What Makes Coffee Bitter?

Bitter coffee comes down to two things: (1) bad beans and (2) bad brewing. If you buy low-grade, robusta species, or super dark roast beans—I’m sorry—but there’s nothing to be done there. Low-quality coffee just tastes bitter, which is why we suggest buying specialty-grade beans (the highest quality grade).


How do you take the bitterness out of coffee?

To reduce the bitterness of your coffee, try adding cream, milk, or sugar to offset the bitter flavor. Alternatively, mix in a sprinkle of salt. You won’t be able to taste the salt, but it should reduce the bitterness. Another reason your coffee might taste bitter is because you’re boiling the temperature too high.

What ingredient makes coffee bitter?

Chlorogenic acid lactones, which include about 10 different chemicals in coffee, are the dominant source of bitterness in light to medium roast brews. Phenylindanes, which are the chemical breakdown products of chlorogenic acid lactones, are found at higher levels in dark roasted coffee, including espresso.

What can I add to coffee to make it not bitter?

Add a Fat Fats help counteract the bitterness in coffee! Adding milk, cream, ice cream, or butter even are good to reduce bitterness and round out other flavors in your cup of coffee.

Does salt make coffee less bitter?

“ The addition of salt in coffee dampens bitterness without using other additives,” she says. “Not only does salt cut the bitterness, it also smooths out the ‘stale’ taste of tank-stored water. Research has proven that salt is actually better at neutralizing bitterness than sugar,” he said.

What is the smoothest non bitter coffee?

At a Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Least Bitter Coffees

  • Lifeboost – Light RoastOur Top Choice.
  • Coffee Bros. Light Roast.
  • Real Good Coffee Co, Breakfast Blend Light Roast.
  • Caribou Coffee Daybreak Morning Blend.
  • Cooper’s Cask Coffee Ethiopian Bold Roast Light.

What is buttered coffee?

Butter coffee is a drink consisting of brewed coffee, unsalted butter, and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), an easily digested type of fat. It’s similar to Bulletproof coffee, which was developed by an entrepreneur named Dave Asprey.

Is Bitter Coffee more acidic?

As a general rule, coffee beans that have a light roast have higher acidity and lower bitterness than coffee beans in a darker roast. Bitter compounds are generated when the coffee is roasted longer and hotter. The roasting breaks down more of the acids and generates other flavor compounds.

How do I make coffee taste acidic?

Sometimes acidity boosts a coffee’s citrus notes and causes your lips to pucker with a touch of sourness. Sometimes it’s clean and bright, putting the finishing touch on the note of juicy apple. Acids in coffee can be bold and bright. They can be subtle and smooth.

How do you sweeten coffee?

6 Healthy Ways to Sweeten Your Coffee

  1. Agave. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener derived from cacti.
  2. Honey. People usually think honey is for tea and sugar for coffee, but honey can taste just as sweet and delicious in coffee.
  3. Stevia.
  4. Coconut Sugar.
  5. Maple Syrup.
  6. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder.

Why is my coffee bitter and sour?

Sour coffee comes down to two things: (1) bad beans and (2) bad brewing. If the beans are under-roasted, they’ll taste grassy and sour. But, chances are, you’re beans are fine—which means you need to make a small adjustment or two to how you make your coffee. Sour coffee is usually under-extracted coffee.

Is there a coffee that is not bitter?

Arabica coffee beans make coffee that is less bitter than robusta beans. High-quality arabica coffee that has been roasted light to medium barely has any bitterness at all. Buying coffee from local and independent specialty coffee roasters will ensure that you enjoy a bitter-free cup of coffee.

Why do you put eggshells in coffee?

Since the resulting drink can taste acidic, bitter, or too strong due to the high heat (which releases tannic acids) and extended contact between the coffee and the water, some campfire cooks add a crumbled eggshell to the mix in hopes of tempering sharp flavors.

Why does Tim Hortons coffee taste different at home?

8% is a little thick and expensive to put in coffee. I made their coffee at home with it and it tastes the same as the store. I used to work at Tim Hortons and they actually use %33 cream, that’s why it tastes off at home, even when using Tim Hortons coffee.

4 Reasons Your Coffee Tastes Bitter

Having poured a large cup of coffee, brought it to your lips, and taken that first delicious sip only to discover that it is bitter as sin is a horrible feeling. Coffee should be a blast of delicious taste, not an overbearing dosage of bitterness, in order to be enjoyable. So what causes it to be bitter in the end? It’s interesting to note that bitterness is frequently connected with coffee. If you drink a truly nice cup of coffee, you’ll notice that the bitterness isn’t the prominent flavor at all.

A whole taste wheel has been dedicated to defining the flavor of excellent coffee.

Why Coffee Tastes Bitter: The Technicalities

Coffee brewing is an art and a science, and excessive extraction is the most common cause of bitter coffee. Extraction is the process by which the taste of the coffee is extracted, resulting in the transformation of clear water into that wonderfully black drink. When water is mixed with coffee grounds, a chemical reaction occurs, dissolving the taste compounds in the coffee grounds. The key is to extract only the excellent ones and not the bitter ones, which will come out with more time and effort.

1. You’re letting your coffee steep for too long.

Especially prevalent when preparing French press coffee, since many people have a propensity to leave the coffee in the French press after they have pressed the plunger all the way down to extract the coffee. Because the coffee will continue to extract if you do this, your second cup of coffee will almost certainly be more bitter than your first. In order to enjoy your coffee more slowly, transfer it directly to a thermal carafe in order to keep it hot longer than usual.

