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Why Your Coffee Tastes Lousy

Why Your Coffee Tastes Lousy

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The 4 biggest mistakes you can make when brewing coffee: here’s how to fix them

Jane Bruce

The biggest mistakes when brewing coffee (and how to fix them).

There's nothing worse than that moment when you pour yourself a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, whether from your coffeemaker, your French press, or your Chemex — and it tastes awful. Too bitter, too weak, too thick, too watery… it's definitely not the way to start your day. What gives? Well, you’re doing it wrong — and here’s why.

Click here for the Biggest Coffee Brewing Mistakes Slideshow

As we’ve learned from our coffee experts (everyone to the good people at Starbucks to the owner of "America’s Best Coffee Shop"), there’s a science to brewing coffee. From the size of your grounds to the water you use to brew, every step of the process plays a significant part in the brewing process. And each little thing can affect just how good your cup of coffee is; and no one wants to waste a perfectly good coffee bean on a bad drink.

There are four major mistakes you can make when brewing coffee, each as important as the last. Let us show you what those errors are, and how to fix them — so you’ll never make a bad cup of joe again. Click ahead for the ultimate coffee brewing guide.

Why Does Keurig Coffee Taste Bad? (and what to do about it)

Keurig coffee machines completely changed the way that we drank coffee a few years ago. But many find the coffee doesn’t always taste as good as it should and wonder why does Keurig coffee taste bad?

I decided to look into it and here’s what I discovered:

If Keurig coffee tastes burnt, bitter, or stale start by thoroughly cleaning the machine, descaling the Keurig and changing the water filter. But also ensure high-quality K-cups are being used with coffee that is made from 100% arabica beans.

But honestly, there are a lot more reasons than just those. So let’s keep digging in!

If you’re tired of dealing with inconsistent Keurig coffee taste and quality, it’s time to figure out how to make a change.

Good tasting coffee isn’t as far off as you might think! Let’s discuss a few possibilities in the next section.

Check out all my coffee product recommendations (click to see my list) with additional features and direct links to Amazon for easy purchase.

I always hand-select items that I own, have used, or researched well. That way, I can ensure they are great items. I also give not only higher-end models but inexpensive alternatives as well. So my choices work for any budget.

told my parents if I’m staying home for college I deserve a keurig since they’re not paying for housing and they did not disappoint 👁👅👁

— carol ⁷ (@pocketminimoni) July 27, 2020


It may seem the most obvious answer for this query, and it is for many people: Caffeine can stimulate your colon, which pushes your digestive system into high gear, especially if you&aposre drinking on an empty stomach.

A cup of coffee has about 95 milligrams of caffeine. A typical cola has about 35 milligrams. So while you may be able to drink a soda without jogging to the loo, coffee&aposs higher hit of caffeine may be enough to stimulate contractions in your colon, which is the signal to your body that you need to poop.

One study found that regular coffee makes the colon 60 percent more active than water. Caffeinated coffee also made the colon 23 percent more active than decaf coffee.

So that means decaf coffee doesn&apost get off the hook. Indeed, research shows decaf coffee may make you need to poop, too. That means caffeine isn&apost the only mechanism at play.

Why Reheated Coffee Tastes So Bad, And What To Do Instead

A cup of work-from-home coffee has a predetermined lifecycle: You pour a steamy mug of joe, set it down next to your laptop to refrain from burning your tongue, and before you know it, an hour has passed and your coffee is stone cold. You pop it in the microwave to nuke it for a few seconds, press the cup to your lips and grimace. It’s bitter. Bitter in a way that makes you wonder if someone poured a Romeo and Juliet-style vial of poison into it.

Does this sound familiar? No matter how you’re trying to reheat your coffee ― in the microwave, on the stovetop, whatever ― you’ve no doubt shared this experience. Because however you do it, reheating coffee brings out compounds that make it taste decisively more bitter. We talked to experts who explained how this happens and offer a few realistic solutions to help you avoid falling into this pattern.

Now that you’re working at home more than ever, read up and never drink another bad cup of reheated coffee.

