Ryan Fritzky • March 22, 2021
Wondering why your coffee tastes bitter? You might be surprised by the possible causes, which include the type of coffee cup you're using. Use this checklist to remove the bitter from your morning ritual.
How old is your coffee? Is it pre-ground? As a general rule, whole bean coffee stays at peak freshness for about three weeks after it's roasted. After three weeks, the oils and sugars within the coffee bean escape, causing the flavor of the coffee to taste bitter. If you're using pre-ground coffee, the coffee can take on a bitter flavor 24 hours after it's ground. That's why we always recommend buying freshly roasted whole bean coffee and grinding it right before you brew.
Grinding coffee too fine is a common cause of bitterness (also known as over extraction). How do you know what grind size is right for you? This often requires a little experimentation. The grind you use depends on how you make coffee. For an espresso maker or an AeroPress where the coffee grounds aren't exposed to water for a long period of time, you'll want to use a finer grind. For a pour-over brewing method where the grounds sit in water, such as a French press or Chemex, you'll want to use a courser grind. For an automatic coffee maker, you'll want be somewhere in the middle.
When using a French press, don't leave the coffee grounds submerged in water for more than four minutes. Serve the coffee immediately after it's done steeping to prevent it from meeting a bitter (over extracted) fate.
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