2. You’re using the wrong grind size.

Grinding coffee beans modifies the way flavor compounds dissolve, which means that if the beans are crushed too coarsely, you run the danger of under-extraction and, as a result, a flat or sour tasting cup of coffee. However, if they’re ground too finely, you run the danger of getting an over-extracted, bitter cup of coffee. When it comes to grinds, each technique will require a little different grind; occasionally you’ll need to experiment to find the sweet spot; nevertheless, if your cup is bitter, it’s likely that your grounds are a touch too finely powdered.

According to the National Coffee Association, a temperature range of 195°F to 205°F is best for maximum extraction.

4. Your equipment is dirty

Bitterness is caused by a variety of factors, not only over extraction. Coffee residue left behind from the last time you brewed can have a significant impact on the flavor of subsequent cups of coffee. Make certain that your brewing equipment is kept in good condition. Anna Brones is a writer who contributes to this site.

Author Anna Brones is the author of The Culinary CyclistandFika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, as well as several other works. She is also the creator of the Foodie Underground website. She can be spotted having coffee, riding her bike, or browsing markets on a majority of her days.

Why Your Coffee Tastes Bitter & 6 Ways To Fix It

The Root of the Problem: Bitter Coffee (s) Those who are (most likely) responsible for the bitterness in your morning cup of coffee have been identified, and they are listed below. If any of these seem similar, continue reading to find out how you can clean up your act and ensure that your coffee routine at home or at the office results in a great cup of coffee every time you use it.

  1. Time: brewing the coffee for an excessive amount of time
  2. Temperature: very hot water
  3. Quality: beans that are stale or of poor quality
  4. There is too much coffee for the amount of water available. coffee grounds that are excessively finely ground
  5. Grind Cleanliness: brewing equipment that is filthy

Every one of these coffee villains has a background, which we’ll unveil one by one as we go along. During this session, we’ll go through some simple solutions that will guarantee that good triumphs and that your coffee is safe and sound from bitter opponents. Before we begin, there are a few tools that will make your coffee crime-fighting experience as easy as possible. These are:

  • With a timer and a temperature control, the kettle may be used as a scale. A grinder having a variety of grind settings

The Road To Redemption

THE ISSUE AT HAND: It is one of the most typical causes for your coffee to taste bitter that it has been over-cooked. Coffee, like tea, gains its taste by being steeped in hot water for a period of time. If you let it to steep for an excessive amount of time, too much of the harsh tastes will come through, and your coffee will taste burned and bitter. THE SOLUTION: Knowing how long to brew for your chosen brewing technique is essential, as is setting a timer so that you can tell when it’s time to drink the good stuff.


THE PROBLEM: A large number of individuals bring their water to a boil and then immediately begin brewing. However, 212°F is really too hot for the brewing of coffee! This is another another manner in which coffee can get overcooked. THE SOLUTION: Patience. but if you’re impatient like us and want your coffee now, akettle with temperature controlwill let you to set a temperature that is slightly below boiling (195 – 205°F), avoiding guessing and the need to wait for your coffee to brew. And, if you’re doing it the old-fashioned way, simply pulling the water off the boil for 30-45 seconds will be enough to bring the temperature down to the magic coffee brewing range for a cup of coffee.

  • Coffee that isn’t available on the shelves
  • Roasted to order and delivered at your door
  • Customized to meet your requirements
  • All for less than $0.30 per cup

Try The Club

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM: It’s a sad truth of life that not all coffee is made equal. What exactly is the problem with cheap coffee? In order to disguise the faults created by low-altitude cultivation and bulk harvesting, it is over-roasted. When coffee is over-roasted, it has a bitter and burned flavor that tastes more like ash than the fruit from which it is derived. Once the beans have been burned, there is no way to get them back to their original state. THE SOLUTION: Purchase higher-quality beans!

Become a member of a coffee club and you’ll have the opportunity to sample freshly roasted, specialty-grade coffee at your leisure, on your schedule.

Don’t think that coffee may naturally taste like fruits, nuts, or spices? Try it and see. Take a look at our guide to the flavor wheel of the coffee tester!


HOW TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM: Don’t get carried away with all of the excellent stuff. Making your coffee taste excessively strong and bitter by using too much coffee in relation to the amount of water you use is a simple way to ruin your morning cup of joe. THE SOLUTION: Follow the script exactly. When using an automated drip machine (see our top 5 recommendations here), use 1 to 1.5 Tbsp of coffee grounds for every 6oz of water that is consumed. Try 1.5 – 2 tablespoons for different brewing methods such as french press or pour over.

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DESCRIPTION OF THE PROBLEM: When you ground your coffee too finely, you can over-extract it, exposing the coffee to the air. This is similar to overcooking in that it results in a bitter brew. THE SOLUTION:Be sure to choose the appropriate grind level for the brew technique you intend to employ—and, yes, you guessed it, we discuss grind size and more in our brew guidelines!


WHY IT’S A PROBLEM: Leftovers from your past few beers may quickly accumulate, and the arithmetic isn’t always straightforward. The bitterness of old coffee residue can easily be detected in your recent brew, making it seem stale. THE SOLUTION: Clean, clean, and more clean. Quick tip: it’s usually simpler to clean your equipment shortly after you use it (plus, you’ll have some new liquid will-power in your system! ), so do it straight away. Because Atlas Coffee Club is an Amazon Affiliate, it gets a reward when you click over and make a qualified purchase (at no additional cost to you!).

What Makes Your Coffee Taste Bitter?

