You have reached here by searching “Why does my coffee taste watery“, then I am sure that you too are fed up with drinking watery coffee.
And let me tell you, you’re not alone! That’s why I’m here to help you figure out this coffee issue.
Also, I assure you it’s going to be super easy to understand so that you can solve it from your next brewing.
Why Does My Coffee Taste Watery: Understanding the Issue
Before we can reach the right treatment, we need to know what is the root cause behind watery-tasting coffee.
In this section, first, we analyze the problem and then discuss how to fix it.
You Are Using Less Coffee for Brewing
Let’s start from the basic one, if you use less coffee for brewing then it is obvious that your coffee will weakly brew and is bound to taste watery.
Less amount of coffee in too much water will definitely not meet your expectations, and to avoid this, if you start using more coffee grounds, then after a few days you might be searching “Why does my coffee taste bitter”.
And I’m sure you are doing all this unknowingly and the best solution to this is to measure everything using a kitchen scale while brewing and try to follow the golden brewing ratio.
Look, there are many brewing methods available, and it’s pretty unlikely that the ratio that works for one will work for another, just like you need more coffee for a Cold Brew than for a French Press.
|Brewing Methods||Coffee-to-Water Ratio|
These are the coffee-to-water ratio for different brewing methods which gives you a perfect coffee flavor but you can always customize it. Try to lower this ratio for strong-tasting coffee.
There is one more coffee-to-water ratio that you should look upon which applies after brewing and is for drinks like Americano & Long Black where you first brew coffee and then add hot water, if you add more water than required – it will result in a watery taste.
Coffee Extraction Time
While extraction, different solubles and compounds are extracted from coffee beans and some of the major ones are acids, caffeine, lipids, fats, melanoidins and carbohydrates.
All these decide the flavor notes of your cup of coffee. If you extract your coffee for a shorter duration then all these compounds aren’t extracted properly from the coffee grounds and taste thin or watery and vice-versa.
Not only how long you extract matters but water temperature also plays a significant role in coffee extraction.
According to SCA, for perfect extraction, the ideal water temperature for brewing coffee should be between 195°F – 205°F except for Cold Brew.
Any temperature below this range will cause under-extraction which leads to watery coffee.
For measuring water temperature, you can use this cooking thermometer or heat the water until it feels like it is about to boil because the recommended temperature level is close to the boiling point, which is 212°F.
I’m mentioning some of the famous brew methods and their extraction time that you can follow and cross-check with your time.
|Brewing Methods||Extraction Time|
|French Press||4 – 5 minutes|
|Pour Over||3 – 4 Minutes|
|Cold Brew||12 – 24 hours (depends upon how strong you want)|
|Moka Pot||~ 90 seconds|
|Espresso||25 – 32 seconds|
The extraction time and strength of coffee also depend upon how finely or coarsely you grind the coffee beans; now, let’s understand this too.
Incorrect Coffee Grind Size
Grinding your coffee at the wrong settings is one of the big causes you are getting watery coffee.
The more you finely grind the coffee beans than required – the extraction will happen at a faster pace.
And, if you coarsely grind your coffee beans than needed with the given extraction time and recommended water temperature still it won’t work and taste watery because for water it is hard to extract all the flavors as there is less surface area.
So, grind according to what is advised by the coffee associations and professionals or if you are changing the grind level then don’t forget to change the extraction time as well.
Also, avoid using blade grinders or pestle and mortar for grinding as you can’t customize the grind size and most of the time you’ll get inconsistency which leads to uneven extraction.
Therefore, I always recommend using burr grinders for grinding your coffee beans as you’ll get uniformly chopped coffee and get full customization over it.
Below, I’m giving a grind-size table that you can follow every time while grinding for different brewing methods.
|Brewing Methods||Grind Size||Looks Like|
|French Press||Coarse||Rough Sand|
|Pour Over||Medium Coarse||–|
|Cold Brew||Extra Coarse||Sea Salt|
|Moka Pot||Medium Fine||–|
|Drip Machine||Medium||Beach Sand|
|Turkish Coffee||Extra Fine||Flour|
Not Letting Coffee Degas
First, let’s understand what coffee degassing is, and then we’ll come to know why you need to degas your coffee and its impact on taste.
When green coffee beans are roasted, they go through the extreme heat of 180 to 250 °C, and certain chemical reactions take place which form moisture and carbon dioxide inside the beans.
Coffee degassing is the process of releasing gasses mainly carbon dioxide from coffee beans right just after the completion of roasting.
You might be thinking what if we consume coffee without degassing, if you don’t let it degas then it will taste very strange, sour & watery and instead of making your day, it will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
That’s why we need to give some time to coffee “breathe” and let these gasses escape. Now, it’s time to answer what you’re thinking, degas duration and when to consume beans.
Coffee grown at higher altitudes is more denser and these beans take a little longer to degas after roasting.
|Roast Profile||Degassing Time After Roasting|
|Very Light Roast||10-15 Days|
|Light Roast||7-9 Days|
|Medium Roast||4-6 Days|
|Dark Roast||2-3 Days|
Dark roasts take the least time to degas because they are roasted the longest and have more cracks while roasting, making it easier for CO2 to release.
