There are a few phases in a coffee drinkers' life:
Once you stop drinking crap, coffee becomes a much more bold, beautiful experience- but with a price. Literally. Specialty coffee is more expensive than crap coffee, and for a good reason.
1. something of extremely poor quality
You need to pay attention to what you're doing wrong so you can fix it. You had your time to fix your brew methods with the cheap stuff, but chances are, it all tasted the same. You've made the first step into good coffee, now listen up.
Your coffee maker is dirty.
I've mentioned this before, but let's drive this home. CLEAN YOUR BREWER! Yes, you. Don't you dare put $20/lb coffee into a mucky brewer. Blasphemy.
Would you make tea with the water that you put through your coffee maker? No? Clean it.
Your coffee is stale.
Ok, coffee never really goes bad, necessarily. When you drank crap coffee, it was honestly hard to tell whether or not the coffee is stale. Why?
... because it's all stale.
If your coffee has sat in a warehouse, then on a truck, and then in a grocery store for three months, it is stale. Don't let any magic-lid-sealing technology fool you. That being said, try and drink your coffee within two weeks of it arriving at your door, even from a reputable coffee company.
TIP: Take a pot's worth of some beans that you have right now, and save it for three months, then brew it. You'll see.
You're brewing too much at once.
12 cup coffee brewer? Great- if you're brewing for 12 people.
Part of the magic of specialty coffee is brewing it, and it's not because of the experience (although that's cool, too). Letting your coffee cool and then microwaving it, or letting the burner keep it hot four hours isn't doing you any favors. A lot of the great characteristics of good coffee are burned off through the heating process.
Again, these factors aren't noticeable with crap coffee because the great characteristics never existed in the first place.
Look for a smaller pot, or even better, a single serve brewer such as a pour-over brewer, Aeropress or French Press. Which leads us to...
You're not using enough coffee.
Another issue with crap coffee is that the recommended dosage is simply too low. Why would a company try and tell you that you should use less coffee? Don't they want you to buy more?
Yes! They sure do want you to buy more. More than that though, they want you to buy at all.
Say you're shopping and comparing price... what do you look at? Price vs how much of the goods you're getting, right?
Well, that's pretty damn confusing if you ask me. Why not make it an even amount? It kind of makes it tough to figure out how much you're actually getting. What's your next move? Check out the "servings per container" pannel.
Ding! The less coffee a company recommends, the higher the number they can put in "Servings Per Container".
That's why the Specialty Coffee Association of America recommends far more than crap coffee.
You're drinking it too hot.
You've seen it. Companies will tell you that they have the best product because they keep a thermometer on it to tell you when it's cold enough to drink.
SPOILER ALERT: You cannot taste the beverage as well when it's too cold.
The same goes for when it's too hot. Let your coffee cool a touch before you drink it, and if you're drinking the good stuff, it will still be just as delicious.
You are drinking it too fast.
Hey, you! Slow down. In liquor terms: you're no longer shooting vodka just to get drunk. You're sipping a delicious, barrel-aged Bourbon because it's delicious. May you catch a buzz? Certainly, but with pleasure.
No need to pound it. Taste it. Love it. The caffeine buzz is a perk (is it ever).