Why is my coffee bitter? - 6 good tips to avoid it
Bitter coffee can be caused by the following:
- Your coffee beans are of poor quality
- The water you use is too hot
- The coffee has been allowed to draw for too long – it’s called over-extracted
- Your coffee equipment has not been cleaned
- You consume too much coffee compared to the amount of water
- The coffee is too finely grated to the brewing method you use
Do not worry! Below are the solutions to all the points.
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1. Your coffee beans are of poor quality
Finding good coffee can be a jungle. The market is flooded with bad coffee, which will always be bitter. When the bad coffee gets into a nice coffee bag and the manufacturer has driven the heavy marketing push, in the form of beautiful storytelling, and advertising in the best broadcast time, then it can cheat even the best. Even with speciality coffee, finding the good can be tricky. The right speciality coffee.
Often, poor quality is attempted hidden by a hard roasting of the coffee beans, which causes it to become bitter.
In the wine world, you can often read whether you stand with a bottle of quality wine or not. Here you encounter, among other things. on terms such as “Vin de table” and “Appellation de”, which is one of the terms that tell whether a wine (in this case a French) has a certain quality or not. Unfortunately, the names are not really found in the coffee world, and most of the terms that are found are flying saucers, say nothing about quality, or were invented by a marketing department to sell coffee.
Resellers are frequently using names such as Java Coffee, Genuine Arabica, Kenya AA, Royal Roast and Mocca. The classic must be the “house blend” which must be the coffee’s answer to the baker’s sphere.
Price and quality are related! If the cost of your coffee is less than USD8,- for 250 grams. then the quality is not top-notch. It may sound like a lot, but if you do the math, you can make approx. 30 cups of coffee out of a bag of coffee. It is not more than USD cents 30,- per cup. 7-Eleven, or a gas station, will gladly charge USD1.69,- for a cup. And then it’s bitter!
Don’t be fooled by the fact that Brazilian, Colombian or another country or region is on the coffee bag. The fact that coffee comes from a country means nothing to the quality.
The rule of thumb is that the closer you can zoom in to the origin of a coffee, the more likely it is that the coffee will be good. It is super fine if there are both country of origin, area and farm on the bag. Some roasters even throw the coffee farmer’s name on, which is really good. It testifies that there is some form of cooperation between farmer and roastery. It also means that there is a high probability of increased quality of the coffee beans.
Forget the term “arabica beans”. It’s the same as writing “red apples”. It says nothing about the quality of the apples. There are two varieties of coffee in the world: Robusta and Arabica. 35% of the total coffee production is Robusta, and the rest is Arabica. Robusta, however, should be kept away from, as the variety generally does not taste good, and has by nature a lot of bitterness.
2. Your water is too hot!
Many people bring their water to a boil and brew immediately. It’s a problem. Because 100 degrees is too hot for your delicious coffee beans. You risk boiling the coffee beans, which can cause the beans to release too much bitterness.
It’s really, very simple. When the water has boiled, wait a bit to brew. The optimum brew temperature is 92-96 degrees. If you wait a few minutes, you are on the safe side. However, be sure to wait too long. If the water gets too cold, you risk the coffee becoming weak in taste. Buy any a pitcher with built-in thermometer/temperature control – you have full control over the temperature.
One of the most common reasons why the coffee has become bitter is that the coffee has been in contact with water for far too long. Just as you know it from tea, the water produces the flavour in the coffee. The small chunks of coffee must be in water ix amount of time according to the brewing method. This is called extraction.
The brewing process starts as soon as the water meets the coffee, and ends when the coffee is no longer in contact with the water. If the coffee gets too short, then it becomes dull and tasteless. And if it gets too long, then it becomes bitter.
Use a stopwatch when brewing – so you always know how long the coffee has got. If you are unsure how long it will take for your brewing method, you can find many recipes online.
4. Clean your coffee equipment
Coffee grounds in, e.g. your plunger or old coffee in your coffee grinder can make your coffee bitter and not taste fresh.
Clean your coffee equipment.
Coffee grinder cleaning
If you have an electric coffee grinder, you can remove the old coffee residues that make your coffee bitter. You can do this by running a cleaning tablet called Urnex Grindz. It is a kind of organic soap for electric coffee grinders. Don’t worry, the product is not harmful to you, but may taste a little weird. To remove the taste of it after the cleaning process, drain some coffee through. Then your coffee grinder is clean.
You can also vacuum your electric coffee grinder. Set it to the coarsest grinding degree. Remove the bean container and then vacuum directly into the grinder. The vacuum also the bean container and the container into which the ground coffee ends.
If possible, and you really want to go all-in on cleaning, you can disassemble your coffee grinder and clean all parts with a brush and a cloth. Then it is as clean as new.
Cleaning of coffee makers
Remove all old grumble from your brewing equipment. And be careful. Eg. We recommend separating your filter into your plunger after each use. There can be a lot of fuzz in the filter that you can’t see.
5: Too much coffee versus water
“You just need an extra spoonful of coffee – it should taste something”.
More is not always right, especially when it comes to coffee. Too much coffee versus water can make your coffee taste too intense and bitter. Often it is because you bounce when you brew. Then you take some extra coffee, which usually does not end up with a good result.
Think about your coffee brewing. It is generally a good idea to use the same amount of coffee, the same amount of water as well as the same brewing time when brewing. Use a weight to weigh both the coffee and the water and a stopwatch on time. It may seem tedious, but it’s really just like following a food recipe. And it’s worth it when you get a good cup of coffee every single time.
A good rule of thumb to use 7 grams of coffee per cup of coffee when brewing on the coffee funnel, or plunger jug.
6: How fine is the coffee to be ground?
How should the grinder be set? If you do not know exactly what setting the grinder should be set on, it can often cause the coffee to become too intense and bitter. This is because the grinding rate does not fit the brewing method.
Adjust the grinding degree to the brewing method. Investigate the degree of grinding that suits what. One rule of thumb is that the longer the ground coffee is in contact with water, the coarser the coffee beans must be ground. Eg. The coffee beans must be ground roughly into a plunger, as the coffee is in contact with water for 3-4 minutes, which in the coffee universe is a long time.
Espresso coffee, on the other hand, is an extremely fast brewing method where the water is pressed through the coffee at 9 bar, and therefore the coffee beans must be ground very fine. If necessary, investigate what is recommended.