Start with high quality beans.
The biggest variable with brewing coffee is the quality of the beans you choose. Some of the variables include:
- Whole Bean, Ground, or Instant: You'll generally produce the best coffee by buying whole beans instead of pre-ground beans and grinding right before you brew your coffee.
- Freshness: Many grocery store coffee beans have been sitting on the shelf for months or even years. This can be very bad for taste. Ideally, you want beans that have been roasted within the last week or so.
- Arabica or Robusta Beans: Robusta beans are usually less expensive but arabica beans are more known for their taste. If you purchase arabica beans, they'll taste better.
- Source of Beans: Coffee beans from Sumatra taste differently than coffee beans from Kenya. Kenya beans taste different than beans from Brazil and so and so forth. The quality of beans also varies based on weather, elevation, and a variety of other factors.
- Choose a quality company: Some of our favorite companies include Kicking Horse coffee.
Brew with an AeroPress or Pourover Cone
In our opinion, AeroPress produces the best coffee. This is because it extracts the coffee fast, avoiding the bitterness of slower methods, while pressing down also ensures you get the most of our coffee. We also like pourover cones because they require less cleanup than the AeroPress.
And Keurig is always an ultra convenient option. It won't produce coffee as good as an AeroPress or Pourover Cone but it'll save you a lot of time. If you want to make keurig coffee taste better, one important but overlooked tip is to clean your Keurig machine. Many machines go months or even years without cleaning and this can make Keurig coffee taste much worse. Cleaning is fast and easy and will make your coffee taste much better.
Brew at the "right" temperature.
Even as little as a 5-10 degree Fahrenheit difference can change the taste of your coffee. We recommend getting an instant read thermometer to help you experiment. The exact temperature is kind of subjective and often is a matter of personal taste. It also depends on the brewing method you use and the type of roast. Generally the ideal temperature is anywhere from 170 degrees Fahrenheit to 200 degrees.
Use filtered or bottled water.
This is less important than the first few steps but does affect the taste of coffee. We recommend a Brita Everyday Pitcher as an inexpensive, convenient way to have better-tasting water available.
Add some flavor.
And when in doubt, you can always add milk/fat or sweeteners to make your coffee taste better.