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Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
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khil
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Posted Thu Mar 29, 2012, 11:22am
Subject: Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
 

Hey all!  So glad to have found you, I've been asking this question and no one really can answer it for me.  I hear that "good" coffee shouldn't be bitter but I've tried all sorts of coffee and if black, it's bitter to me.  I have made my coffee in a drip style maker and now in a Keurig and when I drink it black it's always bitter to me.  I really enjoy coffee, probably drink 3-4 cups a day, but I have to "tone down" the bitterness with that sugary sweet store bought creamer in a gazillion flavors!  Is this normal?  I have had coffee before that was not as bitter, but I just wonder if I can't make it right! I'm looking into a french press or a percolator in hopes of making better coffee.  The last cup of I had of black coffee was not only bitter but had that bad nut taste (you know when you're eating peanuts and get a bad one).  I enjoy the flavor of coffee just not the bitternesss.  Any suggestions? Thanks :)
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SteveRhinehart
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SteveRhinehart
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Posted Thu Mar 29, 2012, 12:38pm
Subject: Re: Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
 

Well, a couple of things come to mind.

  1. What's the best, very best coffee that you've ever had? That may be best in terms of reputation (Intelligentsia, Blue Bottle, something like that), or best flavor. What's the brand? Was that any less bitter?

  2. Keurig isn't really considered to be good coffee, around here at least. It favors convenience far more than quality. You may not agree, but I wanted to point out that it's by no means a Gold Standard to coffee nerds.

  3. It's certainly not impossible that you're one of the humans known as supertasters, in which case bitter tastes are more noticeable and thus more offensive to your palate. This is confirmed with a tasting paper test, I believe. However, if other bitter foods aren't so much of a problem (a bit of char on a steak, broccoli, etc.), then you may just be drinking kinda bad coffee.

Coffee is by its very nature a bitter beverage. That fact is unavoidable, due to the caffeine and other compounds found in the coffee seed. There is and will be - until a non-bitter variety is cultivated - bitterness in coffee. When people say a coffee is not bitter, they usually mean that the bitterness is not the principle flavor component, and that it's either got a balanced taste, or it skews more toward sweet/acidic/nutty and so on. It could certainly still taste a bit bitter, but the rest of the flavors make up for that and make the drink more palatable.

Many things can contribute to a bitter-heavy brew, however, including freshness, roast level, quality of coffee used, brewing method, etc. Give us some more info, and we can help you whittle down the issue and maybe get you a good cupp joe!
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JKalpin
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Posted Thu Mar 29, 2012, 2:05pm
Subject: Re: Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
 

Also, some people are known to be extra sensitive to 'bitter'.  They are women, more than men, and I understand that pregnancy exacerbates the problem, sometimes.

To use an example:  I find Irish Guinness to be pleasant but my wife hates it for its bitterness.

Another example:  The cupping experts always taste coffee black, no sugar.  I find , for me, the bitterness obscures the flavours.  I use sweetener and cream.  

Neither I nor my wife are 'super-tasters.  We are just sensitive to 'bitter' in varying degrees.

 
Jerry
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yakster
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Posted Thu Mar 29, 2012, 2:37pm
Subject: Re: Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
 

How do you react to mint, asparagus, other greens?  Too strong or bitter?  You could just be a super taster and highly sensitive to the bitterness in coffee.

