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Love Your Coffee More - How to Make Coffee Taste Less Bitter

Updated on August 31, 2019
CeLestialCameo profile image

I write about what I know. I am a retired singer/musician with a penchant for writing about random topics.

But first, coffee!

I never leave home before coffee.
I never leave home before coffee.

Getting Rid of the Bitter Taste of Coffee

There is no way to guarantee the perfect cup of coffee every single time you brew it. However, there are some ways to can get rid of a lot of that bitter taste if that is something you can do without in your coffee.

I have been a coffee drinker since I was about 16 and I am now 55, so I have a little insight of what works for how to make coffee less bitter. I am not opposed to suggestions or your ideas so feel free to teach me something new about coffee.

Essentially, getting a quality brand of coffee with quality beans, preferably organic, will provide you with the richest tasting cup of coffee. Bitterness is part of this aromatic beverage, but the roast does matter.

Lighter roast coffee has more caffeine, but is less bitter. Dark roast coffee, my favorite, has less caffeine, but offers a more full-bodied flavor over light roasts. Medium roasts fall somewhere in between the light and dark roasts. Dark roasted beans are roasted longer to bring out the uniqueness of the coffee bean.

My suggestion? If you prefer a lighter flavor with less bitterness, choose a light roast. If you enjoy the full, rich flavor of coffee like I do, dark roasts are your friend!

No Bitter Coffee - The Right Equipment Matters

The coffee maker you use can make a difference, but I think it is more about how you take care of and keep your coffee maker clean that matters. Regardless of what you have been told in the past about leaving the coffee residue in the coffee maker; don't do it. It makes the coffee after that taste bitter and nasty. I rinse mine out with hot water and wipe it with a clean "coffee towel" (That's what I call it) daily and give it a good cleaning once a week. This keeps it from getting gunky and makes tastier, smoother coffee in my experience. I do love my 12 cup Hamilton Beach BrewStation so I have no carafe to clean.

Can the Coffee Brand Make It More or Less Bitter?

My experience with coffee has been cheap coffee is just that; cheap. I am not saying you cannot add some things to the grounds before brewing to take out the bitterness or add an extra tablespoon to get a richer flavor out of cheap coffee I am just stating that it is cheap. If you don't like the taste of cheap coffee let me suggest that you choose higher end coffee brands.

Yes, the brand does matter. I have discovered that brands that state 100% arabica beans have less bitterness, but that has not always been the case for cheaper discount brands that claim to be using arabica beans. I like World Market, Dunkin Donuts, Great Value and Barnie's when I can find it. Those are just my preferences. I used to like Gevalia but it is just too expensive for me since my household goes through coffee so fast.

Coffee Preference Poll

How do you take your coffee?

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Coffee Beans

Smell those fresh, aromatic coffee beans.
Smell those fresh, aromatic coffee beans. | Source

Whole Bean or Ground - Does It Make a difference?

Technically I have to say that buying whole bean coffee like Eight O'clock Coffee in whole bean form is much less bitter, but only if you do not grind it in the store. I have a grinder and I recommend it to my coffee loving friends. I grind as I go so I get the freshest, smoothest and less bitter tasting coffee. That is just my take on it. It is not how I always make my coffee, but it is how I prefer it. Time can be a factor which is why my favorite brands are already ground. I am lazy.

Scorched Coffee Is Bitter Coffee

When your goal is to make better coffee not bitter coffee you want to avoid scorching it. Allowing it to sit for longer than 30 minutes in the coffee maker while it is on will start to give it a scorched, bitter flavor. I like to drink mine within 20 minutes usually so I get the freshest taste from it.

I have found however, that sometimes I can nuke cold coffee that I have added salt or nutmeg to and it is still not bitter. It isn't the freshest that way, but it is still pretty smooth. I have to admit I am guilty of being too lazy to make fresh coffee and I have reheated it by turning on the coffee maker. I do not recommend this if you don't like scorched, bitter coffee. That little tidbit is free advice for you.

Does the Mug Matter?

Does a pretty cup help make drinking your coffee more enjoyable?

See results

Iced Coffee Recipes from The Domestic Geek

Is There Something I Can Add to Make Coffee Less Bitter?

One of the most common questions my friends ask me about coffee making is "Is there something I can add to my coffee to make it less bitter?". Yes, there are a couple of things you can add to coffee to eliminate the bitter taste. I get asked this question because everyone seems to love my smooth coffee.

1) Salt is the most commonly used spice to help get rid of the bitter coffee taste. This is a spice almost everyone has in their homes making it the most popular to use. I use it and it does make coffee, even the cheap stuff a lot less bitter tasting.

2) Nutmeg is my second spice of choice for how to make coffee less bitter. You have to be very careful with nutmeg because it will also add a different flavor to the coffee if you use more than just a pinch or no more than 1/8 of a teaspoon.

My Conclusion On Making Less Bitter Coffee

I would like to offer a few final thoughts on the subject of how to make less bitter coffee. I like to use the natural filters or if your coffee maker came with a permanent filter I recommend you keep it clean. I just don't want to use bleached filters. It is a personal preference for me. I also like organic coffee when I can get it because it is a lot less bitter in my estimation. I also like the full, rich flavor I get from organic coffee.

I have used all these methods as well as a few others that did not work. I have made these determinations due to my own personal trial and error and some advice from my late mother and grandmother.

FYI: I understand from some of my fellow coffee lovers that using a French press is the best way to get rid of the bitter taste in coffee, but I have yet to give that a shot. It is something I want to try to see if it will go with my list of how to make less bitter coffee.


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    • CeLestialCameo profile imageAUTHOR

      CeLeste Christopher 

      3 years ago from Madisonville, TN

      Vicki, just use a pinch, otherwise it changes the taste of the coffee...ick. ha ha You can use nutmeg for the same results as an alternative.

    • profile image


      3 years ago

      We always use eight o'clock as it just tastes best. When we go to camp(different elevation)it tastes bitter. We will be trying the salt trick to see if that helps. We use a plug-in percolator.

    • CeLestialCameo profile imageAUTHOR

      CeLeste Christopher 

      8 years ago from Madisonville, TN

      That just sounds tasty, teaches. :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      I love coffee and grind my own beans to get that rich, mellow flavor. I use a flavored, organic type that when enhanced with light cream or spices is just perfect for just sipping while you relax. Your hub says it all very well and I agree with your tips on adding nutmeg to lessen a bitter taste. I have tried cheaper brands and, as you state, it does make a difference. Voted up!

    • CeLestialCameo profile imageAUTHOR

      CeLeste Christopher 

      8 years ago from Madisonville, TN

      Thank you for adding your thoughts.

    • rjsadowski profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting thoughts. In my experience, bitter coffee beans give bitter coffee but cleaning the pot helps a little. French roast coffees are generally bitter to begin with. The longer you roast coffee beans, the greater the chance that they will become bitter.


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