You wake up eager to start your day with a great coffee. You put in the work and finally have some ready. You took a sip and were disappointed at the bitter taste. This can happen to anyone and the common reasons why coffee taste burnt are actually really easy to fix.
Your coffee may taste burnt because you may have issues with your coffee, water, or the equipment used to make your coffee cup. These may include stale coffee beans, incorrect ground size, wrong water temperature, incorrect brewing method, or old brewing equipment.
This article explores why your coffee may taste burnt and suggests some possible solutions for you to consider.
Why Does Coffee Taste Burnt?
When diagnosing issues such as coffee that tastes burnt, you may need to explore from the most basic, which is the coffee, before going to the water, and then the equipment. If all is good, then it may be your brewing method that caused it.
Is The Coffee Still Fresh?
Sometimes, if we do not keep our coffee properly, it may turn stale a little faster. Stale coffee may be more likely to taste burnt, as they have lost its freshness.
The solution? Check your coffee packaging for the roast date, and ensure that your coffee is not over more than 3 weeks from the roast date. This ensures fresh beans and reduces the likelihood of stale or burnt coffee.
Could It Be From Over Roasted Beans?
When roasting, coffee beans undergo a chemical process known as the Maillard reaction, where they turn brown and develop flavors and aromas.
Dark roasts can sometimes be roasted really long to develop a smoky flavor. Some drinkers may be like this, but you may consider it a burnt taste.
The solution? Look for light or medium-roasted coffee. This should reduce the smoky taste and make the coffee more drinkable.
Are You Grinding Your Beans Right?
Depending on your brewing technique, you may need to use coffee grounds at different fineness. For example, coffee grounds for French Press may be coarser than espresso machines.
Suppose you use coffee grinds that are too fine. In that case, you may cause over-extraction of flavors, resulting in overly bitter or burnt coffee.
The solution? Ensure your coffee beans are ground down to the right fineness. Ensure your grinders are using the right settings, or talk to your barista about getting the right grind size for your brewing technique.
Are You Using Hard Water?
Water may be separated several times, such as soft or hard water. Hard water refers to water with a higher mineral content than usual. Hard water may sometimes cause your coffee to taste bad or burnt.
One way to ensure this does not happen to you is to use cleaner water. They could be distilled, filtered, or purified. These types of water are more balanced in mineral content, ensuring they do not affect the taste of your coffee.
Are You Brewing At The Right Water Temperature?
Coffee brewing is not an exact science, but there is guidance on water temperature to ensure the best-tasting coffee. If it’s too hot, you may end up with burnt coffee.
The ideal temperature to brew coffee should be between 195°F to 205°F (about 90°C to 96°C). This means you should not pour boiling water into your coffee but wait a few minutes for the water to cool down before using it to brew.
Are You Over Extracting?
When your coffee grind meets hot water, flavors escape the coffee and get pulled into the water. There are several extraction stages where stronger and stronger flavors are extracted.
If you leave the water with the grinds for too long, the water may pull out undesired things such as tannins. Over-extraction may result in burnt, overly bitter tastes that ruin your coffee.
The best way to counter this is to refer to brewing instructions and ensure to not brew your coffee for longer than the recommended time.
Is Your Brewing Equipment Well Maintained?
One way to ruin your coffee taste is to use old and uncleaned coffee equipment. Take, for example, your coffee grinder. If uncleaned, there may be old, stale coffee grounds inside.
These old grounds may get mixed up with your fresh coffee, resulting in a bitter, burnt taste. Other brewing equipment, such as espresso makers, also need regular cleaning to ensure they do not cause burnt coffee.
The solution? Conduct regular maintenance on your brewing equipment to ensure they remain clean and in tip-top condition.
Are You Executing Your Brewing Process Right?
There are many ways to brew a cuppa, from classic drip coffee to fancier methods such as Moka Pot, AeroPress, or French Press.
The key is to understand how to execute the brewing process right and to ensure you are using the right coffee grind size.
For example, a French press requires a coarse grind and a longer brewing time, while a pour-over requires a medium grind and a shorter brewing time. Using the wrong brewing method can lead to over-extraction and a burnt taste.
To avoid this, ensure you spend time learning the process of brewing coffee, focusing on the method of your choice. This could be done by joining coffee classes, watching YouTube videos, or talking to your barista for tips.
There are various factors that can contribute to a burnt taste in your coffee. By identifying the potential causes, such as stale coffee beans, incorrect brewing methods, or old equipment, you can take actionable steps to improve the taste of your coffee.
Experimenting with different coffee beans, water temperature, and brewing techniques can also help you achieve your perfect cup of coffee.
So, don’t give up on your coffee just yet – with a little bit of effort and adjustments, you can enjoy a rich, flavorful, and satisfying cup every time.
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Alex is a self confessed coffee addict – but he takes his love of caffeine seriously in a completely responsible way. He loves trying new coffees and testing the latest machines and is not usually fan of one button pod machines. Alex is happiest when he is tinkering with settings and milk temperatures to create the perfect cup. When not obsessing over coffee, Alex is a keen musician and plays weddings and other social events (usually fuelled by… yes, you guessed it… coffee).