 
-Chris

LMWDP # 272
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khil
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Posted Sat Mar 31, 2012, 7:30am
Subject: Re: Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
 

Hmm, well, I suppose it's possible I'm a "supertaster".  I don't care for broccoli unless it's got some sauce on same for asparagus.  My mother in law bought the Keurig and I've tried a few kinds of coffee for it; folgers, Starbucks, you know the different boxed kinds for the Keurig machines.  Probably the best coffee I've had is from our supermarket here in TX they have a line and it's gourmet coffee of different flavors, you grind it yourself.  I also liked a cup of Seattle's Best.  Haha, don't laugh, I know this is probably only a step up from Folgers, but I've come a long way---I used to only drink Folgers thinking all coffee tasted alike!!  I've read the some of the boards and I've never heard of a lot of the names you guys throw around.  Thanks for your feedback, let me know if I can answer anything else :)
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KennyH
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Posted Sat Mar 31, 2012, 3:57pm
Subject: Re: Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
 

khil Said:

Hmm, well, I suppose it's possible I'm a "supertaster".  I don't care for broccoli unless it's got some sauce on same for asparagus.  My mother in law bought the Keurig and I've tried a few kinds of coffee for it; folgers, Starbucks, you know the different boxed kinds for the Keurig machines.  Probably the best coffee I've had is from our supermarket here in TX they have a line and it's gourmet coffee of different flavors, you grind it yourself.  I also liked a cup of Seattle's Best.  Haha, don't laugh, I know this is probably only a step up from Folgers, but I've come a long way---I used to only drink Folgers thinking all coffee tasted alike!!  I've read the some of the boards and I've never heard of a lot of the names you guys throw around.  Thanks for your feedback, let me know if I can answer anything else :)

Posted March 31, 2012 link

Well, that's probably why you think coffee tastes bitter. Very cheap/preground coffee usually has bitter as the dominant characteristic with slight undertones of other more desirable flavors. You should definitely check out this list- Click Here (www.home-barista.com)
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frank828
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Posted Sat Mar 31, 2012, 4:16pm
Subject: Re: Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
 

khil Said:

I've tried all sorts of coffee and if black, it's bitter to me.

Posted March 29, 2012 link

khil Said:

...Keurig and I've tried a few kinds of coffee for it; folgers, Starbucks, you know the different boxed kinds for the Keurig machines.  Probably the best coffee I've had is from our supermarket here in TX they have a line and it's gourmet coffee of different flavors, you grind it yourself.  I also liked a cup of Seattle's Best.

Posted March 31, 2012 link


you need better coffee
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khil
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Joined: 29 Mar 2012
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Location: Texas!
Expertise: I live coffee

Posted Sun Apr 1, 2012, 8:09pm
Subject: Re: Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
 

I figured such.  I live in a small town in West Texas not much out here.  Is there anything that's considered "better coffee" that can be bought at a supermarket?  Also, what preparation do you recommend?  A drip machine, french press, etc...
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frank828
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Posted Sun Apr 1, 2012, 8:52pm
Subject: Re: Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
 

khil Said:

I figured such.  I live in a small town in West Texas not much out here.  Is there anything that's considered "better coffee" that can be bought at a supermarket?  Also, what preparation do you recommend?  A drip machine, french press, etc...

Posted April 1, 2012 link

well i dont know what they sell in your supermarket.  if it's like a whole foods, they may have local roasters supply them.  if they have specialty coffee, make sure to look for a roasted date as you dont want anything too old.  you'll want to use the coffee within 15 days of roasting.  

if there is nothing local to you, maybe consider ordering online and having it shipped to you.  here's a list of roasters that people on another site recommend.   Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

you may also want to look into home roasting.   sweet marias has a ton of great information to get you started.     http://www.sweetmarias.com/library/roast-coffee/

as for a machine/method, there are many good methods and i wouldnt say one is that much better than another.  did u want to do something manually or with a machine?  lots of options out there.
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KennyH
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Joined: 17 Dec 2011
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Location: Missouri
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Posted Tue Apr 3, 2012, 5:59am
Subject: Re: Why does black coffee taste so bitter to me?
 

If you want an autodrip, go with a Bonavita. You can get some great coffee with a manual pourover if you don't mind the extra effort. If you want to use a French press, you'll need a good grinder as well so that there isn't a huge amount of sediment in the cup. You should preferably have a nice grinder for all of these, but having a subpar grinder with a French press will make the most noticeable difference for you.
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