When you take your first sip of coffee in the morning, what is the first thing you taste? If you’re like most people, it’s the bitterness of the coffee. But why is coffee bitter?
Coffee is bitter because it contains certain compounds like caffeine and chlorogenic acids.
These compounds stimulate our taste buds and give coffee its characteristic bitterness.
The bitterness of coffee also largely depends on the type of coffee beans that you’re using.
For example, Robusta beans are naturally more bitter than Arabica.
And, interestingly enough, the bitterness of coffee is what makes it so popular. I
In this blog post, we will explore the reasons why coffee is bitter and how to make the most of this flavor profile.
The Science of Coffee’s Bitterness
Bitterness is one of the five basic tastes, along with sweetness, sourness, saltiness, and umami.
It’s caused by certain compounds in food that stimulate our taste buds.
The taste of coffee is due to a variety of compounds. Chemically, it’s bitter because of caffeine and chlorogenic acids.
Compounds in coffee stimulate our taste buds and can lead to the characteristic bitterness that we typically associate with coffee.
The science of bitterness is a complex topic, but understanding the basics can help us appreciate coffee’s unique flavor.
The Bitterness is Affected by the Coffee Bean Type
There are three main types of coffee beans: Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica.
- Arabica beans are the most commonly used type of coffee bean. They have a sweeter taste and a less acidic flavor.
- Robusta beans are less sweet than Arabica beans but have more caffeine. They also have a more bitter taste.
- Liberica beans are the least common type of coffee bean. They have a fruity flavor and a floral aroma.
The Roasting Process
The roasted coffee beans are then ground and brewed with hot water to produce coffee.
Coffee is bitter because the roast process brings out bitterness in the coffee bean.
The more the bean is roasted, the more bitter the coffee will taste. To offset the bitterness, people often add milk, sugar, or cream to their coffee.
The Brewing Process
As anyone who’s ever made a pot of coffee knows, the beans must be ground up before they can be brewed.
The size of the grind is crucial to the flavor of the coffee:
- If the grind is too fine, the coffee will be over-extracted and taste bitter.
- If the grind is too coarse, the coffee will be under-extracted and taste weak.
The next step in the brewing process is to add water (preferably filtered or spring water) to the ground coffee.
The ratio of coffee to water is essential, but it’s a matter of personal preference.
A good rule of thumb is to use about 2 tablespoons (10 grams) of ground coffee for every 6 ounces (180 milliliters) of water.
Once the water has been added, the mixture is stirred and then left to steep for a few minutes.
The longer the mixture steeps, the stronger and more bitter the coffee will be. After steeping, the mixture is strained through a filter to remove any remaining grounds.
And that’s it! You’ve now brewed a pot of delicious (and hopefully not too bitter) coffee.
Coffee bitterness is often caused by additives.
Common coffee additives include sugar, artificial sweeteners, cream, and flavorings.
While these additives can improve the taste of coffee, they can also make it more bitter.
There are a few reasons why coffee is bitter.
One reason is that the beans used to make coffee are roasted, and roasting can sometimes cause bitterness. Another reason is that coffee contains compounds called tannins, which can also contribute to bitterness.
Finally, the brewing process itself can also affect the level of bitterness in coffee.
If you find that your coffee is too bitter for your taste, there are a few things you can do to reduce the bitterness, such as using less coffee per cup or adding milk or sugar to your drink.
Now – do you prefer more bitter of less bitter coffee?
Let us know by leaving a comment below!
Did somebody say coffee? Two shots of espresso for me, thanks. Oh, nevermind – I’m Simon, nice to e-meet you, dear CoffeeLifior! I like to write, drink coffee and I believe in Jesus. Highly-caffeinated drinks are my thing, but you can occasionally see me sip on decaf (my wife never finishes her coffee). Speaking of which, I’m off to grab another cup of caffeinated goodness now, laters!