It all started so well – every cup was delicious, with an aroma wafting across the office akin to your favourite local independent coffee shop. Then suddenly, one Monday morning, each serving seemed flavourless, bitter, or just bad. What could be wrong? Far from it definitely being a dodgy batch of beans, there are actually many more reasons why your coffee could taste terrible (actually, there are ten). Let’s count them down…
10. Shoddy beans
Coffee bean cultivation is nothing short of an art form, and sometimes even the best of coffee roasters can create a poor batch of beans, usually through compromised green bean quality. Then again, perhaps you’ve switched to a cheaper batch of beans. Leading to coffee that tastes equally as cheap.
9. Stale beans
This one’s simple – don’t leave your beans hanging around in the hopper (so keep an eye on the correct fill level). Being open to the air causes coffee beans to deteriorate. All of our coffee has a shelf life of 12 months (that’s best by, rather than use by) and we encourage our customers to order smaller quantities more frequently. Ideally you should be using beans within three months of roasting. In short, the fresher, the better – so order smaller volumes more frequently. If you’re not getting through the volume you order, ask about smaller pack sizes.
8. You’ve not kept on top of the cleaning
Be honest, when did you last clean the coffee brewer for your coffee machine? If you’ve no idea, it could be that lacklustre coffee machine cleaning is the culprit of your questionable coffee. A quick rinse may do between cups, but a thorough clean using the manufacturers’ cleaning solutions is really needed on a weekly, and sometimes daily basis.
7. Blocked tubes
If your milk has a definite touch of off-dairy sourness (and you’ve checked the sell-by date), you may be dealing with blocked tubes.
6. Incorrect set-up
Waiting forever for a seriously sloooooow, drip, drip, drip espresso? Or being spat at by a frantically fast-paced pour? Either way, it sounds as though your machine hasn’t been set up by an engineer who’s been trained to install your machine model. The result being a base espresso tasting either bitter, or too weak. Machines are also set up for the specific beans that they use (you can’t just throw any old beans in the hopper, cross your fingers and hope it works). Engineers should be the Barista equivalents of the automatic machine world (just like ours).
5. Milk that fails to foam
The milk has lost its body, lying flat or sinking to the bottom rather than foaming up as it should. In this instance, it’s the milk that’s the culprit, rather than the machine – it is simply not as fresh as it should be (even if your coffee doesn’t taste sour). Here’s the golden rule - the fresher the milk, the better the foam (it’s to do with the proteins – but we’ll leave the coffee alchemy for another blog).
4. Super-strong or weak and feeble coffee
Wishy-washy coffee, or cups that taste a little too strong? Then you’re likely dealing with a machine that’s dishing out the wrong espresso-to-milk ratio.
3. Breakdown after breakdown after breakdown
It seems that your coffee machine has been around longer than the CEO has – through thick and thin, meeting after meeting, it’s been by your side. Alas, we all must face the effects of time, and if your beans are good, your water is filtering and the equipment is clean, it could be time to send your coffee machine to that scrapheap in the sky. When the time comes, we’ll be ready and waiting with our recycling service.
2. An ageing water filter
Tap water arrives with plenty of particles – microplastics, chlorine, nitrates, pesticides. Urgh. All of these elements can interfere with the delicate process of creating a great cup of coffee. Handily, the solution is simple – your water filter needs to be checked by a qualified engineer, and changed (which is all part of the service, with our filter plan, which includes regular filter changes).
1. Boiler not heating to correct temperature
Hitting the correct temperature is key, too hot, and you may taste the bitterness of burnt beans. Too cold, and your coffee will arrive under extracted – tasting weak and watery. Your machine should be handling this perfect temperature under the hood, but sometimes you may encounter a mechanical issue that compromises proper heating.
The best coffee machines, expert engineers, exceptional value service contracts, and the right coffee machine cleaning solutions. Whatever your previous coffee machine problem, we’ve got you covered.