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Bitter Coffee: 6 Reasons Why Coffee is Bitter and How to Fix it

Dave Carter

August 25, 2021

Coffee is a breakfast staple; you wake up, you have your cup of coffee, and life makes sense again! This quote from the show Friends sums up how many people feel about their morning routine with coffee. It has become so popular that there are even special stores for it! So why are we talking about bitter coffee? Well, some people don't like the taste or caffeine content of regular coffee but still want to reap the benefits without all the sugar and artificial sweeteners. 

But what if you don't like coffee? What if you find that bitter taste to be unbearable? Well, we have good news for those who can't stand the bitterness of traditional coffee! You are not alone! There are several factors that can make your coffee bitter, but we will look into the known ones and some that may not be as well-known. Of course, there is no way to avoid all bitterness, but you can mitigate it by using sweeteners like honey or sugar in your coffee. 

You should also consider things such as how and where you are brewing your java. For example, the temperature of the water you use to make coffee will significantly affect how bitter it is. If it is too hot or your grind size is wrong for your brew method, you will most likely end up with more bitterness than you bargained for!

Bitter Coffee: Is it Harmful to your health?

Some Causes Why Does my Coffee Taste Bitter

Bitter coffee is not as bad for your health as you may think! It has many benefits and can be used in a variety of ways. Bitter coffee is ideal for those looking to lose weight, as it has also been proven that it can suppress your appetite. It helps with many health conditions, including anemia, diabetes and rheumatism. Bitter coffee is also known as 'Cafe Select,' which includes green beans, broken beans, and cafe grains. This type of coffee contains high caffeine levels and theobromine and glucuronic acid, but not much caffeine is found in the actual drink.

Why does my coffee taste Bitter?

Coffee is an essential beverage that many people rely on to jumpstart their morning. However, some have such a strong distaste for the taste of coffee that they can't stomach even one sip. How does this happen? What makes one person love coffee while another hates it with all their being? There are a few different reasons that coffee can end up tasting bitter. Coffee is naturally bitter, so this isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, if the level of bitterness is too high, you may find yourself questioning why you drink coffee at all. So why does my coffee taste bitter? Here are some of the most common causes of bitter coffee:

Over Extraction​

It is not rocket science. If you over-extract coffee, it will be extremely bitter and unpleasant to drink. When brewing your morning cup, avoid using boiling water as this will cause the grinds to release their oils prematurely. This leads to a harsh taste when brewed with hot-to-the-touch water in only five minutes or so later on down the line!

Over Steeping​

A study performed by experts in the coffee industry found that over-steeping can lead to a bitter taste. This is because, after 3 minutes of brewing, all flavor compounds have not yet been extracted from your coffee beans and will continue extracting for up to 4 more minutes when you steep it again. Brewing too long may result in a cup with an unpleasant bitterness or sourness at first sip due to these remaining extractables being left concentrated on top of the brewed liquid during pouring.

The Water is Too Hot​

The water may be too hot for the coffee grounds to dissolve correctly, leading to a bitter taste. If you are using instant powder instead of whole coffee beans or ground roast, then it is even more important that your water is at just below boiling point so as not to destroy any flavor molecules in the process. Ensure to balance out the water temperature.

Bad Quality Roasts​

Yes, bad quality roasts can lead to bitter coffee. Poorly roasted beans bring out the bitterness in your cup of joe, and if you want a sweet and smooth brew that is not too acidic, then stick with high-quality green or lightly roasted coffees.

Grind size

A little bit of a grind size can mean more bitterness in your coffee. When you put the grounds through a finer grinder, they get ground into smaller pieces and quickly make it deep inside the coffee beans. This causes excessive heat, which translates as bitter-tasting coffee because oxidation occurs at faster rates with small particles than with larger ones; according to National Geographic News Online, the long-lasting effects of this process also increase their ability for extraction from roasted beans; hence producing richer flavors per pound or ounce.

