How to Ruin a Pot of Coffee

Coffee

Tips to Guarantee a Lousy Cup of Joe Every Morning

When a child first tries coffee, invariably the reaction is a very unhappy face, followed by a search for a place to spit out the offending beverage. The flavor of coffee is so very different from its intoxicating aroma that the euphemism “acquired taste” is used to explain the practice necessary to drink it.

Much of this maligning is due to improper preparation rather than a truly unpleasant taste, but a really bad cup of joe takes concentration and practice to perfect. For those who have been appointed to begrudgingly prepare coffee and wish to pass on the responsibility to someone else, or anyone who really wants to ruin an otherwise decent pot of coffee, this guide has been prepared.

Coffee Bean Quality and Storage

spilled coffee beans from cup

Coffee is as good as its origins, and a low-quality bean is the best choice for making a really awful cup of the stuff. After having been roasted, coffee beans must be be stored carefully in order to destroy their flavor. A number of techniques may be employed during bean selection and storage to contribute to bad coffee:

  • Avoid whole beans, which hold onto flavor longer than ground coffee. If whole beans are all that is available, try grinding the entire supply as soon as it’s home.
  • Buy instant coffee to immediately set the stage for bad coffee. Novices should always use instant coffee, as it takes very little effort to make it completely unpalatable.
  • Cheap coffee is a good alternative if instant is not available – choose the lowest price per pound for the best chance to brew atrocious coffee.
  • Refrigerate the coffee so that the humidity can reduce its quality. If refrigerator space is not available, a freezer is a second choice, but this will not ruin the beans if they are left frozen, only if they are taken out each day and given a chance to accumulate moisture.
  • Use a well-lit storage container, such as a can without a lid or a bowl on the counter. Light works wonders on excessive coffee flavor.

Water Quality and Temperature

chemex

Coffee is mostly water, and how the water is used will significantly effect its flavor and quality. To keep a pot of coffee from being really tasty, try these strategies:

  • Boil the water to be certain it’s terrible. The axiom “coffee boiled is coffee spoiled” is accurate, and will be apparent in the taste. An alternative is to microwave the individual cup of coffee until it boils.
  • Use lukewarm water if boiling is not an option. Water below 205 degrees will not extract the full flavor of the beans, leaving the beverage weak. Luckily, most home drop coffee makers are designed to keep the water below this level.
  • Choose low-quality tap water for brewing the coffee. Filtered water removes many impurities which are excellent for coffee ruination. If the tap water is exceptionally good, find one of the many brands of bottled water which are from a municipal water supply rather than a natural spring.
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Brewing the Worst Coffee Possible

Even with low-quality coffee beans and terrible water it’s remotely possible to make a cup that can be choked down somehow. Consider further ruining the pot of coffee with any of the following:

  • Bleached paper filters not only have bleach in them, they also remove the coffee’s flavorful oils. Specifically avoid reusable cloth or metal coffee filters.
  • Leave the pot on the burner for more than twenty minutes to concentrate the bitterness and make the throat involuntarily clench as the morning joe is gagged down.
  • Don’t wash the coffee pot to keep the bad flavors coming back again and again, helping to ruin even a pot of coffee that might otherwise have been tasty. If the stains are offensive and it must be washed, avoid using vinegar, which will remove the old coffee residue.

Coffee quality is not something that happens on its own, and learning to really ruin a good pot of coffee can take years to perfect. Patience, planning, and practice are the only things that will help in mastering the art of ruining coffee.

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