Every cup of coffee we consume has a special flavor to it. Coffee can have a fruity, nutty, chocolatey, or citrusy flavor depending on how it is roasted and what kind it is. What is sometimes overlooked is that coffee has a distinct flavor and can exhibit a wide range of acidity as well as bitterness. When it comes to bitterness, a coffee beverage can elicit a range of sensations ranging from moderate and pleasant to harsh and metallic.

What does research say about bitterness in coffee?

Even after decades of investigation, the subject of bitterness remains a difficult one to address. The belief that caffeine makes coffee bitter has existed for a long time, and continues to exist today. However, decaffeinated coffee has a harsh flavor to it as well. At the end of the day, science is still unsure of the exact ingredients that make coffee bitter. In order to understand the bitter taste of coffee and what can be done to achieve an enticing, balanced bitterness in the cup rather than a lingering and harsh flavor is a major focus of many academics throughout the world.

For example, In Unterhaching, Germany, there is a green coffee storage chamber at the Supermo Coffee.

Later on, chlorogenic acids have an effect on the bitterness of the food.

These polyphenols, which may be found in high concentrations in raw coffee (up to 13 percent), are critical in the synthesis of a wide range of flavour- and taste-active molecules in coffee.

Furthermore, recent research has revealed that chlorogenic acids offer a wide range of health-promoting benefits, including the reduction of blood pressure, the improvement of glucose management, and the prevention of Type II diabetes. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.

A difference between good and bad bitterness

Returning to the topic of the influence of chlorogenic acids on the flavor of coffee: It is just the chlorogenic acids themselves that have a sour taste to them. What is the mechanism through which they produce the bitter taste? It is believed that during roasting, particularly after the first crack and at bean temperatures of approximately 200 °C, chlorogenic acids are transformed into the appropriate lactones by the shattering of one hydrogen bond in the presence of water. In order to transform the acidic chlorogenic acids into bitter-tasting chlorogenic acid lactones, a critical chemical reaction must occur.

The response, on the other hand, does not end there.

These substances are in some ways undesirable since they cause our cup of coffee to taste severely bitter.

Extracting bitterness during coffee brewing

Aside from the roasting process, the technique of preparation has a significant impact on the bitterness of the finished product.


Begining with the grinding of the beans, the grind size, and subsequently the particle sizes, have a considerable influence on the bitterness and sourness of the coffee’s flavor. In addition, finer ground provides a bigger extraction surface for the water that is carried through the grounds throughout its passage through the ground. A greater amount of the bitter tastants may be extracted due to the bigger surface area. Because acidic chemicals are produced when coffee is crushed very coarsely, they dominate the brew.

Brewing Method

The short version is this: The longer coffee is extracted, the more bitter chemicals such as those stated above are extracted into the brew, particularly the brutally bitter-tasting phenylindanes, which are present in high concentration.

Water Temperature

In addition, the temperature of the water has an effect on the flavor profile. Higher water temperatures produce a cup that is more bitter in flavor than lower water temps. It is advised that the water temperature be maintained between 90 and 95 degrees Celsius. This is because if the temperature goes too low, it may result in a bland flavor and taste character (not applicable for cold brews, as the brewing time is way longer there). As soon as the coffee is poured into our cup, it is also an issue of balance in this situation.

The grind size must be appropriate for the technique of preparation, and the process itself must be tuned in terms of time and water temperature in order to produce a cup of coffee that is well-balanced in flavor and aroma.

3 reasons your coffee tastes bitter

Coffee has a natural bitterness due to the presence of caffeine in it, however caffeine accounts for just around 10-15 percent of the bitterness in a cup of coffee. A low amount of bitterness really aids in taming the acidity of the coffee. We do, however, recognize that overwhelming bitterness or an uneven cup of coffee might be frustrating to the customer. So, what is it about your coffee that is bitter? The bitter taste that remains in your tongue after drinking coffee is frequently caused by one or a combination of the following three factors, according to Perth’s greatest coffee enthusiasts:

1. Over extraction

When we brew coffee, the flavor is determined by the amount of solids extracted from the coffee bean itself. The amount of total dissolvable solids in your espresso, as well as the evenness of the extraction, affect how nice your espresso will taste. The key to attaining the right brew ratio is to strike the right balance between the amount of ground coffee and the amount of water utilized. Too little water results in sour, under-extracted coffee, while too much water results in bitter, over-extracted coffee, according to the manufacturer.


Volumetrics and coffee machine programming

In our daily routine, we make it a point to check the volumetrics on the coffee machine. Volumetric programming guarantees that our coffee maker dispenses the exact quantity of water for the dose we are using by monitoring the amount of water dispensed. For uniformity in their espresso production, we propose that baristas weigh their espresso output. As is always the case, weighing your dosage is critical to maintaining your brew ratio and producing the ideal cup of coffee.

2. Grind Size

The grind size of our coffee has a significant impact on the overall taste of the coffee, much as the brew ratio has an impact on espresso extraction. It is important to note that using a grind setting that is either too fine or too coarse will have a major impact on the flavor of your espresso. When espresso is poured too quickly, it results in under extraction. Because the coffee solids have more time to dissolve in slower-pouring espresso, the flavor of the espresso gets stronger – but only up to a point.

It is necessary to coarsen the coffee grinds in order to prevent the water from becoming too constricted.

3. Dirty machine and equipment

It’s a no-brainer, really.


If oils are not removed from your coffee maker on a regular basis through routine cleaning, they will begin to get rancid. Flavors such as metallic, bitter, or astringent in coffee are frequently attributed to either the barista or the coffee beans. In reality, they are frequently caused by contaminated equipment. We frequently hear that a machine with minimal utilization does not require the same level of cleaning or maintenance as a machine with heavy usage requires. This is not entirely correct.

