How To Like Coffee And Develop A Taste For It (And Why People Don’t)

By Shabbir
Last update:
how to like coffee and develop a taste for it

Maybe you’ve heard of the amazing health benefits of coffee, or you know about the energy boost that caffeine provides. Or you’ve heard of people tasting floral, chocolate, and nutty notes in coffee.

You really want to like coffee, but you just can’t handle the bitter taste of it? In this post, we’ll show you how to like coffee. Or at least how you can try to like coffee 🙂

Also, there’s the social aspect of coffee. Usually, we like to grab coffees for dates, not tea! Unless you live in England, of course!

Jokes aside, here’s why some people find it hard to like coffee and what you can do about it. The solutions will go from easy to difficult, and you may find yourself stopping at one solution, even though they are progressions from one stage to the next.

How to like coffee if the taste is too bitter

First off, the likelihood that you’ve never “liked” coffee because it was too bitter is most likely due to drinking instant coffee or cheap gas station coffee.

Still, if the only access you have to coffee right now is gas station coffee or instant coffee, here’s what you can do about it:

Add milk/creamer and sweetener to taste

We’re not a huge fan of adding sweeteners to coffee but if you find the coffee to just be too bitter or acidic, try taming the flavors with milk or a creamer.

Non-dairy creamers are full of chemicals but there’s no doubt that they taste good. So while I can’t really in good conscience say stick to creamers all the time, you can certainly use them as a stepping stone towards graduating to proper coffee.

If you must use a creamer, try Coffee Mate French Vanilla or Coffee Mate Hazelnut. They’ll add a nice bit of depth to your coffee and make it palatable.

If just adding milk doesn’t do the trick, try adding a pinch of sweeteners, only enough to dampen the bitterness. If you add too much sweetener then you may as well drink hot water and sugar because you’re certainly not going to taste any coffee!

Aside from sugar, you can try adding honey or maple syrup for a slightly healthier sweetener alternative.

Brew coffee the right way

Chances are, if you’re using supermarket ground coffee that’s been lying around on your shelf for extended periods of time, you’re not using fresh coffee.

I personally had this same experience – I would always buy supermarket coffee and stick it in the freezer, where it would absorb all sorts of aromas, and finally, the resulting brew would just not be palatable without any creamer or sweeteners.

Once I switched to freshly roasted beans, ground at home right before brewing, things started looking up.

Once beans are roasted, you’ve got about 10 to 14 days to drink the coffee before they lose most of their oomph and flavor.

And once you grind the beans, you’ve only got 1 hour before the nuanced flavors go bye bye!

In fact, freshly ground, high quality beans are so good that I just directly jumped to black coffee and straight espresso shots!

For suggestions on what beans to start using, check our our post on the best coffee beans from craft roasters.

Once you start using good coffee, you’ll notice a huge difference. Then you can start playing around with the way you brew your coffee instead.

Change your brewing method

Next up, I would play around with different brewing methods. Some methods produce stronger brews than others.

For starting out, I would actually avoid espresso, since it can be very strong. However, if you were to use the espresso shot to make a cappuccino or a proper latte, that would work too!

Here are some methods to try:

French press

The French press is a classic immersion brewing technique where the coffee is brewed by letting the grounds steep in water for about 4 minutes. French press brews are often in the “goldilocks” zone and universally loved.


Aeropresses are a great way to brew a whole lot of different coffees from espresso shots to regular brewed coffee. It’s quick, easy, and consistently produces a great cup of coffee.

Pour over

Although there are many more than these three methods, I am only going to touch upon 3 here. Pour over is the last method, and is also very good at extracting flavors very evenly without getting too much or too little intensity.

Other things to watch for

  • Water temperature: if your water is too hot (205 F/96 C or greater) you will burn the coffee. This is bad. Burnt coffee tastes terrible, and the sweet spot to hit with water temperature is 195-205 degrees F (90-95 degrees C). Leave your kettle open for about 30 seconds after boiling to get the temperature down
  • Coffee grind: The grind of your coffee must match the kind of coffee you’re making. Espresso requires fine grinds, and coarse grinds will produce a watery shot. French press requires coarse grinds, and fine grinds will produce gritty, muddy coffee. Remember to get the grind right for optimal flavor!

