Why does my coffee taste so bitter?

bitter coffee

Get rid of your bitter coffee in 5 steps.

Do you know that? You take a sip of your coffee and your coffee tastes bitter. So bitter that only a few heaping spoonfuls of sugar or milk can neutralize it.

In addition, you also need a liter of water afterwards to wash away this taste. Okay, coffee is there to give you a boost, but this should be enjoyable, right?

Is your coffee bitter or does your coffee suddenly taste bitter? Then we teach you how to recognize this and how to fix it quickly and easily.

Are you visual? Then watch the video at the bottom of the blog that explains why coffee tastes bitter. This video is in English.

This is why your coffee tastes bitter

Bitter coffee is just coffee that is completely out of balance.

This could be due to:

  • the quality or temperature of the water what you make your coffee with.
  • A dirty device.
  • Poor quality coffee beans, which are often roasted too dark.
  • Or over-extraction, we will explain what that means later.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don't know that you can get rid of your bitter coffee quite easily.

Many therefore settle for a cup of bitter coffee (and perhaps an unnecessary amount of sugar and milk) every day to neutralize the taste.

After reading this blog, you too can make a nice cup of coffee that is not too bitter, but soft, subtle and slightly sweet. This way your day will automatically get better!

Read also: All types of coffee explained

Coffee with milk

(Too) hot water causes bitter coffee

Do you manually make coffee with a Chemex or V60 , for example, and do you let the water boil completely before you pour it on?

Then there is a good chance that you are burning the coffee and your coffee will have a bitter taste.

The coffee simply becomes too hot and unwanted flavors are created. A recommended water temperature is between 92 and 96 degrees.

Are you a real espresso drinker and do you regularly drink bitter coffee? Then take a look at the temperature at which your machine is set.

If it is on the high side, turn it down a bit and taste the difference. Not all espresso machines can be adjusted to temperature.

In that case a good tip is to 'flush' some water before placing the piston in the machine so that the hottest water is gone.

Reading tip: Make an espresso like a real barista.

You can also easily adjust your (fully automatic) bean machine so that you have optimal control over the quality of your cup of coffee.

So if you are thinking next time; "Hey, my coffee tastes bitter", then immediately check your water temperature while brewing.

In this case, the bitter taste is actually just the taste of burnt coffee.

You can compare this to your dinner; if you bake this on too high a heat, you can't really blame the supermarket for those nasty flavors :-)

Simple tip: Once the water has boiled, let it cool for a minute or two before pouring the coffee. Trust me, you will notice a difference right away!

Dirty equipment makes for bitter coffee

A coffee maker is for making coffee, 'of course. But you also need to maintain this device properly and clean it regularly to be able to put that delicious cup of coffee on the table every day.

Just like any device in the kitchen, cleaning improves the quality of your end product.

Unfortunately, when it comes to coffee, this does not only apply to those professional catering appliances, but also to your quick filter machine at home…

Leftover coffee that eventually remains everywhere, gives you unwanted flavors that can result in a cup of bitter coffee.

If you're wondering when you last did this, clean your machine right away! This is very easy and does not have to be expensive at all...

You can often find useful tips on the internet if you search specifically for the cleaning routine of your type of coffee machine.

For example, read here how to clean a Sage espresso machine .

Bitter coffee beans

Of course, a balanced cup of coffee starts with a good quality coffee bean. Good coffee beans are produced, picked and packed with care.

It is then the job of the coffee roaster to bring out the best flavors in the coffee beans, and not to roast the bean too dark, among other things.

In addition, it is very important that the coffee beans are freshly roasted are.

So look for a roaster that emphasizes the flavors you love (after all, tastes differ) and one that doesn't work with stocks and always roasts to order.

If your coffee is bitter, there is a good chance that the beans are not fresh, roasted too dark or of substandard quality .

By drinking Specialty Coffee you also considerably reduce the chance of bitter coffee.

Specialty Coffee roasters often use 100% arabica coffee beans and do not roast them too dark to highlight the unique flavors of the coffee.

These are not the bitter flavors.

arabica vs. Robusta coffee beans

Robusta coffee beans provide bitter coffee

You have probably heard of 100% Arabica or Robusta coffee beans. Many coffees that you buy in the supermarket consist largely of Robusta coffee beans. These beans grow lower than the Arabica coffee beans. Lower, the (Robusta) coffee beans are more exposed to bacteria and other threats. That's why the coffee bean contains more caffeine (which gives coffee its bitter taste) to better withstand these natural enemies.

Therefore, always choose 100% Arabica coffee beans to (almost) be sure that you are not buying a bitter coffee.

Read also: What types of coffee beans are there?

View our range of 100% Arabica coffee beans .

Over-extraction makes for bitter coffee

This reason for bitter coffee is also an easy one to find out, provided you grind the coffee yourself per coffee moment .

Experiment with different settings on your coffee grinder to see if it makes a difference to your taste.

In general, the finer the coffee is ground, the greater the chance of bitter coffee - but this of course depends entirely on the brewing method and the roasting of the coffee beans.

Grinding degree of coffee beans

Espresso machine adjustment

Do you have an espresso machine at home to make coffee? Then the above reasons are even more important. Since an espresso is put under great pressure, all flavors come out even better. People often also have the idea that an espresso is and should be bitter. But this is absolutely not true, nothing beats a sweet, nutty and sometimes fresh espresso. In a bitter espresso you can actually taste even better that your machine is dirty, the quality of your coffee beans is too low or your grind is too fine.

Read here how to make an espresso in 6 simple steps.

Get rid of your bitter coffee in 5 steps

The most constructive way to banish the bitter coffee or espresso from your home is to look at the different variables step by step.

Step 1:

Never cleaned your machine? Then start here.

Step 2:

Order a bag of beautiful fresh coffee beans.

Step 3:

Heat the water to about 95 degrees and evaluate the result.

Still bitter coffee?

Step 4:

Then look at the grind of the coffee. Try grinding the coffee coarser and test the result. And adjust until your coffee tastes sweet rather than bitter.

Step 5:

For espresso machine users. Check whether you are using a suitable recipe for your espresso preparation.

Has your coffee quality improved? Let us know if your coffee no longer tastes bitter by using the above tips! Or do you have any other tips for us?

VIDEO: Why Does My Coffee Taste Bitter, Sour or Burnt? (English)