A coffee machine that is not used will accumulate oil at the same rate as a coffee machine that is used often.

If the coffee oils build up in your net showers and group head assembly, the water flow will be reduced as a result of this.

As a result, there is channeling and uneven extraction. Not only does this result in bitter-tasting coffee, but it also puts stress on the coffee machine’s critical components (like the solenoid and the pump). This results in unnecessarily and avoidably damaging the vehicle.

Backflushing your coffee machine

In order to keep your coffee machine running efficiently, we recommend that you backflush it as often as possible during the day. To close off the day, backflush each group head with a specialized coffee machine cleaning and rinse well. If not cleaned correctly, dirty portafilters and baskets can also cause coffee to taste ashy and bitter, resulting in a bitter taste. During servicing, you should clean these components on a regular basis. Toss them in a hot bath with dishwashing liquid at the end of the day, then scrub and rinse them before placing them back in the machine to dry.

Don’t forget your coffee grinder!

Doser coffee grinders must be completely cleaned to remove any remaining coffee grinds from the machine. Additionally, coffee beans must be stored in an airtight container or bag overnight to prevent spoilage. More information about coffee storage may be found here.

Some other things to consider:
  • Check to see that the coffee beans you’re using are still fresh. It is advisable to wait 1-2 weeks after roasting
  • Try a lighter roasted coffee
  • And make sure your water is of high quality. Water filters should be replaced on a regular basis. It is important to ensure that the temperature does not rise too high
  • The ideal range is between 92 and96 degrees.
How can I make my coffee stronger but not bitter?

Bitter coffee is a waste of time in this life. Even while many people appreciate a robustly flavored coffee, they frequently complain of an unpleasant bitter flavor. There are two factors contributing to this. First and foremost, the beans you’re utilizing. The second factor to consider is the roast characteristics of the coffee beans. By buying specialized coffee beans, you can ensure that every cup of coffee you consume is free of bitterness. Specialty coffee is made only from Arabica coffee beans, which are known for their exceptional quality.

  • A speciality coffee roaster, we are stringent on high-quality standards and only use exquisite Arabica beans for each and every one of our Karvan coffee roasters.
  • If you like your coffee beans to be robust, you should choose a darker roast than most people.
  • Perfect for individuals who want a robust cup of coffee that is free of bitterness.
  • If your beans are roasted too dark, they will lose their flavor experience and will make your coffee taste like it has been burned!
  • If in doubt, consult with the roaster!
  • If you would want more information on any of the topics mentioned above, please consider attending one of our barista training sessions.

Detailed coffee preparation is covered, as is how to put an espresso recipe into action. In no time at all, you will be brewing some of Perth’s greatest coffee! Make a reservation online or send an email to training@leafbeanmachine.com. au Summah is a female narrator (Barista Trainer)

13 Reasons Your Coffee Tastes Bad and How to Fix it

We’d want you to know that if you visit RoastyCoffee.com and decide to purchase a product, we may receive a small compensation. After all, we all have down days. And occasionally those terrible days manifest themselves in the shape of coffee that doesn’t taste good. Moreover, it’s not awful in the sense of “you’ll never get those beans again,” but bad in the sense of “this is my favorite coffee, and something has gone horribly wrong.” That’s OK with me. It does happen. And we can assist you in learning how to avoid repeating the same error in the future.

Once you understand the most frequent mistakes people make when it comes to coffee beans, water, and equipment, you can rectify them and get back to brewing delicious drinks.

Common Coffee Conundrums

If your coffee isn’t brewing as well as you’d like it to, there are a variety of reasons for this. Here’s a short rundown of the reasons behind this that we’ll cover in further detail later in this article:

  1. It has everything to do with the coffee beans. Your water isn’t of the highest quality
  2. A issue has arisen in the operation of your equipment.

Continue reading to learn how to differentiate between these typical issues and precisely identify the problem with your coffee brewing.

The Beans are the Problem

Never underestimate the significance of high-quality coffee beans in making a delicious cup of joe. You may already be aware that we are strong advocates for grinding your own coffee beans, but even the best coffee beans can occasionally be a contributing factor to a terrible cup of coffee.

1. Your Beans Aren’t Fresh

The shelf life of coffee is limited, no matter how fresh the beans appear or how lightly they smell when they are first purchased. As soon as those small pockets of bliss are removed from the roaster, their flavor begins to fade away. Coffee beans release a significant amount of carbon dioxide during the roasting process. Degassing is the term used to describe the process by which carbon dioxide is released. The longer they are allowed to degas, the more flavor is released. If your coffee beans have been neglected in the back of a cupboard for a year or have been incorrectly kept, it is possible that this is the cause of your disappointing cup of coffee.

That’s a significant amount of taste loss.

In order to fix the problem, you must throw away your prized beans, no matter how difficult this may be for you.

Due to the fact that coffee tastes better when it is freshly brewed, you should make regular shopping visits and only purchase what you will need for the next week or two.

When we say “fresh,” we are referring to something that is between four days and two weeks old. This is due to the fact that reallyfresh coffee is still in the midst of a big degassing period and hasn’t had enough time to create additional flavorsome oils. There were no items found.

2. The Roast is Bad

If you’re re-roasting your own beans, this might be the source of your terrible coffee. Roasting is a difficult technique that necessitates the application of constant heat throughout the roasting duration. Despite the fact that you can roast your own beans at home, you will need to build an atmosphere that closely resembles the equipment used by a professional roaster. However, there are situations when you have no control over the quality of your roast. Even the best roasters make blunders (we’re all only human after all).

