It’s a rite of passage for millions of Americans: waking up and starting our day with a fresh cup of joe. It’s been estimated that Americans drink an astounding 280 million cups of home-brewed coffee day. So why is it that no matter what type of coffee beans you use, it never tastes the same as the same cup of coffee made by your local barista? It turns out you’ve been making it wrong all along.

Whole Bean Vs. Ground Coffee

The first step in making the perfect cup of coffee starts with which type of coffee grab off the store shelf.

Unsplash / Mike Kenneally

Experts recommend always buying whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself. Whole beans still retain the flavor and aroma that make a great cup of coffee so delicious. But how you grind your coffee is just as important. A burr grinder is more effective than a blade grinder at creating finer coffee grounds without leaving you with a whole bunch of intact beans that you will need to keep on grinding.

Water Quality

Just as important as the coffee you buy is the water you use to brew with. While it’s better to use soft water instead of hard water to drink with, brewing coffee is a whole different story.

Unsplash / Nik MacMillan

Here’s why: coffee is an acidic beverage and the acidity of the water in your house can greatly affect the taste. Soft water contains less calcium than hard water, resulting in a slightly more sour taste. As an experiment, try brewing you next pot of coffee with bottled water and compare that to your tap water brew.

Proper Storage

Another thing to consider is how you store your coffee. After opening your bag of coffee you want to make sure you store it in a cool, dry space. Just don’t store your coffee in the refrigerator or freezer. No matter how many people swear by it, don’t do it.

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Storing coffee in the refrigerator or freezer will adversely affect the taste and smell of the roast. Just keep these tips in mind the next time you wake up to make a fresh cup of coffee, your taste buds and wallet will thank you for it.