The #1 Reason Your Coffee Tastes Funky & How to Fix It
Making good coffee doesn't have to be complicated. Here's one way to make your daily coffee taste considerably better:
Clean Your Equipment!
Told you it was simple. Yet it's something we don't think of often when brewing coffee at home. No matter what your home-brewing setup, it's time to give it a loving scrub.
Coffee has natural oils. Those oils are a good thing. They make coffee flavorful, at least when they're fresh. Over time, however, the oils create a residue on your equipment. While it probably won't make you sick, it will negatively impact the taste of your coffee, making it taste stale and sour. If coffee touches it,* it needs cleaning. A gentle wash of soap water is usually sufficient.
*The exception to the sudsy solution is your grinder. Water inside it can make the metal parts rust or corrode. Some grinders come with their own cleaning tools and instructions. If yours didn't, a very simple hack is to use a (new) toothbrush, dry, to remove the powdery fine coffee grounds that accumulate on the blades and other inner-workings over time.
If water touches it, it needs cleaning too. While water isn't "dirty," most tap water has calcium content that will build up in your equipment over time. Also if it's been sitting in the reservoir for a while, the water can get a little...murky, shall we say? It's not what you'd want to drink or turn into coffee.
If your brew setup includes a water reservoir (automatic drip machines, Keurig or other pod coffee makers, and some espresso machines), running a mix of white vinegar and water through the system a few times will clean and sanitize it. The same goes for kettles you use for pour overs. As a final step, run through water - no vinegar - to rinse it out. You don't want vinegar flavored coffee.
Once you've cleaned everything, your coffee will taste better. No stale grounds lingering in your grinder, no oily coffee residue from the last 3 months of coffees you've made, and no mystery quality water contemplating its future as a swamp. No more funk. Just delicious coffee.
If you found this helpful, there are more simple tips here.
Amy, Founder of Red Eye Bistro