Last Updated on November 4, 2022
If there’s anything that can make a rough morning worse, it’s coffee that tastes watery. When you depend on your first cup of coffee to help you power through the day, the appallingly warm, bitter brew can do the exact opposite.
So you ask, why does my coffee taste watery?? Well, there are numerous reasons why your coffee isn’t up to par. Anything from the taste of the water to the quality of your coffee beans could be the culprit.
We’ll go over the potential reasons and solutions for the watery tasting coffee issue so you never have to drink a bad cup of coffee again.
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- 8 Reasons for Watery Coffee and How to Fix Each
- Other Issues With the Taste of Your Coffee
- Improving Watery Tasting Coffee
- Conclusion: Why Does My Coffee Taste Watery?
8 Reasons for Watery Coffee and How to Fix Each
1 | Incorrect Ratio of Water to Coffee
In most cases, watery coffee is the result of adding too much water. It takes some skill to brew a good cup of coffee, and the difference between a satisfying cup and one that tastes like water is all in proportion.
Each brewing technique has its optimal coffee-to-water ratio. Two teaspoons of coffee for every six ounces of water works well as a starting point, although for my strong coffee preference it’s about twice that amount. Keep in mind, too, that the typical cup of coffee is eight ounces.
So, if you’re using two teaspoons of coffee and 10 or 11 ounces of water, you may end up with watery tasting coffee that is weak.
2 | Grind Size Is Not Right for the Brewing Method
A grind size that isn’t optimal for the brewing technique you prefer will drastically change the taste of your coffee. Every brewing technique has a recommended grind size that claims to provide the best flavor and texture.
For espresso and Turkish coffee, for example, a finer grind is best, while a coarser grind is best for French press coffee. On the other hand, medium-coarse grinds are better when using the pour-over method.
When coffee lacks texture or flavor, there is often a problem with coarse grinds that aren’t appropriate for the preparation method. No matter how much coffee you use in your brew, if the grounds are too coarse for the brewing method, the water will flow through too quickly and, yes, weak watery coffee will result.
Here’s a handy coffee grind chart for you – pin it to a board and have it handy when you need it!
3 | Water Is Not Hot Enough
When you make coffee, the temperature of the water is also a big part of how it tastes in the end. Different brewing methods may have their own ‘perfect water temperature’, but in general a temperature of about 200 degrees Fahrenheit will give you the desired result. Not boiling, but no too cool, either.
While hot water can easily extract the taste of coffee beans, cooled water makes it more difficult to remove soluble chemicals. Moreover, overly cold water will produce sour or watery cold brew coffee.
Many people believe that auto-drip machines use the perfect water temperature for brewing coffee. However, sometimes machines cannot reach the ideal temperature for heating water. Even the best-quality coffee beans will yield poor results if the coffee machine is not correctly calibrated.
4 | Coffee Machine Is Dirty
If the brew doesn’t get better after trying the above methods, there may be something wrong with your brewing equipment. If the coffee tastes watery, it could be because of a fault in the coffee machine.
Using unclean equipment can affect not only the coffee’s flavor but also the brew’s quality and the quantity of extract you get. For instance, a clog could cause your coffee to turn out bland.
Beware, coffee aficionados: these problems ruin your brew by obstructing flavor extraction. You should ensure that all parts of your coffee maker are clean to enhance the quality of your drink.
5 | The Coffee Maker Needs to Be Replaced
Brewing coffee with a broken device may result in watery coffee. For example, an old, worn-out coffee machine won’t make as good coffee as it did when you first bought it.
This is because it won’t give the coffee enough time to brew, and the water won’t be hot enough. The coffee’s original taste is lost in the process. Repairing or replacing your coffee machine should fix the issue, even though it may mean a cash outlay. But your java will be ever so much more satisfying!
6 | Quality of the Water Is Not Good
The quality of water you use in the brewing process can dramatically affect your coffee’s flavor. Coffee prepared with tap water may taste different due to impurities in the water.
If available, try using filtered or bottled water to see if there’s an improvement in the flavor. If so, it may be worth investing in a water filtration system to have an uninterrupted supply of clean water for brewing coffee.
7 | Coffee Beans Are Old
If your coffee beans have lost their aroma and flavor, they might be past their prime. It’s probably time to get some fresh coffee beans instead and try those out for a few days.
It helps to avoid buying coffee beans in bulk since they have a relatively short shelf life and could go to waste before you get to use them. In general, whole beans last longer after grinding than pre-ground coffee.
8 | Coffee Wasn’t Allowed to Brew Long Enough
The brewing technique has a dramatic effect on the flavor of your coffee. Drip extraction typically takes two to three minutes. However, if you use a French press to brew your coffee, you’ll need to wait longer than that, usually four minutes at a minimum.
Determine how long the brewing takes and taste the coffee afterward. This will give you a general idea of how much time is required for a successful extraction the next time around. However, you must be careful, as under-extracting the coffee could make it taste sour.
If that doesn’t work, it could be that you’re not letting the brew sit long enough. This is something that often comes up with pour-overs and other forms of drip brewing. The time the water is in contact with the coffee grinds should be neither too long nor too short.
