Today’s topic is usually a culinary joke: hotel coffee. One of the most common and accurate complaints is that hotel room coffee sucks, and if you use the coffeemaker as designed, it does indeed. Coffee needs 3 things to work well: time to brew, water close to boiling temperature, and sufficient quantity of coffee grinds. Hotel room coffeemakers generally fail at all 3.

Seattle trip 2010

To remedy this, there’s a relatively easy set of fixes that can remedy this situation. First, when you fill the water reserve, start with hot tap water from the faucet. Don’t use cold – these little coffee makers don’t heat the water all that well and it will never get close to temperature. Coffee needs to brew at close to boiling, so the hotter the water you start with, the better the machine can do. Start with water that’s hot to the touch.

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Process the coffee like normal. Then after it’s done brewing, remove the filter packet and put it in the cup or carafe like a teabag. I use the little stirring rods like chopsticks to avoid burning myself. Let it steep for another 2 minutes.

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Does the coffee not taste especially strong? Most rooms give you a regular sachet of coffee and a decaf one. Open up the decaf one and put it in the cup and brew it like a teabag as well. It may lack the punch of 2 regular cups of coffee, but it should have the taste.

Bonus tip: if you get a chance during your travels to scoop up a couple of the little individual serving size salt packets, grab a few.

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Take the barest punch of salt and add it to your hotel coffee and it will dramatically reduce any of the bitter flavors. The reason for this is simple: salt partially blocks the neuroreceptors on your tongue that detect bitterness, making a bitter coffee a little more palatable.


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