How to Make Coffee Less Bitter: A Comprehensive Guide

How to make coffee less bitter? Coffee lovers often seek the perfect cup of coffee, with just the right balance of flavor, bitterness, and sweetness. Coffee taste can be affected by various factors such as water quality, type of coffee beans, grind size, brewing method, and even the addition of milk, cream, or sweeteners like sugar, syrup, or spices.  

Coffee lovers can sometimes find their favorite beverage too bitter for their taste buds. The bitterness of coffee can be caused by various factors, including the quality of the beans, the brewing method, or the water used. The bitter taste of coffee is often a concern for people, as it can be unpleasant and overpowering.
However, there are many ways to make coffee less bitter while still retaining its unique flavor and health benefits. From adjusting the grind size to adding natural sweeteners, there are several ways to enhance the natural sweetness of your coffee and create a more enjoyable drinking experience. 

In this article, we‘ll discuss the most effective methods for reducing bitterness in your coffee and achieving a delicious, flavorful cup every time. Whether you prefer a light roast or a dark roast, there’s a way to customize your coffee to your liking and enjoy a less bitter taste.

Making Coffee Less Bitter

Understanding Bitterness in Coffee

What Causes Bitterness in Coffee?

Bitter coffee comes down to two things: (1) bad beans and (2) bad brewing. The quality of the coffee beans used and the brewing method employed can both contribute to the bitterness of coffee. Poor-quality beans that are over-roasted or stale can produce a bitter taste. Similarly, using water that is too hot or letting the coffee grounds steep for too long can also result in a bitter taste. The addition of sugar, milk, or other sweeteners can help mask the bitterness, but addressing the root causes of bad beans and bad brewing is the key to making the coffee less bitter. Using high-quality coffee beans that are roasted to the appropriate level and employing the right brewing method can result in a delicious cup of coffee that is not overpoweringly bitter.

The Importance of Freshly Roasted Beans

Freshly roasted coffee beans are crucial for a delicious and high-quality cup of coffee. The reason for this is that coffee beans start to lose their flavor and aroma as soon as they are roasted. Oxidation and time are two factors that can quickly dull the flavors of coffee, just like any other food. That’s why it’s essential to use freshly roasted coffee beans to enjoy the most vibrant and lively taste. 

Freshly roasted coffee beans provide the longest period to enjoy these flavors. When you use stale coffee beans, you’ll notice that the coffee tastes flat, stale, and lacking in depth. Therefore, it’s highly recommended to use freshly roasted coffee beans to enhance the flavor and overall quality of your cup of coffee.

Additionally, freshly roasted coffee beans contain higher levels of antioxidants and natural oils than stale coffee beans. These oils contribute to the coffee’s aroma, flavor, and crema, making for a more pleasant drinking experience. Also, when coffee is roasted, carbon dioxide gas is released, and this gas can affect the coffee’s flavor. Freshly roasted coffee beans have a higher level of carbon dioxide gas, and this gas contributes to the coffee’s unique flavor profile. As the coffee beans age, the carbon dioxide gas dissipates, and so does the flavor.

You can read more about “How to make coffee

Importance of Freshly Roasted Beans

How to Make Coffee Less Bitter?

5 Things to Change in Your Brew

  1. Choosing Your Coffee Beans

When it comes to choosing your coffee beans, it’s important to consider several factors that can affect the taste and quality of your coffee. One critical factor is the type of beans you select. Arabica and Robusta are the two main types of coffee beans, with Arabica being the preferred option due to its higher quality and less bitter taste. 

Another factor to consider is the roast level, which can impact the taste and flavor of the coffee. Darker roasts tend to have a stronger, bolder taste, while lighter roasts allow for more delicate and nuanced flavors to come through.

  1. Changing the Coffee Grind Size

If you find that your coffee tastes too bitter, changing the coffee grind size can be an effective solution. Bitter coffee can be caused by over-extraction, which can happen when the coffee beans are ground too finely, or when the brewing time is too long. To combat this, try grinding the coffee beans coarser to slow down the extraction process. A coarser grind allows for water to pass through the coffee more slowly, reducing the chance of over-extraction and bitterness. 