If this happens, you can expect a watery and underwhelming flavor. That’s because it’s likely that the water isn’t soaking into the coffee at all and is merely pouring over the top. For the best taste, the water should percolate through the ground coffee for an appropriate time.
What does all this mean to you? You might have to experiment with overall brewing time to determine when the process gives you the taste of coffee that you’re looking for. Our java palates are quite individual.
Other Issues With the Taste of Your Coffee
- Tastes Burnt
Usually, the most straightforward problem has the simplest solution. Coffee often gets a burnt flavor when it’s been heated for too long. Depending on how long you brew, coffee can easily cross the line from hot to burnt.
Using a standard coffee maker can increase the likelihood of scorching your coffee. Contemporary household equipment, such as single-cup coffee and espresso makers, may help with this. If subsequent cups of drip coffee have a burned flavor, it may be time to upgrade your equipment.
The quickest and easiest fix is to turn off the coffee maker after making the coffee. Your coffee won’t burn as fast, but it will cool down quickly. Fortunately, coffee at room temperature tastes just as good when poured over ice.
- Tastes Sour
Two main reasons for a sour taste in coffee are poor quality beans or improper extraction.
Under-roasting results in a grassy, acidic flavor of the beans, and they take on a strong, lemony taste if they’re old and stale. It’s likely, however, that your beans are good; you need to tweak your brewing method a little.
Another cause of sour coffee could be improper extraction. In other words, you may not have spent enough time letting the coffee steep. As a result, there aren’t enough sweet and savory notes to counteract the sour ones.
- Tastes Bitter
One of two things—bad beans or improper brewing—is also responsible for bitter coffee.
There’s nothing you can do to fix this with cheap beans, robusta beans, or dark-roasted beans. We recommend investing in high-quality beans since low-quality coffee can waste money.
Improving Watery Tasting Coffee
- Add More Coffee
By adding more ground coffee beans to the brewing basket, the hot water will have a stronger chance of extracting the oils and flavors from the beans. Regardless of the brewing method or grind size, it’s a universal fact that the more grinds you use, the stronger your coffee will be.
We recommend using two tablespoons of coffee for every six ounces of water when making coffee with a French press or something similar. If you have an automatic drip coffee maker, use between 1 and 1.5 tablespoons.
- Change the Grinder Settings
The coarseness of the coffee grounds you use is an essential factor in the taste of your coffee. If the coffee grounds are too coarse, they can’t soak up enough water, which makes the coffee too watery.
Espresso makers need finely ground coffee, coffee makers need medium-fine ground beans, while brewing techniques like the French Press call for coarse-sized coffee grounds.
- Measure Your Coffee Grounds Using a Scale
To prevent watery coffee, maintain consistency in your coffee brewing methods. If you want good coffee daily, measure your coffee grinds by weight rather than volume. It would be best to use a scale instead of estimating the size with a spoon.
The reason why you shouldn’t use scoops or tablespoons to measure coffee is that freshly ground beans contain more air than those that have been ground in advance. Thus, it’s possible that a scoop of freshly ground coffee might not be as concentrated as pre-processed coffee. Because of this, it may be hard to brew coffee that doesn’t taste watery every time.
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- Add Milk and Cream
Adding milk and/or cream to a cup of watery coffee is a simple technique to make it more flavorsome, and it doesn’t take much of either to improve the texture and flavor of your morning coffee.
Almond milk contains 70 fewer calories per cup than dairy milk, making it an excellent choice for those who want to limit their sugar and calorie intake.
- Incorporate a Small Dose of Instant Coffee
You can also try adding a pinch of instant coffee to your watery coffee. This can improve the color, texture, and flavor of your coffee. However, make sure not to drown your cup in too much of the instant stuff, so start with a little and add more after tasting.
- Use a Milder Roast
Coffee beans that have been lightly roasted tend to be a lighter shade of brown than those that have been roasted longer. This is because they haven’t been roasted enough for the oils to rise to the top, making them seem dry. Generally, light-roasted coffee is considered better than its darker counterpart.
Variables like the type of bean, where it was grown, and how it was roasted all affect the “origin tastes” found in freshly roasted beans that haven’t turned completely dark.
- Why does my Keurig coffee taste watery?
The coffee beans you’re using may be old or overroasted. It’s also conceivable that your Keurig machine needs descaling or that the water quality is poor.
- Why does my iced coffee taste watery?
While some of us enjoy iced coffee, it often tastes watery. If iced coffee is left out for too long, it can become watery as soon as the ice melts. Drinking it fast is an intelligent approach to preventing your iced coffee from melting.
Conclusion: Why Does My Coffee Taste Watery?
In reality, the brewing technique determines the taste of your coffee more than you might think. If your coffee machine always makes too watery coffee, you can try tweaking the settings to see what matches your preference.
There are several ecologically friendly uses for weak coffee that you may put it to even if you don’t have time to fix it. If you’ve ever struggled to make a pot of weak coffee, we hope this article helps. In the long run, these techniques can help you save money and improve your experience with your morning coffee.
Candi Randolph is a coffee lover, blogger, and content creator who loves to share her knowledge with the coffee-drinking world. You’ll often find her tending to her coffee bar at home, deciding which method to use to brew her next cup of java. Life is full of important decisions. ☕