Over-extracting coffee during brewing produces a bitter taste that no one likes. This places a responsibility on you, as the brewer, to make a great cup of coffee. By the time you receive a shipment from us, those beans have been well cared for by a farmer, processor and us, the roaster. It’s up to you to brew them well so that you might enjoy the bean’s fine qualities. Here’s how you can brew them without creating a bitter cup.
Don’t Scald Your Beans
Although coffee’s brewed with hot water (unless you’re making a cold-brew), boiling water will scald beans. Just as blackened toast tastes bitter, burnt grounds will also taste bitter. You can avoid burning your coffee by using water that’s just off of a boil.
Coffee should be brewed with water around 200°F, not with water that’s 212°F. If you have a thermometer on your kettle, heat the water you use up to somewhere between 195°F and 205°F. If you don’t have a temperature-display kettle, you can boil water and then let it sit for 30 seconds before brewing your coffee.
Coffee tastes best when it’s extracted just right, not too little and not too much. Under-extracted coffee has a thin mouthfeel and sour taste, while over-extracted coffee tastes bitter. When you hit the sweet spot, which is between 18 and 20 percent extracted, you’ll be able to taste the coffee’s sweetness. It won’t be bitter.
If your brews consistently have a bitter taste, review how you’re making coffee. Be sure you’re:
- using the proper grind setting for your coffee maker
- brewing your coffee for the proper amount of time
- weighing your coffee and using the correct grounds-to-water ratio
Using a grind that’s too fine, brewing your coffee for too long and using too much coffee will all increase the extraction and produce a bitter taste. If everything else is correct, but you aren’t weighing your coffee, try using a kitchen scale to ensure you have the precise coffee-to-water ratio. For, as we discussed in this post, weighing coffee is more accurate than measuring it with a scoop.
Switch to a Lighter Roast
If you’re doing everything right, but your coffee is still bitter for your taste, you might just not like the roast. Try switching to a lighter roast, such as our Fruity Profile or Balanced Profile, and see if those coffees are more suited to your preferences. Some people simply don’t like dark roasts as much as they enjoy medium and light ones, which is why we have four different roast profiles.
Brewing, the final step to creating a cup of coffee, is an involved process that includes many factors. If your coffee bitter, first make sure you aren’t using water that’s too hot, and that you’re grind, time and ratio are correct. If they are and the coffee’s still bitter, experiment with a lighter roast level. Eventually, you’ll find a well-roasted, well-brewed cup that tastes just right.
Have you tried our Rinse & Grind kit? If not, try out our four roast profiles by going to our subscription page.