Dirty Brewing Equipment​

Coffee drinkers around the world have long been concerned about how brewing equipment can affect the coffee taste. Dirty or worn-out machines may not be cleaning water properly, which could lead to a lingering bitter flavor in your cup of joe. Brewers need to ensure that their machinery is always clean and well maintained for optimal quality tasting brews every time.

What is the best Bitter Coffee fix?

Solutions for Bitter Coffee Fix

The bitter coffee problem is a riddle that has stumped baristas for years now. It goes something like this: you have two cups of coffee at the same temperature, and you can use them interchangeably with no difference in taste or quality. The only difference between these two cups of coffee is that one has sugar dissolved into it while the other has added hot water. 

Which cup of coffee tastes better? If you answer A, then you are not alone. Many people get this question wrong when first confronted with it! The problem lies in how we perceive sweetness and bitterness in food and drink; they often do not correlate well to our expectations. So how do you solve the problem of bitterness in coffee? Here are the solutions for the bitter coffee fix.

Fine grounds

Well, the answer is pretty simple: if you want less bitterness from coffee, grind finer. Most of us have noticed that fine ground coffee tastes smoother than the coarse ground. This is because our palates become fatigued more quickly by fine particles compared to coarse ones. By grinding coarser, we produce a larger surface area of the beans' cellulose and oils for extraction, leading to an overall increase in the amount of perceived coffee bitterness.

Reduce water temperature

Secondly, if you want less bitterness from coffee, the next logical step is to reduce water temperature. Water that is too hot will release increased amounts of coffees bitter compounds through extraction.

Clean brewing machine

Finally, to prevent bitterness in coffee from happening at all, make sure you clean and rinse your brewing equipment well. If oils or other compounds are left behind on the surfaces of your brewing equipment, they could cause off flavours and coffees bitter taste when brews are made just like how stale oil can ruin a pan once it has been heated

Add milk and sugar

As previously mentioned, sugar is a good way to reduce perceived bitterness from beverages. This works because sweetness masks cofees bitter flavours by stimulating receptors on our tongues that send signals towards the brain, telling us that we are experiencing something sweet. So if you want less bitterness from your coffee, get some milk and sugar! However, this shouldn't replace proper grinding techniques for anyone looking to brew great coffee.

Use filtered water

Many dissolved minerals in our tap water can make your coffee taste "hard" or bitter. Using filtered water is the easiest way to cut down on this and will result in less coffee bitterness as well as better tasting lattes - if you are using lots of milk! The role of filtered water is to reduce the coffee’s acidity of the ground beans.

Use a French Press brewing method

Lastly, a french press will likely give you a smoother cup of coffee than an automatic drip brewer or espresso machine. This is because the grounds are left in contact with hot water for longer, allowing compounds to leach out and dissolve into the brew.

Use fresh and quality beans

So what if you have an established taste for bitter coffee? As mentioned previously, bitterness can be a sign of some very tasty compounds in coffee! If you enjoy your dark roast drip coffees with sugar or cream, this may be because they are rich in polyphenol and other antioxidant compounds, which reduce the perception of coffee bitterness. 

This doesn't mean that darker roasts are necessarily better, though - a topic for another blog post! Darker roasts tend to contain more caffeine, aldehydes and smoky/nutty-tasting trigonelline than their lighter roasted counterparts, as well as higher levels of chlorogenic acids. In contrast, light-medium roasts tend to contain larger amounts of sugars and floral smelling hydrocarbons like linalool. You don't have to be a scientist to enjoy coffee and science!.

Conclusion​

We have provided you with a few tips to help make your bitter coffee less bitter, but if none of these work for you and the bitterness is really bothering you, we recommend trying a different type of bean or roasting technique. If this doesn't solve it either, then maybe the brewing time will provide the solution- try boiling water just until it is at its hottest around 205 degrees Fahrenheit before letting it cool down into an appropriate temperature range for French press coffee. You can also use a cold brew instead! Happy drinking!

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