Why Your Coffee Tastes Burnt and How to Fix It

There are too many things that can go wrong when trying to brew a tasty cup of joe. Your coffee can end up tasting bitter, sour, or burnt. In this post, we’ll go over the reasons why your coffee tastes burnt. We’ll also be sharing the solution to each problem, so stick around.

If your coffee tastes burnt or if it’s not generally brewing as well as you’d like it to, then there are three things that you must inspect, namely the beans, the water quality, and the equipment. 


Stale Coffee Beans

The first possible reason why your coffee tastes burnt is that your coffee beans are stale despite how good they look or smell. It’s important to know that roasting coffee produces carbon dioxide in the coffee beans. The more carbon dioxide is produced, the more flavor escapes the beans. 

In other words, if your beans aren’t stored properly or have been left in the open for long periods of time, it could be the reason why your cup of joe tastes different from what you want it to taste. Just to give you an estimate, we’d say that a 24-hour exposure results in a 10% loss in shelf life. 

To fix this problem, you’ll have to get rid of all your improperly-stored beans and purchase some fresh ones. Try to buy quantities that will last you for a week or two. This might be inconvenient for some people, but there’s no debating that coffee always tastes its best when it’s fresh. 

Improper Roasting Makes Coffee Taste Burnt

Many of us coffee fiends love to roast our own beans, but that doesn’t mean that we always get it right. Roasting beans requires the application of consistent heat throughout the entire process, which can be quite difficult if you don’t own a professional roaster’s equipment.

It’s also important to know that roasting coffee beans might be out of your control sometimes. In fact, the quality of coffee that’s roasted by store brands tends to vary as well. The same product that you bought today may taste completely different when you buy it at a different time. 

So how can you fix this? We suggest checking your recipe to make sure that it’s the right recipe for roasting coffee. Further, we suggest checking your equipment for any faults. If the coffee still tastes odd, you may want to consider that this may not be the right type of beans for you. 

Wrong Temperature

You must know that in order to make a perfect cup of coffee, you’ll need to brew it at the proper temperature range. We highly recommend brewing your coffee at 205 °F, which is arguably the best temperature for brewing coffee because it keeps the water hot but not boiling. 

By brewing your coffee at the aforementioned temperature, the water becomes hot enough that it can get rid of volatile oils and unwanted flavors. If you brew the coffee at a lower temperature, you run the risk of it coming out under-extracted, resulting in a weak, odd-tasting flavor.

The solution to this problem is extremely easy. All you have to do is purchase a thermometer to help you keep track of your brewing temperature. You can opt for any type of thermometer, be it a traditional model or a laser thermometer. Keep in mind that the latter can be quite costly. 

If you don’t want to use a thermometer or if you ever find yourself without one, there’s a way to ensure a good brew. All you need to do is to heat the water until it boils and then you’ll need to cut off the heat for about 30 seconds before brewing the coffee beans. 

Burnt Coffee Caused By Poor-Quality Water

If you use tap water to make your coffee, you may want to consider opting for a different source of water. Tap water tends to contain particles that can easily affect the flavor of your coffee. It’s a lot like introducing unwanted substances into a chemistry equation, the result will be different!

Fixing this problem is quite simple. You’ll have to filter your tap water before you use it to brew your coffee. Alternatively, you can opt for a completely different source of water such as alkaline water, which is perfect for brewing alkaline coffee if you tend to experience acid reflux. 

Coffee Tastes Burnt Because of Wrong Equipment

Another thing that can be behind the burnt taste of coffee that you’re trying to avoid is using the wrong equipment. You might be trying to make an espresso without actually using an espresso machine. While possible, the result will never be as good as if you’ve used an actual machine. 

Another thing that you need to be mindful of is where you pour your coffee after you brew it and what you are drinking it from. If you’re pouring scorching hot coffee into a plastic cup, you need to stop. Pouring coffee into ceramic mugs, glass cups, or stainless steel containers.

Long Brewing Time

The burnt taste of coffee can be the result of brewing your coffee too long. If coffee is brewed for too long, it will be over-extracted, leaving behind a very unpleasant taste. You also don’t want to under brew the coffee, as that will result in under-extraction, leaving you with a very weak flavor. 

Finding the right brewing duration isn’t as straightforward as giving you a definite time. A little experimentation will be needed. This means that you’ll have to slowly adjust your timing in order to find out what works for you, especially if you like trying new recipes every so often.

Overly Fine Grind 

Grinding your coffee too finely can result in over-extraction, which in turn results in your coffee being exposed. This is a lot like over-cooking, meaning that it results in a bitter-tasting brew. To avoid this, make sure you’re using the right grind level for the brew method you’ve selected.