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How to Avoid A Bitter Coffee Taste

Dave Carter

July 10, 2020

Statistics indicate that over 50 percent of Americans drink coffee daily, representing more than 150 million daily drinkers. Nobody can deny that most people can't properly function without the caffeinated drink in the morning, especially for busy individuals. No one is born a coffee lover, like a fine wine; it is an acquired taste. However, you should always avoid a bitter coffee taste.

Coffee is naturally acidic, so there may be instances when your face may scrunch up after sipping a new brew because it may come off as too bitter. But what gives coffee its bitter taste?

To answer your question, here is everything you need to know about Bitter Coffee, its causes, prevention, and more.

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Why Do You Brew Bitter Coffee​

If you want to avoid the bitterness in coffee, you need to brew it correctly. The key to proper coffee brewing is by following an adequate brewing method that brews coffee in the optimal temperature and hitting that sweet spot where the right combination of flavors comes out. You can minimize the chances of getting bitter java by using a reliable grinder, because the smaller the grind size is, the faster it extracts the flavor from the beans.

Medium grounded coffee is the ideal grind size for a perfectly balanced cup of joe. That is because the compounds present in coffee beans exhibit a bright, acidic, and fruity flavor at first contact with water. You can achieve more earthy and caramelized tastes when you brew it longer, and finally, when you overdo it, you are met with bitter and astringent flavors.

So, to achieve a perfectly balanced cup, you need medium grounds as it enables the compounds to dive into the water faster. It initiates the quick release of the fruit notes of the coffee grounds.

What makes Bitter Coffee​

Bitterness contributes to a great cup of coffee. However, it can also ruin it entirely when your coffee tastes bitter only. When drinking a good mug, you should only feel the bitterness subtly. And you should taste various flavors instead, including floral, sweet, and even spicy notes.

So if bitterness is all you taste in your cup, there is a chance that you have over-steeped your coffee, so make sure you know how to use french press coffee maker and the adequate brewing time to achieve the perfect cup. Understanding the different coffee bean types is also essential if you want to prevent getting that bitter taste in your drink.

Here are a few things that could account for that bitter cup, and that you can easily avoid next time you brew your morning cup.

Over Extraction​

Proper extraction is crucial when making a perfectly balanced cup of coffee. It is the process that extracts the flavor out of the grounds or beans, turning clear water into that dark brew we all know and love. When water mixes with the coffee, it dissolves the flavor compounds of the grounds.

The longer you let it brew and using too much coffee, the more the chances of leaving a bitter aftertaste on your taste buds. That is because the bitter compounds present in the coffee is the last one to emerge. These compounds responsible for the bitterness of the drink are the ones that leave the beans last and give the beverage a bad rep.

Over Steeping​

This scenario is common, especially when you're using a French press to make your coffee. Many individuals tend to leave the brewed coffee inside the brewing equipment even after pushing the plunger down, causing it to extract the drink continuously. So, the next time you pour a cup, it will leave more bitterness in your mouth.

If you do not want to waste the beverage when using a French press, the trick is to immediately transfer its content to a thermal carafe.

The Water is Too Hot​

The water temperature you plan on using for brewing plays a massive role in coffee brewing, and making it in the wrong water temperature can make a drastic difference. That is because if it's too hot, you will extract the bitter compounds faster. Follow the ideal hot water temperature for coffee of 195°F to 205°F.

The optimal boiling temperature of the water is 212°F. Never let your water overboil. However, if you do, you can leave the hot water to sit out for one minute before pouring over your grounds.

Bad Quality Roasts​

If you are roasting your beans, this may be a reason for the bitterness of your java. That is because roasting is a finicky process that needs consistent heat applied throughout the roast time, so it is better to get your beans from your favorite local roasters to avoid getting bad cups of bitter java.

