Comprehensive Guide On How To Make Coffee Less Bitter

crazy by Editorial Staff | Updated on April 6th, 2023

If a sip from your mug tastes anything like the usual exciting flavor that coffee is known for, then your morning probably wouldn’t start as you’d like.


At some point in our journey as coffee fans, we’ve been slapped in the mouth by the hands of bitter coffee.

black ceramic teacup on table

While coffee generally has a bitter undertaste, some culprits make it worse.

We’ll shine a light on what they are and show you how to banish bitter coffee forever. Because…your taste buds deserve it!

Common causes of bitter coffee

You shouldn’t accept bitter coffee. And if you ever experience it, you should look for ways to fix it.

To do that, you’ll have to know the factors that cause it and hold you back from enjoying your mornings. 

Generally, when you don’t get that burst of good flavor from coffee, it’s usually due to extraction.

Extraction is the process that brings out the flavor of the coffee. A delightful dark brew is born when clear water meets the coffee beans.

However, certain “culprits” can hold back the delicious taste…

And it usually boils down to three things:

  1. Coffee beans problem. 
  2. Water problem.
  3. Equipment problem.

Let’s dive deep into each one.

1. Coffee Beans Problem 

I could dedicate an entire book to having good coffee beans.

The quality of those little treasures plays a crucial role in how you enjoy a cup of morning Joe.

Using Old Beans

One of the most underrated factors contributing to bitter coffee is stale coffee.

Coffee has a limited shelf life, and with each day that passes, it loses its flavor.

Due to its roasting process, coffee takes up carbon dioxide. 

As days go by, it releases carbon dioxide into the air. And as the gas goes, it takes part of the flavor.

You might glance at your coffee beans and assume all is fine because they look good, but a slight change in smell is a better indicator.

Over time, you’ll be able to determine which ones are fresh (or not).

How can you fix it

No one wants to throw away our precious coffee. Unfortunately, that’s the best option.

It’s better to stock up on coffee you’ll be able to finish within a week or two. This way, you’ll be able to consume your coffee long before it turns stale.

The size of your coffee grind

How big or small your coffee grounds affect the flavor of your coffee. 

You’ll experience a bland or sour taste if it’s too large. The acid from the coffee finds its way into the water because of the slow brewing process caused by the large surface area of the beans. 

And if it’s too small, this is when you get bitter coffee.

That’s why knowing the coffee you’d like to brew is important.

How can you fix it

With this problem, it all starts and ends with the grind. The brewing method you decide on will determine the size or type of grind.

For example, making your coffee with a french press requires you to make your coffee beans coarse. On the other hand, Turkish coffee or espresso will be nice if the beans are fine or extra-fine.

Bad roast or low-quality beans

If you roast yourself, you’ve probably had more bitter coffee experiences than you can out.

Taking the DIY method when it comes to roasting coffee should be approached in style similar to a professional roaster’s. That’s why you need to create an environment with the right equipment. 

Also, sometimes you might be unlucky and pick coffee beans that are bad or of low quality.

How can you fix it

Try out different recipes or equipment if your roasting process isn’t good.

And if you’ve got low-quality coffee beans, grab a different batch at the grocery store.

2. Water problems

Other villains that cause bitter coffee are from your water.

The temperature of your water is too hot

Your water temperature defines the flavor expressed by your coffee beans. As an industry standard, you want your water on or close to 96°C. 

The goal is to achieve hot but not too hot. You do NOT want your water boiling.

Because if it’s too hot, it will destroy the hidden flavors of your beans, resulting in bitter coffee.

How can you fix it

Pretty straightforward. Get a thermometer to check the temperature of your water 

3. Equipment problems

Finally, we have problems that can arise from your kitchen equipment.

Dirty coffee maker

This is more common than most people would like to admit.

Coffee makers should be cleaned regularly. Old coffee stains mixed with new ones will affect the taste of your coffee. 

The acid in old coffee is the major source of bitterness 

How you can fix it

To prevent the coffee from drying up, it’s best to wash your coffee maker immediately after use.

Also, add some baking soda while washing to reduce the acidity level.

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Editorial Staff

The editorial staff at Crazy Coffee Crave is a team of coffee enthusiasts & Baristas who enjoy the one thing we all think about as soon as we get up in the morning. Trusted by thousands of readers worldwide.