Having good quality coffee at home is an ever-growing obsession for most people. There are so many ways to make, drink, and enjoy your morning cup of Joe that it can be tricky trying to find the best one.
In this article, we will talk about how to improve your machine’s brew strength and water temperature. Both of these things have a big effect on the taste of your beverage, and knowing how to adjust them is very important!
Brew strength refers to the intensity of flavor and aroma in your espresso or coffee brewed with milk. A strong shot of espresso may taste better than a weaker one, but if you like more mellow flavors then you will want to use less cream to compensate. The same goes for lattes — heavier milk amounts mean stronger drinks.
Water temperature has a similar effect on the taste of your beverage. Warm water produces slightly sweeter beverages, while colder waters produce sharper ones.
Steam the machine after each use
After you make your coffee, let it sit for a few minutes before drinking it to allow it to settle and flavor the drink. This is called steaming the machine!
This will help improve the taste of the espresso or drip brew coffees that have acid as an ingredient like cream or milk. By letting the mixture rest, the acids in the liquid time to combine with the ingredients which neutralize their bitterness.
Run the machine for a longer period to heat up
Even though most people pre-heat their machines before making a drink, this is not ideal. Because of how quickly milk heats up, having an over heated cup can be very frustrating.
By running your coffee maker past its warmup time, you are giving it extra time to heat up which helps avoid that annoying situation!
Many models have a start up program where they run at a lower temperature for a few minutes to get hot. You can use this start up feature to help improve the efficiency of your current machine or to find out if this model makes good quality drinks.
Some manufacturers even offer special discounts to individuals who own a similar machine. It’s always worth looking into what types of improvements their products can do.
Use fresh beans in the machine
While there are some brands that recommend using old or dried coffee, this is not recommended as it may contain toxins that can affect your health over time! Using older beans will probably give you poor quality drinks, because they have already started to oxidize and break down.
If you like the way stale or burnt grounds taste, then use very little water to make your drink, but do so with consistency! The more water that touches the ground, the less flavor and intensity of the drink!
To ensure the best flavor and texture, we suggest brewing with freshly roasted and grinds of an average size batch of coffee. If you need a quick caffeine fix, then use pre-ground coffee that has been packaged properly.
Know the difference between roast and ground
While some people may only care about whether their coffee is sweet or not, there are more nuanced ways to taste test your espresso machines! The degree of flavor that comes from your machine depends on two main things: how much time it spends in contact with hot water before being pressed, and what kind of bean you use.
The type of bean you use makes a big difference in the flavors that come through when brewing espresso. There are three major types of beans: percolated, drip-style, and pump. Each one produces different levels of aroma and taste during brewing.
Percolator style coffees have longer exposure to air than drip styles, so they will almost always be roasted and ground twice — once at the roaster and then again for the brew process. This adds lots of depth and richness to the drink due to all these chemical reactions taking place as the powder meets liquid.
A pump-style brewer uses a pre-chamber full of ground coffee along with an internal mechanism to mechanically pull the brewed liquid out. Because there’s less surface area in which these chemicals can react, this method tastes very thin and has little nuance.
It’s totally okay if you like that sort of thing, but know that you will not get quite the same level of flavor unless you are using either percolators or double-roasted grinds.
Use freshly brewed coffee
Even if you have an excellent grinder, if your machine does not like poorly-brewed or watery coffee, then it is worth investing in a better one.
A good espresso maker will make a nice cup of coffee every time. But bad quality coffee can ruin your day even more!
If you are buying new, ensure that it says certified espresso machine ready on the box. This means that the manufacturer has verified that this device works for making authentic espressos.
Some brands add acid to the brew process which can leave a bitter taste or cause issues with the next drinker.
Use sugar in the correct amount
Having too much cream or sugar in your coffee can actually make it taste worse! This is because heavy cream and sweeteners like plain white sugar contain more moisture than milk, so there are more opportunities for these to mix with the liquid portion of your coffee and form a layer that masks the flavor of the drink.
A very small amount of cream or sugar can be okay when making espresso drinks, but otherwise, it is better to stick to using just water, coconut milk, or perhaps some light agave nectar instead of cream or packed pack of brown sugar.
If you find yourself needing extra sweetness, try adding half a cup of brewed tea along with your milk and sugar! The bitterness from the tea mixed with the cocoa powder will cut down on the over-sweetness. Make sure to stir thoroughly to ensure all parts of the mixture have an opportunity to combine properly.
Use cream or milk in the correct amount
Changing your brew time or using too much cream or milk can totally ruin your drink! If you like strong, bolder drinks, use a lighter ratio of coffee liquid to espresso powder.
If you like more flavor, add more liquid! That is why most people prefer straight brewed black coffees over with sugar or milk.
Too much liquid can actually prevent the flavor from extracting properly because there is not enough solid matter left to taste. The texture will be mostly watery substance instead of rich foam and body that makes it feel better for you.
There are two types of machines that make this difficult: Pour-through and pour-over. On both of these models, if you put in too much liquid, the ground espresso will stay in the filter longer and take longer to drip down. This could also result in overcooked espresso which has no true flavor.
Do not use too much coffee in the machine
With all types of beverages, including tea and coffee, there is an optimal amount you should put into the drink for it to taste its best. For example, with espresso drinks like lattes or Americano style drinks, more milk means less flavor and intensity of espresso. The same goes for brewed tea- longer brewing times can wash away the flavor of the tea.
With most machines, this total amount is called the “dosing” of the beverage. Too much liquid will sometimes result in over-extraction, which removes just enough flavor from the beans/tea to make the drink bland and possibly watery. This happens mostly with black teas as they have thinner flavors than other colors of tea!
Improving your coffee maker by learning how to adjust the dosing of liquids is a great way to get better quality drinks while still having fresh ingredients.