If you roast your coffee at home or buy from local coffee roasters then you need to pay more attention to mark dates and try to store them in a vacuum canister.
The coffee you buy online or from offline available brands has a roast date mentioned on its packet. Most of the coffee roasters roast on the day of dispatch or one day before.
So, sometimes when you buy from them during the transit period the degassing process is completed and you are ready to consume. But if this is not the case then you should follow the table.
For Espresso brewing, we need properly degassed beans as there is a very short extraction time and if you don’t degas it well then it starts to bloom in portafilter and bubbles disturb water flow leading to uneven and under extraction.
Water Quality Issue
Whether your water is too hard or too soft, both have a negative impact on the taste of your coffee. If you make it with very hard water, it will taste bitter and if you make it with very soft water, it will taste sour and watery.
Now, in this case where your coffee is tasting watery may be caused by using very soft water.
See, for extraction we need certain minerals like magnesium and calcium and a small amount of bicarbonate to extract rich flavors.
Additionally, we also see the pH level of water, indirectly we want to have some alkaline in water for a balanced pH and having low alkalinity means a sour and watery cup of coffee.
Speciality Coffee Association, has also set coffee brewing water standards that you should follow for a perfect cup.
|TDS||150 mg/L||75 – 250 mg/L|
|pH||7.0||6.5 to 7.5|
|Total Alkalinity||40 mg/L||At or near 40 mg/L|
|Sodium||10 mg/L||At or near 10 mg/L|
|Calcium Hardness||4 grains or 68 mg/L||1 – 5 grains or 17 mg/L – 85 mg/L|
|Total Chlorine||0 mg/L||0 mg/L|
If you want to know most of the stuff about your water, you can perform a test using this EASYTEST 7-Way kit. You can also do different water tests using different kits.
Now, there are two ways that you can use to fix your water if you find this is the reason for watery coffee.
First, you can buy premix minerals like Third Wave Water or Coffee Water Mineral Packs, which you can add to food-grade distilled water according to the recommended water amount.
These companies market this as coffee water as according to them it meets SCA standards and according to me coffee brewed with this water tastes good.
Second, you can make your own coffee water and I must tell you it is very cost-efficient and easy to make.
Step 1 – you need raw materials, Baking Soda (Sodium Bicarbonate), Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate), and Deionised/Distilled Water.
Step 2 – for preparation, take a 1L bottle and mix 1.68g baking soda in it and mark it as “Alkalinity”. Take another 1L bottle filled up with distilled water and mix 2.45g Epsom salts and mark it as “Magnesium”.
Step 3 – for final mixing, take 891.3g distilled water and add 40.1g alkalinity water and 68.6g magnesium water and shake well.
Your coffee water is ready and is very close to SCA standards, brew with this water and comment to me does it improves your coffee taste, I’m sure that it will work.
Fix Coffee Machine
If you have done everything to fix your watery coffee and still it tastes watery then it is not your fault, probably it’s your coffee machine.
Your coffee machine is making watery coffee for a number of reasons, and sometimes problems are critical and can only be fixed by a technician.
First let’s discuss what you can do, see, clogging in coffee machines is a very common problem due to limescale buildup or whatever reason which causes under-extraction and leads to watery coffee.
If you are using a Keurig machine then there are multiple reasons for watery coffee, first check the packing of K cups, if their seal is broken or expired then it will taste weak.
We also have an article on the Strongest K Cup of Coffee, where I have listed the 10 strongest K cups, you can choose one of them for your Keurig machine.
Often Keurig needles get clogged with coffee residues, check it out, if there is a blockage then clean using a toothpick.
If you are using reusable pods either for Keurig or Nespresso machines and you are filling less coffee grounds or your reusable filter is clogged then it is among one of the obvious reasons.
Nespresso users, prefer using more intense Nespresso pods, we’ve also an article on the intensity and caffeine content of all Nespresso pods.
If nothing works for you then descaling might be a solution for many as it will remove all the minerals buildup and clean the inner paths of your machine
Sometimes your coffee machine doesn’t reach the brew temperature (try to get only water from the machine and note the temperature) and the issue is in the boiler, so seeing a mechanic might solve your problem.
Here are the customer care contacts of the few most used coffee machine companies, if you think you have some issue with your machine (before that try testing the same coffee with other brewing methods) then discuss your problem and they will help you solve it.
|Coffee Machine Brand||Customer Support Contacts|
|Nespresso||800-562-1465 (OriginalLine) 877-964-6299 (VertuoLine)|
Try to call them from Monday to Friday between 9 AM to 5 PM. If your machine brand is not on the list or you are from a different country then try finding it on their website (it’s easy).
The Bottom Line
Now, if you ever feel my coffee tastes a bit like water, you know what to do. We’ve explored several key reasons in this article, if done correctly it can turn your coffee experience from “blah” to “aha!”
Make sure you don’t implement all the advice at once, try to figure out first what is going wrong on your end, if you can’t decide then execute them one by one.
By keeping these tips in mind when brewing, you’ll be on your way to enjoying a delicious, flavorful cup of coffee every time. Happy brewing!