The bitter taste of coffee is inherent to the drink as a result of the interaction of certain compounds with the circumvallate papillae on the back of the tongue. While caffeine lends to the bitter taste, factors like the size of the grind, brewing method, water temperature and the roast all contribute to the bitter taste. Some of the ways of reducing the bitter taste include choosing a coarser grind and adopting the drip method of brewing.
- Choose your coffee
Choose the proper type of coffee to reduce bitterness in the end product. Medium roast coffee is less bitter than dark roasts. Robusta coffee is usually more bitter than other blends. A coarser ground also produces less bitter coffee. Decaffeinated coffee is also less bitter than regular coffee. However, contrary to popular belief, researchers have found that caffeine accounts for less than 15 percent of bitterness in coffee.
- Use the right temperature water
Using distilled water helps reduce perceived bitterness in coffee as well. Make sure the water you're using to brew the coffee is hot, as this heightens the aromatics and reduces the bitterness. However, using extremely hot water extracts bitter compounds from the coffee grounds.
- Pick the right method
Brewing coffee with a French press is likely to make it more bitter, while drip brewing helps reduce the bitter taste. It is important to clean your coffee machine regularly, as buildup of old grinds can cause bitterness as well.