Why is my coffee bitter, sour or burnt?

Why is my coffee bitter, sour or burnt?

Sometimes in the morning it’s hard enough to find your wallet, keys and phone, let alone try to troubleshoot a coffee that just tastes off. We’ve all experienced a brew tasting bitter, sour or burnt, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day. These problems can often be fixed with a quick adjustment and re-brew, provided that the problem is not the coffee beans themselves.

Espresso coffee tastes best when made with medium-roast beans. Beans that are too fresh can taste sour, as they haven’t had time to degas. From about a week after roasting your coffee will have settled in and will be beautiful for espresso based coffees.

Coffee roasting green to light to dark.

Assuming you have great quality coffee beans and they aren’t too fresh, this guide will help you solve some issues with the coffee extraction.

Words to understand

Extraction = This refers to the pour of the coffee from your espresso machine. It’s extracting the coffee oils from the beans.

Blonding = When the coffee pour is a pale yellow colour

Basket = The basket holds the coffee grinds which the water flows through

Crema = The light brown oils that sit atop the coffee shot.

Puck = The coffee grinds that remain in your basket after you have run a shot. The make a shape like a hockey puck when you empty the basket out.

Why does my coffee taste bitter?

What to look for: Your puck will be super soggy and sloppy. A thin white/pale yellow watery pour and spirals at the end. Big patches of white on your crema.

Coffee Blonding

Diagnosis: When your espresso comes out tasting bitter, it usually means that the extraction or pour time is too long. Commonly, you’ll see a pale yellow/white stream of coffee that wobbles and spirals towards the end of the shot.

Remedy: Adjust your brew time. A good pour will be somewhere between 25 – 35 secs. Keep watch on the shot as it comes through and as soon as you see the coffee coming out in a light “blonde” colour, stop the shot immediately. This is almost pure caffeine and caffeine tastes very bitter so you want to avoid this and stop the shot as soon as you see it start blonding. Most people make the mistake of trying to extract too much coffee out of a single coffee dose. If you want a strong coffee, get a bigger basket (22g – 28g) and keep the shot time within the ideal range. Don’t worry, you’ll still get your caffeine fix, it just won’t be as bitter.

Why does my coffee taste sour?

What to look for: The coffee GUSHES out under 15 seconds and is wide, pale yellow and bubbly. Your puck will be really dry and powdery.

Coffee Under-extraction

Diagnosis: A sour espresso shot is one that is under-extracted; meaning the water has run through the coffee too quickly and hasn’t extracted the delicious tasting oils. You are either not putting enough coffee in your basket or you are tamping too lightly and your coffee is too coarse. If your shot pours in under 15 seconds, you are getting under-extracted coffee. The coffee will appear blonde and pale and bubbly. The coffee crema will also dissipate rapidly and the taste will appear thin and sour.

Remedy: To fix a sour espresso shot, adjust your grind to be finer. This will mean that when you tamp the grinds you’ll create more resistance for the water to pass through allowing it to pick up more oils along the way.

Why does my coffee taste burnt?

What to look for: Slow dripping for almost the entirety of the shot. Dark/black pours. You only get a small volume of coffee liquid even after a 45 second extraction. Your puck will look soggy and sloppy again.

Coffee Over-Extraction

Diagnosis: Burnt tasting espresso has been over extracted, meaning the hot water is flowing through the grinds too slowly creating harsh and burnt tasting espresso. You coffee grind is too fine or you are over filling the basket and tamping the coffee too much.

Remedy: To remedy a burnt tasting espresso shot, adjust your grinder to a slightly coarser grind. This will help the water to seep through the grind more evenly without too much resistance, and it won’t overcook the coffee.

If you try out any of these fixes and they don’t work, leave us a reply and we’ll try and give you specific and detailed help! No one has time for dodgy tasting coffee.

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105 comments

Trang

Trang

I recently bought a De’longhi ’la specialista prestigio and using Starbucks dark roast espresso beans. I cannot get the bitter and burnt taste out. May I please have some suggestions?

