The 6 Ways To Make Coffee Less Bitter (A Quick Guide)

Last Updated on May 31, 2022 by John Moretti

Whether you are new to coffee drinking or simply find that your cup of coffee is too bitter, we have the tips you need to make your cup of coffee more enjoyable. Keep reading to discover how to make coffee less bitter.

If you want your coffee to be less bitter, choose medium or light coffee roasts over darker roasts. Also, be sure to use the ideal water temperature and steeping time to reduce the chances of bitter coffee. Adding salt, sugar, milk, cream, or other sweeteners can also make the coffee less bitter.

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We’ve got some interesting tips for making your coffee less bitter and more palatable. So continue reading.

1. Add Salt To Make Coffee Less Bitter

This might be an unconventional method, but adding salt to your coffee can make your coffee less bitter. Sounds counterintuitive, right? Well, if you are a bit apprehensive about adding salt to your coffee (we don’t blame you), there is some science to back this claim which might help you feel more at ease. 

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Salt binds to the taste receptors and then blocks bitter compounds from binding to the bitter taste receptors. In short, salt suppresses the signal of bitter receptors to the brain, ultimately decreasing the awareness of bitterness.

In fact, one study showed that salt is more effective at reducing the awareness of bitter compounds than sugar. In addition to reducing the perception of bitterness, adding salt can enhance other flavor profiles of your coffee, resulting in one satisfying cup of coffee. 

This does not mean that you should swap out your teaspoon of sugar for one teaspoon of salt. No. To achieve this effect, you would probably only need one to two grains of salt per cup of coffee. However, as everyone has a different threshold for bitterness, you may need to experiment with the salt to coffee ratio. 

To find the perfect sweet spot, start off with a small amount of salt, stir and taste. If you still feel that the coffee is too bitter, slowly add in a small amount of salt and repeat the process until you are satisfied.

2. Use Different Coffee Beans To Make Coffee Less Bitter

It is possible to reduce bitterness in coffee by selecting the right kind of roast. This point is especially relevant to those who are drinking dark roasts. Of all the roasts, dark roasted coffee has the most full-bodied flavor and stronger taste. However, it also has the most bitterness out of all the roasts. 

Opting for medium roast coffee will be less bitter than its darker roast counterpart. This is because it is roasted for less time and at a lower temperature than darker roasts. As a result, medium roasts can have a balanced taste and strong aroma. Additionally, lighter roasts may also be an option. 

Lighter roasts have less bitterness and have a more delicate and thinner flavor. Because coffee is a matter of personal preference, you may want to try out both a medium and lighter roast to see which suits your taste buds.

3. Adjust The Coffee Grind Size To Make Coffee Less Bitter

Who would have thought that the grind size of your coffee can affect how bitter your coffee is. To put it short, the finer your coffee grounds, the more bitter your coffee will taste. When hot water is poured into a French Press, for example, it is easier for the water to reach the center of the coffee grounds if the ground is fine. 

If the coffee is coarser, it will take more effort for the water to reach the center of the coffee grounds. Therefore, the coffee will break down slower, resulting in a less bitter taste. Ultimately, this equates to less extraction and, thus, less bitterness. 

If you use a French Press, consider using coarser grinds instead of fine coffee. If you use a drip coffee maker, use medium-fine grounds instead of very fine coffee. Try varying the grind size to see which suits your preferences best.  

4. Add Milk, Cream, And Sugar To Make Coffee Less Bitter

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One of the simplest ways of reducing bitterness in your coffee is to add milk, cream, sugar, or other sweeteners to your coffee. The fat content in cream or milk helps to counteract some of the bitterness you might detect in your coffee. 

If you would prefer, you can also try adding different types of milk, such as soymilk or almond milk, which may make your coffee a little more palatable. Sugar is another excellent way of reducing the bitterness of your coffee. Not only will adding a teaspoon of sugar lessen the bitterness, but it will also give your coffee a sweeter taste. 

You can use white, brown, or cane sugar – whichever you prefer. Additionally, you can add gourmet sweeteners like honey, raw or vanilla sugar, and chocolate powder to your coffee.

5. Use The Right Temperature Water To Make Coffee Less Bitter

Did you know that the temperature of the water can affect how bitter your coffee tastes? Yes, there is actually an ideal temperature for brewing coffee. The perfect water temperature to use for brewing a cup of coffee is between 195 degrees Fahrenheit (91 degrees Celsius) and 205 degrees Fahrenheit (96 degrees Celsius). 

Using water over 210 degrees Fahrenheit (98 degrees Celsius) can over-extract the bitter compounds, leaving you with a bitter-tasting and not-so-pleasant cup of coffee. Be sure not to let the water overboil, and let it sit for a minute or more before you pour it over the coffee grounds.

6. Steep Coffee For The Correct Time To Make It  Less Bitter

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Over steeping your coffee is a common culprit in making your coffee taste bitter. Allowing your coffee grounds and water to mix for too long can lead to over-extraction of the coffee, resulting in one bitter cup of joe. In contrast, not extracting enough coffee can result in weak coffee. 

For this reason, it’s essential to find the perfect steeping time for your coffee. The recommended steeping time is 4 minutes, but you can alter this to suit your preferences. Once steeped, don’t forget to decant your coffee immediately after as not to continue the extraction process.


There are many ways you can make coffee less bitter. For instance, bitterness can be reduced by using the right beans and brewing method. Or you can add salt, sugar, milk, or cream to your coffee to help to counteract the bitterness.