reasons why your coffee taste bad
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Some days you take a sip of coffee and want to spit it out again because it tastes off.

Here are the top eleven reasons why your cup-of-Joe tastes bad:

1. Poor Cleaning of Your Coffee Machine

Deposits in pipes, taps, and containers give the coffee a bad taste. 

To fix that, ensure proper and regular cleaning.

2. Improper Dosing of Coffee

Too much or too little of both water or coffee can cause an imbalance in its taste. 

Check that the correct amount of coffee is used and that the machine delivers the amount of water specified. 

You can check this by measuring the water that flows out.

3. Wrong Grinder Setting

If you use a super fine grinder setting then your coffee will end up bitter and possibly even sour. 

Too coarse grind gives tame and thin coffee. 

Remember that the degree of grinding must adapt to the time the machine spends delivering the water. 

The longer the time, the coarser the degree of the grind. 

The shorter the time, the finer the degree of the grind.

4. Coffee is Stored Incorrectly

If the coffee is kept in a hot and humid environment or has been left in an open container for too long, it loses its taste. Despite its good quality before, it’s bound to taste bad.

I recommend you read our article to learn more about storing coffee beans the right way.

5. Coffee Bed in the Filter is Uneven

This is mostly an issue with espresso machines that if the coffee bed is not flat, some of the coffee will have less contact with the water. In the worst-case, it never comes in contact with the water. 

The result is a weak and thin coffee. 

Therefore, you should always check that the coffee bed is neat and even. 

You adjust this easily by shaking the filter a little.

6. Wrong Temperature of Water

Very hot water produces bitter coffee. Extremely cold water produces thin and flat-tasting coffee. 

Check the temperature by holding a thermometer under the water jet at the outlet. 

Ideally, the water temperature should be between 92 °C and 96 °C.

7. Incorrect Contact Time Between Water and Coffee

The contact time is related to the degree of grinding. See point 3 above.

You should check if your machine delivers the water earlier or faster than specified. 

Take the time from when it starts flowing until it ends. 

You have the option to change the settings if the time set is wrong. If not, you should contact the supplier. 

You should consider replacing your machine if it does not achieve the correct contact time.

8. Less Coffee in Relation to the Capacity of the Machine

Never make less than 3/4th coffee of the capacity of the machine. 

If you make less, the contact time will be too short and the coffee will be tame in taste. 

In some cases, the height of the coffee bed will also be too low, so that the water flows through without being in proper contact with the coffee.

9. Quality of Water

Poor water quality has a bad effect on the taste of your coffee.  

Always use cold tap water. Never lukewarm or hot, or water that has stood for a while.

Water quality is surprisingly important. If you want to know more, I recommend that you read our article on the subject.

10. Water is Distributed Unevenly Over the Coffee

Here are several things that can affect the water distribution in a coffee machine:

  • The spray head, which delivers the water, may be partially clogged due to a lack of cleaning. Please take out the spray head and clean it.
  • Check the water pressure. If it is uneven, this may be the cause.
  • Check that the machine is horizontal.
  • Finally, check that the filter is straight.

11. The Coffee Itself

Lastly, there may be something wrong with the coffee you are using.

Then inform your coffee supplier and return the coffee in the original packaging together with your remarks.

You can find some great coffee beans or pre-ground coffee from Amazon.


This concludes the top most relevant reasons why your coffee might taste bad.

Hopefully, you learned a thing or two and will now drink some delicious coffee after fixing your mistakes!

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