Bitter Coffee? Ever wondered why?!

5 min read

Bitter Coffee? Ever wondered why?!

Have you ever locked lips with your coffee cup in anticipation of the rich, cocoa-flavored caress of roasted arabica only to be met with an unpleasant, mouth-puckering concoction? Sour coffee. That is one angry mug. There may be more than one reason why your coffee is too bitter, including the wrong grind, the wrong temperature, a dirty machine, or old beans.

Here are nine typical causes of off-tasting coffee and how to solve them.

Where is the origin of your bean?

Always examine the label and find out where your beans were produced. First things first: if the coffee bag reads Robusta, Robusta beans are less expensive to purchase since they are simpler to grow and are frequently grown at lower elevations (600 - 760 meters or 1,968 - 2,493 feet). These beans have a harsh flavor after roasting and have more acids and less sugar. The high-maintenance relative of Robusta, Arabica, grows better at higher altitudes (1200–1500 meters, 3,937–4921 feet), and it has sweeter undertones that are typically brought out when roasting.

Another feature about Robusta is that it has twice as much caffeine as Arabica. You might believe it's great, but you should be aware that pure caffeine is one of the worst and most bitter compounds ever created.

What can you do then? Avoid lower elevation beans and stick to Arabica. Ethiopian (sweet blueberry flavors), Mexican (dark chocolate undertones), or Columbian (nutty and herbal flavors).

Trust Your Senses - Your Nose Will Tell You

Who doesn't love the aroma of a just-opened bag of beans? The aroma of freshly brewed coffee nearly always gives you the impression that everything will be fine, even if the world is collapsing around you. One of the first indicators that your coffee has gone bad is this. Your beans will taste poor if they smell poor. Throw those suckers away if they have an offensive scent or any other telltale indicators of rotting. Never, ever consider brewing that.

Coffee Ratio

Coffee is accurate. That is why each bag you buy usually comes with brewing instructions. Your brew will be bland if you use too much coffee and not enough water. The same is true with using too much water; the final effect will be an unappealing cup of coffee and an unhappy drinker.

For automatic drip brewers and pour overs, we suggests using 7g of coffee (about one tablespoon) per 100mL (100g) of water. The amount of water can be changed to suit individual tastes.

You should brew at a temperature that is determined by the roast level. The usual guideline for coffee is that the brewing temperature should be lowered the darker the roast. So, whereas your dark, wonderful French roast would prefer to brew at 90C, your light roast would utilize approximately 96C (205F) (195F).

The temperature is the same. Your brew will taste bitter, subpar, and flavorless if the water is too hot (over extraction) or too cold (under extraction). Most types of coffee should be brewed using water that is 96 Celsius in temperature (205 F).

The most accurate approach to determine your temperature is to get a thermometer.

Your brewer's cleanliness level.

You should always check to see that your equipment or brewer is clean. Home coffee makers should be cleaned every three to six months, according to recommendations. Every four to six weeks, if you own a café, you should give your brewer a complete cleaning.

The water used in your cup of coffee

When making coffee, what kind of water do you use? Is it bottled or from a tap? The quality of your water may be a problem, depending on your municipality. Chemicals in water might change how your coffee tastes (some can make it taste better, others can make it taste less than desirable).

Your water's quality can be determined by sight and smell (it shouldn't smell unpleasant, and it should be clear and free of particles). Check your pipes for mineral buildup or corrosion. Additionally, you can get a kit for testing at home. Most likely, this is the most trustworthy.

The ideal solution? To prevent contaminants out of your coffee maker. Instead of using water straight from the faucet, it is advised that you use filtered water. Your mouth will appreciate it in the long run.

You just microwaved your coffee? 

Coffee reheated in the microwave is a sin we've all committed. No condemnation. Why throw away a decent cup? Just so you know, the flavor will never, ever compare to a freshly brewed cup. Coffee starts to deteriorate and lose flavor the moment it is brewed.

It's time to brew as you need if leaving your coffee pot on or reheating your coffee in the microwave is your style. Brewing a cup of coffee only takes three to five minutes, so use that time to savor the aroma and the nuanced flavors of the amazing tiny coffee bean. Long-term savings come from less wasted coffee, which translates to more money for, well, more coffee.

It’s Not Me, It’s You

While mainstream, big-box, or grocery store coffee may seem more cost-effective, it's worth spending a little extra to ensure you're receiving the highest-quality beans available. Additionally, you'll know the precise day that your beans underwent the transformation from green and clean to roasty as well as supporting smaller roasteries.

You guessed it: the beans aren't so wonderful (and you don't know the roast date!) therefore generic and large box coffee is cheap. It's best to err on the side of caution even though this isn't always the case. Embrace yourself!

It’s Not Me, It’s the Roastery 

All of us are human. Even the brave superheroes who roast our coffee for us each morning so we have the energy to get moving in the morning make mistakes. Over-roasted beans do occasionally occur, despite the fact that it is not frequently the case. It's in the beast's nature.

It’s Not You, It’s Me

It's time to accept the uncomfortable truth that, uh, you might not even like coffee. That's okay, too! Give yourself a high five for trying; coffee is a taste that takes some getting used to. It's impossible to make oneself adore coffee. You can, however, come to enjoy it. How? Increase your coffee expertise. 

Continue experimenting with various bean varietals and cocktails. enroll in a coffee course. Why not give your nearby roastery a call and inquire if they provide cuppings? Perhaps you'll discover that the more you learn about coffee, the more you like it. Go out there and enjoy your coffee, the world is your playground!

Happy Brewing!

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