When it comes to coffee, most people are looking for a balance of flavour.
This means that the coffee is not too bitter, acidic, or sweet.
However, what many people don't realize is that a certain amount of bitterness is actually essential for coffee to taste its best. Just like dark chocolate, citrus fruits, and wine, bitterness can be a good thing.
There are two main reasons why coffee can taste too bitter: how you are brewing it, and the quality or roast level of the beans. If you find that your coffee is tasting too bitter (to the point of being undrinkable), it's most likely one of these two factors. Let's take a closer look at each one.
How You Are Brewing
One of the main reasons for over-extracted coffee is that the coffee and water spend too much time together.
This can happen if you use too fine a grind, or if you brew for too long. When coffee is over-extracted, it means that the less delicious soluble compounds are extracted from the beans.
This can also occur if you use water that is too hot. The ideal brewing temperature for coffee is between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit. If your water is hotter than this, it will extract more bitterness from the beans. Conversely, if your water is not hot enough, the coffee will be under-extracted and taste sour.
The Quality or Roast Level of the Beans
The other major reason for bitter coffee is the quality or roast level of the beans.
If the beans are over-roasted, they will release more bitterness into the cup. Likewise, if they are under-roasted, they will not develop all of their flavour potential and will taste bland.
Finding the perfect balance of roast level can be tricky, but it's worth taking the time to experiment with different roasts until you find one that you love. Once you've found a roast level that you like, stick with it! Consistency is key when it comes to making great coffee.
Bitterness gets a bad rap but a certain amount of bitterness is actually an essential part of the balance of coffee flavour.
Just like dark chocolate, citrus and wine - bitterness can be a good thing.
If you find your coffee is tasting too bitter (undrinkable bitter) it’s most likely to be one of two things … How you are brewing (essentially you are over-extracting the coffee) The quality or roast level of the beans So what happens when you over-extract coffee? The coffee and water spend too much time together, and the less delicious soluble compounds are extracted. This can also occur if you use too fine a grind. During the early stage of extraction the acids and oils transfer to the water, then the natural sugars, and finally the bitter compounds. Ideally, you want to achieve a balance between these flavours in order to create a well-rounded cup of coffee. Experiment with different brewing methods and bean roast levels until you find a combination that gives you the perfect balance of bitterness in your cup!