Have Cheap Coffee? These 8 Easy Tips Can Make It Taste Better

So you are getting into coffee, eh? The issue is that you don’t want to spend a ton of money but want a better taste morning cup of Joe. I know how you feel! I went to a Starbucks Reserve recently, and they wanted to charge me $40 a pound for coffee… which really doesn’t make sense. That got me thinking that maybe I should point out some great ways that you can make cheap coffee taste better than its price implies! Let me point out that I am personally drinking Folgers right now (instant in fact), and it is actually really good!

You’ll find in this list ways to make cheap coffee taste better, like adding milk, buying a better (not more expensive) coffee maker, and using fresh water during your brew.

Disclaimer: For all of those coffee purists wanting to say you need to only buy expensive specialty coffee to make good coffee, you are correct. However not everyone can afford, or wants to spend that amount on coffee beans, and this article is for those people.

1. Get a better coffee maker.

The Aeropress is an awesome, inexpensive coffee maker. You don’t need an expensive coffee maker to get good coffee, but what you do need is a good coffee maker to make good coffee.

Little do you know, that automatic coffee maker you bought for $50 at Walmart makes worse-tasting coffee than a much cheaper manual coffee maker can do.

My personal recommendation to help you make better coffee is the Aeropress Go (which the brand gifted to me, and I reviewed here). This coffee maker is a manual solution to making coffee, and they allow you to fine-tune exactly how you like your coffee made. 

I have found that using a manual coffee maker that is cheaper than most automatic coffee makers will give a more enjoyable experience and offer a more refined taste to the coffee.

2. Buy a water filter

Did you know that filtered water makes your coffee taste better? Well, it does. I highly recommend filtering your water before every brew. A filter will remove all of the contaminants that may affect your coffee-drinking experience.

Also, owning a water filter will also be awesome for just generally drinking water as well!

3. Use milk in the coffee.

Again, I know a lot of purists are going to be upset about this one. However, milk is a really great way to even out the flavor of coffee!

The cream makes coffee taste a lot smoother! I personally like to make cold brew, and then dilute it down with milk as well. See how much works best for you, and use that!

4. Use fresh coffee

You really don’t have to have expensive coffee to have fresh coffee! For example, I have found some great high-quality whole beans at Safeway that are extremely fresh and taste awesome.

How do you keep them fresh after buying them? I recommend a couple of different options. However, my personal favorite is the Atmos Canister by Fellow Products. Alternatively, here are some other options that will keep your beans fresher for longer.

Pro-Tip: I don’t recommend keeping coffee in a freezer; however, if you do, only use what you need and immediately put it back in. Learn why in this article.

5. Grind your own beans.

Many people may not realize this; however, after coffee is ground, it quickly loses its freshness, taste, and oils that are there when you don’t have coffee pre-ground.

Because of this, I highly recommend getting yourself a cheap coffee grinder (not a blade grinder) and then grinding only the coffee you need every morning. I say a cheap grinder, because the grinder can become one of your most expensive pieces of equipment if you aren’t careful.

I personally have used one from Ikea, but recently upgraded to an automatic bur grinder that has done a great job.

6. Use different types of cheap coffee.

Alright, so if you are reading this article, you likely have found you just don’t like the taste of coffee, but you enjoy the idea of coffee. You also don’t want to spend a large amount of money, so what are you going to do? Try different types of cheap coffee. You may not like the type you have now and have historically been using, but you may really like another brand.

Some of my favorite cheap coffees are Dunkin Doughnuts, McCafe, and some of the higher-end Folgers coffees. These all don’t break the bank, but get the job done well.

7. Weigh your coffee

Woah woah woah, isn’t this too complicated? I just want to dump in coffee and be done. Well, you aren’t going to get the best brew possible doing that, and you also won’t find your favorite brew either.

There are special ratios of water to coffee, like 1:15 up to 1:18, that you can play around with to see what you like best. However, you can’t do that if you don’t weigh your coffee. Seriously, it takes like 2 seconds, and you’ll thank me for it.

8. Adjust your brew time.

I don’t think most people really think about this when they are making their coffee! Much like making tea or other drinks, you have to actually brew your coffee for a specific amount of time.

I feel like automatic coffee makers have taken so much of the work out of brewing coffee that people don’t really understand the process. You will want to play around with finding what works best for you. 

With my daily driver, the Aeropress Go, I generally let it brew for one minute before pressing it through, but I could easily let it go longer or shorter depending on my time constraints or tastes.


I really tried in this article to make sure that you can keep things cheap, that way you can continue to enjoy coffee without the price tag.

Of course, you can spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars fine-tuning things with espresso machines, expensive specialty coffees, and more; however, if you are just getting started, you really don’t need that.

It’s kinda like how most people want to play a guitar, buy an expensive one, and then never learn because they get bored. I don’t want you to do that with coffee. I think it is important to grow slowly with your coffee hobby, and these are great ways to do that.

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