  • That’s right, you read that correctly.
  • In essence, even the most sophisticated commercial coffee roasters have difficulty roasting beans uniformly.
  • What to Do to Fix It: If your home roast isn’t turning out well, try a different recipe or look for equipment substitutions that work well.
  • Keep in mind that coffee is a matter of personal preference.
  • Just because a buddy enjoys something does not obligate you to do it as well.
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3. The Coffee is Low Quality

Even though we all enjoy a good deal, skimping on your coffee bean budget can come back to bite you in the you-know-what. Robusta coffee beans are generally considered to be of lower quality, but this designation is based more on the flavor of the bean than on the actual quality of the bean. Robusta coffee is less complex and flavorful than arabica coffee, so if you find that robusta beans don’t quite meet your expectations, you might want to consider switching to arabica beans. In addition to the variety, there is the specific bean and roast to consider.

What to Do to Fix It: It is beneficial to understand how to purchase the best coffee beans.

4. Your Grind is Too Big/Small

The way your coffee beans are ground may make a significant impact in the flavor of your cup of joe. Why? Coffee grinds must be soluble enough to provide taste while being insoluble enough to avoid clogging your filter system. If your coffee feels weak or sour, it’s possible that it was not properly extracted. This is due to the acids in the bean dissolving early in the brewing process, resulting in an unpleasant flavor. Large coffee grounds might contribute to this disagreeable flavor since they have a larger surface area and do not dissolve completely throughout the brewing process.

  1. The most common cause of this is a grind that is too fine.
  2. The way you grind coffee beans for espresso is different from the way you grind coffee beans for ordinary drip coffee.
  3. Coffee beans that are exceptionally gritty are ideal for use in a French press, which is the method of choice for producing coffee.
  4. Remember, grinding your own beans is the most effective approach to assure a delicious cup of coffee every time.

If you don’t already have a burr grinder (which we consider to be a must-have coffee tool), it may seem inconvenient at first, but once you have a grinder to go along with your coffee gear, you’ll wonder why you didn’t acquire one sooner.

Water is the Problem

After the beans, it’s possible that the water you use is a significant factor in how horrible your coffee tastes. Water that tastes great to you may still be an issue even if you often drink water directly from the faucet and it does not bother you.

5. Your Temperature is Wrong

Although it may appear random to the untrained eye, we will never weary of advocating for the ideal temperature for brewing coffee. If you want a cup of coffee, we recommend 205°F (96°C). Why? Ideally, you want your water to be warm but not boiling. If you cook your beans too long at a high temperature, the volatile oils and nuanced tastes will be destroyed. Your coffee will be under-extracted if the temperature is too low. resulting in it being weak and not a wonderful way to start your day.

Make an investment in a thermometer.

And what if you ever find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to a thermometer?

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6. Your Tap Water isn’t Great

Although it may appear that your tap water is fine to you, the presence of particles in your water can have a significant influence on the flavor of your coffee. Making coffee is similar to solving a chemical issue. When you put unknown components into your equation, it is possible to cause it to fail. What to Do to Fix It: This is another another straightforward solution. Filter the water you use to make your coffee before you start brewing it. Keep in mind that many tap water filters must be operated at a low temperature in order to function properly.

Equipment is the Problem

So your beans and water are both okay, but there’s still something wrong with the system. If that’s the case, it’s possible that your equipment is the source of the foul taste in your coffee.

7. Your Equipment is Dirty

It’s understandable that you don’t feel the need to clean it every time; after all, you merely prepared coffee. Isn’t it just a simple rinse that will fix everything? No, not at all. For those of you who have never cleaned a coffee maker, this is a good time to start. This is due to the fact that we are accustomed to solely thinking about the coffee pot and the filter area. Have you ever cleaned the reservoir of your drip coffee maker? When was the last time you did so? If you can’t recall, it’s likely that it’s time to give your coffee equipment a thorough cleaning.

Your taste senses, as well as your immune system, will appreciate it.

8. Your Equipment is Old

You may be sure that your coffee maker has remained by your side through thick and thin. It provided you with a small cup of bliss on even the most difficult of days. However, no one or anything is immune to the dangers of old age. Especially if the quality of your coffee suddenly deteriorates for no obvious cause, you should take note of this. Your beans are fresh, your water is filtered and heated properly, and your equipment has been well cleaned recently; everything is in working order.

This suggests that you may require a new coffee maker if this is the case. What to Do to Fix It: In the event that your equipment begins to malfunction, there isn’t much you can do. Begin looking for a new coffee maker or grinder as soon as possible.

9. You Used the Wrong Equipment

We can get away with faking our coffee equipment every now and again. Making espresso without an espresso machine is possible and may yield excellent results. but not with the regularity and accuracy of a real espresso machine, of course. Despite the fact that we strongly advise you to explore for workarounds (particularly if you’re on a tight budget), you may have reached the stage in your coffee discovery when investing in an expensive machine makes sense. The vessel in which you consume your coffee should also be taken into consideration.

When you’re at home, glass and ceramic mugs are the greatest choice, while stainless steel travel mugs are the ideal choice when you’re on the go.

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Something Else Went Wrong

So it turns out that your beans, water, and equipment aren’t the issue. That’s OK with me. Because brewing coffee might be difficult, there could be other factors contributing to the unpleasant taste of your coffee.

10. Your Timing is Off

In the case of herbal tea, you may not mind if the tea steeps for a few minutes longer than you intend it to. That is not the way things operate when it comes to coffee. It’s possible that you’ll end up with over- or under-extracted coffee if your brew is either too short or too lengthy. For example, you can make percolated coffee between six and ten minutes depending on the amount of time you have. That represents a significant temporal variable. In order to identify the most effective brewing method while testing a new recipe, some experimenting may be required.