I recently bought a De’longhi ’la specialista prestigio and using Starbucks dark roast espresso beans. I cannot get the bitter and burnt taste out. May I please have some suggestions?

Aiz

Aiz

Hello. I got my breville barista pro last month. My espresso shot is sour. I think, I already wasted a lot of beans. Can’t seem to get the right grind size. 30g out less than 25sec. If I make it finer, it’s thin and dark, change it’s color more than half way of the shot.

Pre infusion: 7-8 secs
Bean: Medium to Dark Roast
Shot Temp: on default Middle
Dose: 18.5g
Top Burr grinder setting: 3

Hello. I got my breville barista pro last month. My espresso shot is sour. I think, I already wasted a lot of beans. Can’t seem to get the right grind size. 30g out less than 25sec. If I make it finer, it’s thin and dark, change it’s color more than half way of the shot.

Pre infusion: 7-8 secs
Bean: Medium to Dark Roast
Shot Temp: on default Middle
Dose: 18.5g
Top Burr grinder setting: 3

Why Does Espresso Taste Sour? (We Find Out) - PageOneCoffee

Why Does Espresso Taste Sour? (We Find Out) - PageOneCoffee

[…] noticing that your brew times last for ten seconds, and a bubbly, pale yellow liquid comes out? Well, what you have there is an espresso that is brewed too […]

[…] noticing that your brew times last for ten seconds, and a bubbly, pale yellow liquid comes out? Well, what you have there is an espresso that is brewed too […]

bell

bell

Wow this is really too good about the coffee bitter sour burnt thanks sharing this article

Wow this is really too good about the coffee bitter sour burnt thanks sharing this article

John

John

I have literally tried the whole lot to resolve this inclusive of: adjusting the grind (coarser within the PM), much less tamping strain, force-cooling the system the use of ice and replacing all the water inside the reservoir…., I am out of ideas now…:(. Something is causing this and I don’t understand what…very irritating. Best Electric Smoker

I have literally tried the whole lot to resolve this inclusive of: adjusting the grind (coarser within the PM), much less tamping strain, force-cooling the system the use of ice and replacing all the water inside the reservoir…., I am out of ideas now…:(. Something is causing this and I don’t understand what…very irritating. Best Electric Smoker

bell

bell

Thanks sharing this article about the coffee bitter sour burnt this is help us information

Thanks sharing this article about the coffee bitter sour burnt this is help us information

jack

jack

This is really good information about the coffee bitter sour burnt thanks sharing this article

This is really good information about the coffee bitter sour burnt thanks sharing this article

Andrew

Andrew

Thank you for providing such useful information and a well-written article about the coffee bitter, sour or burnt.

Thank you for providing such useful information and a well-written article about the coffee bitter, sour or burnt.

Jssica

Jssica

I have literally tried the whole lot to resolve this inclusive of: adjusting the grind (coarser within the PM), much less tamping strain, force-cooling the system the use of ice and replacing all the water inside the reservoir…., I am out of ideas now…:(. Something is causing this and I don’t understand what…very irritating.

I have literally tried the whole lot to resolve this inclusive of: adjusting the grind (coarser within the PM), much less tamping strain, force-cooling the system the use of ice and replacing all the water inside the reservoir…., I am out of ideas now…:(. Something is causing this and I don’t understand what…very irritating.

Jerri

Jerri

Great idea about the amazing coffee and thanks sharing this article and infroamtnio us

Great idea about the amazing coffee and thanks sharing this article and infroamtnio us

jassica

jassica

Thank you for shring this post .
You share such valueable psot
you made my day

Thank you for shring this post .
You share such valueable psot
you made my day

Laur

Laur

This is a great and quick, right to the point guide. Now I clearly know what I was doing wrong when brewing my coffee. Thanks for being so straightforward. Huge like, keep up the good work!

