Making the perfect cup of coffee is an art form and requires a lot of practice and experience – you might not get it right the first time, or even the first ten times after that! But with our coffee how-to guides and this handy troubleshooting page, we’re helping coffee-lovers to see exactly where they’re going wrong when it comes to their favourite drink.
Problem: Bitter tasting coffee
Bitter coffee can be down to many different factors – the setup of the coffee machine and the grinder, for one. It’s usually not the coffee itself causing the bitterness; if you bought it from us it’s especially unlikely that the coffee isn’t fresh or of a high enough quality!
Dirty coffee machines yield bitter coffee – it’s a fact. Clean your machine properly, back flush the group heads and try again.
If you’re still experiencing bitter-tasting coffee, you might need to tinker with the settings on your coffee grinder. If your coffee is too fine or too coarse, you may end up with a bitter cup. You can tell if your grinder is on the wrong setting fairly easily – coffee that’s too coarse will come out very quickly (under 20 seconds), but coffee that is too fine will have a long extraction time (more than 30 seconds).
To rectify this, make the ground coarser or finer in accordance with your observations. You should be aiming for an extraction time between 20 – 25 seconds – counted from when you first press the button.
You might also be forcing too much water through your coffee. Espresso machines force the heated liquid through the ground coffee in the group handle – the guideline amount for the perfect single espresso is 40ml. But forcing too much water through is like using the same coffee twice, and can result in a bitter taste that is fairly unpleasant. Use a shot glass or an espresso cup, filling it to around 1/3 or 1/2 full for a single espresso, depending on the size of the cup itself.
If you’re still not getting the desired results, you may want to look to your product. How long have you been stowing that coffee? Old beans can go stale and cause bitterness in the final cup. If you’ve got the right extraction time, a clean machine and the right amount of water, the problem can also lie in the actual quality of the coffee. Low-quality coffee can also cause bitterness – why not try some of our organic coffee beans and watch the taste of your cup improve dramatically?