My Dad’s Awful Coffee: 5 Ways To Improve Your Dad’s Coffee Making

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My dad is probably most responsible for my love of coffee. I still remember all of the times I’d be climbing over him as a kid and he’d raise his voice to say: “Careful! I’ve got hot coffee.” And he did. You could almost always find my dad with a mug full of hot coffee.

As the years went by however, I started to develop my own love for coffee…and eventual snobbery. I realized that for somebody who loved coffee as much as my dad did, the coffee he drank really wasn’t that good.

It wasn’t so much the beans he was using, but actually the way he was preparing a pot or cup of coffee.

With Father’s Day just a few days away, I thought it would be fun to write a post on the 5 things I’d do for my dad to improve his coffee (based off of his own coffee making imperfections). While he may never heed my advice or use the tools I encourage him to use, at least I can say that I tried!

1. Stop leaving your pre-ground coffee in an open bowl, Pops!

My dad (as well as everyone else) likes convenience. Hey, I get it. This is why he grinds his beans in bulk and leaves them by the coffeemaker so he can quickly brew a fresh pot when he needs to.

What drives me nuts though, is how he leaves the coffee he grinds in a kitchen bowl…exposing it all to air and light, two elements that completely ruin coffee’s freshness.

What’s ironic about this habit is that my dad grinds the coffee himself for more freshness…yet by leaving his ground coffee out for more than 15 minutes he is completely defeating the purpose of grinding it himself in the first place.

So this is what I’d do for my dad:

If he insisted on sticking to this terrible habit, I’d buy him an airtight container to keep his ground coffee in. The Airscape is the one that I use, and at the very least his coffee wouldn’t stale as quickly.

What I think would benefit him even more though, is a grind and brew coffee maker like the Breville YouBrew. This would allow him to easily grind his coffee right before brew time.

2. Ditch the blade grinder please

While I can’t say I’ve tested the difference in taste between a blade grinder and burr grinder, almost every coffee expert agrees that burr grinders make better tasting coffee.

What I do know for sure is that the blade grinder has a very difficult time creating different grind fineness, and doing a consistent job of it.

So when my poor dad wants to make an espresso, he can’t get good results with his blade grinder. The grind is too inconsistent. Same thing goes for his auto drip and french press. It’s very difficult to control for grind size when you aren’t using a burr grinder.

If I were to get my dad any burr grinder, it would be the Baratza Encore. Incredibly easy to use with great results.

I know all lazy grinders would fall in love with this one.

3. Paper filters please

This may be a controversial one, but I’d really like my dad to start using paper filters in his coffeemaker. He uses a permanent gold tone filter.

I don’t have any problem with this kind of filter when it comes to taste, but when it comes to cholesterol I have problems with it. My dad has high cholesterol, and gold tone filters don’t do a very good job at filtering out coffee oils that contribute to higher cholesterol. I think paper filters could be beneficial to my dad for this reason.

4. Cut out the bulk purchases

My dad buys several pounds of coffee at a time. I know he drinks a lot of it, but there is no way he drinks it at a rate where he can finish those 2 pounds within 2 weeks. If your coffee beans are 2 weeks past the roasting date, they are starting to get too old and therefore, not as tasty.

So dad, if you’re reading this, please buy one bag of coffee at a time!

5. No more freezer storage

My dad will sometimes store these extra bags of coffee in the freezer. Yikes. Totally faux pas!

The exposure to moisture will destroy your beans, so please stop doing this. Refer to the Airscape that I mentioned above, it will take care of all of your coffee storage needs. Promise.

How would you improve your dad’s coffee?

Now that I’ve shared my dad’s coffee making flaws, what are some of your dads’ coffee making mistakes? Please share in the comments below!

P.S. Happy Father’s Day, Pops! Hope you don’t take this personally…and thanks for helping me develop my love for coffee.


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  • Hi Benj-
    This is Pops and I stand busted on four of the five counts (the one about the two pound bag isn’t exactly true because I do blow through that amount faster than you think, hurting the cholesterol count with a trusty gold filter). Thanks for the advice, gently delivered. A sixth tip for all would be to learn from one’s often wiser kids and friends..and to get on with their advice!

  • Hey Benji (and Pops),

    Nice article. It does remind me of how my father in-law used to make his coffee. He had a kitchen aid grinder. On the plus-side, I believe it was a burr grinder. On the negative side, there was not timer to control how much coffee you ground. So, he just ground as much coffee as he thought he needed. He’d measure out a pot-full of grounds, and the rest of the grounds would sit there until the next need. Of course, Kitchen Aid made great grinders, but there were no frills. So, there was not receptacle for the grounds. You’d have to supply a glass or cup to catch the grounds. The extra grounds would just sit there in the open air, no cover at all.

    Now, I still don’t buy the bit about the benefits of the burr grinder over the impact (blade) grinder. The assertion is usually that the impact grinder burns the beans as they are crushed. Why doesn’t that happen with the burr grinder? Well, it has too, since friction generates heat, and friction is the key component of why the coffee gets ground. One could argue that there is no pot-to-pot stability for the impact grinder since there are no controls as to how fine (or course) the grinding is. That’s a fact, but you could probably get fairly consistent results by counting each time. But, as to heat being the culprit. How do they know. Has anyone ever measured the temperature of the ground coffee? I doubt it can be done. So, it becomes anecdotal and not fact.

    • Hey Steve,

      Thanks for your comment 🙂

      I’ve dropped the argument about the blade grinder “heating” the beans more than the burr grinder because you’re right, without testing it is just anecdotal.

      The main problem with blade grinders that I still stand behind is that the ground particles are never consistent. You could end up with coffee dust mixed with coarser particles. I’m not saying that burr grinders are 100% consistent, in fact, your grind should never be 100% consistent because this doesn’t result in the varied flavors you want in your final cup or espresso. However, you do want your grind to be closer to the consistent side than the inconsistent side.

      As far as I’m concerned, there are two main benefits to the burr grinder (that I think I mentioned in the article).

      1) You can make great espresso with one. I’ve tried with a blade grinder…it just doesn’t do the trick. Too much channeling due to aforementioned grind inconsistency.

      2) You can control grind size so much easier. With a blade grinder, one could argue that you just need to hold the button longer to vary your grind. But the problem with this is that unless you are weighing your coffee beans into the grinder, you are going to have a different dose every time. Because of this variable, it’s too difficult to adjust grind size accurately.

      Would be interesting to see how the heat from grinding coffee affects things, but my guess is that it isn’t by much. Burr grinders DO heat the coffee too, especially if you use a manual burr grinder and crank it too quickly (like me).

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