What To Do If Your Coffee Is Too Bitter

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Yuck.. something is wrong with this batch of coffee, it’s way too bitter. Au contraire mon ami (on the contrary my friend) and before jumping to conclusion I may want to check these things out to see what the problem really is.

The time brewed, temperature of the water, the coarseness and bean quality, and ratio of grounds to water play a vital part in reasons why coffee can taste bitter.

If you find your coffee is tasting a little funky then continue to read as I go over some things you can do to prevent that bitterness monster from showing its head.

How to Make Coffee Less Bitter

If you’ve purchased coffee from you local coffee shop and it’s too bitter, let them know. Chances are they will replace it for you.

If you’re making coffee at home and it’s too bitter, let’s reverse engineer the problem and see what we come up with.

Keep in mind there are a lot of variables that affect extraction and you don’t want to over extract because that’s why the bitterness kicks in. Here are some general guidelines that you can follow.

Grinds

Using a grind setting that is too fine can significantly alter the flavor of your coffee and it you allow more water to works its way into the grind the more extraction can occur. Try adjusting the coarse on your next batch to see if that helps.

Brew Time

The time coffee grounds are “cook” in hot water is one of the most common reasons the brew can taste bitter. Similar to tea, coffee extracts its flavor from steeping in hot water.

If you allow your coffee to steep for too long, the bitter flavors will show it’s ugly face and your coffee will taste burnt.

Water Temperature

Use water at a temperature between 195 – 205°F for ideal extraction.

Colder water will make the coffee weaker since it doesn’t get to pull out enough flavors from the roast unless you allow it to soak longer.
Using water that is too hot will likewise cause lost quality in the flavor of the coffee.

Things to know. If you are making cold brew then allowing more time for the cold water to extract the flavor will work. Hot water extracts more flavor compounds quickly but if the water is too hot you might end up with some bitter flavors. If you use cold water to brew, you have to wait for several hours before any coffee flavor will be extracted.

So this goes back to the brew time and where you will just need to experiment on what you are brewing and the taste you want.

Final Thoughts

If you like bitter coffee then you’re good to go but if not then follow this quick summary of what you can do to fix that bitterness issue.

  • Choose a much coarser grind.
  • Brew your coffee with a timer to not overcook it.
  • Allow your boiling water to sit for at least 60 seconds before pouring so that it falls between 195 – 205°F.
  • Choose a quality brand coffee bean that you know is fresh
  • Always use clean equipment before brewing

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