A question for you coffee drinkers out there: what is you ratio of water to coffee to make a good cup?

And, what causes coffee to have somewhat of a burnt aftertaste? The last several times I’ve brewed it’s come out that way (horrible taste!), but I do what I’ve always done. So what am I doing wrong?

Αυτω η δοξα,



16 thoughts on “Coffee”

  1. I like very weak coffee. Essentially it’s just dirty water with me. I’ll often pour half to 3/4 a cup of coffee and then water in the rest, just because I trust it is already a) too hot; b) too strong.

    I also have no taste at all for flavored coffees or sweeteners or anything. Straight black.

  2. John: Well, I will say we are polar opposites on coffee! I prefer strong coffee loaded with syrup and milk (or half and half). Black coffee–eck! But I guess it’s not unforgivable! 😉

  3. Okay – The burnt taste could be several reasons – Old beans – old grind – or you just poured boiling hot water over your coffee. Try using less coffee (they say one desert spoon per cup. I am assuming you are using a plunger or drip coffee maker?

    Second piece of advice – buy a grinder! Until you do, you will always be drinking crap coffee. And by grinder I mean a canonical burr grinder NOT, I repeat NOT a slice grinder. They are only good for herbs! try the Sunbeam to begin with.

    Thirdly, but a half decent machine, I have a Rancillio Silvia – It is our best friend 🙂 Sunbeam also make a number of good lines.

    Back to reality – the person to ask about plunger (or french press) is Mike Aubrey. I use a machine.

    Does that help?

  4. Mark: Good to hear from you! Thanks for your suggestions. Yes, I use a drip maker. We got it as a wedding gift (8 years ago!) and have always used it. I guess, now that you mention it, that taste is due to the coffee, which is not the freshest.

    I’ve also read a number of suggestions elsewhere that suggest a French press and fresh-ground beans. I guess good coffee comes from a good investment in the right equipment. Perhaps someday I will make such an investment, though I would really like an espresso machine!

    Thanks for the advice–I’ll keep it all in mind!

  5. The bitterness is, in part, a function of not having enough coffee grounds – once all of the flavor is extracted, all you’re left with is bitterness. And, yes, grind your own beans immediately before making your coffee. Alton Brown (Food Network) suggest 2tbspns per 8oz cup. I don’t quite use that much, but more fresh grounds will definitely help (I use about 1.5 vs. Mark’s 1).

  6. Peter: Thanks–I’ll try adding a bit more grounds. I thought maybe I didn’t have enough, but your suggestion makes sense. Not being a bean grinder, I’ll have to make do with pre-ground coffee for the time being.

  7. Jason, I only make espresso coffee, which ends up being a very nice tasting vanilla latte fat free of course.

    I grind my beans at the market and only buy enough to last me a week. Then I keep it in an air tight container, that works pretty good for me.

  8. Robert: I would only make espresso if I could. I don’t have an espresso machine, so I don’t know how else I would make it. I looked into espresso machines, but I don’t have that kind of cash to spend on such luxury items! What do you use?

  9. Don’t know off hand what brand it is I think it’s a Krups, but I did not spend more than $100.00, and it does the job just fine. I actually enjoy my coffee better than Starbucks. And I know they have way better espresso machines.

  10. Robert: Thanks for the info. I looked at that brand and read some reviews. The less-expensive machines seem to be ok; naturally, the $400-500 machines receive better reviews. I’ll have to do some research!

  11. Jason,
    I have a $12 drip coffee maker (4-cup) and I prefer it much more than my $60 coffee maker from my college days. As stated above, the key to good coffee is fresh beans that are freshly ground. You need to get a canonical grinder, which will run you about $20. Keep the beans in an airtight canister (you can get one at Target for a few bucks). Grind your beans just before you brew your coffee. The difference is night and day! I use about a heaping spoonful (maybe 1.5 tablespoons) of ground coffee per cup. I am sure the coffee maker you already have is a good one.

    Good beans also help. My favorite is Starbucks morning brew (about $9 for 1lb., which lasts me about a month). If you get a “light roast,” it has more caffeine and a smoother taste due to a shorter roasting time. The darker the roast, the more bitter the taste and slightly less caffeine! Learn to regularly drink good coffee and you will get way more reading/study/writing done!

  12. Brian: Quite a surprise to see your comment–thanks for dropping by! Thanks for the advice. Looks like fresh ground beans are the only way to go. I’ll add the necessary equipment to my shopping list!

  13. Andrew: Thanks for the suggestion. I want to purchase some sort of espresso maker at some point, but I don’t how much I want to spend. I want a good cup, but not if it’s going to require breaking the bank!

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