Why reheating coffee makes it taste bitter

Emily Rosenberg, director of education and training operations at Stumptown Coffee, explained to HuffPost that before your coffee beans are even roasted, their DNA is made up of acids and compounds that are just waiting to turn bitter when they’re heated up.

Green (unroasted) coffee contains chlorogenic acids, and the roasting process breaks those down into quinic acid (whose flavor you can associate with quinine in tonic water) and caffeic acid. While chlorogenic acid has a bitter taste, quinic acid and caffeic acid both have an even more pronounced bitter, astringent flavor.

“All coffee has some amount of bitterness,” Rosenberg said. “But in freshly brewed coffee, there is also plenty of sweetness and acidity that balance the bitterness and create a complex and delicious-tasting coffee.”

When you reheat your coffee, you encourage more production of that quinic and caffeic acid, therefore giving your coffee “even more bitter, astringent, gnarly flavor,” Rosenberg said.

Michael Phillips, director of coffee culture at Blue Bottle Coffee, elaborated: “It all comes down to two words: volatile compounds. And coffee is full of them. These are the things that make a properly roasted and prepared cup of coffee both taste and smell great. As you can see right in the name, however, they are volatile and easily fall to pieces. When you reheat coffee, all of the good stuff in the coffee starts to disappear and the resulting cup leans toward the more bitter components of coffee that stick around through the heating process.”

There are also tiny particles floating around in most cups of coffee ― especially if you’ve used a French press ― that continue to brew and get more bitter when you reheat your coffee.

“That coffee is sitting in there and swirling around, and it’ll almost continue to brew, essentially, and you’re extracting flavors that you wouldn’t necessarily want to continue to extract,” Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg put it into perspective: “You’re cooking an already finished product. You wouldn’t put a cake back in the oven, because it’ll dry it out and totally change the flavor and texture of it. In a similar way, you can think of coffee as a finished product. And if you continue to cook it, essentially, it’s gonna change the flavor of it.”

What about coffee pots that keep your coffee warm all day? Do those make coffee taste bitter, too?

“Yes,” Rosenberg said. “Any kind of brewer or carafe that applies heat to the coffee to keep it warm (rather than just insulating it to maintain temperature) will bring out that bitter, metallic flavor.”

“This process is why those old-school diner coffee pots went out of fashion, because they kept the brewed coffee on hot plates after brewing,” he said. “While the hot plates kept the coffee hot, they also made it taste bad to the point of it becoming a diner signature.”

Rosenberg said brewed coffee will taste best if consumed within an hour or 90 minutes of brewing, no matter what.

Do all roasts of coffee ― dark, medium, light ― turn bitter upon reheating?

Every type of roast will taste more bitter upon reheating it, to a certain degree. But Rosenberg said a dark roast coffee’s bitterness will be even more pronounced.

It’s for the same reason we just talked about ― because a dark roast has had more heat applied to the beans during the roasting process, it’ll contain more of the bitter-tasting quinic and caffeic acids than lighter roasts in the first place.

What to do instead of reheating your coffee

Expert advice on this topic has ranged from “set your microwave to 80% power” to “heat it slowly on the stovetop.” But Rosenberg has a much easier suggestion, one you’ll be embarrassed you didn’t already think of.

“People who are working from home probably already have a thermal to-go cup or an insulated cup,” Rosenberg said. “When you’re drinking from home, you might not think to use it ― you usually drink out of your mug, which will cool down a lot faster because it allows more surface area to come in contact with the air ― so I’ll just put it in my to-go mug that I’d normally take out to go get coffee at a cafe.”

Phillips offered that same suggestion, with the caveat that a thermos won’t last you all day.

“The cup will still start to falter around 30 to 45 minutes in terms of the best flavor, but it will be piping hot the whole time,” he said. “The flavor of good coffee changes as it cools, and most professionals enjoy it most at lower ranges. For me, I like it best when the coffee has cooled to around 125 degrees because the sweetness is more apparent.”

