How to make coffee that is not bitter?

Bitter Coffee: A Smooth Brewing Guide for the Best Coffee Taste

Nothing's worse than preparing a pot of coffee, pouring yourself a cup, and having to dump it out because it's simply too bitter. While bitterness in coffee isn't necessarily a bad thing, maintaining a good flavor balance matters. So how can you enjoy delicately nuanced coffee with smooth flavors and a delicious finish? That's precisely what we'll be exploring today. 

Below, we will cover why coffee sometimes tastes so bitter, which coffees are the least bitter, and the best brewing methods for people who want to avoid astringent or bitter flavor nuances in their coffee.

How to tell if your coffee is too bitter? 

First off, let's cover how you can actually tell whether your coffee is overly bitter. You have to understand, human taste buds are powerful. They help people identify food that tastes good versus food that could be potentially poisonous. The human tongue is capable of recognizing five flavors. These are bitter, sweet, salty, sour, and umami.

For most people, bitter flavor notes are detected on the center and back of the tongue. If you taste very unpleasant flavors in these areas while drinking your coffee, it is probably too bitter.

Before adjusting how you make your coffee, you'll want to identify whether it is sour or bitter. Acidity and bitterness are two entirely different issues. 

It is important to understand that sour and citrus notes and coffee are not the same as bitter flavor notes. Bitterness is generally astringent and dry; it is a displeasing taste that occurs toward the back of your palate. However, sour flavor notes are usually the result of high acidity and have a sharper flavor that is detectable on the sides of your tongue. (If you want low-acid coffee, check out this tummy-friendly coffee blend.)


Is coffee supposed to be bitter? 

It is also important to know when bitter flavors are supposed to be there. Certain coffees are inherently bitter and this is by preference. Bitterness can be used to round out a complicated flavor profile. Bitter nuances can also balance sweet notes and acids.

Subtly bitter flavors in freshly roasted coffee can mimic nuances of cocoa, dark chocolate, licorice, or grapefruit. When these delicate notes are combined with other tastes, they produce a delectable cup of rich, balanced, and flavorful coffee. 

However, when bitterness is masking the other flavor notes of a blend or overpowering your entire cup, you have a problem. So, try and see if you can detect any unique flavor notes in your coffee in combination with the bitterness. If so, your coffee is probably supposed to be a little bit bitter. If this is unpalatable to you, you may want to try to get a different coffee bean blend or a different roast level.  

What makes coffee too bitter? 

There are many reasons that coffee can seem overly bitter. The three main reasons are: coffee grounds that have been ground too fine, brewing coffee with water that is too hot or of poor quality, and using the wrong types of coffee beans. 

• Coffee Grounds that are Too Fine

A bitter-tasting cup of coffee can be produced from coffee grounds that are too fine. This is why espresso is slightly more bitter than regular coffee brewed with a drip grind coffee pot. Coarser coffee tends to be less bitter when brewed. 

• Water Quality and Temperature 

Water temperature and water quality are other reasons that coffee can be too bitter. After all, coffee only has two ingredients, coffee beans, and water. If one of these ingredients has an issue, you may wind up with the problem.

Brewing coffee with hard water, for instance, is known for highlighting bitter notes. Water temperature also plays an important role in the coffee extraction process. If you pour boiling hot water over coffee grounds, burnt and bitter flavor notes can be extracted. This is why cold brew coffee is often considered smoother than hot coffee. So, be sure that you aren't using water that is too hot. If your coffee pot is consistently producing bitter cups, you may have found the problem. 


• Robusta Type Beans or Bitter Coffee Blends 

Bitter coffee can also be caused by brewing the wrong types of coffee beans. For example, Robusta coffee blends are far more bitter than Arabica coffee blends. Arabica coffee is almost always smoother, more flavorful, and preferred over Robusta coffee. So, be sure that you are using 100% pure arabica coffee beans. 

The Best Solutions for Bitter Coffee

If you want to reduce the bitterness in your coffee, first make sure that you are using good water in your coffee pot. Hard water can be an issue, so opt for distilled water or bottled water. Next, make sure that your coffee pot’s thermostat is working properly and that your coffee grounds will not be over-extracted or boiled, which can lead to gross bitter notes. Finally, be sure that you are using a 100% pure Arabica coffee blend. Arabica beans are far smoother and much less bitter than Robusta beans. 

If your coffee still seems bitter after all of these steps have been followed, you may want to get them wet before putting them in your coffee filter. While this may sound strange, wet, cold coffee grounds extract slower than dry ones. So, putting a few tablespoons of cold water or even adding about three ice cubes in with your coffee grounds just before brewing can slow the extraction process and give you a smoother cup overall. 


Get the Smoothest Coffee Right Here!

If you want to drink some of the smoothest, most palatable, flavorful, and delicious non-bitter coffee, we highly recommend checking out this Kenya AA blend. We also offer flavored coffee for sale online with unique nuances and delicious extracts for an unparalleled cup in the morning! All of our coffee is freshly roasted and prepared on the same day that it is shipped so that you can enjoy the incredibly delectable flavor notes in every sip. 

1 comment

  • Anita Burnett

    I learned a lot about how to roast a better cup of coffee

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