20+ Common Mistakes In Brewing Coffee Beginners Make

Mistakes In Brewing Coffee

Coffee is a common part of everyday lives, and is a social drink almost as much as alcohol is. Whether it be a cheap coffee from a fast-food chain or one that’s been lovingly crafted by your own fair hand, it’s a common drink that is enjoyed by many.

Not many though enjoy it to its full potential. Making a great coffee is a craft, and with any craft there are many simple errors that people can make in trying to create their perfect cup. Here we look at the most common mistakes that people fall in to.

1. You’re Using Unclean Equipment

Using Unclean Equipment For Coffee

Coffee can be quite a messy drink to have at times, the amount of grinding that is required as well as any other ingredients used. There are also factors like the minerals in water that can stain your equipment as well as general use over time.

It’s important to therefore to clean your equipment regularly to make sure your coffee isn’t spoilt by any other flavours. Your existing coffee may pick up flavour from all the coffee you’ve used before that can make your current brew tasting stale or bitter.

There’s no point taking time to make great coffee with unclean tools.

2. Using Beans That Are Past Their Best

Using Beans That Are Past Their Best

This mistake is a very common one as some people have little awareness about how coffee beans work and how long they last for.

Coffee is better when the bean is as fresh as possible. If it is left to age then it will lose its flavour and start to go stale. Because of this it’s important not to buy coffee in bulk and instead constantly replenish your stock.

If you’ve had your beans for a long time, it’s time to throw them out and buy some fresh ones so you can always have the perfect cup.

3. Not Grinding Your Coffee

The advantages of pre-ground coffee are clear, it’s quicker and easier for you to get that hit of coffee. This can be great if you don’t have the time or if you’re in an office for example.

But if you want to unlock the true potential of coffee then you need to buy coffee beans that have not yet been ground.

With this method you will have to do the grinding yourself, but the rewards will be worth it as you’ll be getting a cup of coffee with a much richer and fresher flavor than you would with a pre-ground cup.

4. Using The Wrong Size Of Grounds

Different Size Of Coffee Grounds

Different types of coffee require different type of grind. It’s important to do your research and make sure that you’re not doing it the wrong way and ruining the experience.

It is also important to have an even grind, as using different size of grounded bean will give you an inconsistent taste to your coffee.

You need to take the time to get to know how to make a perfect cup of coffee, and it all starts with grinding those beans, so make sure you’re doing it in the right way.

5. Getting The Wrong Water-to-Coffee Ratio

Having too much or too little of coffee might ruin your experience of drinking a cup. It’s generally thought that one to two tablespoons of ground coffee for every six ounces of water is the ideal target to get the best taste possible.

A lot about coffee comes down to individual tastes, so it’s best to experiment to see if you like it with a little more or a little less coffee.

The best way to approach it is to start with an amount generally accepted. From there, you can adjust up or down depends on your tastebuds.

6. Using Water That Is Too Hot

Hot Water

Getting the water temperature right is critical to making coffee. A common misconception is that you should pour boiling water straight into your mug so that you can blend your coffee.

In fact, the perfect temperature is just below boiling so it’s best to leave your water to stand while it cools down slightly before pouring. Using boiling water will scald the coffee beans and take away from its great taste.

Even though coffee beans have been roasted, they can still be ruined by water that is too hot, so apply a bit of patience once you’ve reached boiling point.

7. Using Water That Is Too Cold

Cold Water

As mentioned, it’s important to make sure that your water temperature isn’t too hot, but it’s also important to make sure it isn’t too cold either as this could cause problems too.

If you want to be certain that your water is just right, then it’s easy to get a thermometer to give you a perfect read, and there are also machines that will give you the perfect temperature.

Water that is too cold will mean that your coffee can’t blend properly and you’ll end up with a horrible drinking experience.

8. Using Impure Water

Tap Water

You have your perfect coffee beans, they’re fresh and have just been grounded. You have all the other ingredients to the highest quality and the equipment you are using is clean and stain-free.

If you have ticked all the boxes, then you don’t want to ruin it by using water that might be impure.

Tap water is often full of chemicals and minerals that can ruin your coffee. The best way to get water into your coffee is to use filtered water which still has a bit of character, but more importantly, has a clean taste.

9. Putting You Beans In A Freezer

Putting You Beans In A Freezer

If you’ve bought too many beans and you don’t want them to go stale, then there is a temptation to freeze them to prolong their life.

While this will stop them from becoming stale in a container, the effect will be ruined as soon as they are unfrozen as the condensation that will happen will speed up the aging process.

It would have been a pointless endeavour that will leave you with the same outcome as if you’d just left them at home. The only way to have fresh coffee is to use fresh ingredients.

10. Pouring Your Coffee Into A Cold Cup

Not many drinks require as much care and attention than a perfect cup of coffee. Making the perfect cup takes a lot of time, effort and knowledge and it’s understandable if you want to take a few shortcuts just to get that hit of caffeine in the morning.

If you want to do it the right way, that includes making sure you’re not pouring it into a cold cup of coffee which can chill your brew too quickly.

One way to stop this is to simply pour boiling water into the cup before making your coffee.

