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Nov 28, 2007 11:43 AM

Why is my coffee so blah?

Whenever I make coffee at home it's just blah - not good, not bad. What am I doing wrong? We buy organic beans and grind them at the store. We use filtered water. We have a Krups coffee maker. I put in 1 Tb per cup plus 1 Tb for the pot. The only thing we do that might be bad is keeping the coffee in the freezer. It ends up having a dull quality that is very disappointing.

I'm not looking to have the BEST coffee ever but I'd like it to taste better than what I get at the gas station.

Any hints?

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  1. Fresher is always better.

    Punt the freezer. You can store the beens in a resealable container for a couple months (if you must) in a cool dry place. Store them as whole beans and grind them as you need them.

    Use cold water.

    4 Replies
    1. re: lgphil

      I can't grind at home because my young son hates the sound!

      1. re: lupaglupa

        Try a different grinder. I use a non-electric burr grinder, so you don't have that horrible scream that an electric blade grinder makes.

        Use a darker roast, and perhaps a little more coffee. When you don't use enough coffee, it ends up "overextracted," which isn't pleasant.

        When all else fails, clean the coffee maker. (I usually just rinse mine out, but now and then it just needs a good scrubbing.)

        If you're using an automatic drip coffeemaker, try something different. I use a French press most of the time, but have a percolator I take when traveling. (If I'm going to be in a hotel this is ideal, because those in-room coffeemakers are way too small, the coffee they provide is vile, and I just really don't care for drip coffee.)

        1. re: lupaglupa

          Consider buying a darker roast, make sure they're ground properly for your krups, and buy in smaller batches so there's better turn over therefore fresher beans.

          1. re: lupaglupa

            Frankly... this is a test for you as a parent, limits and boundaries: give in: today it's the coffee maker, tomorrow it's somehting else.

            Instead of immediately doing away with all that is slightly offensive to your child, treat it as a game or approach it as something funny. Children sense when you are anxious. The line between protection and needless cofddling may seem irrelevant, but it is the difference between a well adjusted child one who is upset with the slightlest changes or variations.

            Bottom line,

            Seeing as coffee renders me the ability to be a better parent, aside from self injurious behavior on his part... he'll need to get used to it.

        2. I was told by someone in the coffee industry - coffee beans should not be stored in the freezer or refigerator - just keep them in a cool, dry place.

          1. I need more information than given. After coffee is brewed, do you ruin it by adding a dairy product, real or fake, and/or sugar? As you can gather, I drink my coffee without additives.

            9 Replies
            1. re: ChiliDude

              Oh woe - I add both milk AND sugar! But since I also do that when I am out I think I have a solid basis for comparison.

              1. re: lupaglupa

                Don't apologize for milk & sugar...I'm drinking cafe au lait as I type this! I think you need to buy different beans. Try different roasts. A darker, roasted bean might do the trick, or a coffee with more nuance than whatever you're buying now. Fresh is important--are you buying "organic" beans at a store that doesn't sell much organic stuff? Are they properly stored (airtight, etc or in bigt decorative glass jars)? In addition, check the texture of your grind--is it appropriate for the type of filter you're using? Paper, cone-style filters work better with a grind slightly finer than basket-style (not quite as fine as an espresso grind).

                If you're a committed cafe au lait drinker, you owe it to yourself to try coffee & chicory. The chicory gives the coffee body & color (a reddish hue), which make for the perfect au lait (IMHO and the HOs of the rest of south Louisiana). If you can't find a blend in your store, try a tea shop for some loose dried chicory to stir into the grounds before brewing.

                1. re: Hungry Celeste

                  My husband calls my coffee "cake in a cup." But, I use Splenda and 1%, I guess. Kind of watery..but healthy

              2. re: ChiliDude

                I have had wonderful cups of coffee with milk and sugar. People around the world love it that way. Others don't.

                I think that it's the not grinding at home. Can your son learn to go in another room?

                1. re: Diana

                  You can also put the grinder, assuming it's not a larger burr, in an oven mitt to muffle the sound.

                  1. re: Diana

                    He goes into other rooms but he cries. I just don't care about coffee enough for that :)

                    1. re: lupaglupa

                      I used to take my coffee grinder to the garage and do it there! Thankfully the kids have outgrown their hate of that sound!

                    2. re: Diana

                      Huh? I don't understand the 'son' question!

                      1. re: ChiliDude

                        lupaglupa, the OP here, can't grind her beans at home because the operation frightens/disturbs her son too much. She feels it is just not worth it.

                  2. I agree with keeping the beans out of the freezer. As long as they're in an airtight container, they'll stay pretty fresh (unground).

                    I always thought you're supposed to use 2 Tb coffee per cup of water. So maybe you're just drinking diluted coffee and that's why it's so blah?


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: leanneabe

                      ...and my machine defines a "cup" as 5 ounces!!!
                      also check to see what grind is required...for example the French Press that some people are referring to requires a coarser grind hence more coffee used than a drip machine which usually needs a finer grind..

                    2. Our coffee was also blah. We did three things. #1 we now store the coffee in a canister on the counter at room temperature instead of in the freezer. #2 we replaced our coffee maker with a french press. We use filtered water from our fridge dispenser and use 1 Tbs of ground coffee per 8-oz of water. #3 we buy Starbucks ground coffee. Our coffee went from bland to really good.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Antilope

                        We store ours - 1/2 pound at a time - in a canister, as you say, also use French Press, I do use NYC tap water, and do 1 TB for about 5oz of water. We use La Semeuse.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          I just checked this morning - I use 4.5 scoops (7grams each) for about 18 oz of water.

                        2. re: Antilope

                          If you must use a coffee maker, don't use paper filters. I believe the coffee oils (along with flavor) gets trapped in the paper. Use one of the screen type filters.