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11. You’re Brewing Too Much Coffee

Making coffee in bulk is not a good idea in the same way that buying coffee in bulk is not a good idea. Although it may appear that brewing coffee in advance may save time later, coffee is at its finest when it is served immediately after brewing. What to Do to Fix It: Reduce the amount of coffee you make. more frequently, particularly while you’re at home. If you brew for exactly what you (or your guests) intend to drink, you’ll always have a freshly brewed cup of coffee available to you. Currently available for purchase

12. You Made a Mistake

Hey, it happens to the best of us from time to time. If you know what went wrong, that’s fantastic. If you don’t, take a moment to reflect on your brewing process. It’s possible that you didn’t measure the water correctly. It’s possible that you skipped a step somewhere. It’s alright if you can’t recall what may have gone wrong in the first place. What to Do to Fix It: Note down any observations you have the next time you try the same brew.

Make a detailed record of every step, including how much water and grounds you used, as well as the temperature of the water. If the coffee does not taste good after the second test, continuing making tweaks until you figure out what is wrong.

13. You Don’t Even Like That Kind of Coffee

We’ve all been there, believe it or not. That is fantastic news if you can figure out what happened. Otherwise, take a look back at your brewing procedure. It’s possible that you didn’t accurately measure the water. It’s possible that you skipped a step. No worries if you can’t pinpoint exactly where things went wrong. It can be fixed in several ways. Notes should be taken for the next time you try the same brew. Write down every step, including how much water and grounds you used, as well as the water’s temperature.

What If My Coffee Tastes…

The temperature of the water has the potential to significantly impact the brewing process. Other things, on the other hand, may produce a disturbance in the flavor of your coffee. If you’ve maintained your equipment clean and your coffee beans are fresh, but you’re still getting a strange flavor from your coffee, it’s possible that there are additional elements at play.


It is possible that your coffee can taste bitter if you use too hot water while brewing it. Other variables, such as stale beans, brewing for an excessive amount of time, or a too-fine grind, can also contribute to a bitter flavor. Some suggestions for resolving this issue include adding milk or sugar to the coffee, or even a small bit of salt to bring out the natural taste of the coffee.


Sour coffee is the polar opposite of bitter coffee in terms of flavor, and is found on the opposite end of the spectrum. The under-extraction of coffee is a common source of sour flavor in coffee. A common cause of this is underbrewing or overbrewing the coffee due to too big grounds in your coffee maker. If this occurs, brewing your coffee for a bit longer or grinding your coffee a little finer will provide a quick remedy.


A burned flavor is usually caused by overroasted beans (which can happen before you even purchase the grinds, so that’s quite unlikely), or by overcooking the coffee, which is not recommended. This can also happen if you brew your coffee with too much hot water for an extended period of time. Immediately following brewing, it is recommended to keep your coffee as warm as possible. Keeping it boiling hot will only serve to degrade the flavor of the dish.


If it is not caused by a build-up of debris in your machine, this phenomena is frequently caused by an issue with the flavor or quality of the water being utilized. This is an issue that might arise frequently for individuals who make their coffee with ordinary tap water. Because tap water can include traces of chlorine and other impurities that can change the flavor of the water, brewing with filtered or bottled water is the best option.


Drinking coffee that has been watered down is unpleasant and can be caused by a variety of circumstances. These reasons include not using enough coffee to brew, not brewing for a long enough period of time, not brewing at a hot enough temperature, and using a grind size that is too tiny.

To combat this, start by altering the ratio of coffee to water in your cup. Once you’ve done that, you can look at your brewing time, grain size, and water temperature.

Like Plastic?

The most likely cause of a plastic flavor in your coffee, if the fault isn’t with the water or brewing process, is your coffee maker. Machines might produce this plastic flavor when they are first installed or when they have been abused and have not been given a thorough cleaning every now and then. The most effective option is a thorough cleaning of your equipment. Wash your water reservoir (because these are typically made of plastic) and put your coffee machine through its paces with hot water.

Now You (Probably) Know Why Your Coffee Tastes Bad

As a result, you might find it a bit simpler to make a delicious cup of coffee in your kitchen once more. Of course, there are certain coffee conundrums that go beyond the thirteen most prevalent issues. If this is the case, don’t be concerned. Take a moment to reflect on your brewing method, examine your beans, or consider purchasing new equipment. One variable at a time should be changed until you have found the source of your coffee problem. It takes time and effort to become a skilled home barista, but with a little practice and perseverance when things go wrong, you’ll have the hang of it in no time at all.

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8 Reasons For Bitter Coffee (and How to Fix)

In accordance with current statistics, 54 percent of Americans consume coffee (1) on a daily basis. As far as my personal statistics go, 99 percent of people are unable to operate well without coffee (I’ve got one next to me right now in a cup that reads, “Please do not speak to me until I’ve had my coffee”). Nobody is born a coffee enthusiast. It takes time to develop a taste for it, much like great wine. Despite the fact that coffee is inherently bitter, there are instances when your face may pucker up after sampling a new brew because it is simply too bitter.

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Following that, we’ll look at eight sources of that bitter taste and strategies to eliminate it.

1. Over-Steeping your Coffee

Steeping refers to a method of brewing coffee in which you immediately blend your coffee grounds with the water before brewing (as opposed to passing it through a filter). For example, the French Press and the AeroPress are both examples of ‘press’ coffee machines, and it’s typical in most of them. The risk, on the other hand, is not understanding how long to steep your coffee for, since if you over-steep your coffee, you will end up with a bitter, harsh flavor. This is due to an excessive amount of extraction.

