If you find that you can’t stand the bitterness of a cup of coffee, you probably fall into the category of people who like to drown it in sugar and cream.
But what if I told you that you could do that without adding all those extra calories to your cup (your waistline will also thank me for that!)?).
One easy addition to your morning or afternoon coffee will not only eliminate the bitterness but also enhance the flavor and encourage you to try drinking it black, which is how coffee was meant to be enjoyed.
Why is Coffee Bitter?
What proportion of the coffee grounds’ solids makes it into your cup has the biggest impact on the harmony of flavors you get from ground coffee. The complexity and variety of flavor compounds in coffee are astounding. These various compounds not only result in various flavors, but they also degrade and extract through a drip coffee maker, coffee maker, or other brewing method at various rates.
More extraction equals more.. the more the balance of flavors in your cup will tilt towards the bitter side. Introducing a flavor that may be unfavorable or bad coffee in general before the coffee has been roasted.
The coffee bitterness compounds, for example, tend to be heavier and harder to extract than the acidic compounds. Because of this, the stronger your coffee will be overall and the more the cup’s flavor balance will lean toward the bitter, the more you extract. Consequently, you might want to extract less coffee if it tastes overly bitter or burnt.
6 Ways to Counteract the Bitterness in a Cup of Coffee
Adding Salt to Your Coffee Can Combat the Bitterness
In a nutshell, sprinkling salt over your coffee grounds helps to counteract some of the bitterness in coffee and also rounds out its flavour. About 15% of this bitterness is due to the caffeine, but the remaining 80% is due to two other substances: phenylindanes and chlorogenic acid lactones.
While these ingredients give your coffee a bitter taste, they are antioxidants that are beneficial to your general health. These two substances typically emerge during roasting, so the level of bitterness in your coffee will depend on the roast you prefer.
So unsurprisingly, the darker your roasted coffee beans the more bitter your brew will taste. But — that’s not always the reason for the bitterness.
It’s possible to overbrew your coffee or to let it steep for too long, both of which can result in bitterness that you don’t want. Even coffee that has been ground too finely, prepared incorrectly, or that has been stored after its expiration date all contribute to the bitterness.
How Does Salt Affect the Flavour?
Similar to how adding salt to a cake batter or brownie batter will have an adverse effect on your taste buds, coffee has a salty flavor. Coffee’s salt overrides the taste buds’ response, which in turn helps to hide the bitterness of the beverage.
How to Add the Salt to Your Coffee
Simply sprinkle some salt on the grounds before adding water to your next pot of delectable coffee. It won’t cost much and will completely alter how you drink your coffee in the morning. You already seem to be reducing your consumption of sugar and creamer.
Use Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans
The freshness of the bean is occasionally the key to coffee that is less bitter but sweeter. Aside from getting the best out of your coffee, you’re also cutting the bitter compounds. This is because you’re preventing quick oxidation and air exposure of the coffee oils, which can result in unpleasant flavor and smell.
As a result, using this option will also result in less bitter coffee. Coffee beans can be kept fresh by being stored properly.
Check Your Water Temperature
You may be using water that is too hot to brew the coffee, which is another reason why your homebrewed coffee might taste bitter. More bitterness in your cup of coffee may result from using too hot of water to brew the coffee.
You should aim for water temperatures between 195 degrees Fahrenheit (91 degrees Celsius) and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (96 degrees Celsius). The water should not boil over 210 degrees Fahrenheit (98 degrees Celsius).
Simply establish a habit of letting the water sit in the kettle for a few minutes so it can cool down before you pour it over your coffee grounds if you are unsure whether the water is too hot or not.
Brew Your Coffee Properly
The bitterness of your coffee may vary depending on how you brew it. I mean, your coffee tastes bitter primarily because of over-extraction. Therefore, you should learn how to properly extract the necessary flavors from your coffee beans in order to avoid or reduce the bitterness of your beverage.
On the other hand, you should also avoid under-extraction. Even if your coffee is less bitter, you don’t want it to taste like water. So, depending on your preferred brewing method, you can eventually hone your skill and make it with constant learning and practice.
