Why Does My Coffee Taste Burnt?

Waking up in a delightful morning with a cup of coffee uplifts the mood instantly, but it can be disheartening when you sip the coffee and end up tasting burnt. Your coffee can taste burnt due to several factors.

Here in this guide, we have highlighted the prime causes of your coffee to taste burnt and provided solutions to fix the issue. 

Why Does My Coffee Taste Burnt? Possible 7 Reasons

The primary reasons that may cause your coffee to taste burnt are due to over-roasted coffee beans, brewing coffee beans in extremely hot water, adding too much coffee compared to water, grinding the coffee too fine, use of low-quality coffee, stale coffee, and dirty coffee appliances. 

1. Over-Roasting Coffee

When the coffee beans are roasted for a long time at a high time temperature, it can lead to a burnt taste. It mainly happens when the coffee beans are steeped for too long in hot water, and as a result, they develop more bitterness, which causes the coffee to taste burnt. 

Over-Roasting Coffee

2. Brewing Coffee in Extreme Hot Water

When the coffee beans are brewed in extremely hot water, they can overcook earlier than expected time. In such cases, the coffee beans extract most of their flavors within a short time, which makes the coffee taste burnt. 

Brewing Coffee in Extreme Hot Water

3. Adding Too Much Coffee to Water

Adding an excessive amount of coffee compared to water in the brewing process can lead to a taste of burnt or more bitter. Too much coffee disrupts the extraction process and the water takes a longer time to pass through the grounds, thus making the coffee taste bitter and burnt. 

4. Fine Grinding of Coffee

When the coffee grounds are too fine, the brewing water extracts too much flavor from it, and it can result in the coffee being over-extracted. Also, overly fine grinding takes a longer time for the hot water to filter through, and within this time, the coffee can burn in no time. 

5. Low-Quality Coffee

Low-quality coffee can significantly contribute to a burnt taste because they are often found not roasted evenly, some are under-roasted, while others are over-roasted. So, it is hard to determine the perfect flavor. 

Low Quality Coffee

6. Stale Coffee

Coffee that becomes stale can also taste burnt because of a loss of aromatic flavors. It happens when the coffee is kept open for too long, and exposure to air and light degrades its quality over time. 

7. Dirty Coffee Appliances

Dirty coffee appliances that haven’t been cleaned in a while can cause coffee to taste burnt. This is because residues from previous brews are still in the coffee equipment, which contributes to the bitterness and makes the latest brew taste bitter and burnt. 

How to Fix Burnt Coffee Taste?

Fixing the burnt coffee is not challenging, it can easily be fixed if you know how to do it. Here we have outlined the solution based on the problems mentioned above. 

1. Make Over-Roasted Coffee Taste Better

When your coffee tastes burnt due to over-roasted, you can make the coffee taste better by following a few things.

  • First, you can use any grinder to make the coffee grounds a bit thicker. Then, when we brew the coffee don’t let it sit for too long, and mix fresh coffee beans to balance out the burnt flavor.
  • Second, you can add a tiny bit of sugar and honey to your coffee to make it taste better if it is still burnt. 
  • Lastly, you can try brewing the coffee in different methods such as the French press, or Aero press. 

2. Brew Coffee at a Specific Temperature

If you think your coffee is burnt because of brewing in extreme water temperatures, you can follow the guidelines below. 

Brew your coffee at a temperature between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit, or 90 and 96 degrees Celcius. You can control the temperature by using a kettle with temperature control, which you can find in your local store or online. Alternatively, if you prefer a more traditional method, you can let the water cool for 30-45 seconds after boiling, and then brew your coffee in it. 

3. Maintain Adequate Coffee-To-Water Ratio

Maintaining an adequate coffee-to-water ratio is important when you want your coffee to taste better not burnt. Adding too much coffee in less amount of water isn’t going to make it stronger rather it would taste awful and burnt. 

