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Why Does My Coffee Taste Bitter All Of A Sudden?

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By Tanya Jones

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Why Does My Coffee Taste Bitter All Of A Sudden?

Have you ever made a cup of coffee that tastes more bitter than normal, although you use the same brewing method? It’s a frustrating experience and makes you confused.

But don’t worry; many people have the same problem. There are several factors contributing to this experience.

Why does my coffee taste bitter all of a sudden? This article will help you find out all the possible causes. Then, you will know how to fix and prevent it.

So let’s get started!

Why Does My Coffee Taste Bitter All Of A Sudden?

Each step of your coffee-making process should be correct to get a flavorful beverage. If you change any step, your coffee will taste different.

More specifically, the roasting and brewing methods play a vital role in determining your coffee’s flavor. The equipment and water matter, too.

As a result, all of those factors may result in sudden bitterness in your coffee. We will explain each of them right now. Then, you can fix it and prepare a perfect cup of coffee.

Too Much Brewing

Some assume that brewing a lot of coffee at once will give them a richer taste. They can also save time by preparing more cups of coffee simultaneously.

However, you may have a different experience. If you brew too much coffee, the outcome will be bitter. Sometimes, it even turns out undrinkable.

Besides, some people brew coffee and save it for later use. Unfortunately, it will taste bitter when left out for a while.

So what to do with this case? The best solution is to brew less. Also, experiment to determine how much coffee is enough for your daily intake.

Do not brew too much coffee at once

Old Coffee Beans

Coffee beans are the soul of your java. And to bring out their best, you should prepare them within four days to two weeks.

In contrast, coffee beans will lose their flavor after roasting. Then, they will experience oxidation, which changes their chemical composition. Finally, they become bitter.

To avoid this problem, buy newly-roasted coffee beans only. Also, get the right amount you intend to use in a short time instead of buying too much at once.

If you roast coffee beans at home, follow the same rule. So, never roast more than you need.

There are various types of coffee roasts. Depending on your chosen type, you should wait five to ten days to grind the beans before brewing.

Too Much Coffee

Using less water with too much coffee will prevent the beans from extracting properly. Then, the coffee will become too concentrated and bitter.

Using the correct water-to-coffee ratio is essential for brewing a balanced coffee. So how much coffee should you use?

The rule of thumb is about one to two tablespoons of coffee for six ounces of water, which we call the “golden ratio.” However, you can slightly adjust the recipe to achieve your favorite flavor.

Low-Quality Coffee

Arabica and Robusta are the primary types of coffee beans. Two other beans, Excelsia and Liberia, are very rare.

Arabica appears to be the higher quality among the two popular types. They make up most of the coffee beans found in the world.

On the other hand, Robusta beans are cheaper and more bitter. Besides, they contain more caffeine.

So, if you are seeking high-quality coffee, check out 100% Arabica. And luckily, you can find them easier thanks to their popularity.

After confirming that the coffee you intend to buy is Arabica, check for other indicators. The following tips will help you tell if the coffee is of high quality:

  • Smell: Good coffee should have a strong, pleasant aroma.
  • Origin: Do some research on multiple coffee-growing areas to determine which produces the coffee of your taste.
  • Roast date: You can see the roast date on the packaging. Avoid the coffee beans that don’t have a roast date or have been roasted for too long.
High-quality coffee will not taste bitter all of a sudden

Bad Roast

Roasting coffee beans is a straightforward yet delicate process. You need a skilled hand to get the desired flavor profile.

For example, if the roast is too dark, you will have bitter coffee. It’s because the sugars in the over-roasted beans break down, releasing the oils.

In addition, if you can’t roast the beans evenly, you will have a mixed flavor profile. Then, your java will taste bitter all of a sudden.

You should learn how to roast coffee beans consistently as a coffee lover. But if you just buy coffee from vendors, consider changing to another retailer so you won’t experience bitter coffee.

This video will show you how to roast coffee beans properly:

Ground Size

The texture of your ground coffee also affects the bitterness of the outcome. For instance, coarsely ground coffee may give you flat coffee, which tastes bitter. On the contrary, finer grind makes your java bitter.

You need a particular ground size for your chosen brewing method. Some methods offer a less bitter taste with finer grounds, while others deliver the same taste but with a coarse grind.

Nevertheless, if you brew the coarse grind, but the outcome is still bitter, perhaps you use the wrong method or have stale beans. But in most cases, the fine grind is the cause of the bitterness.

The key to this problem is choosing the suitable ground size for the brewing method. Otherwise, your coffee may taste bitter suddenly.

Choose the right ground size for your brewing method

Wrong Timing

If you make espresso, you won’t have to worry about time because the espresso machine can handle it. However, keeping track of the time will be very important if you brew French press or drip coffee.

More specifically, it will be under-extracted if you filter your coffee too early. In some cases, it may go tasteless.

On the other hand, if you filter for too long, over-extraction will occur, giving you bitter java.

How can you tackle this problem? Unfortunately, there is no fixed time when it comes to brewing coffee. But according to a common belief, you need to brew your French press for about four minutes.

Old or Worn Out Equipment

Old or worn-out equipment contributes to bitter-tasting coffee, too. It’s because of the coffee residue and oils that accumulate in the machine over time.

Moreover, the grinder blades may become dull, and the heating element of your coffee maker doesn’t work properly. These problems will result in uneven extraction. Your coffee will taste bitter, then.

As you can see, maintaining your equipment is vital to make the best-tasting coffee. Here are some tips for you:

  • Clean the machine regularly to get rid of the accumulated coffee oils and residue.
  • Use filtered water to remove impurities.
  • Use fresh coffee beans.
  • Replace the damaged and worn-out parts.
The equipment can affect the taste of your coffee

Unsuitable Tap Water

Water makes up more than 90% of your coffee. Hence, if you use unsuitable tap water, it will break your beverage’s flavor.

In this case, ensure that the water you use is clean. If you are still in doubt, filter the tap water for a flavorful coffee.

Wrong Water Temperature

You need hot water to brew coffee, but how hot should it be? This question is important because the water temperature affects the final flavor of your java.

The ideal temperature for coffee is around 205°F. Making coffee at this temperature allows it to extract essential oils to achieve the desired flavor.

But if you use too hot water, there will be over-extraction. Then, the over-extracted compounds will cause a bitter taste in your coffee.

On the other hand, using a too-low temperature will result in weak coffee. It doesn’t have the right flavor because of the poor extraction.

If you are not sure about the water temperature for your coffee, buy a thermometer. It will help monitor the temperature. Otherwise, invest in a high-quality coffee maker to regulate the water temperature.

The water temperature should be correct to yield an optimal outcome

Is Bitter Coffee a Medical Alert?

No. Bitter coffee is not a medical alert. However, it may indicate an underlying issue with your coffee that affects your health.

For example, over-extraction is one of the most common reasons for bitterness. It also leads to higher levels of caffeine, causing health issues such as anxiety, insomnia, or difficulty breathing.

Another reason for the bitterness in your coffee is the dirty equipment. Bacteria may grow there and transmit infections when you drink your coffee.

As a result, bitterness won’t only affect your experience. In fact, it may carry potential problems for your health. Hence, it’s best to learn how to fix it to improve your pleasure and protect yourself.

The bitterness may have underlying issues


If your coffee tastes bitter suddenly, you should check the coffee beans, water, equipment, brewing method, and other factors.

Since you perform multiple steps to prepare your coffee, each will affect the outcome. As a result, you should recall what you have done in each step to find out the reason.

Hopefully, this guide can help you prepare a perfect cup of coffee for your taste. If you need more tips, do not hesitate to ask.

Thank you for reading!

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