I don’t know about you, but for me my morning cup of coffee is one of the best parts of my day. Which is why it’s so frustrating when my coffee doesn’t turn out good. For example, recently my coffee has tasted really watery, and I’ve been wondering what I can do to fix it.
Drip coffee machines will make watery tasting coffee when the beans are ground too fine or too coarsely, not enough beans are used for the amount of coffee brewed, the beans aren’t roasted dark enough, or the coffee maker itself isn’t brewing the coffee hot or long enough.
In this article, I’ll not only cover more than 5 reasons why your drip coffee might be tasting watery, but I’ll also give you some things you can do to fix it and get your coffee back to tasting great again.
Just a heads up in this article I’ll be specifically talking about fixing watery coffee made from a drip coffee machine, the most common type of coffee machine to find in homes and offices. But even if you use a French press or pour over these tips still apply and will be able to help you fix your watery coffee.
Ok let’s get started!
How to Make Your Coffee Taste Less Watery
Use More Coffee
The quickest way to make a stronger, thicker, less watery cup of coffee is to just put more coffee grounds in the filter for the amount of water you’re using.
With more coffee grounds in the brewing basket, the hot water will have more chances to pull out and extract oils and flavors from the beans and create a more concentrated cup of Joe.
The “golden ratio” of ground coffee beans to water is 1 gram of ground coffee per 17 milliliters of water.
So if you were making a single cup of coffee, which is around 240-360 ml, you’d want to use 14-21 grams of coffee. If you’ve been using less than this, that’s probably the reason why your coffee tastes so watery. And if you’re looking for extra strength, you could probably increase the amount of coffee to water ratio to 1 gram of coffee per 15 mL of water.
If you use tablespoons to measure the amount of coffee you use in your drip coffee maker, the general rule is 1 tablespoon of grounds per 4 ounces of water. But, if you’re trying to avoid watery coffee I don’t recommend that you use tablespoons to measure your coffee. Below I’ll tell you why.
Use a Scale to Measure Your Coffee Grounds
One way you can avoid watery coffee is by making sure your coffee brews are consistent. And one of the best ways to make your coffee consistent is to measure the number of coffee grounds you use by weight instead of volume. With a scale instead of a scoop.
The reason that you shouldn’t measure your coffee in scoops or tablespoons is that freshly ground coffee will have a lot more fluff and air in it than coffee that was ground a week ago or bought pre-ground. This means that a scoop of freshly ground coffee may not have as much coffee in it as a scoop of pre-ground coffee. This makes it difficult to create a consistently good-tasting, not watery cup of coffee.
If you don’t yet have a scale to measure your coffee with, you don’t need to spend a ton of money on anything fancy. Amazon sells a really nice coffee scale with a timer on it for only $22. You can check it out here.
The general rule when weighing coffee for a drip coffee machine is to use 10g of ground coffee for every 6oz of water.
Use Darker Roasted Beans
A quick and easy way to add some strength, boldness, and body to your coffee is to use a darker roast of beans. Because dark roasted coffee beans are roasted for longer than light or medium roast, more of the oils from the beans are developed and brought to the surface, which when extracted into the coffee will give it a much thicker, less watery taste.
Check Your Grind Size
Another important thing to check if your coffee has been tasting watery is grind size.
If the beans you’re using are ground too coarsely, they won’t have enough surface area available for the water flowing through them to pick up the flavors. Plus coarsely ground beans won’t pack together very tight, so the water will pass through them quickly and not have enough time to extract their oils.
And if your beans are ground too finely, they will get packed together too tightly and the hot water during brewing won’t be able to flow through them all and will instead take the path of least resistance, only passing through and extracting some of the grounds in the filter. Leading to an under extracted, watery cup of coffee.
The ideal grind size for making drip coffee with a paper filter is a medium grind, similar to the texture of sand or thicker table salt.
You’re Coffee Maker isn’t Brewing Hot Enough or Long Enough
While drip coffee machines are convenient and easy to use, they, unfortunately, will never make the best cup of coffee possible and can’t be calibrated for their level of heat or brewing time.
So if you’re coffee maker isn’t brewing hot enough or long enough and therefore making a watery cup of coffee, there isn’t really anything you can do. This is why I recommend that if you are currently making drip coffee and aren’t happy with how watery it is, you try making coffee a different way such as with a moka pot, pour over, french press, or Aeropress.
A moka pot will probably be the easiest step to take from making drip coffee and will create a really strong and thick cup of joe, but the other methods can also be easily adjusted to make stronger coffee.
If you don’t have the money or time to buy and learn a new method of making coffee, an easy way to make more concentrated and thicker coffee at home is to make cold brew and then heat it up in the microwave or on the stove after. If you’ve never made it before, cold brew is super easy to do and takes less than a day to make.
You can learn how to make cold brew from the same youtube video that I did here.
Add Milk and Cream
A quick and easy way to increase the body of a watery cup of coffee is to add milk and/or cream. It really doesn’t take much of either to thicken up the coffee and make it much more enjoyable to drink.
If you’re trying to keep your coffee low in sugar and calories, I recommend using almond milk over dairy, it has 70 less calories per cup.
Sprinkle a Pinch of Instant Coffee
The last way I recommend adding thickness to your watery coffee is to sprinkle a pinch of instant coffee grounds in your mug. These will not only make the coffee darker, but also add some thickness in terms of texture.
Start with a little and add more after tasting since the only thing worse the drinking watery coffee is having to chew grounds of instant coffee because you added too much.
While drip coffee machines will never produce the best-tasting cup of coffee possible, there are adjustments that can be made if a coffee maker is brewing cups of watery-tasting coffee.
I hope that one or multiple of the tips in this article could help you figure out why your coffee has been tasting watery, and can help you add some body and thickness to your coffee the next time you make it.
If you’d like to learn more about how to brew great-tasting coffee at home, be sure to check out the rest of my website! Have a great day!