Why Does Coffee Taste Bitter

Coffee is a slightly bitter-tasting drink. Coffee contains caffeine; therefore, coffee is naturally acidic and quite bitter, but NON-BITTER coffee definitely exists and achievable. The coffee bitter to taste is the roasting, fermentation and general errors done while producing the coffee. Both roasting and fermentation used the sugar inside the coffee.

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Yes, coffee contains sugar because it comes from fruit! So excessive amount of roasting and fermentation causes over-usage of sugars and leave behind the bitter flavor. Likewise, using poor quality beans, too high roasting temperatures, wrong brewing techniques and so much more cause bitter flavor.  

Benefits of Drinking Non-Bitter Coffee 

It doesn’t matter getting your daily dose of caffeine from coffee or tea. They all contain caffeine. Even though black coffee has major health benefits such as keeping your metabolic rate high and helping you lose weight, the excessive amount of caffeine consumption cause problems for your heart and blood pressure. That’s why drinking non-bitter coffee is beneficial.

The less bitter the coffee is, the less caffeine it contains. So non-bitter coffee doesn’t give you jitters, doesn’t mess up with your blood pressure and doesn’t disturb your heart. If you are one of those people who is disturbed by the bitter taste of the coffee, this may mean that you are a supertaster which is one in four people! How cool is that! 

How Does Non-Bitter Coffee Work

Coffee is known as a bitter drink, but it doesn’t need to be that way. With great technique and attention, coffee can taste nothing like bitter, flavorful, aromatic, sweet, balanced and light. Usually, mass producer coffee, such as cortado, may taste bitter because they usually use a mix of beans and standard techniques. They usually get different types of beans from all over the globe and use pretty standard procedures, which causes different rates of roasting and fermenting among the beans.

As a new rising trend, specialty, third-wave coffee shops that use quality beans and techniques, you can find non-bitter coffee a lot more and more around you. These coffee shops use exclusive and quality beans; on top of this, they use specific techniques for each type of bean and don’t mix the beans. So, for instance, cold-brew is one of the rising trends of non-bitter coffee. 

Even though it sounds like a luxury, It’s not too hard to have a quality non-bitter coffee at your home. We will walk you through a complete guide about how to. 

Pros and Cons of Non-Bitter Coffee 

Pros and Cons of Non-Bitter Coffee


  • Enjoyable morning coffee.
  • It will help you discover the real aromatic side of coffee.
  • Less caffeine consumption and therefore fewer caffeine side-effects.


  • Arabica beans might be pricey.
  • Finding your sweet spot might take some tries.

Reasons for a Bitter Coffee

Over-Steeping Your Coffee

Steeping is the practice that you directly mix your coffee with water. It’s a common practice in press coffee makers, such as brewing high-quality coffee using a French press or aero-press. The danger is over-steeping, which will leave your coffee with a bitter taste. Over-steeping causes over-extraction of coffee, yet in the same way, with too little extraction, you can have weak and sour coffee. The solution is basically trying and seeing how much time improves the flavor the most. 

Dirty Equipment

Cmon…. Like seriously, man… keep it clean. Not only for your coffee, please. Poor hygiene in any food product is the number one cause of food poisoning, if not bad-tasting food. Leaving coffee remainings for a long time causes fishy odor and flavor as well as bitter coffee. Clean your equipment. You can perfectly clean your equipment by running fresh water once a week.

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The water must be hot to clean the oily residue of coffee. You may as well use vinegar or other cleaning agents. You may need to check the requirements of your machine, but if you are using old-school equipment, you are good to go. 

Your Grind and Brewing Methods Don’t Align

Making coffee is truly an art form. When your brewing method doesn’t match your grinds, you don’t get the most of that you can get from your coffee.

Usually, from large to fine particle size, you better use French Press, regular coffee makers, coffee makers with cone shapes filters and pump or steam espresso machines. Don’t forget to use a premium budget espresso machine to get the best results.  

Unreliable Water Clarity and Temperature

As coffee is almost whole water, how the water taste truly affects how your coffee will taste. The best water to be used is advised to be bottled water. The temperature of the brewing water is crucial to set too. Usually, the best coffee is brewed with water that is 95C. The colder the water gets, the bitter the coffee will be. The rule is to wait for the water to boil fully and then set it for 30 seconds before brewing your coffee. 