Dirty Brewing Equipment​

The cleanliness of your brewer is also another factor in the bitterness of your morning cup. That is because of the residue present in the machine from the last time you brewed, affecting the overall flavor of future cups. So, when you're using your brewing equipment, make sure it is nice and clean for future brews by cleaning it with soapy water, preventing bitter and nasty cups.

You are Using the Wrong Grounds​

The size of the grounds can affect how the flavor compounds of the beans dissolve, meaning if you use too finely ground coffees, it can make your drink too bitter. That is why you should be aware of the different brewing methods and their different grinds to remove the bitter in coffee.

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Causes of sour coffee​

What is a macchiato coffee? It is a sweet espresso-based drink that is popular amongst casual coffee drinkers and fanatics. However, getting the perfect macchiato or any coffee variation can be difficult, and most times, you may end up with a bitter or sour drink, mainly when you use the wrong brew method.

Nobody wants bitterness or sourness present in their cup of joe, and getting sour coffee is more common than you may think, and many factors contribute to the sourness. That is why you need to learn how to program a Cuisinart coffee maker to prevent getting a sour-tasting coffee.

To help you avoid suffering from having a bad cup, here are the different causes of sour coffee:

Coarse Coffee Grounds​

Like with factors that affect bitterness, the grind size plays an essential role in maintaining the balance of coffee. Using coarse grounds can give you sour-tasting coffee. When brewing, it is better to experiment to figure out the sweet spot, but if you are getting a sour cup, chances are your grounds are too coarsely ground.

Using a pour-over product, use a medium grind size as using find grounds can cause under extraction. However, if you are using a standard espresso machine or AeroPress, use finely coarse coffee grounds.

Under Extraction​

The most common reason for the presence of sourness in coffee is by under-extraction. Under extracting happens when you brew your drink too fast, meaning the water has not taken the right amount of flavor from the grounds.

Characteristics of bad coffee​

Coffee is a popular drink around the world, and you can either love or hate it. There are numerous kinds of coffee out there, and though there are many excellent coffees from a high end coffee machine, there are also bad ones. Below are the characteristics of bad coffee to help you distinguish a good cup from a bad one and learn how to make coffee taste good.

  • Overpowering Mouthfeel

The mouthfeel or body feel of coffee is the tactile feeling of the drink in your mouth. Bad variations can leave a bad taste in your mouth, literally. It is often too watery, gritty, oily, and viscous.

  • It Is Unbalanced 

Bad coffee exhibits overwhelming bitterness and acidity. It may present burnt, charred, bland, overly sweet, or even raw flavors.

  • It Leaves a Horrible and Long Aftertaste

The finish of a bad brew tastes bitter and often lingers for a long time, leaving a bad aftertaste in your mouth for hours.

Preventing burnt coffee​

Burnt coffee is irreversible, giving you a bitter or burn taste that resembles ash. One factor is when the roast profile of your coffee heats up too fast, so make sure to use the correct coffee grounds to water ratio and temperature. To help you avoid burning your brew, here are other preventive measures to follow:

  • The burnt flavor of the caffeinated drink usually results from overcooking. Keep the water's temperature between 195°F and 205°F.
  • Keep your coffee beans and grounds fresh by keeping them inside a cool and dry environment. That is because stale coffee can also produce a bitter or burnt flavor.
  • The heat plates on your home drip brewers are a flavor killer as prolonged pressure to high heat can cook the coffee, producing burnt and bitter flavors.
  • Cheaper coffee often comes from poor conditions, including low-altitude growing regions and mass harvesting, resulting in over-roasted beans.
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Conclusion: what makes coffee bitter​

Coffee tastes bitter because of numerous factors, from over-extraction to over-roasting, which can ruin a good cup of joe. And no one wants a terrible cup of coffee, especially during the morning. Luckily, there are many ways to avoid getting bad java. We hope our guide in everything you need to know about bitter coffee helped you find a solution to your sour, burnt, and bitter brews, allowing you to create the best tasting coffee at home. Happy brewing!


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