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Discussions > Coffee > Q and A > Why is my coffee...  
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newb1
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Joined: 1 Nov 2007
Posts: 8
Location: usa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Nov 1, 2007, 2:38pm
Subject: Why is my coffee bitter?
 

Hi, I am new to the site and forum, but spent some time looking at the reviews of drip coffee machines and thought I could improve my second favorite beverage.  I have been using a very simple Mr. Coffee machine for about a year and it makes acceptable coffee for me.  I recently purchased a Zojirushi EC-BD15 coffee maker with the carafe and, while it looks nice, the coffee being produced is very bitter relative to my $20 Mr. Coffee machine.  I am using the same brand of coffee in the same quantity with the same bottled water.  

The only differences to me is the coffee maker and the paper filters (different brand and size).  My next step will be to buy some different filters, but I would be amazed if the filter had that much effect.  I really don't want to send this machine back unless it is truly the coffee machine causing the problem, but the coffee is not really enjoyable.

Are there any suggestions regarding what I could try or what could be the problem?
thanks!
chris
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Bott
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 193
Location: USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Thu Nov 1, 2007, 8:33pm
Subject: Re: Why is my coffee bitter?
 

my guess is a difference in water temperature with the new machine being hotter than the old.
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TimEggers
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TimEggers
Joined: 3 Oct 2004
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Posted Thu Nov 1, 2007, 10:29pm
Subject: Re: Why is my coffee bitter?
 

Hello Chris and welcome to the site!  Bitter coffee can be caused by a few things.  Most commonly itís a sign of over extraction, which can occur from the water being too hot or the grind size being too fine.  If you are using pre-ground coffee you can try changing the amount you use to make coffee.

You may also wish to try different coffee or perhaps a lighter roast.  If you aren't grinding your own you may wish to try that and for best results you should try fresh coffee (if you aren't already).

 
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newb1
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Joined: 1 Nov 2007
Posts: 8
Location: usa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Nov 2, 2007, 6:04am
Subject: Re: Why is my coffee bitter?
 

Thanks guys!  
I will probably end up with a grinder here eventually, but I'm still in the kiddie pool, coffee-wise.  I will go to the store and try a lighter blend.  I believe the water to be hotter with the new machine, so that could be adding to it.  The can says 'find grind' on it, so that could be part of the issue as well.  

chris
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AJPratt
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AJPratt
Joined: 11 Mar 2007
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Location: Atlantic City, NJ
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Posted Fri Nov 2, 2007, 8:29am
Subject: Re: Why is my coffee bitter?
 

What kind of bottled water is it?  That could be part of the problem--not enough minerals will cause your coffee to be bitter.
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newb1
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Joined: 1 Nov 2007
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Location: usa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Nov 2, 2007, 9:25am
Subject: Re: Why is my coffee bitter?
 

the water is deer park.  it is the same water I am using in both coffee makers.  I like Deer Park, so hopefully I don't have to change anything here!  

I have 30 days to play with it, so I'm going to go get a bunch of different coffees and see what happens.

Is there a coffee-101 guide that you guys know of?  I would love to read more theory and practice!
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TimEggers
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TimEggers
Joined: 3 Oct 2004
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Location: Tiskilwa, Illinois
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: QM Anita, Cappuccino Amore
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Vac Pot: Antique McKee, Santos
Drip: Pour Over, Bodum Presses
Roaster: RK Drum
Posted Fri Nov 2, 2007, 11:00am
Subject: Re: Why is my coffee bitter?
 

http://www.sweetmarias.com/grind.brew.html

A google search can yield even more...

 
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newb1
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Joined: 1 Nov 2007
Posts: 8
Location: usa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Fri Nov 2, 2007, 12:23pm
Subject: Re: Why is my coffee bitter?
 

Thank you.  there are a lot of links off of there to keep me occupied here while I pretend to work!
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rasqual
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rasqual
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Posted Fri Nov 2, 2007, 4:38pm
Subject: Re: Why is my coffee bitter?
 

Another thing to try -- brew with only half the water as usual, then add as much as necessary (heated by other means) to constitute what you consider a proper strength coffee.

I'd be interested in knowing the results, if you try this.
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newb1
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Joined: 1 Nov 2007
Posts: 8
Location: usa
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Mon Nov 5, 2007, 11:46am
Subject: Re: Why is my coffee bitter?
 

Ok, I tried using less coffee this weekend and came up with the following results:

6 cups water, 1/4 cup coffee - bitter and undrinkable
4 cups water, 3 tablespoons coffee - bitter and undrinkable (coffee machine recommendation)
8 cups water, 1/4 cup coffee - better, but still somewhat bitter
9 cups water, 1/4 cup coffee - smooth, not bitter, but somewhat weak

Not sure what to conclude here, but I bought more bags of coffee from the store and I'm going to try these as well.  I'm sure I can find a good compromise adjusting the brand and quantity.

Rasqual I also tried your suggestion and started with 3 cups water and 1/4 cup coffee.  I progressively added 2 cups, 1 cup, 1 cup, and 1 cup (total 8 cups).  I need to try this again as I wasn't very rigorous in application.  I had originally assumed that the formula would be equivalent, but it is not that straightforward apparently.  Can I assume that less water creates more extraction per unit of water, but less extraction overall?

chris
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