Use a light roast

Finally, if after all of this, you still feel your coffee is too strong, then try using a light roast. Darker roasts tend to have very strong and intense flavor profiles, and light roasts are, as the name suggests, light :).

Be mindful though that light or blonde roasts may have a little more caffeine than darker roasts if you measure by volume. If you measure by weight, there’s no difference – since the darker roast beans shrink during the extended roasting.

Drink milky coffees

It takes a while to develop a taste for black coffee, and some people are never able to get to that point. That’s totally ok!

An awesome way to damped the intensity of coffee while still preserving a lot of the flavor is to drink milky coffees.

This could mean just adding a splash of milk as discussed above, or venturing into the world of espresso-based beverages.

You have a lot of options to choose from! The most popular ones are arguably the cappuccino and the latte.


Made from an espresso shot and a combination of steamed and foamed milk, a cappuccino is a great way to start drinking coffee. The espresso shot is quite strong, and it is balanced very nicely by the steamed and foamed milk.

Steamed milk is on the wetter side, and foamed milk is on the drier side. Generally, the cappuccino is assembled with the espresso shot at the bottom, followed by steamed milk, followed by foamed milk to top it off. It’s one part coffee, one part steamed milk, and one part foamed milk.

The resulting drink has the aroma and some of the flavors of coffee, which are very nicely balanced by the silky texture of the milk. It’s an amazing mouthfeel.

If a cappuccino is still too strong, you can certainly add a bit of brown sugar to sweeten it up.


Lattes are similar to cappuccinos. They’re made with the same single shot of espresso, but they contain a lot more steamed milk. As a result, the coffee intensity is much less and you taste a lot more milk.

If you find cappuccinos to be too strong, then lattes are definitely worth checking out. You’ll just be able to smell the coffee and get a hint of it’s taste and flavor notes.

The rest of the mouthfeel will be milky and smooth.

How to like coffee if caffeine gives me jitters

Caffeine processing is genetic. Some people tend to digest caffeine a lot easier than others, and I know some people who claim they lose sleep even if they have one sip of coffee.

To this, I would suggest you dry decaf coffee. It’s not the same, but in your situation, it may just be the next best thing. You’ll still be able to enjoy some of the flavors, and you’ll get the coffee drinking experience.

Decaf is not perfect, though, and may well end up losing some flavor along with the caffeine.

Still, this is not something you can control, and it’s not always something you can build up resistance to.

What’s the best coffee for beginners?

If you’re new to the whole thing, you’re in luck! You can skip having to ever have tasted bad coffee and you can directly start by drinking good coffee.

At cafes(I mean proper neighborhood cafes that use fresh coffee beans), go for cappuccinos. They are, in my opinion, the best coffee for new drinkers because they combine the strength and intensity of coffee with the dampening effect of steamed milk.

A lot of the intensity is already dampened by the milk, and if you still think it’s bitter, you can just add a touch of brown sugar which goes very well with cappuccinos.

I don’t recommend lattes because there’s too much milk and you won’t really taste the coffee.

I am a die-hard coffee drinker that likes black coffee but I still enjoy cappuccinos!


Coffee is all about enjoyment, so don’t beat yourself up if you can only manage to like coffee sweetened or with milk. The important thing is that you enjoy yourself. As you get more comfortable with drinking coffee, your taste preferences will also allow for stronger drinks.

And even if they don’t, that’s okay. Coffee is meant to be enjoyed. There is a right way to drink coffee, but they’re only suggestions! The right way to drink coffee is to like whatever you’re drinking and enjoy yourself.

Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to like coffee?

It depends! Developing a taste can take a while, and it differs from person to person.

What is the weakest coffee drink?

Anything brewed with a light roast coffee will be very weak. If that’s what you’re looking for, start with light roasts and gradually progress upwards.

Why do I like the smell of coffee but not the taste?

In some cases, supermarket coffees have additives to make them smell more pleasant. Otherwise, we generally find intense, earthy smells to be pleasant, but the bold taste may be something we’re not used to.

Coffee Brewster is completely reader supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. We appreciate your support!
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.