Rosenberg said you should also make sure to preheat whatever container you’re brewing into, whether you’re doing a manual brew or a Mr. Coffee. Heat up some hot water in a kettle, then pour it into your pot, swirl it around a little and dump it out before you brew into it ― voila, your pot will be warm. The same goes for the mug you’re drinking out of. Take your mug and slosh a little hot water around in it to maintain that temperature even better.

Use coffee as a way to break up your day

While it might feel nice to brew a massive amount of coffee and be set for the day, keep in mind that at home, you’re likely not taking as many breaks as you would at the office. And making smaller amounts of coffee several times throughout the day can help build a break into your new daily routine.

“It can be a treat to have a small amount of coffee in the morning, go back into the kitchen at 11 a.m. and brew a little bit more,” Rosenberg said. “Brewing smaller amounts more frequently will help keep it warm and give you breaks through the day.”

“The process of brewing coffee is something that’s very comforting to me,” she said. “It’s a nice little moment to just set aside whatever else I was doing and just be present for a second. It’s something that I really enjoy and appreciate, especially in times like these.”

Rosenberg pointed out that brewing coffee is a lot less of a time commitment than the at-home sourdough bread-baking that’s been so popular during the coronavirus pandemic, with just as great a reward.

“Coffee is so simple. It’s just two ingredients, versus baked goods that use 10, or bread that you’re spending hours and hours doing,” she said. “With coffee, the stakes are pretty low.”

How Coffee Can Help You Find Out If You Have COVID

While COVID-19 affects everyone differently, which is what makes the infectious disease such a mystery, a common symptom many COVID-19 patients share is an abrupt loss of taste and smell. In fact, this symptom has become an important clue in judging whether someone's been infected with coronavirus. And many Americans may first notice it while drinking their morning coffee.

In 2018, the National Coffee Association conducted a survey which revealed that 64% of Americans age 18 or over reported they drink coffee. With millions of us drinking the caffeinated beverage each morning, we're bound to note the absence of its familiar aroma. This could be the first sign that we contracted the virus and need to stay away from others and quarantine. (Related: The One Vitamin Doctors Are Urging Everyone to Take Right Now.)

"We have long known that people can lose their sense of smell after other viral infections, such as the flu, but the percentage of people who have had this problem with COVID-19 is quite remarkable," James Schwob, a professor of developmental, molecular, and chemical biology at Tufts University School of Medicine said in a recent interview with the university.

"Sometimes loss of smell is a COVID-19 patient's only symptom. Any symptom that can be tied directly to the disease becomes an important one to be aware of, so that it can be used to guide testing and keep people from unknowingly spreading the disease," Schwob adds.

Essentially, the professor suggests that keeping up with your morning coffee routine is a good way to keep tabs on whether you should go and get a test.

"One of the things that can be done pretty easily, pretty objectively by someone at home would be to take some ground coffee and see how far away you can hold it and still smell it," he says. "If your nose is not congested and you have trouble recognizing those or other scents that are familiar to you, you might want to call your doctor about getting tested."

In fact, The Daily Coffee News recently reported that its own, "review of scientific literature and anecdotal advice from scholars of taste and smell shows dozens of examples of coffee being used as the barometer for a kind of sniff-test for COVID-19, in part for its distinct smell and also for its broad global availability in homes."

Unfortunately, some who have recovered from the virus experience a prolonged period in which they can't smell or taste properly, while an unlucky minority will find that their senses have been severely altered. Bar manager of Crown Shy in New York City, Jonathan Lind, told Food & Wine that after seven months of testing positive for COVID-19, "I was starting to be able to smell and taste things that weren't there, and I was picking up flavors that others wouldn't have agreed with."

For example, he describes aged spirits tasting like "pineapple made of cardboard" and compares a diet Coke to what he would assume a cosmetic product would taste like. Of course, this doesn't happen to everyone who loses their sense of taste and smell—others say food continues to taste bland a few weeks after recovering from the virus.

In short, if you cannot smell your coffee in the morning, it's time to self-isolate and get a test. And for more, be sure to check out 10 Coffee Hacks for Weight Loss, According to Registered Dietitians.