  1. The coffee will be weak and unpleasant if you extract too little from the coffee bean.
  2. Reduce the amount of time you spend steeping.
  3. You may also use a brewed coffee compass to navigate your way through your coffee-making adventure.
  4. Steeping is essentially only applicable to a small number of unique coffee brewing processes.

When you use an automated espresso machine or a drip coffee maker, the likelihood of oversteeping your brew is extremely minimal — in fact, it’s practically impossible. If you use a French press or an AeroPress, on the other hand, you’ll want to be ready when it’s time to dive in.

2. Dirty Equipment

This one should go without saying – keep your s**t clean! It is acceptable to rinse your French press after each usage (as long as you back-flush the filter mesh thoroughly). When utilizing an automated drip coffee maker, it is important to run clean, fresh water through it at least once a week to ensure that the smelly “coffee from yesterday” taste is completely removed from the final product. Aside from the obvious health benefits, high water quality is essential if you want to brew coffee that tastes nice.

  • Give it a thorough cleaning.
  • This is especially important if your filter cone has grooves and ridges inside to aid in the drawdown process.
  • The same method works whether you use a French press, a drip machine, or an automatic pour over.
  • The removal of coffee becomes more difficult once it has dried.
  • Wine, on the other hand, improves with age; coffee, on the other hand, does not.

3. Your Grind and Brewing Methods Don’t Align

The art of brewing excellent coffee takes practice. With tremendous power comes great responsibility, and you’ll need to know your perfect grind setting before you can do anything else. Although you will have tight control over grind size with a decent burr grinder, you will also have the flexibility to experiment with different sizes until you discover one that works for you. As a result, your coffee will taste just as it should – without the extraction of bitter components that might detract from the flavor.

Grind Size Brewing method
Coarse French Press Percolator
Medium Your regular household coffee maker with flat filters
Fine Coffee Makers with Cone Shaped Filters
Extra Fine Pump and Steam espresso machines

As a general rule, finer grinds extract more flavor but also contribute more bitterness, whereas a coarser grind produces a lighter, sweeter drink. A scientific reason for this may be found in the fact that more than 1800 chemicals contribute to the flavor of a cup of coffee (2). Some are removed very fast, from the surface of the grinds, but others are retrieved from the inside of the grinds, which requires more time and effort. By altering the grind, you may alter the relative extraction of the inner and surface components in the blend.

The solution: If bitterness is your adversary, then grinding a little rougher may prove to be your closest friend in the fight against it. Here’s an example of a coffee grind chart. Print it out and put it to good use.

4. Unreliable Water Clarity and Temperature

We’re all aware that coffee should be served hot when it’s made. Nevertheless, did you know that elements such as water type and temperature play an important part in producing the ideal cup of coffee? You must be extremely conscientious about the amount of water you consume! When using unfiltered water, it is rather simple to spoil a perfectly brewed cup of coffee. Because of the lack of minerals in distilled water, it is also not recommended for consumption. Bottled spring water is the greatest option because it does not have a discernible flavor.

The ideal temperature is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit.

You may not have much control over the temperature of a drip coffee maker, but if you use a pour over, a French press, or any other device that requires you to add water from a kettle, a good rule of thumb is to bring your water to a full boil, then remove it from the heat and wait 30 seconds before brewing it.

You may still have your cake and eat it too, though, if you like cold coffee that is devoid of bitterness and sugar.

5. Using Old, Stale Coffee Beans

Another element to consider is the type of beans used. Most serious coffee users are aware that coffee beans do not last indefinitely; but, did you realize that aged beans can really contribute to the bitterness of your cup of java? Beans begin to “go bad” at a number of different periods throughout their life cycle. You’ll become more sensitive to the “off” or “stale” fragrance that coffee beans have if you’ve become accustomed to the flavor of truly fresh coffee beans, even before you’ve had a chance to brew with them.

Unroasted or “green” beans, after being processed, are often believed to be edible for months or even years after being stored, particularly in cold storage.

After obtaining green beans in the United States, these green bean pals tend to set a storage restriction of 5-6 months (3) for their green bean supply.

With the exception of green coffee beans, after a coffee bean has been roasted, it is typically just a matter of hours to a few days until the beans have lost their optimum flavor.

The solution: Purchase only whole beans, purchase just what you will be able to use within a week or two, and grind only as many beans as you will be using in the coffee you are now brewing.

6. Maybe You Just Haven’t Found the Right Roast…

The rule of thumb is that dark roasts have a bitterer flavor than lighter roasts. Did you have the black French roast that a buddy raved about, too? If you find yourself biting on a chunk of charcoal straight from the BBQ, a lighter roast may be more to your liking. Coffee you enjoy is the only criteria that matters when it comes to “excellent coffee.” If you don’t like something, you shouldn’t force it onto yourself. Once again, science comes to the rescue: it is not only the grind size that can lead to a bitter cup, but also the way the coffee is roasted, which is a significant impact (4).

  • As a result, the more intensely you roast the coffee, the harsher it tends to get.
  • Some roasters print a scale on the bag to indicate how light or dark the coffee is, while others do not.
  • The lighter the roast, the less bitter your cup of coffee will be to drink.
  • The answer is as follows: Coffees branded Cinnamon or Half City are good choices if you want a light roast to cut down on bitterness; medium roasts are commonly referred to as American or Breakfast.
  • If dark roasts give you the shivers, stay clear from these final few options.

