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Why Does Airplane Coffee Taste Different and What Airlines Are Doing About It

Airplane Coffee Tastes Different – Why? If you’re a regular airline passenger, you may have noticed that the coffee you drink on board tastes different from the usual cup of joe you get from your local coffee shop.

There are several reasons why this is the case, ranging from the quality of water used to the altitude at which the coffee is served. In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons why airplane coffee tastes different and why airlines are making efforts to improve their coffee game.

The Water

One of the primary reasons why airplane coffee tastes different is the quality of water used in making it. According to a report by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), airplane tap water is not always safe for consumption.

The water quality is affected by the cleanliness of aircraft water storage tanks, which can sometimes transfer contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, and minerals into the water. When coffee is brewed from such contaminated water, it can affect the taste, making it seem sour or metallic.

Airlines have been working to improve water purity by cleaning and disinfecting their water tanks regularly to ensure that they meet the EPA safety standards.

Time in the Pot

Another reason why airplane coffee tastes different is the amount of time the coffee sits in the pot before being served. When coffee is left sitting for ages, it can develop a stale taste that affects its freshness.

The longer the coffee sits, the stronger the stale taste becomes. This is why you’re sometimes asked to wait for the coffee to brew just before serving and the coffee usually comes out fresher.

Altitude

The altitude at which the coffee is served can also affect how it tastes. The pressurization of the cabin at high altitude affects the way your taste buds perceive flavors.

At an altitude of around 30,000 feet, the humidity and air pressure are low, making your senses less sensitive. This means that flavors like sweetness and acidity are dulled, while bitterness becomes more pronounced.

The Service

The quality of service can also impact how you perceive the taste of your coffee. If you’ve had a bad experience with an airline, you’re more likely to find fault with everything, including your coffee.

Airline crews are sometimes careless in handling and serving coffee, which can affect its taste. From burnt milk to stale coffee grounds, bad handling can ruin your coffee.

However, when made right, a good cup of coffee can greatly affect your experience and mood during the flight. Airlines’ Coffee Brands

To improve the coffee experience on board, airlines have been working to up their coffee game by partnering with leading coffee companies to enhance the flavor and aroma of the coffee served.

For instance, in 2014, Delta Airlines partnered with Starbucks to offer Starbucks coffee on its flights. This partnership has been a success, with passengers enjoying the familiar flavor of Starbucks coffee, and Delta continues to expand its offerings to satisfy the coffee lovers among its passengers.

Other airlines have their signature coffee brands, such as United Airlines’ signature blend, the Illy coffee, which is served on board to passengers in all cabins. Turkish Airlines has been recognized for serving one of the best cups of coffee in the skies, with a blend created exclusively for the airline by a Turkish roaster, Ethos.

Improvement Efforts

Airlines have been investing in coffee quality to satisfy the needs of coffee-loving passengers. They have had to take into account the different factors that can affect coffee, such as water purity, brewing time, altitude, and service.

Airlines have also been investing in specialty equipment to ensure that the coffee is brewed to the highest standards. For instance, Alaska Airlines has invested in the “BevBar” system, a patented onboard system that uses pre-packaged single-serve coffee cartridges to ensure that the coffee is always fresh and of consistent quality.

American Airlines has also invested in the Nespresso Prodigio coffee machine, which delivers a great cup of coffee with the touch of a button.

Conclusion

In conclusion, airplane coffee tastes different for various reasons, ranging from the quality of water used to the altitude at which coffee is served. Airlines have been making efforts to improve the coffee experience on board, such as partnering with leading coffee companies and investing in specialty equipment.

By improving the quality of the coffee, airlines hope to satisfy the needs of coffee lovers among their passengers. So, next time, when you’re presented with a cup of coffee on board, remember the reasons why it may taste different than what you are used to and appreciate the work going into improving the experience for you.

Openness to Trying In-Flight Coffee

Even though in-flight coffee tastes different from the coffee we drink on the ground, it doesn’t mean that we should be unwilling to try it. It’s understandable that some passengers may be hesitant due to the difference in taste and the potential for issues like contaminated water.

However, it’s worth remembering that airlines have been working hard to improve the quality of their coffee and ensuring that it’s safe for consumption. Many airline carriers have recognized the need to provide better quality coffee on board, and therefore have partnered with leading coffee companies to improve the taste and overall experience for their passengers.

This has led to an increase in the willingness of passengers to try the coffee provided on board. As airlines improve their coffee game, passengers are more likely to choose coffee as a drink of choice, especially on long-haul flights.

It is recommended to try various types of coffee available on-board, from the hot brew to cold brew, and add an element of experimentation to the experience. Who knows, you might find a new favorite coffee blend and enjoy your time in the clouds as much as on the ground.

Issues to Consider When Drinking In-Flight Coffee

While airlines are working hard to improve the quality of coffee on board, there are some issues that passengers should consider when drinking in-flight coffee. One of the primary issues is the cleanliness of the water used for brewing the coffee.

As we’ve seen earlier, aircraft water storage tanks are occasionally contaminated and can transfer contaminants to the water when it’s stored for long periods. This poses a risk, especially given that the water used for making coffee often comes from the same tank that’s used for serving drinking water on board.

Fortunately, about 90% of planes are equipped with filtration systems that ensure the safety of the water used. However, there is still a need for passengers to be vigilant and to ask for things like cups with lids and straws to reduce the potential for contamination.

In addition to the water quality, the age of the coffee can affect its taste and overall quality. Airline coffee is brewed in large batches, which could mean that coffee can sit around for hours before it’s served.

This issue can have an impact on the freshness of the coffee, giving it a stale taste that could affect the coffee experience. To mitigate this, passengers should try to request freshly brewed coffee when possible, and be prepared to wait a few minutes extra to ensure freshness.

This can make a considerable difference in the taste of the coffee and its overall quality. Lastly, the altitude at which coffee is served can also have an impact on its taste and overall quality.

As previously highlighted, the pressurization of the cabin can affect how your taste buds perceive flavors, making coffee taste different. However, airlines have been making considerable efforts to improve the coffee experience by investing in specialty equipment to ensure the coffee is brewed to the highest standards.

In conclusion, while in-flight coffee may have its differences from the coffee we drink on the ground, airlines are working hard to improve its quality and experience for passengers. There is no harm in trying the coffee provided on board and experiencing something new.

Nonetheless, passengers should be aware of the potential issues that can affect the quality of the coffee and take the necessary precautions to ensure that they’re drinking a safe and enjoyable cup of coffee. By being vigilant and willing to give it a try, passengers can potentially enjoy a great cup of coffee while flying.

In conclusion, airplane coffee tastes different from regular coffee due to several factors such as water quality, brewing time, altitude, and quality of service. However, airlines have been making efforts to improve the coffee experience on board by partnering with leading coffee companies and investing in specialty equipment.

Passengers should be open to trying in-flight coffee and pay attention to issues related to cleanliness, freshness, and altitude. By being vigilant and willing to experiment, passengers can have an enjoyable and safe coffee experience while flying.

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