This is a great and quick, right to the point guide. Now I clearly know what I was doing wrong when brewing my coffee. Thanks for being so straightforward. Huge like, keep up the good work!

jari

jari

Thanks wonderful information and such a very use full article such a good coffee bitter sour burnt I am reading this article really enjoy it

Thanks wonderful information and such a very use full article such a good coffee bitter sour burnt I am reading this article really enjoy it

Ryadan Jeavons

Ryadan Jeavons

thanks Turan! That’s a very interesting dilemma indeed.

I feel like there’s something else going on if you are getting burnt coffee in the afternoon.

What are you doing at the end of each session to clean the machine? Do you empty the basket of coffee after the session, do you backflush your filter? Do you keep the beans in the hopper all the time? Is there direct sunlight on the machine at all?

I think there might be something that happens in between as the day gets hotter that’s the cause of this. We just have to find the source.

Cheers,
Ryd

thanks Turan! That’s a very interesting dilemma indeed.

I feel like there’s something else going on if you are getting burnt coffee in the afternoon.

What are you doing at the end of each session to clean the machine? Do you empty the basket of coffee after the session, do you backflush your filter? Do you keep the beans in the hopper all the time? Is there direct sunlight on the machine at all?

I think there might be something that happens in between as the day gets hotter that’s the cause of this. We just have to find the source.

Cheers,
Ryd

Johnie Strong

Johnie Strong

I have literally tried the whole lot to resolve this inclusive of: adjusting the grind (coarser within the PM), much less tamping strain, force-cooling the system the use of ice and replacing all the water inside the reservoir…., I am out of ideas now…:(. Something is causing this and I don’t understand what…very irritating. Best Electric Smoker

I have literally tried the whole lot to resolve this inclusive of: adjusting the grind (coarser within the PM), much less tamping strain, force-cooling the system the use of ice and replacing all the water inside the reservoir…., I am out of ideas now…:(. Something is causing this and I don’t understand what…very irritating. Best Electric Smoker

Turan Meyer

Turan Meyer

Hello Ryadan,

I have been trying to solve my espresso mystery for months now but no success so far. I have a La Pavoni Professional, Rancilio grinder and use great coffee (always watching the roast date) I get from a local shop.

My first espressos (I make one for my wife in the morning also) in the morning around 8am are excellent, no complaints at all. Then I turn the machine off and let it cool down. Around 1 or 2pm, I start my second “session”. I do everything the same way, but my coffee always tastes burnt in the PM when it’s the machine’s second run of the day. Everything also “feels” the same way in terms of color, extraction time, flow, etc…

I have literally tried everything to resolve this including: adjusting the grind (coarser in the PM), less tamping pressure, force-cooling the machine using ice and replacing all the water in the reservoir…., I am out of ideas now…:(. Something is causing this and I don’t know what…very frustrating.

The next morning of course, the coffee tastes perfect again, and I know it’s not just my pallet, my wife tastes the same burnt taste in the PM.

I was hoping you might have a few more suggestions…

Thanks in advance!

Turan

Hello Ryadan,

I have been trying to solve my espresso mystery for months now but no success so far. I have a La Pavoni Professional, Rancilio grinder and use great coffee (always watching the roast date) I get from a local shop.

My first espressos (I make one for my wife in the morning also) in the morning around 8am are excellent, no complaints at all. Then I turn the machine off and let it cool down. Around 1 or 2pm, I start my second “session”. I do everything the same way, but my coffee always tastes burnt in the PM when it’s the machine’s second run of the day. Everything also “feels” the same way in terms of color, extraction time, flow, etc…

I have literally tried everything to resolve this including: adjusting the grind (coarser in the PM), less tamping pressure, force-cooling the machine using ice and replacing all the water in the reservoir…., I am out of ideas now…:(. Something is causing this and I don’t know what…very frustrating.

The next morning of course, the coffee tastes perfect again, and I know it’s not just my pallet, my wife tastes the same burnt taste in the PM.

I was hoping you might have a few more suggestions…

Thanks in advance!

