I recently was about to have a week before I could get my good coffee, so I went to the grocery store and got some of theirs.

Unfortunately, I pulled the lever and got way more grocery store coffee than I could ever need.

It's also terrible. Short of tossing it, is there anything I can do to make it taste better until I get good coffee again?

  • What have you tried? What's the nature of the coffee -- dark roast, stale, bland, ...?
    – hoc_age
    May 17, 2016 at 0:27
  • Nothing, I'm new to this and I don't like putting things in my coffee so that's off the table. It's a dark roast and bland. May 17, 2016 at 0:32

9 Answers 9


Cold brew it! Make sure you start with very cold water and a coarse grind. Cold-temp chemistry has a better chance of taking what's good and leaving what's bad.


If you're wanting ideas that don't include brewing, I would suggest using the coffee grounds as a steak rub or placing the coffee in a compost pile (if you have one).

Also, there are a number of coffee desserts that are sweet enough to hide the taste of bad coffee. I would suggest giving those a try. Some examples would be a mocha fondue, java pie, or layered mocha cheesecake.


If you drink alcohol, you could also try making Kahlúa. Soak coffee beans and vanilla beans in vodka for a while (3-4 weeks), then mix with a simple syrup. There are plenty of detailed recipes on the web for it.

  • Welcome to Coffee SE, please feel free to take the tour.
    – MTSan
    May 17, 2016 at 20:05
  • That's not how you make Kahlua, as far as I'm aware and I'm somewhat locally infamous for my homemade coffee liqueur. But it is a good suggestion, overall. I just don't want OP to think it's quite that simple. Jun 5, 2018 at 20:42
  • @PoloHoleSet, For us, the recipe above is fine when mixing it with heavy cream and vodka. But if you're willing to share a better recipe, I'm willing to give it a try. :-)
    – B540Glenn
    Jun 6, 2018 at 18:21
  • 2
    @B540Glenn - I make a really strong batch of coffee (1.5 "scoops" per 6 oz "cup" on my drip machine), take that coffee and dissolve brown sugar into it. Once that cools, I add an equal volume of vodka to that sweetened coffee mixture, put it into a glass jug and toss in a vanilla bean that I've sliced open and mashed a bit. Let it steep for at least a month (don't cover tightly, the glass will break). I add food-grade glycerin for mouth-feel when that's done. For "Tia Maria" mostly the same but with golden rum (not spiced) instead of vodka. Make it in about 4 L batches. Jun 6, 2018 at 18:50
  • @PoloHoleSet, Thank You for the recipe. We'll give it a go.
    – B540Glenn
    Jun 6, 2018 at 19:34

Use them for decoration:
Fill a glass vessel with the beans, stick a candle or tea-light in.

Looks neat, costs nothing extra and if you use a tea-light, the heat of the light will help disperse the scent of the coffee. Replace the beans occasionally.

I have done this in various scales, from tiny coffee-cup-sized arrangements (coffee table for two) to 1-quart glass vases with block candles or small pots of grass where the beans hide the plastic pot (table decoration at a wedding).

This image is from pinterest (source is in the image) as I don't have an own one at hand, but shows exactly what I did:

enter image description here


Ground coffee works well as an odor reducer. You can place it in a sachet or, more simply, in a bowl in the back of your refrigerator to help reduce/eliminate unwanted odors.


Try a highly-enriched coffee-drink (with sugar, cream, etc.) like a latte or perhaps Vietnamese-style iced coffee with sweetened condensed milk.

As you note in your comment, neither of these are usually my style, either. However, it's a fun change every once in a while. These are what I do when I have a batch of beans that I don't like; it covers up some bitterness, over-roasting, and other off-notes... and since I wouldn't usually consider doing this to beans that I actually like, it's merely opportunistic. :)


Mocha cheesecake is already mentioned by Devon. Also, desserts as a category. But, I would like to mention tiramisu separately as it is widely known.

  • 1
    @stephie You're right. I've removed the link to be in line with SA. I assume people could easily Google a recipe, if necessary.
    – MTSan
    Apr 17, 2019 at 6:29

If they are whole beans, place a layer on a cookie sheet and put them under the broiler for 60 to 90 seconds to wake them up. I've sometimes had a good result.


This won't fix the coffee but it might not taste as bad. Do a normal french press but do a crazy strong ratio like 1:10 1:7 or 1:5! Filter, then pour some in a cup, maybe half a cup and dilute the rest with hot water.

It won't turn it good but will make it slightly more acceptable than before.

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