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I've been trying to figure out why coffee brewed with commercial machines taste so damn good compared to what I do at home. Whenever I'm out and about I always take note of the machines that are used in the brewing and some examples are WMF 1500S, Thermoplan Black & White and Franke A1000.

I'm talking solely about black brewed coffee - no espressos or lattes. Whereas the coffee I get from these machines is aromatic and just the right amount of strong, the coffee I do at home is usually way too acidic and with a very long and overbearing aftertaste.

While I've certainly tasted bad coffee from these high-end machines it is never as bad as the coffee I do at home. I've tried researching how these machines work with the brew head and all but as I'm not an engineer I found that sorta stuff hard to understand.

What I've tried so far: - 6-7 grams of coffee per 100 ml water - Waiting 15-60 seconds after boil to allow water to cool down before pouring - Different types of beans, usually pretty expensive (locally roasted, organic, non-organic, dark, medium, light, etc) - Different ground levels for pour over - Different brewing times (1 - 4 min) - Probably a bunch of other stuff

My kit is: - Full Hario V60 pour over kit (w/ dripper, server, filters and kettle) - Melitta pour over dripper - Kitchen scale - Wilfa electric grinder (cleaned regularly) - Bodum french press - Good water source

The funny thing is that people seem to think that pour-over is better and more gourmet but I've found the case to be the opposite. I'm almost to the point where I'm thinking of buying an expensive fully automatic bean-to-cup machine... What do I do here guys? I'm very thankful for any insight into this matter!

TL;DR - title

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    I generally recommend 1/20 coffee to water ratio and shorter total brewing time. At the end, it's subjective. Follow your taste buds. A few days ago I've mentioned this chart in another post. Once again, I would like you to check this awesome chart – MTSan May 31 '17 at 18:25
  • Cool chart, I never thought about measuring the TDS. I'll experiment some more with this. – db_ May 31 '17 at 18:37
  • Filters add their own taste. Try a french press or a reusable filter. – durette Jun 13 '17 at 21:21
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I think there could be a few extra factors, besides grind type effecting your final cup.

Are you trying to match the taste you get from an auto drip brewer by making your coffee with a v-60?

Brewing method will change the taste.

It's good to see you are using a scale too. When I make coffee I like to follow this chart for ratio.

I use 21 grams of coffee to 12 ounces of water. It's important to note whenever the word "cup" is mentioned usually that means 6 ounces of water.

Another thing I wonder about is the beans that the coffee house is using. You might be purchasing beans that are not giving you the flavor you are looking for.

Personally, I like single origin coffee for pour overs and drip machines more than I like blended coffee.

You might find this post helpful for selecting the right kind of beans.

Good luck on making a great cup!

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Probably your grind, or your grounds to water ratio is off.

I typically use around 8-9g grounds per 120g water. At this ratio, you should be getting very strong coffee from a pour over system, and in general it should not be sour.

What you are describing sounds like under extraction. This could be caused by a number of things. I will focus on the pour over system for now and outline possible issues below:

Water not hot enough: It sounds like your method is pretty good for this, but if you are getting sour/very bright flavors, then it is a possible culprit. Lower temp water will extract fewer compounds per second than higher temp water.

Grind level: This is a high likelyhood, and if a coffee doesn't taste right, this is the first thing I adjust. For pour over, you should be doing a medium to medium fine grind. Each person / coffee is going to adjust slightly differently but if you are getting sour / too bright, grind finer.

Pour speed: Pour over can be a bit of an art with the concentric circles etc. You should be keeping the grounds saturated without having standing water above the grounds. Pour too fast, and you will under extract. Typically to brew about 400ml of extract, I spent 5-6 minutes pouring, maybe a bit longer.

Amount of grounds: You may want to increase the amount of coffee per cup. As I mentioned, with the coffee I produce, you should be getting a very bold cup of coffee at 9g / 120g water. I typically tone this down and do maybe 24g for 360g extract? It still comes out very strong. If you make all of the above adjustments and still get weak / sour / bright coffee, start adding more grounds.

If your French press is brewing bright, then I would look to water. French press grind is as coarse as most grinders go, and is very forgiving on extraction. If you are getting bright / sour coffee in the press, make sure you are allowing it to steep for a good 4-5 minutes, make sure your water is just off boil, and make sure you are using enough grounds. Again, start with about 8-9g per cup and adjust from there. Personally I use 7 'scoops' which end up being about 8g each for an 8 cup french press.

Just 2 cents of advice If you are just looking for a good cup of coffee in the morning, I would recommend simple. I have French Press, Pour Over, Drip Brew, Espresso, Moka Pot brewing systems. As a coffee roaster, I need to be familiar with all of the common methods of brewing coffee so I can answer questions that might arise. I use a simple drip brewer for my morning cup of coffee. I grind on demand, but it is not a bean to cup machine or anything like that. Currently I use a Cuisinart with a vacuum carafe, and as picky as I could be, it is easy, and it makes good coffee. Cuisinart and Bonavita both make pretty nice drip brewers for around 100 dollars.

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You don't need a fancy maching to make great coffee. I use a cheap supermarket expresso machine (€50) for example, and it has worked perfectly for 2 years, but you have to grind the coffee correctly with a proper grinder, which is expensive. Done properly, it tastes the same as the expensive machines. Italians can make a good coffee from any beans. That is their way. We normal people need to buy a good brand.

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Say what you will coffee purists but in search of this exact question I have found topping the grounds with saltvprior to brewing takes away any bitterness leaving a satisfying cup of coffee immediately when brewing stops. Of course the amount of salt will be to your taste. Start with a shake of your salt shaker and go from there. I use Starbucks coffee that I grind myself and get all that great flavor without any bitterness.

  • That's interesting. I will try it. But, for the record, I like the bitterness. I like olives, pickles, arugula, dandelion leaves, chicory, etc... – Mayo Jun 4 at 13:19
  • You could also try beans that haven't been roasted as long. A lighter roast will have many more flavours that have been burned of in the Starbucks roast. In particular, you might want to try some third wave coffee from a roaster near you. ;) – JJJ Jun 4 at 14:05

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