How To Make Coffee That Isn't Bitter

If you’ve been drinking coffee long enough, chances are you’ve had more than a few bad cups of joe. From watery rest-stop coffee to burnt coffee from a distracted barista, or even a homemade brew that just didn’t turn out right, a bad cup of coffee can ruin a morning. The worst of all, however, is the dreaded bitter cup of coffee. 

Coffee tastes naturally bitter due to its caffeine content, but that bitterness is only part of the story. Extra bitterness in coffee can come from various sources, including incorrectly brewing your coffee, using low-quality beans, letting your coffee sit for too long, and even grinding your beans too finely! Making coffee is a science, and if you haven’t learned some of the tricks of the trade, you might be missing out on the full-body flavors and delicious nuances that coffee can offer!  

While you can’t control the taste of the coffee drinks you buy, there are a few things you can do to ensure that the coffee you make comes out tasting perfect every time. So keep reading to discover a few of the best ways to brew tasty coffee and avoid a tasting experience that leaves a harsh taste in your mouth.

Why Is my Coffee Bitter?

Before diving headfirst into the various brewing methods and factors that go into making your coffee, you should first figure out what might be going wrong. There are a few major culprits, but each of them have some pretty easy fixes!

  • Time: The most common mistake of all; leaving your coffee to steep for too long. The instant you combine your coffee grounds and water, the coffee begins its extraction process. This process is key to making great coffee, but the longer you leave it alone, the more bitter your brew will become.
  • Grind Size: As most coffee lovers know, you should always grind your coffee beans right before brewing in order to get the freshest flavor. However, depending on your brewing method, you might be grinding your coffee too finely. For example, pour-over coffee uses a different grind size than French Press coffee, and Drip coffee uses a different grind size than either of the other two. 
  • Water Temperature: While it might seem intuitive to let your water boil before adding it to your grounds, boiling water is too hot! According to the National Coffee Association, you should brew your coffee with water between 195º and 205º. Anything higher will start to over-cook your beans.
  • Bean Quality: If you’ve handled all of the factors above, and your cup of joe is still too bitter, it might be due to your beans. It can seem like a minor detail, but cheap coffee beans are often over-roasted or burnt during the roasting process. All of which can lead to more bitterness in your coffee, regardless of how well you brew it!       

How to Make Coffee Less Bitter

Once you’ve identified the main issue causing your coffee to be bitter, it’s time to fix the problem! This process might take some experimentation and patience on your part, but the payoff results in fantastic coffee.


If you’ve discovered that you leave your coffee to steep for too long, you can try a couple of different methods to fix it! If you’re more of the forgetful type, set a timer for roughly five minutes while your coffee is steeping. Once the coffee has steeped, filter out the grounds from the coffee, and keep the hot coffee in a thermal flask to maintain heat! 

Separating the grounds and coffee can allow you to drink your coffee over longer periods of time without running the risk of making over-extracted coffee. Experiment with different coffee brewing times to find your favorite length.

Grind Size 

As mentioned above, every coffee brewing method works best with a different grind size. This has to do with the amount of time the water and grounds are in contact with each other, which will differ from method to method. 

In general, there are three coffee grind sizes; coarse, medium, and fine. Coarsely-ground coffee is great for immersion brewing methods, such as Cold Brew Coffee, French Press Coffee, and Cowboy Coffee. Medium grind beans are best for Pour-Over Coffees and Drip Coffees, and finely ground coffee is perfect for espresso. Know your grind sizes, and you can make good coffee into great coffee.

Water Temperature

If your coffee is boiling, there’s a good chance your coffee is burnt! To avoid this common mistake, either take your kettle off before it reaches a full boil or use a thermometer to check the temperature before adding it to your grounds. You can also bring the kettle to a full boil and let it sit off the heat for a few minutes before you brew your coffee.

Alternatively, if you want a really smooth coffee, you can try cold-brewing your beans! This process removes any chance of over-cooking your grounds and results in coffee tasting unlike anything you’ve had before.

Bean Quality

As we said, cheap coffee tastes bitter more often than not, and if you genuinely want top-notch coffee, you need to invest in top-notch beans. Roasting beans is a delicate process that requires care and attention. 

When you make the switch from cheaper grocery store coffee to freshly roasted beans, you can taste the difference immediately. When coffee is roasted correctly, ground, and brewed, you’ll experience nuanced coffee flavors you didn’t think possible and might even rediscover your love for the drink in the first place.


At Amora, our mission is to make sure nobody has bad coffee ever again! From perfecting our 9-step roasting process to shipping our freshly roasted coffee straight to you, we put in the time and effort to bring great coffee to as many people as possible. Try our subscription service today to find out what great coffee can taste like. 

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