Using Old, Stale Coffee Beans

I mean, of course, quality ingredients mean quality coffee. Green beans tend to have a 5-6 month shelf-life in cold storage, but it is usually a matter of days or even hours for them to lose their peak flavor when it comes to roasted beans. Oxidation, moisture and CO2 depletion cause a stale and bitter flavor. To avoid this, you can enjoy coffee by roasting it yourself

Wrong Roast

Reasons for a Bitter Coffee

Roasting is the main thing when it comes to the taste of coffee. The general rule, dark roasts come with a very bitter taste. The more you roast and make the beans come in contact with high temperatures, the more the build-up of quinic acids becomes chlorogenic acid lactones and phenylindane bitter compounds.

If you don’t enjoy bitter tastes when it comes to coffee, you should search for light or medium roast coffee. For instance, French roasts tend to have a bitter taste, so stay away. Coffee experts roast their coffee so that the richness of the coffee actually comes out without the bitterness showing… now that is the true art behind coffee. 

Source and Variety of Beans

There are 2 main coffee bean types, Robusta and Arabica; generally, Robusta is much more bitter than Arabica. It is because Robusta beans have a higher concentration of the bitter compounds chlorogenic acid lactones and phenylindanes. It also has more caffeine, resistant to pests and grows faster, so it is cheaper.

If you don’t like bitter-tasting coffee, you should look for Arabica beans, even though they might be a little pricier. Robusta beans and ground can generally be found in most pre-packed grounds such as Nescafe.  

Water to Coffee Ratio

Obviously, the more coffee you add into the water, the more bitter it gets. The “golden ratio” is 18 grams of water for every 1 gram of coffee. Of course, it is just a guideline and might change for everyone. Less coffee means less bitter taste, so try and find your sweet spot. 

How to Add Salt to Coffee to Make It Less Bitter

It really depends on your taste for this one. Some believe the salt must be mixed within the brew; some say a pinch of salt directly into the hot coffee does the job. We say you do you, baby! 

Let’s say we are mixing the salt into the grounds.

Step 1 – Get your beans and grind them

Always try to grind whenever you are brewing. That helps you to preserve the flavor much longer. 

Step 2 – Mix your grounded coffee with salt

You can either do it by adding a little pinch of salt to your grounded coffee and mix it. OR if you are working with larger amounts, the recommended amount is ⅙ salt to coffee ratio. 

Step 3 – Brew your coffee

The way you like it. Let the salt dissolve as the coffee brews. The drip method and espresso-making are highly recommended, but it’s up to you. Brewing coffee in Keurig 2.0 is super easy! 


Now let’s talk about adding the salt directly into your coffee.

Step 1 – Brew your coffee

Just the way you like it. Maybe you like to use a premium automatic espresso machine with Cuban-style Bustello coffee; that’s perfectly fine. Or maybe cold brew, drip method or other coffee blends… the choice is yours. 

Step 2 – Add a pinch of salt to your coffee

A PINCH! Don’t overdo it. 

Lastly, play around have fun!! Milk products, spices, sugar and literally anything to your taste is up to you. For example, if you are into smoother textures and tastes, you can use the sweetness and richness of coffee creamer or if you are into different tastes, you may as well use coffee syrups, have natural sweeteners. 

How to Brew Non-Bitter Coffee 

All we talked about so much may sound like a luxury way of making coffee and that it will cost you so much. However, enjoying a cup of non-bitter coffee doesn’t take you any more than a little bit of care. All you need is quality coffee and a tiny bit more patience and attendance to what you do with your coffee. So let’s start by stating the easiest way to have non-bitter coffee. 

Step 1 – Get some good coffee

You can use any coffee to your taste, especially Arabica beans. However, choosing a great coffee is the key ingredient of having a good one. 

Step 2 – Grind your coffee

Grinding your own coffee not only allows you to play around with the size but also protects your coffee from going stale. In addition, as the coffee beans are grounded, their shelf-life is significantly reduced. So be mindful and take your time to grind your coffee. 

Step 3 – Get a French press

French press might be old school, but it is really all you need. Plus, it gives coffee grounds adequate space to be brewed, resulting in very high-quality coffee.

