Wagga Catering Equipment News

Why is my coffee bitter?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

One of the most common questions we are asked is "Why is my coffee bitter?" 

If you're reasonably new to the industry, it can seem hard to believe that an espresso that yesterday tasted smooth and rich could have an overly acidic, sour, or bitter taste today.

Bitterness in coffee is to be expected, it is a natural flavour in coffee and in a balanced, well extracted espresso it is not a negative flavour compound. But is your coffee is too bitter? ie. the bitterness is out of balance and dominating the flavour of the coffee in a negative way? It is very common to think that the blame lies with the roast of the coffee, but the problem is usually to do with an incorrect extraction. 

A 30ml shot of espresso should pour for between 25 to 45 seconds depending on your taste. Anything out side of those times will result in a bitter or burnt flavour.


What can affect an espresso pour?


Too little coffee in the group handle

Result: Pour is too fast

Fix: Weigh the amount of coffee you're dosing into your group handle. This should be between 6 and 10 grams.

Too much coffee in the group handle

Result: Pour is too slow
Fix: Weigh the amount of coffee you're dosing into your group handle. This should be between 6 and 10 grams.

Grind is too coarse

Result: Pour is too fast
Fix: Try adjusting your grinder for a finer grind.

Grind is too fine

Result: Pour is too slow
Fix: Try adjusting your grinder for a more coarse grind.

The weather is humid

Result: Coffee grounds have absorbed moisture from the air causing pour to be too slow.
Fix: Try adjusting your grinder for a more coarse grind.

Machine is dirty

Result: Dirty water/ old coffee is coming through your pour affecting the taste.
Fix: Time to back flush your machine. This should be done at the end of every day at the very least. If you're pouring a lot of espressos throughout the day, you may need to run a cleaning cycle more than once a day.


These are the most common causes of an unpleasant taste in your espresso. It is more likely that the coffee is being made incorrectly than that there is a problem with the coffee itself. 
If you have any questions about achieving the perfect cup, you can come on in and visit our showroom, call, or email us - we love to talk coffee. 

close