Ah, coffee. You wake up each morning and automatically reach for that hot cup of dark, aromatic liquid that has nearly come to be your lifeline. It’s almost instinct. What isn’t instinct, though, is brewing the same, impeccable quality each and every time, especially after a few too many all-nighters. Luckily, vast scientific research (AKA my excessive google search) has revealed the top 8 tips to making and enjoying perfectly rich, perfectly flavorful, perfectly delicious coffee whenever and wherever your little soul desires.

1. Don’t buy pre-ground coffee in bulk

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Ground coffee is much more vulnerable to flavor degeneration than whole beans, and since you won’t likely use up a whole bag of ground coffee at once, it leaves the grounds much more susceptible to oxidation, which happens each time they are exposed to air and results in an unpleasant, bitter taste. Just think of how many times you open and close the bag before finishing it off. Smaller bags mean less air exposure, which means you have a much better chance of keeping your coffee fresh and flavorful longer.

2. Pay attention to your machine’s ideal grind size

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Contrary to popular belief, not all coffee grounds are created equal; so before you pick up a bag at the grocery store, check your machine’s ideal grind size. A grind that is too fine will result in bitterness, while a grind too coarse will cause the coffee to be weak, lacking flavor and depth. Keep in mind, turkish coffee requires a much finer grind than the typical store-bought size.

3. Don’t use boiling water

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The ideal water temperature for brewing coffee is 200°F, and water boils at 212°F, so let your water cool just a bit before brewing, or your cup o’ joe will taste like it was brewed in an ashtray.

4. Don’t give up on bitter coffee

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If you do manage to screw something up in your early morning haze, and end up with something disgustingly sour or bitter, you don’t have to force yourself to gulp it down or pour it away. A tiny pinch of salt can almost always remedy the situation.

5. Don’t freeze coffee beans

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We like to store perishable ingredients in the refrigerator, so it may seem like a good idea to refrigerate or freeze your coffee. However, when you take it back out and into the ambient room, the moisture from condensation will result in a bland, flavorless brew.

6. Use filtered water

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Have you ever tasted tap water? Have you noticed its peculiar, slightly metallic taste? It turns out that even minor impurities in water used for brewing can have a huge effect on coffee flavor. You don’t have to use bottled water, but do invest in a water filter for all your coffee brewing needs (and the added bonus of never having to taste that gross tap water again).

7. Use coffee cubes when making iced coffee

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So you brewed your coffee to ideally match your flavor and depth preferences, but once you add those regular ice cubes, all is lost. Regular ice will dilute your coffee as it melts, but coffee ice cubes are perfect for retaining all the flavor and richness of your iced coffee.

8. Don’t wait too long to drink your coffee

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It all comes back to oxidation. Wait too long, and you risk your coffee becoming bitter. It’s best to consume within several minutes of brewing to get all the benefits of taste.