I don't know about you, but the idea of enduring cold winter mornings (or any mornings, really) without the delightful, coffee-infused adrenaline kick sounds like hell. Yes, the habit of putting the kettle on lights some fire into my routine, but, as routines are wont to do, even the best cup ever can get stale after a while, leading less to that want-to-hop-out-of-bed excitement and more to the kind of boredom that makes you want to roll over and fall back asleep. This is why hacks to make a better cup of coffee are an easy and necessary way to boost the enjoyment of your morning brew so that coffee—amazing, amazing coffee—isn't relegated to dull routine.
What's cool about these ideas is that java snobs and simple coffee lovers alike can revel in new ways to craft their cups. Whether you have a scale that measures precisely the water-to-grounds ratio (hey, I live in San Francisco, so no judgement) or prefer the ease of the classic French press, coffee hacks provide still relevant and totally illuminating ways to freshen up your brew. I say this because, as one who gets easily bored by routine, I've long looked into ways to ensure that this morning tradition doesn't become so predictable I fall back asleep making it. Without further ado, this is how you should spice up your coffee (sometimes, literally) for a cup that's never dull.
1Grind Your Beans Fresh
A lot of the flavor of coffee comes from how it smells. When you grind the beans, you're unlocking the delicious aromas of them, which over time evaporate into the air. This is why working with pre-ground beans simply won't get you the same result as grinding them yourself every morning. It's an extra step that will absolutely guarantee better taste, every time.
2Add A Pinch Of Salt To Decrease Bitterness
This isn't just a weird trick — there is absolutely a scientific basis behind it. Scientists have found that sodium actually decreases bitter flavors by interfering with the ability of that taste to come across. So next time, try swapping your sugar for a little salt.
3Store Your Beans Away From Heat and Moisture
Like olive oil and wine, coffee beans can be broken down when exposed to the elements, according to the National Coffee Association (yes, that's a real thing.) Make sure your beans are sealed tight so that they stay fresh, and keep them away from heat sources.
4Use Filtered Water
Coffee is simply the combination of water and the extraction from ground beans, so to get the best of both worlds, you'll want amazing beans and amazing water. Try using the water from the filter you store in the fridge to brew, and you'll see the different right away.
5Experiment With Brewing Methods
If you love your French press but have simply gotten too used to the taste and thereby bored of it, try using a Chemex or an Aeropress for a new effect on your favorite beans. The Kitchn has a coffeemaker flowchart for figuring out which one you should try next.
6Try Different Milks
If you take your coffee anything but black, almond, coconut, and soy are common and delicious ways to change up the taste of your brew. Alternatively, you can try the bulletproof method, which emulsifies coffee with butter and coconut oil for an indulgent cup.
7Try Alternative Sweeteners, Too
While sugar is of course the classic, honey, agave, and even brown sugar can add new, interesting dynamics to the sweetness of your cup.
8Experiment With Spices
Different milk and sugar are one thing, but if you don't want to mess with your original set up (and I don't blame you), try little twists with spices like cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, or even orange peel for enhanced flavors.
9Make Your Own Simple Syrup
Simple syrup is genius simply because it allows you to infuse sweetened flavor extracts into your coffee, and if you make it at home, you can avoid all the additives that come with the processed stuff. I'm particularly partial to this recipe for vanilla mint simple syrup from Food 52, but you can definitely experiment to find something flavorful that you like.