned and covered in old grinds and dirt! Think of all of the extra flavors that’ll come with your coffee.
If you feel the need to grind your coffee at home, buy one of the cheap blade grinders. They can add an extra burnt flavor to even the best beans. Whatever you do, don’t invest in a burr grinder. They’re a complete waste of money! Who cares if they produce even grinds. If you are one of those people with a coffee grinder, make sure you never clean it. By not cleaning it, you’ll keep all of those flavors from old beans in form of rotting grinds and stale oils from weeks ago.
While we’re talking about the ground coffee, make sure not to measure it. Just throw in a random amount of scoops into your drip coffee maker or french press. Why measure it or make sure your scoops are even? That’s just added work that doesn’t make a difference. Don’t worry about adding too little, if your coffee looks more like tea, it’s not really a bad thing. And adding too much won’t cause any problems either.
Oh, one more thing about grinds before we get too far. One grind is good for all brewing methods. Using fine grinds with a drip coffee maker won’t cause it to overflow and make a mess all over your counter. Trust me, I know this from experience! Don’t be afraid to use a fine grind for your French press either. You’ll be able to taste the difference. The coffee experts that say you should use a coarse grind for a french press are full of it.
The biggest ingredient in a cup of coffee is the water, but don’t spend anytime worrying about the quality of your water. If your water is hard, don’t worry about filtering it. Those extra minerals just add extra flavors. If you live in a community with chlorinated water, same thing, don’t worry about filtering it. Oh yeah, even if you have polluted water, water that tastes bad, don’t worry the coffee will hide all of those imperfections.
Here’s a bonus tip for you. If you’re using a filter, don’t bother to rinse it. It won’t make a difference by washing away the paper taste that you get when you’re using something like an automatic coffee maker or drip filter.
Now, what’s talk about how to brew the coffee. First off, don’t follow the instructions. Whether it’s the instructions that come with the device or instructions you find online, they’re just there to misled you. Feel free to make up your own way to use the machine, adding as much coffee and water that you want.
Here’s a couple of bonus tips for you if you’re looking to get an automatic coffee maker. Get one that doesn’t heat the water above 195 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re heating the water yourself, make sure to stay away from temperatures in the 195-202 degree temperature range. If you heat it hotter, like boil it, you’ll over-extract the flavors. If you heat it less, you’ll under extract flavors. You don’t want to go into that range in between. Trust me again, it’s a bad thing.
Don’t feel like you have to stick to their rules for steeping time, if you’re using something like a french press. The standard might be 4-5 minutes, but think of how much better your coffee would taste if you let it steep for ten or even twenty minutes. And after your pour out a cup or two from your french press, let the rest just sit in the carafe until you’re ready for another cup of coffee.
While I’m writing about coffee sitting in the carafe, I gotta mention that letting the carafe full of coffee sitting on the hot plate for hours is a good thing. I mean seriously, just think of how world class coffee comes from grimy gas stations and greasy diners. Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.
If you’re coffee starts to get cold, don’t be afraid to just reheat it in the microwave. It won’t change the flavors of the coffee at all! I swear.
No matter what method of brewing you use, don’t ever clean your machine. Definitely don’t clean it on a regular basis to get rid of all of the pungent oils and molding grinds that could be hiding somewhere. Like with the grinder, those are good flavors!
And make sure you re-use the coffee grounds. Save some money, use the same grounds two, maybe even three times. I’m sure that second pot of coffee will taste just as good.
You can tell you made a really good cup of coffee by how much you have to doctor it. The more milk, sugar or flavor syrups that you have to add, the better cup of coffee you made. The coffee flavor in coffee needs to be hid by those things so don’t be afraid to bury your coffee in sugar and turn the color a pale white with milk.
If this all seems too complicated to you, I understand there’s a lot of rules to follow to make a bad cup of coffee, check out some healthy coffee from one of those shady multi-level marketing people or instant coffee from a giant corporate coffee company.
What suggestions do you have for someone who wants to make a bad cup of coffee?