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Why Your White Tea Tastes Lousy

Not so long ago, in the quest to find the next big thing in tea (a notion which pretty much equates to “the next green tea”) it seems that a lot of media types and tea merchants began to turn their attention to white tea. This makes some sense, to be honest, since white tea, like green, is a lightly processed variety of Camellia sinensis (the tea plant) and thus is more likely to retain a high proportion of those health benefits so widely attributed to green tea.

One of the problems with white tea, in my relatively limited experience, is that it I am frequently disappointed with the taste. Of course, this sort of thing is hardly limited to white tea. It can also be a problem with any of the other types, be they black, green, oolong, yellow or puerh.

One of the primary factors that contributes to a lousy tasting tea is a very basic one – the tea wasn’t very good to start with. When it comes to tea, a good rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for. A cheap tea is probably going to taste like one, while a tea that drains a little more from your wallet is likely to be better tasting (though not always). Start with lousy tea and you’re pretty much trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Another critical factor that contributes to a stinko cup of tea is improper preparation. This notion – and the previous one – were addressed in greater detail in a similar article I wrote about black tea, so it’s not really necessary to keep beating that dead horse. Suffice to say that any type of tea is prone to being ruined by careless preparation.

Where white tea differs from the other types, in my ever so humble opinion, is in its very low-key flavor. Because it uses the most delicate parts of the tea plant – buds and young shoots – the flavor of most white tea varieties, or at least most of the ones I’ve tasted, is very subtle. Which is why it’s probably not a good choice for newcomers to tea, whose palates might have been dulled such beverages as coffee, soda or whatever else.

So, to summarize, there are essentially three reasons why your white tea tastes like crap – you bought crappy white tea, you didn’t prepare it correctly or your palate is just not ready yet for the refined goodness that is white tea.

William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks, is a great place to learn about tea!!

Violation 5: Speedy brewing time

Finally, one last problem with the Keurig and other pod coffees is in the amount of time that the beans are in contact with the water.

Keurig prides itself on getting you a hot cup of coffee quickly. But many good things shouldn't be rushed, including a tasty cup of joe. The National Coffee Association recommends that for a cup of drip coffee, the hot water should be in contact with the ground beans for about five minutes.

The Keurig brews its coffee in mere seconds. This, combined with the lower-than-recommended water temperature, leads to a flat, weak cup of coffee.

The Problem: Exogenous Ketones Taste Bad

There are two main types of exogenous ketones:

Despite the nice-looking pictures and packaging you may have seen, exogenous ketone esters taste truly revolting, even to those with the strongest stomachs on the planet. Some evidence from some well known “titans” in ketogenic nutrition include Peter Attia’s humorous story about trying ketones for the first time. He laments that:

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“The world’s worst scotch tastes like spring water compared to these things.”

Tim Ferriss and Dom D’Agostino echo the sentiment. For a long time, taking exogenous ketone esters were reserved for only the most extreme biohackers.

Why would someone consume something so awful?

To get the benefits. Taking exogenous ketones is tremendously effective at raising blood ketone levels to boost performance, fat-burning, mental acuity, and all the other benefits of ketosis.

To make ketones more palatable, manufacturers attach other molecules, (like calcium or magnesium) to create ketone salts.

However, this doesn’t magically make them taste “good.”

How We Should Think About the Taste of Ketones

Make no mistake, if you drink exogenous ketones for a great taste and pleasant mouthfeel, you will likely be disappointed.

Not to brag, but Perfect Keto Base (ketone salts) are some of the best-tasting exogenous ketones on the market. You can even mix them easily with water and ice — no almond milk or other ingredients required to hide the taste.

However, they still don’t taste like ice cream or your favorite sugary energy drink.

If you find ketones that taste unbelievably good, it’s probably because:

  • There’s little to no actual ketone bodies in the product
  • There’s an enormous filler/garbage to ketone ratio

Case in point: Raspberry Ketones.

