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How to Avoid Making Weak Coffee: 10 Tips and & Tricks

weak coffee

Coffee is one of those topics that everyone has a preference for, causing heated debates on how weak or strong coffee should be. While coffee can be a matter of opinion, weak coffee is rarely the option people want. If you’re brewing coffee and it’s not as strong as it should be, it can be frustrating.

When it doesn’t come out right and tastes weak, there are a few reasons why it might be happening. Here are some helpful tips and tricks to avoid making weak coffee at home:

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The 10 Tips & Tricks on Avoiding Weak Coffee

To make more potent and more flavorful coffee, follow these tips and see what works for you. These tips generally work for all ways of making coffee, but we also have suggestions for specific brewing methods. Here’s our helpful list to help you make a stronger cup of coffee:

1. Measure the Coffee Grounds

measure coffee beans kitchen scale
Image Credit: Unsplash

One of the most common mistakes people make when brewing coffee at home is that they don’t measure their coffee grounds, which can make your coffee batches inconsistent in strength and flavor. This is especially true if you’re trying to make iced coffee. Use a baking tablespoon and level out each scoop, so you know exactly how much coffee you prefer per cup. There are also measuring scoops specifically for coffee and iced coffee, which can help make your coffee strength more consistent.

2. Use More Coffee Per Cup

This may seem like an obvious step, but it may work if your coffee is consistently weak. Instead of using the same amount as you usually do per cup (6oz), try adding ½ scoop or one 1 full scoop per pot until you find your preference. If you’re not using a coffee scoop or measuring spoon, we highly recommend it to find your exact liking.

3. Use Less Water Per Scoop

barista pouring hot water
Image Credit: Emma Smith, Unsplash

Another somewhat obvious step, consider using less water per scoop. It’s similar to the idea of adding more coffee per cup of water, except you’ll have less coffee by adding less water. However, the coffee will be stronger and more flavorful. Another big tip is to use filtered or distilled water instead of tap water, so there will be fewer impurities that could alter the flavor of the coffee.

4. Change the Type of Roast

If your coffee is consistently coming out weak or even acidic to the taste, you might be buying the wrong type of roast. This is especially true if you’re adding a lot of coffee scoops per 6oz of water, but the coffee still comes out weak or tastes too acidic. There are three main roasts of coffee: light, medium, and dark. There are subcategories in each roast, which gives you more options to try. If you’ve been using a light or medium roast, try a medium or dark roast. Note: The darker the roast, the less caffeine it will have and the oilier it will be.

5. Descale your Coffee Maker

Descaling your coffee maker gets rid of mineral buildup and other impurities stuck inside your machine, which is why it should be done at least twice a year. If you live in an area with hard water, you should descale your machine 3 – 4 times a year. Whether you have a Keurig, coffee pod maker, or a traditional drip-brew coffee maker, descaling your device is important for a multitude of reasons. While it helps with the machine’s longevity, it can heavily affect the way it brews your coffee. If there is too much buildup, it can make your coffee weaker and not nearly as fresh-tasting as it used to be.

6. Let your Coffee Steep Longer (French-Press, Cold Brew)

If you use a French Press or using the cold brewing method, try steeping the coffee for a few minutes longer (or hours, if it’s cold brew) to achieve the right level of strength and flavor. French Press can be especially tricky if you are new to it, so let it steep longer before pushing down the plunger. As for cold brew, try waiting an hour longer than you normally do and see if it’s stronger in flavor.

7. Don’t Skip the Blooming Step (Pour-Over, French Press, Cold Brew)

Chemex coffee bloom
Coffee bloom on a Chemex pour-over brewer.

Blooming is a technique that helps bring out the flavors in coffee grounds, releasing carbon dioxide and causing the grounds to bubble. It is a very important step in making pour-over, French Press, and cold brew coffee. If you skip it, your coffee will come out weak and lacking flavor. Thankfully, blooming coffee is simple and easy to do:

  • Pour Over: pour hot water (195°F preferably) on top of the coffee grounds in a swirling motion, pouring just enough to soak the grounds. Make sure all of the coffee is wet before adding the rest of the water to the coffee. Wait around 30 seconds to 1 minute for the bubbles to form.
  • French Press/Cold Brew: Follow the pour-over directions, using 195°F water. To ensure all beans have come in contact with the water, use a wooden spoon to gently stir up the beans. Do not stir too much. Wait around 30 seconds to 1 minute before adding the rest of the water.

8. Know Where Your Coffee Comes From

When it comes to the strength and flavor of coffee, buying high-quality coffee will usually deliver more than cheap grocery store coffee brands. While cheap coffee isn’t necessarily bad, the flavor is usually dull and weak compared to premium coffee. Low-quality coffee that comes from the grocery store is not the same as single-origin, artisanal Arabica coffee, no matter how many scoops you add for more flavor. If you are struggling to make a stronger, more flavorful coffee, look for artisanal, premium coffee blends instead.

9. Change your Filters (Pour-Over, Drip-Brew)

coffee grinds in paper filter
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

Sometimes, the problem with your coffee being too weak isn’t with the coffee itself but with the filters that you’re using. Look for higher quality filter material instead of grabbing the cheapest ones at the store. Some people believe cloth filters are better than paper, so play around with different styles of filters. There are even coffee enthusiasts who use mesh filter baskets instead, which can also give you better results.

10. Change your Brewing Method

If you’ve only experienced a drip-brew coffee maker and you’re not getting that coffee shop strength, try a different brewing method. There are many ways to make coffee, from the traditional Turkish-style brewing to the classy French Press method. You will get different flavor profiles, and some methods are more work, but you’ll most likely get a stronger-tasting cup of coffee. Cheaper drip-brew coffee makers are notorious for making weak-tasting coffee, which is why many coffee enthusiasts shy away from them.

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Coffee brewing may seem easy, but many things can weaken it and take away some flavor notes. Many people struggle to get strong coffee that is flavorful, but there are things you can do to help solve this problem.

If your coffee comes out weak a lot, we recommend trying the 10 tips above for a better cup of coffee. We recommend trying one step at a time, then adding in the other steps until you find the exact methods you prefer. These steps will help you brew stronger coffee that will rival the taste of coffee shop coffee, which can also save you money in the long run.

Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


Jaimie Wisniowski

Jaimie is a freelance writer fueled by coffee, whether it’s hot, iced, or made from a local coffee shop. She enjoys writing all things coffee, especially if it means trying the latest coffee shop trends (hello cold foam!). After spending years writing poems, college essays, and short stories, it only a matter of time to turn writing into a career. Writing about coffee simply combined two of her favorite things! When she’s not drinking coffee by the minute and writing at her laptop, Jaimie spends time hiking, exercising, and living an active life. She also loves to snuggle up with a good book and her dog, Margo. If you catch her without a cup of coffee, she’s probably on her way to the coffee maker now.

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