Why Does My Coffee Taste Sour? Troubleshooting Your Brew

By Shabbir
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Coffee lovers who are new to the brewing process often encounter problems such as sour coffee. When coffee tastes sour, there is a problem with your brewing technique and/or brewing time. To avoid pulling your hair out and screaming “why does my coffee taste sour?!”, let us take a closer look at this problem and look at how to solve it.


Why does my coffee taste sour? Is it supposed to?

In the coffee culture, sour flavors are considered a defect and not an attribute. So, sour taste is something you want to avoid in your coffee.

Since there can be many things that can make your coffee taste sour, you can find some information on how to remedy sour coffee tastes below.

Sour coffee is usually caused by incorrect brewing techniques or incorrect grind size. So, fine-tuning the brewing process and dialing in the grind size can do wonders. If your coffee tastes sour, here are some of the things you need to pay extra attention to.

Incorrect grind size

If your coffee tastes sour, grind size is the first thing to look at. A grind size that is too coarse for the brewing technique you are using can easily make coffee taste sour. If you often use coffee grounds that are coarse, try a medium grind size instead.

Grind size is especially important when you brew pour over coffee. Coarser grinds have a really high chance of creating that sour taste for pour over coffee, so try to make your grinds a couple of notches finer instead.

Improper coffee brewing techniques

Variables such as brew time and brewing techniques can reduce sour taste in coffee, so it is certainly worth looking at your options in that regard.

If you often struggle with a sour taste in your coffee, look at the brewing time. Over-extraction results in a lot of unwanted flavors in your coffee.

Any brewing method where you’re manually brewing are possible to over-extract. Drip machines and espresso machines control the time of the brew automatically, so you can try using those instead.

What if I use french press?

Some prefer the French press to make their coffee, but this also means you have to adjust your brewing technique again. For the French Press, you actually need to change your coffee grounds to coarse.

Remember, the French press makes coffee by using an extended brew time, so you do not want under extraction by using the wrong type of coffee grounds.

The ideal time to brew french press is 4 minutes, so set a timer and as soon as the 4 minutes are up, plunge and pour the coffee into a different container.

Use fresh grounds

Try to grind your coffee just before brewing. Using supermarket ground coffee will result in bad tasting coffee because the coffee will most likely be stale. Freshly roasted beans are the way to go.

How Do You Make The Perfect Cup of Joe?

Making your daily cup of joe is all about finding that right combination of knowledge, techniques, and finding the right products.

The first step of making that perfect morning coffee is by finding the right roast. First, you need to find your own personal preferences where roast is concerned.

Do you like lighter roasts, medium roasts or dark roasts? Taking into account your personal preferences will make your coffee taste that much better from the get go.

Of course, finding a trustworthy brand is the second part of it. After all, your favorite roast means nothing if you do not have the right beans or the freshness your coffee needs.

For the perfect cup of coffee, we also recommend learning how to grind your beans yourself. Grinding yourself will ensure the freshest coffee grind possible, avoiding the loss of flavor.

Fortunately, coffee grinders are really affordable these days, and some are even included in coffee makers. So, why not have a look at the options available for a better coffee.

Naturally, you cannot forget about your brew methods either. There are dozens of different ways to make coffee these days; this can include drip coffee, French press and even other methods such as the Aeropress.

With so many techniques currently available, it is advised to focus on one technique at a time.

Choosing a brewing method can be a matter of personal preference too. Coffee made with a press tends to be oilier and fuller bodied, while percolators can be consistent, but less controllable. Researching the various methods, and the results you obtain when combining certain roasts with those methods, can take you so much further towards the perfect coffee.

Finally, do not be afraid to experiment just a little. After all, there is plenty to discover!

Why Is My Coffee Bitter?

While some people actually like bitter in coffee, others do not like bitter coffee at all. So, this particular flavor can be a hit and miss in the coffee culture. If you do not like the bitter taste in your coffee, then there are some of the things you can do to avoid it.
Firstly, make sure your water temperature is on point.

If the water temperature is too hot, it will accentuate the bitter flavors in your brew. Ideally, you want your water to be somewhere between 195 and 205 degrees for the perfect coffee brew and superior taste.

Your coffee beans also play a role where bitter taste is concerned. One thing to pay extra attention to is the freshness of the beans, as stale beans can be the prime cause of bitter coffee. Even if you have the brew time and the temperature of the water on point, stale coffee can still ruin things for you.

Why Does My Coffee Taste Burnt?

Another common problem that can occur with your brew is a burnt taste. Much like other unwanted flavors, there are various factors that can contribute to that burn taste.

Coffee that has been roasted too much can cause that burnt taste. Therefore, burnt taste can be a little more common with darker roasts. It also means that choosing the right beans will make all the difference where coffee flavor is concerned.

Once again stale coffee is another major cause of a burnt taste in your brew. So, getting your beans from a trustworthy supplier or a local coffee shop can make all the difference.

Finally, if you prefer drip coffee, then the cause of the burnt taste can be a lot more straightforward. Some drip coffee brewers have a heat plate underneath the carafe. Beginners often think that this is a great invention, as obviously it keeps the coffee warm.

Unfortunately, those heat plates also kill the flavor of your coffee faster than anything else. In fact, if your brew stays on the heat plate for a long time, it will basically cook your coffee and cause that awful burnt taste in your brew.

Conclusion: Getting Rid Of Unwanted Tastes Forever

Since there are so many potential causes of unwanted tastes, it is all about mastering your brew time, brewing techniques, and even grind.

In addition to mastering coffee making techniques, you also want to look at the beans you purchase. Look for a supplier that roasts your beans after you ordered them, which ensures the beans are fresh by the time they make it to you.

So, the trick to removing those unwanted tastes? Master those techniques and learn more about coffee. The coffee culture is all around you, ready to provide you with the best tips and advice. So, why not take advantage of it?

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About Shabbir

Shab is the Chief Caffeine Officer at Coffee Brewster. When he's not weighing out coffee beans for his next brew, you can find him writing about his passion: coffee.