A well-brewed cup of coffee can be a much-needed boost in the mornings as you rush to the office or a pick-me-up in the afternoons after a heavy lunch.
But a too-bitter brew can spoil your mood and your day. And if you find your coffee to be bitter day after day, it can put you off and give up on preparing it at all.
But we coffee connoisseurs won’t allow that to happen. We have an arsenal of tips to help you make coffee less bitter. We know that bitterness in coffee is part of its flavor profile, but like everything else in life, it should be in balance with other delicious notes so that you can enjoy a rich cup of java.
If the bitterness in your brew is more than you can take, it’s time to fix it right now. And we are here to tell you how.
Check out our in-depth guide on how to make coffee less bitter, and you’ll be on your way to drinking a perfectly brewed cup every time. Read on.
Why Is Coffee Bitter?
What influences bitterness in coffee?
Coffee experts will tell you that the more time you spend extracting the flavor from the coffee beans, the more bitter your coffee will be.
That is true, no doubt, as coffee contains many different compounds that give it its unique balance of flavors. The acidic compounds get extracted quickly, while the bitter compounds take longer to be drawn out. So if you brew your coffee for longer, your coffee will not only taste stronger but also much more bitter.
But that’s not the only reason for a bitter brew. Let us discuss the other causes of bitterness in coffee below:
If you, like many others, boil your water and use it immediately for brewing coffee, stop right there!
To brew a well-balanced cup, water must be at just the right temperature —not too hot, not too cold. Using scalding hot water will lead to a bitter drink, and cold water will give you a bland result.
The quality of the coffee beans matters a lot if you’re looking to enjoy a well-brewed cup of coffee.
There’s a reason that coffee lovers fuss over this element of the process because low-quality or stale beans will give you just that: low-quality or stale coffee. In this situation, the fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Poor-quality beans are roasted excessively to mask their shortcomings caused by cultivation at low altitudes and mass production. The over-roasting results in coffee that taste bitter or burnt.
The ratio of coffee to water needs to be just right if you want to get a delicious, balanced cup of coffee. If you use too much coffee in relation to water, you’ll get a stronger, bitter brew.
Closely consider the grind of the coffee to see if there’s any fault there. If you tend to grind your coffee beans too finely for greater flavor, the fine grind will cause over-extraction and, therefore, more bitterness in your cup.
The coffee brewing method you use significantly impacts its flavor.
Keurig and drip coffee makers are automatic coffee machines, so you can’t set all the variables when the process begins. You can only control the type of coffee beans you use and the coffee-to-water ratio.
With a French press and pour-over coffee maker, you can control all the elements that affect flavor, including brewing time, grind size, water temperature, coffee beans, coffee-to-water ratio, and so on.
The cold brew method gives you the best coffee. Despite the higher ratio of coffee to water used in this method to provide you with a stronger kick, the cold water steeping process ensures that the final product is relatively less acidic and bitter.
This lets you keep the unnecessary bitterness out of your cup and gives you a smoother, richer, bolder flavor.
Check if there’s any coffee residue in your brewing equipment of choice. Leftovers from your last couple of brews can make your coffee taste stale and bitter.
How To Make Coffee Less Bitter
With the help of our tips below, you’ll learn how to prepare or buy coffee to be less bitter in no time. Check them out:
If your coffee tastes bitter cup after cup, day after day, it’s time to cut down on your overall brewing time. Experiment with a shorter brewing time every day until you get a cup of coffee that tastes just perfect for you.
The temperature of the water must be between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit before you pour it over your coffee grounds. Just let the water rest for about a minute or so after boiling, and then use it for your brew of choice. This way, you are sure to make a perfect cup.
It’s also a good idea to stir the grounds immediately after pouring the water over them to extract more flavor.
Use good-quality coffee beans that are carefully cultivated and harvested. Specialty-grade, premium coffee comes at a higher price but is totally worth it if you want a fine cup of coffee.
It will also make you taste fruity, floral, nutty, spicy, and other notes that you probably never knew could be associated with coffee.
The roast date must also be less than two weeks previous to ensure that the freshness of the beans is preserved. Coffee beans older than this will taste stale and bitter.
Also, make sure you use a light or medium roast to get the coffee’s natural flavor without the extra bitterness. Dark roasts are roasted for significantly longer, making them more bitter than light and medium roasts.
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The most common ratio people use to brew coffee is 1 part coffee to 15 parts water. You can start with that, or if it’s not working for you, experiment with different ratios till you arrive at one that creates your preferred flavor profile.
Use coarse or medium-fine coffee grounds while brewing coffee. This will help you prepare a less bitter cup even if you brew your coffee for the same amount of time as you usually do.
This is because the water will take more time to extract the flavor of the coffee due to the coarse grind, and the bitter compounds won’t get enough time to get extracted.
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As suggested above, the cold brew method is the best way to prepare a cup of coffee that is perfectly flavorful and not too bitter. Just make sure that you don’t steep the coffee for more than 24 hours.
The French press and pour-over methods are also excellent to get a wonderful cup of coffee without any extra bitterness.
Don’t forget to clean all of your coffee equipment thoroughly after using them. Rinsing them out after every use prevents coffee residue from clogging your machine and getting into your coffee.
Fortunately, cleaning them off is as simple as it gets. Just use hot water and allow them to air-dry.
Adding a teaspoon or more sugar to a cup of coffee is one of the most well-known tricks to reduce coffee’s bitterness. It helps to make your coffee sweeter and counteracts the bitter flavors. You can use white sugar, brown sugar, or cane sugar for this purpose.
A common tip you’ll find online to reduce the bitterness in coffee is to add a dash of salt to it. Does the salt trick work? Won’t it make coffee taste salty instead? Yes, the trick works, and no, it won’t make your coffee taste salty.
This is because sodium chloride, aka salt, enhances the sodium in coffee and neutralizes the bitterness. It binds to our taste receptors, thereby blocking the bitter compounds. This actually makes salt more effective than even sugar to mask the bitter flavor of the coffee.
Fat also helps neutralize the bitterness in coffee by balancing its overall flavors.
Milk, cream, butter, or even ice cream contain enough fat to mask coffee’s bitterness. So add a spoonful or two of your preferred add-on the next time you brew a cup.
Does non-dairy milk make coffee less bitter as well? Soy milk, oat milk, coconut milk, and cashew milk are some of the best non-dairy milk alternatives to make a fantastic cup of coffee. They are slightly sweet and can greatly help mask the bitter compounds of coffee.
Adding a pinch of ground cinnamon to coffee masks the bitterness of coffee to a certain extent. It also makes your mind associate the drink with sweetness, making you forget all about the bitterness.
Also Read: – 21 Weird Coffees Around the World
Coffee brewing is a serious business and must not be taken lightly. Excessive bitterness in coffee is not something you have to tolerate daily.
Use our pointers above to find out what’s causing a bitter brew, and then use our troubleshooting tips to improve your coffee.
Now you know how to make coffee less bitter and more flavorful and interesting. If you tried any of our tips, tell us how it went for you, and do share any other hacks that will help reduce bitterness in coffee. Happy coffee drinking!
Last Updated on June 18, 2022 by Ashok Parmar