  1. Changing Brewing Time

Another factor that can impact the bitterness of your coffee is brewing time. If your coffee tastes too bitter, it could be due to over-extraction caused by a prolonged brewing time. To make your coffee less bitter, try reducing the brewing time. This can be achieved by adjusting the brewing method or changing the grind size. 

For example, a coarser grind combined with a shorter brewing time can result in a smoother, less bitter cup of coffee. Similarly, if using a drip coffee maker, try reducing the amount of time the water comes into contact with the coffee grounds by adjusting the machine settings or using less water. 

Another option is to try using a different brewing method, such as a French press, which allows for more control over the brewing time. By experimenting with different brewing times and methods, you can adjust the flavor profile of your coffee and create a brew that’s perfectly tailored to your taste preferences.

Make Coffee Less Bitter

  1. Check for Stale Beans

One way to ensure that your coffee doesn’t taste too bitter is to check the freshness of your coffee beans. Stale beans can contribute to a bitter taste and can also affect the overall quality of your coffee. Over time, coffee beans can lose their flavor and aroma due to exposure to air, moisture, and light. To check if your coffee beans are stale, look for signs such as a dull appearance, a lack of aroma, or a stale or rancid smell. 

If your beans are stale, it’s best to replace them with fresh ones. Freshly roasted beans, when ground and brewed properly, can produce a more vibrant and lively taste that’s free from bitterness. To keep your beans fresh for longer, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. By checking the freshness of your coffee beans regularly, you can ensure that you’re getting the best flavor and quality from your coffee.

  1. Checking Coffee to Water Ratio

Checking the coffee-to-water ratio is essential for making a delicious cup of coffee. If you use too little coffee, your brew will be weak and lacking in flavor. On the other hand, if you use too much coffee, your coffee may end up being bitter and unpleasant. One of the most common reasons for bitterness in coffee is an improper coffee-to-water ratio.

To avoid this, you should use the right amount of coffee for the amount of water you are using. A general rule of thumb is to use two tablespoons of coffee per six ounces of water. By checking your coffee-to-water ratio, you can make sure your coffee is rich, flavorful, and not too bitter.

Coffee to Water Ratio

5 Things to Add to Your Brew

  1.  Add a Fat

Adding fat to your coffee can be a great way to reduce its bitterness and enhance its flavor. This is because fat can help to balance out the acidity and bitterness that can sometimes make coffee taste harsh or unpleasant. 

There are many different types of fat you can add to your coffee, including milk, almond milk, oat milk, soy milk, cream, ice cream, or even butter. Adding a splash of milk or cream can help to smooth out the taste of your coffee and give it a richer, creamier texture. 

Meanwhile, adding a scoop of ice cream or a pat of butter can help to mellow out any harsh or bitter notes, while also adding a delicious, creamy flavor. By experimenting with different types of fats and finding the one that works best for your taste preferences, you can create a perfectly balanced cup of coffee that is smooth, flavorful, and not too bitter.

  1. Add Salt

Adding a pinch of salt to your coffee can be an effective way to reduce bitterness and enhance its overall flavor. The salt works by counteracting the bitterness in the coffee, which can be particularly helpful if you accidentally brewed your coffee too strong or if the beans are particularly bitter.

In addition to reducing bitterness, salt can also help revive stale coffee by bringing out the natural flavors and aromas of the beans. However, it’s important to note that adding too much salt can actually make your coffee taste salty, so it’s important to use it sparingly.

  1. Add Sugar

Adding sugar is a common method to make coffee less bitter. Bitterness in coffee is caused by the presence of certain compounds, such as chlorogenic acid and caffeine, that can be harsh on the palate. Sugar, being a sweetener, can counteract the bitter taste and make the coffee more enjoyable for those who prefer a sweeter flavor profile. 

However, it’s important to note that adding sugar doesn’t actually reduce the bitterness, it simply masks it with sweetness. Additionally, adding too much sugar can also alter the overall taste of the coffee and make it overly sweet. Therefore, it’s best to add sugar in moderation and experiment with different ratios to find the perfect balance for your taste buds.

