The bitter taste is part of the coffee’s variety of flavors. And in my point of view, your coffee isn’t a coffee if there’s no bitterness in it.
I’ve been making own coffee at home, and personally, I like my coffee to have the right balance of bitterness, acidity and sweetness. However, for some people who are accustomed to some types of coffee drinks loaded with creamer or sweetener, the bitterness seems way too much for their tastes to handle.
While it’s true that bitterness in coffee is unavoidable, there are still many ways to reduce it and make your coffee tastes better. In this post let’s find out if these techniques can work in making your coffee less bitter and sweeter.
Table of Contents
1. Add Cream or Milk to Coffee
The easiest way to reduce the bitterness is to add cream, milk, or sugar to your coffee. Black coffee or espresso is usually bitter. So, what I always do to mask the bitterness a bit is to add milk or creamer. And it works perfectly fine.
Some people prefer something easier, like a cappuccino or a latte because of having an equal or greater portion of milk to espresso, together with the foamed milk on top.
What I’m pointing out is that cream or milk has a fat content that helps counteract the bitterness in the coffee. The same thing with sugar, which is a great additive to balance or mask the dominant taste of bitterness in your cup.
However, this can only be a good option if you tend to drink coffee with cream, milk, or dairy products, unless you use plant-based alternative such as almond milk.
The other downside of it, especially if you’re brewing black coffee, is it neutralizes the taste. Meaning, you can either make or break the coffee flavor. So, you should work on your coffee to milk ratio to avoid overpowering or diluting your coffee with milk.
2. Add Salt to your Coffee
Adding a dash of salt is actually a popular trick to reduce the bitterness in your coffee and make it sweeter and even better.
Salt helps cut the bitterness while enhancing the flavor of your coffee. The science behind this is that salt has a sodium content that is actually better at reducing the bitterness than sugar. Meaning, while sugar can only mask the bitterness by overpowering it with its sweet flavor, the salt can neutralize the bitterness completely.
I tried this technique to see if it works or not. And all I can say is that it will depend on your taste preference. While a small amount of salt to your coffee will not ruin the overall flavors, it’s still great to balance it with the right amount of salt. Otherwise, your coffee will taste sour.
3. Add Spices/ Flavorings to your Coffee
Adding spices or flavorings to your coffee seems not be the best option to reduce the bitterness. However, it’s still an effective way to mask the bitterness a bit and create a different perception.
I think this option can also work in making your coffee less bitter because the taste buds will react more to these spices or flavorings instead of bitterness. This will make you think that your coffee isn’t as bitter as you thought.
You can be creative and add different flavors to customize your coffee. Here are some spices that you can add to your coffee.
Hot chocolate mix
Pumpkin pie spice
There are many delightful spices that you can directly add to the coffee grounds before brewing. However, if the bitterness still overpowers these spices, you can use milk or cream.
4. Brew your Coffee Properly
The way you brew your coffee can also influence the bitterness. I mean, over-extraction is the main reason why your coffee tastes bitter. So, in order to avoid or reduce the bitterness of your coffee, you should also learn how to properly extract the needed flavors from your coffee beans.
On the other hand, you should also avoid under-extraction. You don’t want your coffee to taste like water, even if it’s less bitter. So, depending on your preferred brewing method, you can eventually hone your skill and make it with constant learning and practice.
But can this make your coffee sweeter? I think so. Your coffee beans have natural sugars, acids, etc. And if you managed to balance those flavors, then it will take your coffee from bitter to delightful.
Moving on, here are the following factors you need to consider to brew your coffee properly.
· Adjust the Grind Consistency
If you want to make less bitter coffee, then avoid using finely coffee grounds. Meaning, don’t use coffee beans that are ground into an extremely fine powder.
You can cut the extra taste of bitterness of your coffee by adjusting the grind size. This can also highlight the coffee’s good and smoothy flavor. Meaning, if your coffee taste strong or bitter, try going with a coarser grind.
Another option you can try when brewing your coffee is to use less hot water. If your water is very hot, it can over-extract the flavors from coffee beans, including the bitter compounds.
· Work on your Brewing Time
Don’t let your coffee steep in hot water for too long, especially. This can lead to a bitter tasting coffee. So, to reduce the bitterness of your coffee, you should experiment on how long can you brew your coffee.
Another effective way to make you coffee less bitter is to transfer the brewed coffee immediately to a thermos to keep it hot once it is done.
· Adjust the Coffee to Water Ratio
I think this is the best option to reduce the bitterness in your coffee. This happens to me sometimes. I use a higher portion of coffee to less water. This doesn’t only make your coffee bitter but also undrinkable, even if you add sugar.
So, what I’m trying to say is to find your recipe. Try experimenting with your coffee to water ratio to be able to cut down the bitterness of your coffee. Meaning, if your coffee tastes bitter, try reducing the amount of ground coffee or try adding more water.
5. Use Light Roast Coffee Beans
There are a lot more to discuss on the different types of coffee roasts. But all I know is that light roast coffee beans tend to have lesser bitter compounds compared to dark roasts.
The bitterness in coffee increases when the roasting process continues. Meaning the more you roast your coffee, the more bitterness it gets.
So, one way to make coffee less bitter is to use light roasted coffee beans. Well, it’s not that completely less bitter, but at least it doesn’t have a harsh type of bitter sensation. light- to medium-roast coffee creates a pleasant, coffee-like bitter taste quality. It means that it has a bitterness that your taste buds can handle.
Does this make your coffee more sweet? No. Unfortunately, since the coffee beans are roasted in a short amount of time, the bean’s natural sugar doesn’t have enough time to caramelize. So, this option can only make your coffee less bitter but not sweeter.
6. Use Freshly Roasted Coffee Beans
Sometimes the secret behind less bitter but sweeter coffee is the bean’s freshness. Aside from getting the best out of your coffee, you’re also cutting the bitter compounds. That is because you’re avoiding fast oxidation and the coffee oils to be exposed to air, which can cause unpleasant flavor and smell.
Therefore, this option is also effective in making less bitter coffee. One way to always have fresh coffee beans is to store them properly.
7. Use Quality Coffee Beans
One of the best options to make less bitter coffee is to use quality coffee beans. Defects, low quality, and stale coffee are the things that degrade to flavor of coffee. And something they make your coffee bitter.
There are probably hundreds of places where you can buy quality beans. I recommend you explore coffee shops, coffee roasters, and specialty cafes out there to find the best ones.
If there’s a local coffee roaster nearby, then start trying their freshly roasted beans. If you don’t want to buy coffee online, then visit these coffee roasters and shops physically to get high-quality and freshly roasted beans in a minute.
In the end, you can you avoid bitter coffee because roasters can assist you and give you enough idea on the type of roast or type of coffee beans to choose.
There you have it! Here are the ways to make less bitter coffee and sweeter. If bitterness is way too much for your tastes buds to handle, you can always reduce, neutralize, or mask this unpleasant taste in your coffee.
However, in my point of view, bitterness in coffee isn’t always a bad thing. The right amount of bitterness ensures that the complexity and balanced flavor are there in every cup of coffee we drink. After reading this post, be sure to check our other blog post on what makes coffee bitter.