Last Updated on October 17, 2023
Most people don’t enjoy the bitter taste of coffee. Smooth, rich taste? Yes. Bitter? No way.
Coffee lovers know that their morning cup of coffee is an all-important element to the start of their day, and it needs to be just right. There’s nothing that will spoil that first sip of java like a bitter bite on the tongue.
As a coffee lover myself, I have found that there are some simple tips that can help you get rid of the bitter flavor in your cup of joe. If brewing a cup of non bitter coffee is the goal, you’ve come to the right place, my friend.
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- Why Does Coffee Taste Bitter?
- Which Coffee is the Most Bitter?
- How to Brew Non Bitter Coffee: 7 Tips
- Buying Non Bitter Coffee
- How to Reduce Bitterness in Your Brewed Coffee
- Sum It Up
Why Does Coffee Taste Bitter?
There are a number of reasons why coffee is bitter tasting, and we’ll touch on them briefly here, then go into more detail below:
- The coffee beans – the type of bean used makes a difference
- The roast – light, medium, or dark contribute to the end result
- The brewing method – some brewing methods are more apt to result in bitter coffee
- The type of water – yes, that water out of your tap isn’t helping
- The water temperature – if it’s not right, you can end up with bitter flavors
Which Coffee is the Most Bitter?
If we are considering the bean itself, robusta beans will have more bitterness than arabica beans. Why is that?
Robusta beans are found in the hotter regions of the world, including Central America and Africa. Their small berries grow in fields on large plants. Because the plants grow in lower elevations, they are more heat, moisture, and disease resistant. This makes them simpler to cultivate as well as cheaper than Arabica beans.
Robusta beans have a robust, round flavor. The tastes range from dry to woody and are more bitter than sour.
Because Robusta is so bitter in terms of taste, you won’t find coffee entirely made from it.
Robusta is frequently used as a component in blends since the bean’s fat content provides excellent crema and it can add a boost of caffeine to the blend.
Arabica beans are more highly regarded, and are found in premium coffee blends.
Arabica beans are cultivated at high altitudes on shrubs where long pod extensions develop that contain the coffee beans. Arabica coffee is mostly produced in locations around the equator. They thrive there at elevations of 1/2 to 1 mile above sea level. This raises production costs and labor requirements, which increases the cost of coffee.
Arabica beans have a pleasant flavor that is often fruity or floral. These aromatic beans are generally sweeter or more sour than bitter. Many people believe that coffee from 100% Arabica beans has an ideal taste because of its refined flavor.
What is the lesson here, my friend? Arabica coffee will produce a less bitter result, all other things considered.
Most of the time, a dark roast will produce a cup of coffee that can taste bitter, depending upon how it was brewed. If you stick with a light roast or medium roast coffee the chances of reducing the bitter taste increase.
How to Brew Non Bitter Coffee: 7 Tips
That’s the goal, right? Brew good coffee without the bitterness. Here are some tips that will help you do just that!
1 | Start with clean coffee brewing equipment
When coffee is brewed, residual oil builds up on equipment, particularly in hard-to-reach spaces like mesh filters. The residue is bitter and becomes unpleasant with time.
Each week, clean your coffee machine using a mild dish soap and a soft brush or sponge. If the manufacturer says it’s OK to put it in the top shelf of your dishwasher, you can clean it this way.
Regardless of the brewing method, the state of the coffee maker can and will make a difference in the taste of the resulting brew.
2 | Understand the ratios
The ratio of coffee to water can influence it’s bitterness. In general, the more coffee to water ratio you use, the increased chance of a bitter result.
If you are struggling with bitter coffee, try cutting back a bit on the coffee.
The ‘golden rule’ of coffee is 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee for each 6 ounces of water used.
3 | Use the correct grind
Using the right grind size is important because each brewing method has its own preferences.
If you are struggling with bitter coffee, try using a different coarseness or grind setting. The correct grind for your coffee depends on brew style and personal taste preference.
For example, French press coffee takes a coarse coffee grounds, whereas espresso coffee is best with a very fine grind.
If you’re using a drip coffee maker or a pour over dripper, a medium grind usually is best.
Are you grinding your own whole coffee beans? A burr grinder will produce greater accuracy and evenness of the grind than a blade grinder.
In general, a coarser grind makes a lighter, sweeter brew, and a finer grind can contribute to more bitterness in the brewed coffee.
Here is a handy Coffee Grind Chart you can pin and refer to when needed:
4 | Water quality matters
It is always best to use filtered water when brewing coffee, as it will give you the cleanest taste without the addition of unwanted minerals.
Hard water is considered bad for coffee, as it can lead to a buildup of mineral scale in your machine or gear.
Filters are readily available, from those that fit right into the coffee maker itself, to filter systems that fit over the kitchen tap, to filtered water you can purchase by the gallon, to a whole-house installed water filter system. You choose.
5 | Water temperature makes a difference
The ideal temperature for brewing coffee is between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are using water that is too hot, your coffee will be over extracted and bitter.
If your water is too cool, it will cause an under extraction. This means the brew time is too long to extract all of the desirable flavors from your beans, leaving some behind that you can taste as bitterness.
Just like Goldilocks, we want our water temperature to be “just right” for a variety of reasons, and one of them is to minimize the bitterness.
6 | Don’t over-steep
If you let your coffee steep for too long, you will end up with a bitter brew because the beans will have over-extracted.
If you’re struggling with bitterness, try steeping for less time or using a slightly cooler water temperature to make your coffee. You might also want to check if the grind is correct and whether you used too much coffee (a common mistake). We’ve covered those tips above!