11. Using The Wrong Type Of Cup

Using The Wrong Type Of Cup

When it comes to what you should pour your coffee into, not much is better than the humble ceramic mug.

You want a holder that will be able to retain most of the heat of the mug to leave you with a longer lasting coffee. There are other options available including a high-quality glass cup designed for the use, and also insulated metal containers can be great.

While they might be convenient, using card or plastic for your brew will take away from the experience and feel cheap, or cool too quickly.

12. Not Being Precise With Your Measurements

Not Being Precise With Your Measurements

If you were baking a cake, you wouldn’t throw any ingredients together and hope for the best. If you did then the result would be all wrong and you wouldn’t be left with the product that you wanted.

The exact same could be said for coffee, as if you don’t get your measurements right, the final product will be lacking. This is especially important when making large pots of coffee for a large amount of people.

Not being precise with your measurements could ruin the whole pot and force you to drink bad coffee.

13. Not Using The Right Milk And Sugar

Sugar and Milk

It’s easy to be fixated on the coffee and forget about everything else that goes with it. Not many people have straight black coffee and most either have some milk with their brew, something to sweeten it, or both.

The temptation is to have the low-fat option by taking a skimmed milk with sweetener. If you want the full tasting experience, then you also need to make sure you’re using what you love best.

If you love full-fat milk, then treat yourself to having that in your coffee, and the same goes for sugar too. Coffee is there to be enjoyed.

14. Using Low-Quality Coffee Beans

You may be using the best coffee machine ever made and be able to pour it to perfect measurements, but in the end your brew will only be as good as the beans that you put in it.

Cheap coffee beans aren’t packaged very well and won’t have the highest quality of taste on the market.

Not all coffee is the same, and indeed not all types of the same coffee are the same as it depends how it’s been made. You get what you pay for, so make sure you are treating yourself to the best coffee that is out there on the market.

15. Not Storing Your Coffee Properly

Coffee doesn’t react well with oxygen, which is what makes it go stale after time. If you allow coffee to get too much exposure to the air, then it won’t last for very long at all.

It’s therefore important to purchase a container that will properly seal for coffee and keep it fresh for longer. Storing it the bag or jar that it came in might not be a great idea if it isn’t properly sealed.

If you have your own container then you will have the peace of mind knowing that when you next go to have some coffee, that it’ll be fresh.

Want to know how to prevent that? Check this guide on Storing Your Beans

16. Using Low-Quality Equipment

Using Low-Quality Equipment

For a coffee lover in the modern day, there are many machines and gadgets that will help you on your way to the perfect cup of coffee.

These machines can take a bit of the hassle out of the process, but some are a lot better than others. There are many various aspects that go into a coffee, and it’s hard to get a machine to do them all perfectly.

If you want to rely on a machine to make your coffee, then make sure you do your research and make sure you get one that can be trusted to make great coffee time and time again.

17. Making Too Much Coffee At Once

Making Too Much Coffee At Once

With the processes involved it’s tempting to make a large batch of coffee to help you through the day.

It is perfectly understandable you want great coffee throughout the day, sometime you don’t have a choice. But coffee that sits in a container for half the day won’t be half as good as a coffee which has been freshly brewed.

If you want the greatest taste possible then only make as much as you’re going to drink right away. If your coffee pot cools, it’s always best to throw it away and start again for the best taste.

18. You Don’t Experiment With Different Beans

There are so many different types of coffee available that it’s easy to get lost in the choice. Often people find a bean that they love and never change from that.

It can be great though to expand your coffee knowledge and keep trying different types. It may be the case that your favourite coffee is just around the corner waiting to be discovered.

Everyone has their favourite types of food and drink brands, and the same goes for coffee. You’ll only find your favourite if you keep experimenting with new flavours.

19. Drinking Your Coffee Cold

Drinking Your Coffee Cold

We’ve all been there, you’ve lovingly poured and created your favourite cup of coffee ready to be enjoyed. Instead of drinking it, however, you become distracted and by the time you have come back to your coffee, its gone cold.

There is the temptation to just drink it or heat it up by some artificial means, but the reality is the freshness from the coffee is gone.

Relax and make yourself a new cup. You should only have a certain amount of caffeine in a day, so there’s no point wasting it on a cold cup. Of course, this doesn’t apply to cold brew or ice coffee which are meant to be taken cold.

20. Not Taking The Time To Appreciate The Coffee

Taking The Time To Appreciate The Coffee

Just like with drinking a cold cup, life moves fast and it’s easy to become distracted by the tasks you have to do and the world around you.

While coffee is great for that caffeine buzz, well-made coffee should be enjoyed. You should sit down and appreciate your coffee and the work that you’ve put into to creating it.

Many people will drink a cup of coffee without even thinking about it, which is a shame. Make sure you always enjoy your coffee and the rich flavours and aromas it can provide.


If you avoid these mistakes then you will avoid not enjoying a drink that can provide such a rich and diverse range of flavor that people have loved for thousands of years.

The understanding of making coffee has never been higher and it’s never been easier to become a master of the art of making a perfect cup. In order to be a master, you have to make sure that you avoid the common pitfalls that far too many people fall into.

Coffee is a great drink, and it gets even better if you avoid these common pitfalls!

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