A Coffee Hack for Any Problem

coffee with caco nibs | hearth health happiness

Coffee Hacks to Create Better Flavor

Good morning, afternoon, or evening, friends. I type this hoping the cup of coffee sitting next to my laptop is enough to make me sound coherent. How’s it going so far?  Our sweet Stanley has taken to waking us up early again – he seems to alternate between cycles of reasonability and potential vengefulness (at what, we don’t know), but getting up in the 5 a.m. hour to give him breakfast is still not something we’ve embraced. So, I suppose these coffee hacks are just what the doctor ordered for this post. I hope we can all glean something tasty from these ideas and I can attest to their effectiveness! 

Side note: My spider bite scab between my eyes is *finally* getting better! I was getting so exasperated hiding my face from the public, or explaining that I was battling a bite right between the dang eyebrows. Now, it just looks like I walked into something, as opposed to faceplanting on cement. FYI, both of those are scenarios I honestly thought would be better than waking up with a spider bite. Our bed has practically been pulled away from the wall and into the middle of the room. And, yes, the neighbors probably saw me squeezing my handvac into every possible crevice around the bed…I had to get into some crazy positions to make sure the arm of the vacuum was getting every little cobweb or tuft of Stanley fur. Happy isolation, right? 🤪 

Hack 1: Add Cacao Beans or Nibs

Coffee Hack 1

Add cacao beans or cacao nibs to the grounds. Actually, you can grind some with coffee beans you may be grinding on your own and add a hint of chocolate-y flavor to your brew. I’ve used cacao nibs and enjoyed the delicate flavor, that was not overpowering. In my concoction, I used a 2:1 ratio of coffee grounds: ground cacao nibs. However, the ground cacao nibs do slow the brew time of a traditional American drip grind machine and some water will be left over in the basket. Therefore, I would suggest not grinding the nibs to a find powder and just add them directly to the grounds in the basket, coarsely chopping any that could use a slim down. 

Overhead shot of cacao beans | Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash | hearth health happiness
Photo by Pablo Merchán Montes on Unsplash

Hack 2: Use Filtered Water

water pouring from faucet | Photo by Imani on Unsplash | hearth health happiness
Photo by Imani on Unsplash

Coffee Hack 2

Use filtered water. I will admit this is one I don’t apply on a regular basis, only because we don’t have room in the fridge for our former H20 filter and the sink faucet is one that doesn’t allow a filter to fit on the end. So, I’m really living vicariously through you on this one! Filtered water, though, will help mitigate “off-flavors or odors.” Don’t confuse filtered water with distilled (pure) because distilled water creates “unbalanced flavors” in coffee.   

Hack 3: Add Vanilla Extract for Sweetness

Coffee Hack 3

Save the extra sugar, but add a hint of sweetness to the coffee by adding a small amount of pure vanilla extract or part of a vanilla bean to the basket or pod of coffee. For a 12-cup pot, I suggest using 1 tsp decreasing the amount o f vanilla for anything less than 8 – 12 cups.: [1 – 4 cups: 1/4 tsp.; 4 – 8 cups: 1/2 tsp.; 8 – 12 cups: 1 tsp.]. Vanilla adds a hint of sweetness and creates greater depth of flavor! 

Flatlay of coffee with marshmallows, chocolate, and vanilla bean pod | Photo by Magda Fou on Unsplash | hearth health happiness
Photo by Magda Fou on Unsplash

Hack 4: Add Salt or Cream of Tartar

Flatlay of salt on spoon | Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash | hearth health happiness
Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Coffee Hack 4

Fun with salt! We already understand the power of salt in making dishes a little more flavor-forward, but did you know salt can play a powerful role in the coffee brew process as well? In our case, salt can play two essential roles – almost like an insurance policy for your brew – (1) adding a pinch to the coffee grounds will make the coffee much smoother and cut any unwanted bitterness AND (2) adding a pinch of salt (or cream of tartar) to the brewing water directly revives normally flat-tasting coffee. Hint: the salt in brewing water trick also works for tea! 

Hack 5: Add Cinnamon or Flavor of Your Choice

Coffee Hack 5

Have fun with flavors! If you enjoy flavored coffee, you can easily experiment with your own concoctions. Just don’t forget that if you use ground cinnamon, you will increase brew time and have some standing water in your basket or pod because cinnamon is not water-soluble. I would suggest using a cinnamon stick (or part of a cinnamon stick for only a few cups) instead of ground cinnamon. 

  • Start with non-flavored coffee. 
  • Do a trial run with a small amount of java before committing to a larger pot. 
  • Check to see what is and is not water soluble first. 
  • Allow for a little extra brew time to be on the safe side.
Flatlay of cinnamon sticks, lemon wedges, and flowers | Photo by Heather Barnes on Unsplash | hearth health happiness
Photo by Heather Barnes on Unsplash

What coffee challenges do you face? Too much bitterness, a flat taste, or something completely different? Perhaps one of these coffee hacks will unleash some creativity and I would LOVE to see what makes your brew the best ever. If you need a little something extra fun for breakfast, try it with this Summer Berry Baked Oatmeal! And, if you need suggestions for non-flavored coffee, we love anything at Trader Joe’s, or my family’s Bushytail Coffee (Sumatra Black Satin dark roast). Until next time, cheers to your #hearthhealthhappiness! 

3 thoughts on “A Coffee Hack for Any Problem”

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