Most flavors you’ll find in raspberry ketone supplements are artificial, and it’s much harder to find real raspberry ketones. In fact, most of the supplements you’ll find use mostly ground up anise seeds and with just a touch of real raspberry ketone.

Most have to use fillers and fake ingredients to keep the supplements affordable. Besides, they’re irrelevant to ketosis. See our full post on Why Raspberry Ketones Have Nothing to do with Ketosis.

Quick review of the three (or four) types of ketone supplements on the market:

On the flip side, if you drink exogenous ketones, we will get the benefits of exogenous ketones. Test your ketone levels to confirm this.

6 Simple Tricks To Make Your Coffee Taste Just As Good As Starbucks

For moms, the highlight of our day can be enjoying a hot cup of coffee. Whether you like yours first thing in the morning, before the kids are up or you are an afternoon java lover, coffee is a tasty friend that’s best enjoyed piping hot and made the correct way. We often hold our coffee up to the world’s most popular coffee retailer, Starbucks, and with good reason. With locations all across the globe, Starbucks has made it’s mark with it’s array of coffee blends and brews. When we want a treat, we tend to find ourselves stopping by Starbucks to meet our coffee urges (confession: I’m writing this from a Starbucks right now!). But if you find regular trips to your local coffee shop to be too pricey and time consuming, chances are you take your regular coffee at home with dreams of making a copycat at half the price. Here are a few simple tricks to make your coffee taste just as food as Starbucks!

1. Grind Fresh & The Right Way

Connoisseur coffee drinkers all agree that freshly ground coffee will yield the best brew, as opposed to pre-ground batches. As you freshly grind coffee, the grounds are exposed to oxygen and release the flavor and aroma we all know and love, making for a super fresh cup of coffee! There’s a reason why you constantly hear coffee being ground at your local Starbucks! When grinding, make sure you are using the correct method to give you the right size coffee grounds. Flat-bottom filters require a coarser grind, whereas cone filters should use a finer grind.

2. Use Proper Water and Coffee Ratio

One of the quickest ways to mess up coffee is to use an incorrect proportion of water and coffee. Too much coffee means a diluted and bland cup of coffee, while too little often results in a bitter brew. The appropriate mixture is most often 2 tablespoons of coffee for every 6 ounces of water.

3. Choose Water Carefully

As tempting as it is to just use your good old tap water, the water you choose to make your coffee actually has a huge impact on taste. You should always use clean, filtered water. Depending on where you live, tap water may not be the best choice in water so consider buying filtered water especially for coffee if you want that real Starbucks taste.

4. Use Starbucks Coffee Beans

If you already love Starbucks coffee, it makes sense that the easiest way to mimic your favorite barista-made brew is to use Starbucks coffee beans. You can buy all of your favorite roasts and blends from Starbucks stores and even the grocery store. Yes, it’s not as cheap as Folgers, but you are still going to save tons of money by making that bag of beans stretch further than just 3 trips to a Starbucks store (and it’s going to be way better waking up to Starbucks in your cup!).

5. Experiment With Different Brewing Methods

There is no one way to make coffee, as evidenced by the hundreds of coffee makers available for purchase. You can get a very good cup of coffee from a modestly priced coffee pot, or you can try other methods like a French Press, the pour over method or a Chemex. It’s an almost universal belief that coffee made from the coarse grounds used in a French Press yields the most superior cup of coffee. It’s rich, bold and very flavorful. If you like to make your coffee one cup at a time, give the pour over method a try. A Chemex works similarly, and you can’t beat it’s beautiful glass construction that makes you feel fancy just using it.

6.Use Syrups and Milks

I wouldn’t call myself a true coffee drinker because the thought of a black cup of coffee terrifies me. I personally like creamers, syrups or milks to give my coffee the flavor I enjoy and Starbucks knows how to dress up a coffee. If you like your hazelnut skinny lattes, get yourself some special syrups and try out different milk options to get the taste you’re looking for! You can buy syrups at stores like BevMo and choose from dairy milks, soy or nut milks to meet your coffee needs. You’ll be on your way to making mochas, lattes and frappuccinos in no time!

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