These 30-Second Tricks Will Make Your Coffee SO Much Better

Photographed by Daniel Castro.
If you're a coffee lover, you probably already have your coffee routine down pat. And if you're taking it with you on the way to work, you don't want anything too complicated. But if you want to step up your no-fuss coffee game, there are plenty of tricks that don't require a ton of effort (or take precious time when you need to rush out the door). For example, changing up the way you store your coffee can make a difference — using an airtight container will keep beans fresher, longer. And opting for filtered water could be the difference between a good home-brewed cup and a great one.

We've rounded up some of the best tips for better coffee, ranging from flavor swaps to brewing techniques. The best part? All of them are super easy! You don't need to invest in fancy equipment to make great coffee at home. With these tricks, you won't even be tempted to spend $4 on a latte.
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A pinch of salt can make your coffee less bitter.
This is a strange-sounding tip, but plenty of coffee lovers say it works. Even Alton Brown swears by this trick; he suggests adding a bit of salt in with your coffee grounds to eliminate that bitter taste.
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Use a different sweetener.
If you usually sweeten your coffee with regular sugar, try swapping in raw sugar, honey, or agave to switch up the taste. And if you've got a little more time on your hands, you can even try making your own simple syrup, like Starbucks' honey ginger syrup recipe.
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Add a bit of vanilla extract.
If you love vanilla coffee, a few drops of vanilla extract will take at-home coffee recipes to the next level. Add in a pinch of cinnamon for even more flavor. And if you're feeling adventurous, you can even make homemade vanilla extract.
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Try a French press.
If you're already brewing your own pour-over coffee, switching to a French press shouldn't add much time to your routine — it might actually be easier. It doesn't have to be anything fancy or expensive; you can get an affordable (and cute!) French press for under $20. You still get the deliciousness of a fresh brew — but the process (and the cleanup) couldn't be easier.
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Scoop in some cocoa powder.
You don't have to be a barista to make a delicious mocha. Mixing a little cocoa powder with water before adding it to your coffee is a simple and easy way to get your chocolate fix at home.
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Add cereal milk.
If you really want to switch things up, try adding cereal milk as a creamer alternative. You don't have to follow the Momofuku Milk Bar recipe, though; if you're already eating a bowl of cereal, just pour in the leftover milk for a sweet addition to your cup of joe.
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Make your own coffee creamer.
If you rely on prepackaged creamer, making your own is a lot easier (and fresher) than you'd think. A little half and half, milk, and flavored syrup is all you need.
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Try a new milk substitute.
If you usually put almond milk in your coffee, give coconut milk or banana milk a try. You can also switch up the flavors — if you tend to buy regular almond milk, try vanilla — for a new-and-improved take. And if you prefer your coffee without any cream or milk, why not try a different roast? You might just find a new favorite.
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Combine horchata with iced coffee.
Horchata is a delicious drink on its own, but it's even better when combined with java. And if you really want to go the extra mile, you can use a blender to make an horchata latte.
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Mix in some sweetened condensed milk.
Vietnamese iced coffee is known for featuring sweetened condensed milk. The sweetness is a perfect counterbalance to bitter coffee — just be careful not to add too much.
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Make iced coffee cubes.
If you're tired of watered-down iced coffee, there's a simple (and delicious) fix. Pour coffee into an ice cube tray and throw it in the freezer for coffee cubes that are perfect for your next cold brew. You can even add milk and sugar before freezing.
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Sprinkle in some spices.
A pinch of cinnamon or cardamom will instantly give your latte more punch, and you've probably got both of them in your spice cabinet already. And if you love PSLs (and have a bit more time), you can make them at home, too.