How Do You Get Used To Bitter Coffee: 3 Ways to Help You Get Through It

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As a barista, I got this very question asked by coffee beginners every other day. So here am I answering the question once for all.

Can you get used to bitter coffee? Yes, of course, you can. Here are the tips I recommend you to try:

  1. Try good quality coffee.
    Coffee bought from big coffee shop franchises is always over-extracted, which means awfully bitter coffee.

  2. Add some salt to your coffee.
  3. Start with adding sugar or milk.

You can make this journey much easier if you do it the right way.

Listen, there are maybe several reasons that make the cup of coffee in your hand so bitter. It could be the coffee itself, the brewing technique, or even yourself!

Why Does Coffee Taste So Bitter To You?

First of all, I want to remind you, if you are still young and in your 20s, it is normal for you to find black coffee unbearable.

What? Why?

Because younger people are way more sensitive than adults to bitterness. 1 So yes, the taste can change as we age. So, maybe 10 years later, coffee will taste way better than it is now.

Here is the twist. Maybe your coffee is just CRAP.

This is a mistake that most coffee beginners would make. Maybe you just got the wrong coffee and you just deserve better stuff.

The big-shot coffee shops like Starbucks or restaurants like McDonald’s always serve below-average quality black coffee. Why? Because they always overroasted their beans for a longer reservation period.

Just stop drinking the crap and go get some better coffee. You will find a new world.

Good Quality Coffee Make It Easier

Bitter coffee is a result of over-extraction. Period.

To reduce extraction, you can only either lower the temperature, roast level, brew time, or increase grind size.
(Link: How to prevent bitter coffee)

With instant coffee or coffee bought from shops, you cannot do any of that, since you are just rehydrating brewed coffee, but of course, some are better than others.

If you want good coffee, get a decent grinder, fresh whole bean coffee, a weighing scale, thermometer, or temperature-regulating kettle, and your preferred brewing method (in that order)
(Link: How to grind coffee beans).

link: How to brew good coffee at home

Sugar, Milk, Cream, Or Even Salt Can Ease The Bitterness

Once you get better quality coffee, and you still cannot bear the bitterness. Don’t give up just yet.

you still can take time to get used to black coffee.

Don’t feel wrong if you don’t enjoy jumping from sugar-filled coffee to black right off the bat. Feel free to slowly reduce your sugar and see how you feel about it.

You can try it black before you add sugar though. That may help you decide if you need a lot of sugar or not. I started drinking coffee with sugar-filled drinks. Slowly transitioned out of that and now I drink coffee black.

One day I just made a small leap to quality coffee without sugar. I just tried it before I added my usual sugar. And just decided I actually really enjoyed it black. Tried going back and it’s just not the same to me.


Getting used to bitter coffee is possible, but you don’t have to do it the hard way. I recommend you to try better quality coffee if you want to go black. (ha) (link: how to choose coffee beans) Once you go black, and the bitterness is still too much to handle, sugar, milk or even salt can be your big help. At least it helped me before.

If you have any other tips for reducing the bitterness, please also let me know. See you next time


[1]  The sweetness and bitterness of childhood: Insights from basic research on taste preferences
[2]  Research shows taste perception of bitter foods depends on genetics


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  • I agree that coffee from high-quality beans is the best. And, that’s why I always prefer the best beans for my morning cup of coffee and grind them on my own.

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