  1. Add Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice that is often associated with sweet desserts, and it has natural sweetness to it. When you add cinnamon to your coffee, the taste buds in your mouth will associate the spice with something sweet, and this can help to reduce the perception of bitterness. This is because your brain is being tricked into thinking that your coffee is sweeter than it actually is. So, if you want to make your coffee less bitter and add a hint of sweetness, try adding a dash of cinnamon to it.

  1. Add Citrus

The acid in citrus fruits can counteract the bitterness in coffee and make it taste smoother. You don’t need to add a lot of citruses to achieve this effect; even a small squeeze of lemon juice can make a difference. If you don’t want to add juice, you can try putting a piece of orange or lemon rind in your coffee pot instead. This will infuse your coffee with a subtle citrus flavor and help cut down on bitterness. So, if you’re looking for a way to make your coffee taste less bitter, give citrus a try.

Things to Add to Your Brew

Additional Tips for a Less Bitter Cup of Coffee

Storing Coffee Properly

Properly storing coffee and keeping your coffee maker clean are important steps to ensure a great cup of coffee. Storing your coffee properly can help preserve its flavor and freshness. It is best to store your coffee in an airtight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Avoid storing your coffee in the fridge or freezer, as moisture and odors can affect the taste. Ideally, you should consume your coffee within 2-3 weeks of the roast date.

Cleaning Your Coffee Maker

Cleaning your coffee maker regularly can also help maintain the quality of your coffee. Over time, oils and residue from coffee can build up and impact the taste of your coffee. You should clean your coffee maker at least once a month, or more frequently if you use it often. You can use a mixture of water and vinegar to clean your coffee maker, or use a descaling solution for a more thorough cleaning. It is also important to clean the coffee pot, filter basket, and other removable parts of your coffee maker.

Check Your Water Temperature

When it comes to brewing coffee, the water temperature can greatly impact the taste. If the water temperature is too high, it can cause over-extraction and result in a bitter taste. On the other hand, if the water temperature is too low, it can lead to under-extraction and a weak flavor. The ideal water temperature for brewing coffee is between 195-205°F (90-96°C). To ensure the correct temperature, you can use a thermometer or invest in a coffee maker with a built-in temperature control.

Recommendations of Different Brew Methods


There are several ways to brew coffee, each with its own unique flavor and brewing process. One popular method is using a Keurig coffee maker, which allows for a quick and easy cup of coffee with pre-packaged pods. Keurig coffee makers are convenient and easy to use, making them a popular choice for those who want a quick cup of coffee. However, they can be more expensive in the long run due to the cost of the pre-packaged pods.

French Press

Another option is the French press, which involves steeping coarse coffee grounds in hot water and using a plunger to separate the grounds from the coffee. This method requires a bit more effort and time to prepare, but many coffee lovers enjoy the ritual of making it. It is also a great option for those who prefer a more environmentally-friendly brewing method, as it does not require disposable filters.

french press method

Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee is a great option for those who prefer a less acidic taste. It is made by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for several hours, resulting in a smooth and refreshing beverage. It is a perfect option for hot summer days, and can also be stored in the fridge for a longer shelf life.

Drip Coffee Maker

Lastly, drip coffee makers are a common household method that involves pouring hot water over a filter filled with coffee grounds. Drip coffee makers are a common household method that is easy to use and produce a consistent cup of coffee. They are often affordable and can make a large amount of coffee at once, making them a great option for entertaining guests. However, the quality of the coffee can depend on the quality of the beans and the grind size.

Pour Over Coffee

Pour over coffee involves slowly pouring hot water over a bed of coffee grounds in a filter, resulting in a clean and bright flavor. It can take a bit more skill to get the perfect brew, but the end result is often worth the effort. This method is also a great way to showcase the unique flavors of high-quality coffee beans.

You may also like to read “How to make coffee on the stove

pour over method

FAQs about How to Make Coffee Less Bitter

Does boiling coffee make it less bitter?

Boiling water can actually make coffee more bitter if the beans are scalded. Just like burnt toast, burnt coffee grounds will also have a bitter taste. To avoid this, it’s recommended to use water that’s just off the boil, around 200°F, to brew coffee. Water that’s boiling at 212°F can scald the beans and lead to a bitter taste. So, using slightly cooler water can result in a less bitter cup of coffee.


