Alfaroo Tech: There are three possible reasons that your coffee is weak.
- Your water isn’t hot enough. Cool or cold water won’t extract the flavor and color from the coffee.
- You aren’t using enough coffee. You need anywhere from 1.25 oz to 3 oz of coffee to brew a 64 oz pot of coffee on most commercial coffee brewers depending on the coffee and the grind.
- Your coffee machine is missing the sprayhead.
Let’s start with the most common reason you might have weak coffee and that is your coffee brewer’s sprayhead is missing. What is a sprayhead? A sprayhead is a small plastic or metal round part that has little holes in it, like a shower head, and threads on it. It screws onto your coffee brewer right above where the brew basket goes. The sprayhead spreads the water across the coffee grounds and ensures that the grounds are equally saturated with hot water during the brew cycle.
It is a common item to turn up missing as sometimes people will take it off to clean then either forget to put it back on or it doesn’t get put on tight. If it isn’t on tight, after a few brews it can work its way loose and fall into the grounds. When you empty the spent grounds into the garbage, out goes the sprayhead too.
Look at your brewer. Take out the brew basket and look for a sprayhead. If it’s there great. If not, you can order one by calling us or sending us an email.
Now, if your sprayhead is there it’s time to check the next item and that is the water brewing temperature. Make sure the coffee brewer is at the hottest temperature it will get to. How will you know? Listen to the sound of the water heating. It sounds like a low rumble. If you don’t hear it, your machine isn’t heating anymore.
Leave the empty brew basket on the machine without a filter or coffee and put an empty pot under it. Start a pot of hot water brewing without coffee in the brew basket. Take a digital kitchen thermometer and hold it under the stream of water coming out of the brew basket. The temperature should be between 199°F – 206°F at sea level and about 2°F less per 1,000 ft. of elevation above sea level. You want the water hot but not boiling.
If the temperature on your machine is hot enough and falls within the guidelines above it’s time to move on to the next test. If your water isn’t hot, you need to adjust the thermostat. Most commercial brewer thermostats are located under the top lid of the machine or under the plate behind where the brew basket is.
Remember, your machine has electricity running through different parts and if you are not comfortable with electricity and know which parts to stay away from I suggest you unplug your machine before continuing.
You need to remove the top or front plate of the machine. You should see a small box with a T, knob or just a stem sticking out of it. Turn the knob or stem up just a little bit. I recommend that you put the top back on the machine if you have a machine with a warmer on the top. You don’t want to short out the warmer on the sides of the machine. Plug the machine back in and let it heat up. Try brewing again with just water. Test the water temperature and see if it is hot enough. Keep testing like this until you reach the desired temperature. Once the correct temperature is reached, put the machine back together and try brewing a pot of coffee. Your coffee should be stronger now.
So, if you have checked both the sprayhead and the water temperature and they are okay, the only other reason your coffee is weak is the coffee. You may not be using enough coffee, have too course a grind or the coffee may not be fresh. Weigh out the amount of coffee you are using to brew. Try adding more to it, weigh it so you know how much you are using, then brew a pot. Is it stronger? If the coffee now looks and tastes like coffee, the problem was just that you weren’t using enough coffee.
The coffee grind has a lot to do with the brew as well. The finer the coffee is ground, the long period of time water stays in contact with the grounds and the stronger the coffee will be. Be careful though, brewing with coffee that is ground too fine can lead to the water overflowing the brew basket because the fine coffee clogs up the filter. The other problem with really finely ground coffee is that your coffee may taste bitter.
What if the coffee isn’t too fine and it is still not strong enough? Try brewing with different coffee. All coffee tastes different so you may have to brew several different types before you find one you are happy with.
As always, let me know if you have any questions about this article or about your commercial beverage equipment and I’ll try to give you some help.