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How to Make Cheap Coffee Taste Better

Updated on May 11, 2017
Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

Science graduate and business advisor, health educator and author, Beth writes articles on a wide variety of subjects.

Coffee beans in a cup and saucer; imagine making amazing home brewed coffee.
Coffee beans in a cup and saucer; imagine making amazing home brewed coffee. | Source

My Top Tips For Brewing Great Coffee

1. Use really fresh ingredients.
Instant, ground or beans are all good.
2. Drink from your favorite mug or cup.
Puts you in a positive frame of mind.
3. Filtered or bottled water if possible.
Removes impurities from the water.
4. Brew with hot, but not boiling water.
Prevents the coffee from being scalded.
5. Sit down to drink your coffee.
Take 5 minutes to relax and enjoy.

Coffee For Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

There is nothing quite like a good cup of coffee to get the day started. It's become customary for many people to buy a coffee-to-go on their way to work. The choices available seem endless; flat white, cappuccino, latte, Americano, espresso. Then there are all the different milks and creamers to choose from. However this take-away lifestyle is becoming an unaffordable luxury for some folk. It's cheaper to brew your own coffee at home and so this could be a good time to try out different, cheaper brands of coffee.

Which one is your top choice?

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Don't Assume That Cheap Coffee Tastes Bad

Research carried out in the United States and the United Kingdom has shown that many people can’t tell the difference between a cheap and expensive brand of coffee. The study in the US was carried out by Consumer Reports magazine (September 2011).

In a blind-tasting, Wal-Mart’s Value 100% Columbia coffee (priced at US$3 .88 at Wal-Mart in 2011) was rated the same as Starbucks brand ground coffee (US$8.88 at Wal-Mart in 2011).

In the UK a similar tasting test was carried out by Which magazine (October 2011). The coffee that was given the highest rating by the consumer testers was Asda’s Extra Special Fair Trade Colombian coffee (priced £2.78 at Asda in 2011). An equal score was given to Taylors of Harrogate’s Guatemalan coffee (£3.59 at Asda in 2011).

Coffee Grows in Hot Climates

show route and directions
A markerBrazil -
get directions

B markerColumbia -
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C markerEthiopia -
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D markerSumatra -
Sumatra, Indonesia
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Where Do Coffee Beans Come From?

Instant is Not Always Cheaper than “Proper” Coffee

A cup of instant coffee has a less intense aroma than coffee made from freshly ground beans. Satisfying your sense of smell as well your taste buds is the key to experiencing a great cup of coffee. This is why using freshly ground coffee instead of instant tends to produce a better result.

If you use a simple method to brew your coffee then ground coffee beans need cost no more than buying expensive instant coffee. The easiest and cheapest method to make fresh coffee is to use a French Press. This is also sometimes called a cafetière or plunger coffee jug.

All you need to make "proper" coffee with a French Press or Cafetière Coffee Jug is freshly boiled water and some freshly ground coffee beans. The water is poured onto the coffee and allowed to brew for three or four minutes. The plunger is then pushed down. It holds the coffee grounds in place while you pour the fresh coffee into your mug.

How To Make Great Coffee at Home

The video below shows how you can brew coffee using a coffee filter cone at home. Mike Gawthorpe, manager of Fernandez & Wells café in Soho, London, UK demonstrates the five steps to making great coffee.

You will need: freshly roasted beans, a coffee filter cone, filter papers, a hand grinder, a kettle and a cup. Choose a grinder with a ceramic burr as these last longer than steel.

Step 1. Allow 60g coffee per liter of water (1 oz coffee per pint of water).

Step 2. Turn the beans into coffee grounds. How fine you grind the coffee beans depends on the strength of coffee you want. The smaller the grind, the more slowly the water filters through the coffee, leading to a stronger brew.

Step 3. Place the coffee filter cone on top of your cup and put a filter paper inside it. Before putting ground coffee into it you must first warm the filter paper and cup by pouring boiling water over them. And then pour away this water. (In the same way as you should warm a teapot before brewing tea.)

Step 4. Put the coffee grounds in the center of the filter paper. Cover the grounds with water that is just off the boil. Allow time for the water to filter through into the cup

Step 5. Add sugar or sweeteners to taste and stir.

Tips From a Coffee Expert

Fresh Ingredients Are Important

When boiling water to make your coffee, make sure you're not using water that's been standing for some time. Draw down fresh water from the faucet. Use a water filter to remove mineral impurities. In hard water areas the naturally occurring minerals can affect the taste of your coffee.

If you buy ready ground coffee buy it in small quantities. Once the packet is opened, the coffee will lose its aroma and hence some of its taste. Better still, buy whole coffee beans and grind them yourself as you need them. That way you will have freshly ground beans every day. Some people will buy beans and roast the beans themselves in their oven. However you may feel that this is going a step too far to get the perfect coffee taste.

The taste of cheap coffee can be altered by adding other ingredients such as vanilla or caramel flavorings. Some people like to put grated cinnamon or nutmeg on top of a frothy cappuccino. Adding a pinch of salt to a cup of cheap coffee is also said to improve its flavor.

Coffee comes in many varieties. Try Latte with cream and caramel topping.
Coffee comes in many varieties. Try Latte with cream and caramel topping. | Source

September 29th is International Coffee Day

If you need an excuse to try out different coffees then join in the celebrations for International Coffee Day. This is a promotional day organized by coffee trade bodies on September 29th each year. There are lots of coffee themed events in local stores on that day and the chance to sample a wide variety of coffees. Your local media will carry details of what is happening in your area.

International Coffee Day September 29th: celebrate with millions of coffee lovers around the world.
International Coffee Day September 29th: celebrate with millions of coffee lovers around the world. | Source


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    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 2 years ago from Florida

      You do know your coffee, Beth. I must confess, I have a weakness for Starbucks, but at home I use instant. Good tip about adding salt. I'll try that. Voted up and useful.

    • Beth Eaglescliffe profile image

      Beth Eaglescliffe 2 years ago from UK

      Thanks quildon for the vote up.

      I use a cafetière (French Press) to make coffee when I'm home, but I suffer instant coffee when I'm at work (makes a sad face) (LOL).

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 2 years ago from Philippines

      You have wonderful suggestions. The instant coffee in the Philippines tastes like lotion. I will have to buy a French Press coffee maker to make the lotion taste the way it's supposed to.

    • FictionFish profile image

      Kurt Frazier Sr 2 years ago from Mobile Al

      I do love a good cup of Joe at all times of the day and these are some very useful tips to enjoy my coffee and not feel the pinch in my wallet from buying the most expensive coffees.

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