The ratio of making standard coffee is adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee to every 6 ounces of water (177 ml). You can adjust it based on your preferences by using 1 tablespoon of coffee for lighter coffee and 2 tablespoon of coffee for stronger coffee. 

4. Maintain Grind Level Based on Brew Method

Grinding coffee finely doesn’t necessarily mean it enhances its quality. Each brewing method requires a specific grind level to extract flavor out of it. Whether you are using a French press, Aeropress, Chemex, or V60, it is important to adjust the grind level for the best results.

Maintain Grind Level Based on Brew Method

In the French press, you can grind 2 tablespoons of coffee for each 6oz of water. On the other hand, you can also weigh your grind and adjust the coffee-to-water ratio by pouring double the amount of water compared to your coffee onto the ground. For example, if you are using 40 grams of coffee, you have to use 80 grams of water. 

In the case of Aeropress, grind the ground in a medium-fine grind size, shake the Aeropress to level coffee ground, and then pour water slowly. 

For Chemex, you have to go with the coarser grind than other pour-over techniques due to its larger brewing capacity and unique filter. It is recommended to use 20 grams of coffee per 325 grams of water, and the duration should be between 4 to 6 minutes. 

And, for V60, the grind size should be medium-fine, which is between the coarse grind of a French press and the finer grind of Aeropress. For best result, use 1 tablespoon of coffee for every 5 ounces of water. 

5. Use Premium Quality Coffee

There is no alternative solution for improving low-quality coffee but rather replacing it with premium-quality coffee for a better taste and overall quality. 

Premium quality coffee may take some money from your pocket like $12 for a 12oz bag of premium coffee, but it is worth the try when you realize it comes to roughly $0.30 per cup of coffee rather than spending $2-3 per cup at the restaurant. 

6. Replace Stale Coffee With Fresh Coffee

Unfortunately, you cannot freshen up stale coffee, rather you have to buy new fresh coffee. To prevent coffee from becoming stale, you can use the tips to avoid such problems in the future. 

After buying new fresh coffee, place it in an air-tight container to protect it from oxygen, and keep it in a dark cold room to avoid direct sunlight. Moreover, never keep the coffee in the refrigerator because coffee can absorb the moisture and the smell of other foods. Also, buy coffee in small batches, and don’t overload the container with coffee beans. 

7. Clean Your Dirty Appliances

We often forget to clean our coffee appliances after brewing it. It is advisable to clean it every time after brewing coffee from it to prevent your coffee taste like burnt and bitter. 

Is Burnt Coffee Dangerous?

Burnt coffee cannot be called dangerous, but consuming it largely and regularly can have a side effect on your nervous system by a chemical known as Acrylamide. This is a natural chemical mostly used for industrial purposes, and it develops at high-temperature cooking. 

Therefore, it is best to avoid burnt coffee as it contains a small portion of the Acrylamide chemical.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Does Instant Coffee Taste Burnt?

Instant coffee tastes burnt because of its production process. The production process involves using high heat to produce fine and small powder textures from the brewed coffee. As the process quickly dries out the excess liquid from the coffee, it ruins the natural aroma and taste of the coffee beans, and often results, in a burnt taste. 

Which Coffee Is the Most Bitter?

Robusta coffee beans are considered the most bitter and strongest among the coffee bean species. For milder and sweet flavor, you can try the Arabica coffee beans. 

Does Hard Water Make the Taste of the Coffee Burn?

Yes, hard water makes the taste of the coffee burn because it has a high amount of mineral content, which affects the extraction process of the coffee and ruins the natural aroma. It is recommended to use distilled or filtered water when making a cup of coffee. 

Is It Ok to Eat Coffee Dust?

Eating coffee dust is not dangerous for your health, however, it increases your cholesterol level which is bad for your health in the long term.  

Can Brewing Coffee Too Quickly Result in a Burnt Taste?

Yes, brewing coffee too quickly in extremely hot water can result in a burnt taste because it will extract the flavor quickly without even noticing it. It is suggested not to rush in brewing coffee and follow the proper process for best results.

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