April 09, 2024 5 min read

Coffee is a main drink in the daily routine of a large number of people around the world. Beyond its reported health benefits or its ability to prevent some diseases, the truth is that it's largely popular due to its simplicity, which allows it to be prepared both in a restaurants and in our kitchens at home. 

Alas, due to its simplicity to prepare, it is common to make unconscious errors when preparing coffee at home and ended up not geting the maximum flavour out of it. This without even considering the quality of the coffee grain and water in the first place. Many also are not aware of the importance of storing coffee properly in airtight containers so that it does not lose its properties, and to protect it from extreme temperatures and humidity.

Finally, while having all the right brewing gear is important, it is only the first step to a perfectly brewed homemade coffee, and there are still a lot of things that can go wrong in the process. 

Without further ado, here's a list of the 7 most common home coffee brewing mistakes, and how to fix them:

1. You are using low-quality coffee beans

If you're not enjoying the taste of your coffee, it may be because you're buying low-quality coffee beans; and with coffee, you really do get what you pay for. You should be looking for the perfect blend of acidity, bitterness, and sweetness in every sip of good quality coffee. And while coffee from low-quality beans might still offer a caffeine boost, it can be such an unpalatable mess that it’s a waste of money.

A trick to tell if you've got a quality bean or not? Grind some of the beans up and spoon them on top of a glass of ice water. If you're using premium quality coffee beans, the colour shouldn't leach into the water after a few minutes, while a lower-quality coffee ground will.

2. Your Coffee Isn’t Fresh

Let’s start with a mistake that you can refrain from easily. Although the coffee you buy was fresh when you bought them for the first time, over time, it can go stale. If you use the same coffee beans for a long time, volatile compounds inside of your coffee beans might make your coffee taste less than optimum. 

If you want to avoid stale beans, here is one of the most important coffee tips for you: check the label of your coffee bean package. By doing that, you can see the roasting date so that you will know when to buy new coffee beans. 

Another tip: pick up an airtight container in which to store your coffee beans and keep them fresh longer.

3. You Are Not Grinding Your Coffee Beans Properly

Although you can pre-ground coffee, it is preferable to grind it yourself. It's however important to take into account the type of coffee or espresso maker where the coffee is going to be made because different brewing methods require different grind sizes. For example, a coarse grind suits the French press, while espresso demands a fine grind. Adjust your grinder settings to match your chosen brewing method.

If you’re using a cheap grinder, your coffee may just taste bad regardless. Why not invest in a good quality coffee grinder today.

4. Your Water Temperature Is Wrong

One of the most important things that you should consider if you want to brew a perfect cup of coffee is using the right temperature for water. Using the wrong temperature might be the reason why your coffee tastes bad in the first place.

Hot water is key to extraction, and it extracts much faster than cold water. The ideal temperature range for proper brewing is 91°C (195°F) to 96°C (205°F). This is hot enough to extract carefully and quickly, but not so hot to burn or over-extract the coffee. If your coffee tastes too sour, use hotter water. If it’s too bitter, use cooler water.

If budget allows, you can also simplify your life and get an automatic or semi-automatic espresso maker that can adjust the water temperature automatically. 

5. Pouring Into a Cold Cup

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Much like preheating your brewing equipment, it’s important to preheat your coffee cup. This helps keep brewing consistent, but will also help keep your drink warmer for longer. Coffee starts to turn bitter once it starts to cool, so the longer you can keep it warm the better.

Why not do it like barristas do at the cafes: just before you start pouring hot water into your brewer, pour some of that water into the cup. Leave it in there while the coffee’s brewing, and empty it before filling with coffee. If you're using an espresso maker, keep the cups warm by placing them on top of the machine. 

6. Forgetting to Clean Your Coffee Maker or Espresso Machine

You may think cleaning a coffee maker has nothing to do with coffee brewing techniques, but it is actually a very important thing that affects the quality of your cup. If your coffee doesn’t taste good, this may be simply due to a dirty coffee maker.

Contrary to what seems to be popular belief, you do need to clean your coffee maker regularly. Just how often that is will depend on what kind of coffee maker you're using. With a French press, you'll have to clean it after every single use. When it comes to a drip coffee maker and espresso machine, though, you should clean it at least once a month. Avoid using harsh household chemicals, and instead ask your trusted specialty coffee machine provider for proper cleaning products

7. Using Low-quality Water

Although this is one of the most common coffee mistakes, some people might see addressing this problem as redundant.

Water isn't probably the first ingredient you think about when you set out to make a good cup of coffee. If you're like most people, it's all about the bean. But since an average cup of coffee is 98.75 percent water, it makes sense that you'd want to think about the quality of water you use as well. Tap water seems like an obvious choice, but since the quality of tap water varies significantly depending on what region you live in, you may not be getting the best cup of coffee possible if you use H2O straight from the tap. 

Filtered water is a better option if you have access to it. In fact, using filtered water to brew your coffee or espresso is actually one of the best coffee brewing tips that we can give to you. Just remember to change the water filter cardridge regularly for best results.

8. Not Using The Right Coffee Mug


This one is a bonus. Even though you might think that mugs don’t have anything to do with how is coffee brewed, we decided to put this mistake on this list because how you drink your coffee after it is brewed is an equally important matter.

A thick-walled cup maintains the coffee’s steaming hot temperature for longer. Try to find a diner-style white coffee mug with a thick wall. We also like sipping from sturdy, handcrafted ceramic mugs or double wall glasses

Final advice

Now that you have learned the most common mistakes when brewing coffee, you can start making adjustments in order to make a perfect cup of coffee for yourself at home. You can also come and visit us in person at our Faema Montreal store. You will find everything you need to make your next perfect cup of coffee!