A Coffee Blog

Why is my coffee bitter? – 6 tips to avoid it

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 Bitter coffee can be caused by the following:

  1. Your coffee beans are of poor quality
  2. The water you use is too hot
  3. The coffee has been allowed to brew for too long – it is called that it is over-extracted
  4. Your coffee equipment has not been cleaned
  5. You use too much coffee in relation to the amount of water
  6. The coffee is ground too finely in relation to the brewing method you use

Do not worry! Here come the solutions to all the points.

1. Your coffee beans are of poor quality


Finding good coffee can be a jungle. The market is flooded with bad coffee, which will always be bitter. 

When the bad coffee comes in a nice coffee bag, and the producer has driven the heavy marketing shot forward, in the form of beautiful storytelling, and commercials in prime time, then it can cheat even the best. Even with speciality coffee, finding the good can be tricky.

The right speciality coffee.

Often, poor quality is tried to be hidden by a hard roasting of the coffee beans, which precisely causes it to become bitter.

In the world of wine, you can often read whether you have a quality wine or not. 

Here you encounter i.a. on terms such as “Vin de table” and “Appellation de”, which is one of the terms that tell whether a wine (in this case a French one) has a certain quality or not. 

Unfortunately, those terms do not really exist in the world of coffee, and most of the terms that exist are airy, say nothing about quality, or were invented by a marketing department to sell coffee.

Retailers frequently use terms such as Java coffee, Genuine Arabica, Kenya AA, Royal Roast and Mocca. 

The classic must be the “house blend” which must be the coffee’s answer to the baker’s space ball.


Price and quality go hand in hand! Costs your coffee less than 50-60 DKK for 250 grams. then the quality is not quite top-notch.

It may sound like a lot, but if you count on it a little, you can make 30 cups of coffee out of a bag of coffee. It is not more than DKK 2 per. cup. 7-Eleven, or a petrol station, is happy to charge DKK 20-25 for a cup. And then it’s bitter.


Do not be fooled by the fact that there is Brazilian, Colombian or another country or region on the coffee bag. That coffee comes from a country means nothing to the quality.

The rule of thumb is that the closer you can zoom in on a coffee’s origin, the greater the likelihood that the coffee is good. It is super nice if there is both country of origin, area and farm on the bag. 

Some roasteries even throw in the coffee farmer’s name, which is really good. It testifies that there is some form of cooperation between peasants and the roastery. It also means that there is a high probability of increased quality of the coffee beans.

Forget the term “arabica beans”. It’s the same as writing “red apples”. It says nothing about the quality of the apples. There are two varieties of coffee worldwide: Robusta and Arabica. 35% of the total coffee production is Robusta, the rest is Arabica. 

However, you should stay away from Robusta, as the variety generally does not taste good and has a lot of bitterness from nature.

2. Too hot water


Many people bring their water to a boil and brew immediately. It’s a problem. Because 100 degrees is too hot for your delicious coffee beans. 

You risk boiling the coffee beans, which can cause the beans to release too much bitterness.


It’s really very simple. Once the water has boiled, wait a bit to brew. The optimal brewing temperature is 92-96 degrees. if you wait a few minutes then you are on the safe side. 

However, be careful not to wait too long. If the water gets too cold, you run the risk of the coffee becoming weak in taste. Buy if necessary. a pouring jug with built-in thermometer/temperature control – then you have full control over the temperature.

3. Overextraction


One of the most common reasons why coffee has become bitter is that the coffee has been in contact with water for far too long. Just as you know it from tea, the water produces the taste in the coffee. The small ground coffee pieces must be in the water a number of times, depending on the brewing method. This is called an extraction.

The brewing process starts as soon as the water meets the coffee, and ends when the coffee is no longer in contact with the water. 

If the coffee gets too short a time then it becomes dull and tasteless. And if it gets too long then it becomes bitter.


Use a stopwatch when brewing – then you always know how long the coffee has been. If you are in doubt about how long it takes for your brewing method, then you can find many recipes online. 

4. Clean your coffee equipment


Coffee grounds in e.g. your plunger jug, or old coffee in your coffee grinder can make your coffee bitter and not taste fresh.  


Clean your coffee equipment.

Cleaning the coffee grinder

If you have an electric coffee grinder, you can remove the old coffee residues that make your coffee bitter. You can do this by running a cleaning tablet called  Urnex Grindz. 

It is a kind of organic soap for electric coffee grinders. Don’t worry, the product is not harmful to you, but may taste a little strange. 

To remove the taste from it, after the cleaning process, drip some coffee through. Then your coffee grinder is clean.

You can also vacuum your electric coffee grinder. Set it to the coarsest degree of grinding. 

Remove the bean hopper and then vacuum directly into the grinder. Also, vacuum the bean container and the container in which the ground coffee ends up.

If it is possible and you really want to go all-in on the cleaning, then you can disassemble your coffee grinder and clean all parts with a brush and a cloth.

Then it is as clean as new.

Cleaning of coffee makers  

Remove all old crumbs from your brewing equipment. And be careful. For example. we recommend that you separate your filter for your piston jug after each use. There can be a lot of turbidity in the filter that you can not see.

5: Too much coffee in relation to water


“You just need an extra spoonful of coffee in – it must taste of something”.

More is not always good, especially not when it comes to coffee. Too much coffee in relation to water can cause your coffee to taste too intense and bitter. 

Often it is because you rush forward when brewing. Then you take a little extra coffee, which usually does not end with a good result.


Think about your coffee brewing. It is generally a good idea to use the same amount of coffee, the same amount of water, as well as the same brewing time when brewing. 

Use a scale to weigh both the coffee and the water and a stopwatch on time. It may seem cumbersome, but it’s really just like following a recipe. 

And it’s worth it when you get a good cup of coffee every single time.

A good rule of thumb is to use 7 grams of coffee per. cup of coffee when brewing on a coffee funnel, or plunger jug.

6: How fine should the coffee be ground?


How to set the grinder? If you do not know exactly which setting the grinder should be on, it can often make the coffee too intense and bitter. 

This is because the degree of grinding does not suit the brewing method.


Adjust the degree of grinding to the brewing method. Examine which degree of grinding matches what. 

A rule of thumb is that the longer the ground coffee is in contact with water, the coarser the coffee beans must be ground. 

For example. the coffee beans must be roughly ground to a plunger jug, as the coffee is in contact with water for 3-4 min, which in the coffee universe is a long time.

On the other hand, espresso coffee is an extremely fast brewing method, where the water is forced through the coffee by 9 bar, and therefore the coffee beans must be ground very finely. 

Check what is recommended.

Remember: Bitterness in coffee is ok. But it must not be too bitter, because then it overshadows the rest of the taste experience.

Bon appetite!

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