7. The Source and Variety of Beans Make a Huge Difference

There are two types of coffee plants grown: Robusta and Arabica. Robusta is the more common of the two. Robusta is far more bitter than Arabica and contains significantly more caffeine; but, since it grows more quickly and is more resistant to pests, it is typically less costly. Arabica yields beans with a stronger flavor, but the plants demand more attention, which increases the cost of production. If you are sensitive to bitterness, though, you should seek for Arabica beans. Not that tough; most premium coffee bean sellers specialize on Arabica and will indicate this on their labels or websites.

Here are a few examples of particular suggestions: Beans from the Kona region, either Brazilian or Costa Rican.

8. The Ratio of Water to Coffee

When you were a youngster, it’s likely that you discovered that adding more sugar to your tea made it taste better. Right? When it comes to brewing coffee, the idea is precisely the same, but in the opposite direction: adding more coffee to your water might make it bitter. The Specialty Coffee Association of America refers to what they refer to as their “golden ratio,” which is a balance of beans to water that they believe results in the best possible cup of coffee: 55 grams of coffee per liter of water results in an 18:1 ratio — that is, 18 grams of water for every one gram of coffee brewed.

  1. If you talk to a number of baristas, their favorite ratio at their coffee shop may range between 16:1 and 19:1, depending on their experience.
  2. They do so because they enjoy the flavor of it.
  3. As a result, you could discover that 50 grams of coffee and a liter of water are the right combination for your palate.
  4. Generally speaking, a French press requires more coffee, although a pour over may be close to the “golden ratio.” The solution: Weigh your coffee and your water to figure out how much coffee to use for your ideal cup of coffee.
  5. Use a coffee scale to determine your weight.

Create a list of your findings so that you may repeat the process the next time you encounter the same problem, and the next time after that. We do this because it isn’t about creating one flawless cup of coffee — it is about doing it repeatedly and consistently well.

The Verdict

Not to mention the fact that coffee is inherently bitter, which is what gives it its characteristic “kick.” However, if your coffee is really bitter (as in intolerably bitter), keep in mind what you have just learned:

  • If you’re using a ‘press’ maker, be careful not to oversteep your coffee. Make use of clean equipment. Make sure you use the proper grind for your brewing process. Water that is not too hot, not too cold, and most importantly, not filthy
  • Replace the dark roast with a lighter roast
  • Try coffee from places that are recognized for creating a lower-acid, smoother cup of coffee. Attempt different coffee to water ratios until you discover the one that works best for you.

So, the next time someone asks you “why is my coffee so darn bitter,” you’ll know what to say. Your ability to explain will be that of the coffee hipster you were destined to be!


Compared to Robusta beans, Arabica beans provide a less bitter cup of coffee. Arabica beans produce coffee with less bitterness and greater taste, but they are more expensive than other types of coffee beans. Consider using beans from Hawaii, Brazil, or Costa Rica to make your cup of coffee taste more pleasant. Yes, adding salt to your coffee can help to make it less bitter. It was discovered that salt is a greater bitterness-neutralizer than sugar, according to one study (5). Salt has a natural ability to reduce the harshness of coffee while also increasing its flavor.

Yes, light roast beans produce less bitter coffee than dark roast beans.

Light roast coffee drinks are also less expensive.

  1. Brain of the Statistician (2016, September 03). Statistics on the consumption of coffee. P. Rincon’s article was retrieved from (2016, November 15). The perfect cup of coffee has been pinpointed by mathematics. Sweet Maria’s was the source of this information. How old is too old when it comes to green coffee freshness? (n.d.). The information was obtained from the American Chemical Society (2007, August 22). Chemists have identified roasting as the primary culprit in the bitterness of coffee. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily (Science Daily, August 21, 2007): (Pastoral Assistant Professor of Chemistry) and Beauchamp (Geochemist) (1997, June 05). By lowering bitterness, salt improves the flavor of foods. It was obtained from

Chemists Find What Makes Coffee Bitter

I’d like a cup of coffee. (Photo courtesy of Morguefile.com.) Dark-roasted coffees are notoriously bitter, and scientists have discovered why this is the case, a discovery that might lead to a smoother cup of joe. The scientists uncovered the molecules that cause coffee to be bitter, as well as how they arise, using chemical analysis and follow-up taste tests performed by individuals who had been taught to recognize coffee bitterness. Professor of food chemistry and molecular sensory science at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, Thomas Hofmann, led the study.

According to Hofmann, who presented his findings today at a conference of the American Chemical Society in Boston, just 15 percent of the bitter flavor of coffee can be attributed to the presence of caffeine.

Both offensive offenders are antioxidants present in roasted coffee beans, not in green (raw) coffee beans, which makes sense because they are both pungent.

High quantities of phenylindanes were found in dark roasts, such as espresso.

“Roasting is the most important component in determining the bitterness of coffee beans.

He went on to say that extended roasting results in the creation of the most strong bitter chemicals present in dark roasts, which are particularly noticeable.

The high pressures and temperatures employed in the brewing of espresso-type coffees result in the largest concentrations of bitter chemicals in the final product.

As Hofmann explained, “Now that we’ve determined how the bitter chemicals are created, we’re working on finding strategies to minimize their levels.”

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Jeanna serves as the editor-in-chief of the journal Live Science. Previously, she worked as an assistant editor for Scholastic’s Science World magazine, which she enjoyed. Jeanna holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Salisbury University, a master’s degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a master’s degree in scientific journalism from New York University’s Graduate School of Journalism. While working as a scientist in Florida, she monitored wetlands and conducted field surveys for endangered animals, among other things.

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