However, will this sweeten your coffee? I think so. Your coffee beans have natural sugars, acids, etc. And if you managed to balance those flavors, then it will take your coffee from bitter to delightful.
Next, let’s talk about the things you should think about when making coffee.
Adjust the Grind Consistency
If you want to make less bitter coffee, then avoid using finely coffee grounds. Meaning, don’t use coffee beans that are ground into an extremely fine powder.
By altering the grind size, you can reduce the additional bitterness of your coffee. This may also bring out the pleasant and smooth flavor of the coffee. Meaning, if your coffee taste strong or bitter, try going with a coarser grind.
However, this option is only applicable if you’re brewing pour over coffee, drip, etc. Fine grinds are necessary for stovetop coffee, espresso, and Turkish coffee. To use your preferred brewing method, simply use the appropriate grind size.
Find the Right Water Temperature
You can also try using less hot water when brewing coffee. If your water is very hot, it can over-extract the flavors from coffee beans, including the bitter compounds.
Work on Your Brewing Time
Particularly, avoid letting your coffee steep in hot water for an extended period of time. A coffee that tastes bitter may result from this. Therefore, you should experiment with the length of time your coffee can be brewed in order to lessen its bitterness.
Transferring the freshly brewed coffee to a thermos right away to keep it hot is another efficient method for reducing the bitterness of your coffee.
Adjust the Coffee to Water Ratio
This, in my opinion, is the best strategy for minimizing coffee bitterness. This occasionally occurs to me. I drink less water and use more coffee. Even when you add sugar, this not only makes your coffee bitter but also unpalatable.
So, what I’m trying to say is to find your recipe. Try experimenting with your coffee to water ratio to be able to cut down the bitterness of your coffee. In other words, if your coffee tastes bitter, try using less ground coffee or putting in more water.
Finally, taking into account your level of roast may be helpful if your coffee is too bitter for your taste. The processes that turn our coffee brown and give it complex flavors, caramelization and the Maillard Reaction, eventually produce flavors that are more bitter. By no means does a well-brewed, well-roasted dark roast have to be overly bitter, but if you’re sensitive to that flavor, a lighter roast might be a safer option.
Change Your Water Temperature
Many coffee drinkers prefer their beverage hot. Like, hot hot. That is part of the appeal, but be aware that your desire for extremely hot coffee may degrade its flavor.
Coffee drinkers who prepare instant coffee, French presses, or pour-overs typically boil the water before adding it to the coffee grinds. This makes sense, as generally when we need hot water, we boil it. But that doesn’t work with coffee. It burns the grinds as it goes through. Therefore, it is most commonly recommended to only heat your water up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit (the boiling point is 212 degrees, so yes, it’s playing it close!)
You can probably find high-quality beans in dozens of locations. To find the best ones, I advise you to look into local coffee shops, coffee roasters, and specialty cafes.
Try their freshly roasted beans if there is a nearby local coffee roaster. To get high-quality and freshly roasted beans in a hurry, if you don’t want to purchase coffee online, go to these coffee roasters and stores in person.
Because roasters can help you and provide you with sufficient information about the type of roast or type of coffee beans to choose, you can ultimately avoid drinking bitter coffee.
How Do You Take the Bitterness Out of Coffee Without Sugar?
Did you know that adding a pinch of salt can help bring out the natural sweetness in a pot of coffee or coffee grounds? It may seem counterintuitive. Coffee without sugar will seem sweeter because salt lessens bitterness.
Does Adding Milk to Coffee Reduce Bitterness?
The proteins in milk soften coffee’s bitterness by binding to polyphenolic compounds, such as tannins. Although good for the body, tannins have an astringent taste that detracts from coffee.
Why Do People Put Butter in Their Coffee?
Butter coffee is thought to offer consistent, long-lasting energy without causing a blood sugar crash. Theoretically, because fat slows down digestion, coffee’s caffeine is absorbed more slowly and gives off longer-lasting energy.