7 | Use fresh coffee beans
If possible, grind your whole coffee beans just prior to brewing for the freshest taste. Pre-ground coffee can produce a fine, tasty cup of java as well, but remember that old, stale coffee will never give you a satisfying result.
If non bitter coffee is the goal, use fresh coffee beans. Poor quality beans will result in poor quality coffee.
Buying Non Bitter Coffee
Arabica coffee beans will produce coffee that is less bitter than robusta beans. So, when you’re checking the labels on a potential brand and roast, check to see what type of coffee beans were used.
The longer the coffee beans are roasted, or higher temperatures will cause a darker roast that can be more bitter to taste. A light roast or a medium roast can be a good choice to reduce the chance of bitterness in coffee.
Popular Non Bitter Coffee Brands to consider:
- Contains 1 - 31.1 Ounce AromaSeal Canister of Folgers Simply Smooth Ground Coffee
- Mild roast coffee with mellow and balanced flavor.Does Not Contain Any of the 8 Major Allergens
- Specially roasted to reduce certain irritants associated with stomach discomfort
- Stored in an AromaSeal canister for freshness
- Makes up to 240 suggested strength 6 fl oz servings per canister
- The Cleaner Coffee … Ground low acid organic coffee is our whole foods initiative to enhance the health of coffee lovers across the world, without compromise to taste, quality, or tooth enamel.
- A Better Belly … Acid reflux can cause indigestion, bloating & other discomforts & health issues. Tyler’s is the only low acid organic coffee with near neutral pH suitable for acid-free diets.
- Taste Meets Happiness … Our secret roasting process strips harmful tannins & lipid acids present in every commercial coffee blend & enhances the aroma and flavor of select ground low acid coffee.
- A Brewed Awakening … Organic coffee ground low acid strikes a healthy balance. Finally, you can savor your morning coffee guilt-free, just the way you like it. No adverse effects or bitter after-bite.
- Great Testing since 1859 – Winey notes and a rich, elegant aroma with a full-bodied finish. All of roasting is done at our own facility in Maryland, USA
- Classic Medium Roast: The Original is our oldest recipe and most iconic roast.Does Not Contain Any of the 8 Major Allergens
- Bold Flavors: Delivers sweet and fruity notes with a well-balanced finish
- Quality Guaranteed: 100% Arabica beans for premium quality and taste, Kosher certified
- Commitment to Environment: Through partnerships with different coffee organizations, we hope to support the coffee farming community with the goal to help improve the quality of life for all people involved in the coffee supply chain
- 70% LESS ACID: Puroast low acid coffee is perfect for every coffee lover, especially those with heartburn, acid reflux and other gastrointestinal issues. However you prefer your coffee, Puroast offers a wide variety of single serve, whole bean and ground coffee selection
- 7X HIGHER ANTIOXIDANTS: It turns out there is a connection between antioxidant levels and how coffee is heated during roasting. Published research from UC Davis shows that Puroast coffee has 7X the antioxidants of green tea and 5X the antioxidants of leading coffee brands
- PURE TO THE POUR: From our humble origins in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, Puroast's secret to crafting smooth, rich coffee is rooted in roasting the way that coffee growers do. We roast for quality, not volume, and never use any additives or extractions
- FEEL BETTER, NEVER BITTER: Take on the daily grind with a smooth, aromatic cup of coffee that tastes great and makes you feel good! Our unique roasting method creates a low-acid blend that won't bother your stomach and has no bitter aftertaste. We also use renewable, clean technology to fire our roasters
- QUALITY IN EVERY CUP: Not all coffee is created equal. Our high elevation grown coffee beans are sustainably sourced, kosher and chemical/pesticide free, so you can feel great about what you're drinking while gaining relief from coffee-related digestive issues
Consider cold brew coffee
The steeping process for cold brew coffee will result in a less bitter cup of coffee. Yes, it is cold brew and that is a slightly different animal than a cup of hot coffee. But give it a try if bitter coffee is an issue for you.
The process is very simple, and in a nutshell involves steeping coarsely ground coffee with tepid water for a period of time. Read more about making cold brew coffee here.
How to Reduce Bitterness in Your Brewed Coffee
If you still find that your java is too bitter tasting after putting these tips into practice, here are some tips for toning down the bitter taste of your cup of coffee:
- add a small amount of milk
- add a small amount of cream or half and half
- flavor your coffee with sugar-based syrup
- sweeten your java with sugar or a non-sugar alternative
- adding a pinch of salt to coffee before brewing will naturally reduce the bitterness and may improve the flavor
How about flavored sugar for your java?
Keep your life, and your coffee, interesting with flavored sugar from Javamelts! This innovative (yet oh-so-simple) sweetener is offered in a variety of flavors like Mocha, Caramel, Hazelnut, and more.
Founded by a creative woman with a heart and a vision, Javamelts is not only perfect for your coffee, you can use it in baking, too. How cool is that? And, these sweet little packets of goodness are vegan, non-dairy, non-GMO, and kosher, too.
Learn more by tapping on the image below.
Sum It Up
Brewing coffee without it tasting too bitter is a challenge for many. The key to brewing non-bitter coffee is understanding how water temperature, the length of steeping time, and grind size affect your final cup of java.
Discovering the brand, roast, and brew strength is key to brewing coffee without a bitter taste.
If you’re struggling with bitterness in your brews, these tips should help!
Candi Randolph is a coffee lover, blogger, and content creator who loves to share her knowledge with the coffee-drinking world. You’ll often find her tending to her coffee bar at home, deciding which method to use to brew her next cup of java. Life is full of important decisions. ☕