Step 4 – Boil water and adjust the temperature

As we mentioned before, the perfect temperature for brewing is 95C, so wait until your water boils, then wait another 30-40 sec for your water to cool a bit. This way, you will reach the perfect temperature and, therefore, perfect coffee. 

Step 5 – Pour the water over your coffee

Let it brew for 4-6 minutes. Longer brewing times also cause your coffee to go bitter.  You may want to find your perfect time for you with a couple of tries; to do so, you may want to start small and build up the taste until you find the one that fits you perfectly. 

That’s it. Just small tiny steps you need to take additional and you will end up with perfect non-bitter coffee without any addition of sugars, sweeteners or creamers. But, of course, you can go ahead and add those as well if that’s how you enjoy your coffee. Now it’s your time to decide how and where to enjoy your coffee.

Perhaps you want to enjoy it with a nice book on a chill evening or maybe you are in a hurry and you need to make the best coffee with you. If that’s the case, try the world’s best coffee thermos to keep your coffee warm and just perfect for your taste. 


Do’s and Don’ts When Making Non-Bitter Coffee


  • Keep your equipment clean.
  • Try and find your perfect roast and brew method.
  • Try getting Arabica beans or mixes.
  • Add some salt to your coffee.
  • Use sweeteners or other ingredients.


  • Over-steep your coffee.
  • Too much roasting.
  • Using stale and old beans.

FAQ About Non-Bitter Coffee

Which coffee beans make less bitter coffee?

Generally, Arabica beans are less bitter than Robusta beans. So even though Arabica beans are a little more pricey, they will help you have less bitter, flavorful coffee. Of course, there are different types of Arabica coffees since it is the origin that we are talking about. Usually, Central American blends tend to have a smoother flavor. 

Do light roast beans make less bitter coffee?

Yes. The level of roasting is directly effective on the coffee’s bitterness. The more the coffee is roasted, the more bitter the taste is. Therefore the light roasted coffees are generally less bitter tasting. However, you still need to be careful about not roasting enough since that will cause your coffee to have no body at all. 

Which Starbucks coffee is least bitter?

Let’s divide the drinks into 2. The ones that contain sugars and other additives, such as milk products and drinks, don’t contain anything but coffee. So from here, the smoothest coffee with no additives is either the blonde roast espresso or ristrettos. Those have a slightly lighter roast and press time, so they have a less bitter taste. 

FAQ About Non-Bitter Coffee

How do you make coffee less bitter without sugar?

You may add some salt to your coffee that would eliminate the bitterness of your coffee. Also, try to solve the problem from the root, change your roast, brewing method or beans. 

What is the smoothest tasting coffee?

Usually, Arabica beans have a less bitter flavor. There are different types of Arabica beans since the flavor mainly differs from origin to origin when it comes to coffee. Therefore, we recommend trying some Central American blends. For instance, Tully’s, Coffee AM, Choc Full O’ Nuts, Gloria Jean’s and Gevalia has various smooth-tasting coffee. You gotta try and choose your favorite since the definition of “smooth” is also relative. 

Is bitter coffee bad for you?

Yes and No. It surely has more caffeine in it, so that excessive consumption might be bad for your health, but overall it won’t hurt you. However, we can’t say the same thing for your poor taste buds. Nobody enjoys a bitter-tasting coffee. 

Does old coffee taste bitter?

Yes. As the coffee goes older and stale, it goes through reactions with oxygen which would cause natural oils to go bitter. You can minimize these effects by cutting the contact of oxygen with your coffee. It will significantly increase the shelf-life, but beans get stale and stale beans do taste bitter after some time. 


To sum up, coffee is a beverage that millions enjoy each day. It is generally known as a bitter drink because of its caffeine-rich nature, but coffee doesn’t need to be bitter. It is basically the poor quality and ill practices that cause coffee to have a bitter taste. So naturally, coffee, especially quality coffee, can taste flavorful, chocolatey, sweet and smooth. Enjoying this type of coffee is not hard at all. On the contrary, it is so easy, with tiny adjustments to your techniques and a great choice of quality coffee, you as well can enjoy such a dreamy non-bitter coffee. 

Photos from: aeydenphumi / depositphotos.com, belchonock / depositphotos.com, lschukigor / depositphotos.com and papa42 / depositphotos.com.

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