Why is Starbucks coffee bitter?

Starbucks coffee is often criticized for its bitter taste. The reason for this is likely due to the high temperature at which their beans are roasted. While strong coffee can still taste smooth and pleasant, roasting at a high temperature can result in a burnt or bitter flavor. Starbucks may roast their beans at a higher temperature to produce large quantities quickly, which can impact the overall quality of the coffee.

Why does coffee taste less bitter when cold?

Coffee can taste less bitter when cold because the temperature affects the way we perceive flavor. When coffee is hot, it can taste more bitter due to the heat. However, when it’s cold, we may perceive it as less bitter because our taste buds are less sensitive to bitterness at lower temperatures. Additionally, adding milk to coffee can enhance the sweetness and cut down on bitterness. To avoid scorching the milk, it’s important to keep the temperature below 140°F (60°C).

Is coffee better with or without milk?

Whether or not coffee is better with milk depends on personal preference and the type of coffee beans being used. Some beans may taste better when milk is added because the fats in milk can enhance enjoyable flavors while suppressing less desirable ones. Other beans may be best enjoyed as an espresso or Caffè Americano without any added milk. Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to experiment and find what works best for their tastes.

Does hot milk make coffee bitter?

Hot milk can make coffee taste bitter if it’s overheated. When milk is heated too much, it can scorch and develop a bitter taste. To avoid this, it’s important to keep the temperature below 140°F (60°C), which is the sweet spot that enhances the sweetness of both milk and coffee. By keeping the temperature in this range, you can avoid a bitter taste and enjoy a more balanced and pleasant cup of coffee with milk.


What is the healthiest way to sweeten coffee?

There are many healthy ways to sweeten coffee without using refined sugar. Agave nectar is a natural sweetener derived from cacti, and honey can also be a great alternative. Another option is stevia, a calorie-free sweetener made from a plant. Coconut sugar and maple syrup are other natural sweeteners that can be used. Unsweetened cocoa powder can also add a hint of sweetness and flavor to your coffee. Experiment with these options to find the one that works best for your tastes and health goals.

Why does sugar make coffee less bitter?

Adding sugar to coffee can help reduce its bitterness. This is because caffeine, sugar, and water interact at a molecular level to block the bitter taste that some people dislike. Research has shown that adding sugar to coffee can change its fundamental chemistry and reduce its bitterness. However, it’s important to note that adding too much sugar can also mask the flavors of the coffee, so it’s best to use sugar in moderation.

Is bitterness in coffee good?

Bitterness is not necessarily a bad thing in coffee. In fact, a small amount of bitterness can add complexity to the flavor profile and complement other flavors. Without any bitterness, coffee can taste too acidic or sweet. However, the key is balance. Too much bitterness can be overwhelming and ruin the taste of the coffee. So, a small amount of bitterness can be good, as long as it’s balanced with other flavors.

What coffee for people that don’t like bitter?

If you don’t like the bitterness in coffee, you might want to try a mocha. Mochas have a very sweet taste and none of the bitterness that coffee can sometimes have. Almost every coffee shop will have some variation of a mocha, which is a combination of espresso, chocolate, and steamed milk. So, if you’re looking for a coffee that’s not bitter, a mocha might be a good choice for you.

Conclusion for How to Make Coffee Less Bitter

How to make coffee less bitter? In conclusion, there are many ways to make coffee less bitter and more enjoyable. Storing coffee properly, cleaning your coffee maker, and checking the water temperature are all important factors that can affect the taste of your coffee. Additionally, there are various methods of brewing coffee, including Keurig, French press, pour-over, cold brew, and drip coffee makers. Experimenting with different types of coffee beans, roast levels, grind sizes, and flavorings like cinnamon or vanilla extract can also help enhance the flavor and sweetness of your coffee. 

Whether you prefer black coffee or a latte with almond milk and chocolate syrup, there are plenty of healthy ways to make coffee taste great. Don’t be afraid to try new things and share your favorite coffee tips with friends and neighbors. So, let’s enjoy our cup of coffee with a less bitter taste! Don’t forget to share this post with your coffee-loving friends and neighbors.

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