Turan

richardjones1924

richardjones1924

Hi there I have a rocket Cellini plus pid mazzer mini just getting used to settings near fine grind extracting at 25 secs the puck looks soggy used to firm grinds on Delonghi elette is this a worry soggy portafilter double shot Also temp is 121 on the pid display is this t hot , I’ll try Bella baristas coffee tommoz milk buster or gas station see how it goes ,, also once tamped the pressure on clock goes to 8 bar right dial seems not to go any further sure it should go to 9 bar ?? ( also do you recommend mazzer mini grind setting number luigi A nearer to fine many thanks Richard

Hi there I have a rocket Cellini plus pid mazzer mini just getting used to settings near fine grind extracting at 25 secs the puck looks soggy used to firm grinds on Delonghi elette is this a worry soggy portafilter double shot Also temp is 121 on the pid display is this t hot , I’ll try Bella baristas coffee tommoz milk buster or gas station see how it goes ,, also once tamped the pressure on clock goes to 8 bar right dial seems not to go any further sure it should go to 9 bar ?? ( also do you recommend mazzer mini grind setting number luigi A nearer to fine many thanks Richard

Ryadan Jeavons

Ryadan Jeavons

Hi Richard,
Ideally you don’t want the coffee puck to be soggy but it’s more about the taste than anything. If you’re puck is soggy you could be packing the coffee too hard and the grinds are too fine which causes the coffee to pool in the top. This will cause your coffee to be bitter and burnt. Try adjusting the grinds coarser and see if you can get a better result. Also, turn off your preinfusion as this will cause a soggy puck.

The water temp is 121C? That’s way too high but I doubt it could be the water temp, make sure you’re not looking at the steam temperature.

Water temperature should be 94-96C

Hope this helps.

Hi Richard,
Ideally you don’t want the coffee puck to be soggy but it’s more about the taste than anything. If you’re puck is soggy you could be packing the coffee too hard and the grinds are too fine which causes the coffee to pool in the top. This will cause your coffee to be bitter and burnt. Try adjusting the grinds coarser and see if you can get a better result. Also, turn off your preinfusion as this will cause a soggy puck.

The water temp is 121C? That’s way too high but I doubt it could be the water temp, make sure you’re not looking at the steam temperature.

Water temperature should be 94-96C

Hope this helps.

Tez

Tez

Great post! I’m not tasting burnt but noticing when I tap on my knockbox there is residue stuck at the bottom of the filter. With that puck residue looking a little dark/burnt. Is that a mix of me tamping too hard and putting too much espresso? Or is it more my grind and temperature? I’m so far in the range of a 25-30 second pull (maybe I’m overly extracting to meet the time and liquid oz ratio of coffee).

Great post! I’m not tasting burnt but noticing when I tap on my knockbox there is residue stuck at the bottom of the filter. With that puck residue looking a little dark/burnt. Is that a mix of me tamping too hard and putting too much espresso? Or is it more my grind and temperature? I’m so far in the range of a 25-30 second pull (maybe I’m overly extracting to meet the time and liquid oz ratio of coffee).

Ted Osburn

Ted Osburn

Thanks Ryadan for writing this wonderful post for us. Keep up the great writing.

Thanks Ryadan for writing this wonderful post for us. Keep up the great writing.

Alex

Alex

A good coffee the best thing to start your day.
Thanks for sharing this article.

A good coffee the best thing to start your day.
Thanks for sharing this article.

Eric

Eric

What a great reading for me to know more about coffee. I really enjoy this informative article reading. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

What a great reading for me to know more about coffee. I really enjoy this informative article reading. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post.

Darathy

Darathy

Great Info Thanks For Sharing..!!

Great Info Thanks For Sharing..!!

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Ryadan Jeavons

Ryadan Jeavons

Спасибо за Ваш комментарий!
Я очень рад, что пост был вам полезен.
С уважением,
Райд

Спасибо за Ваш комментарий!
Я очень рад, что пост был вам полезен.
С уважением,
Райд

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James

James

Hey Ryadan,

Thanks for this excellent post.

I use Sage(Breville) the Oracle, in order to fix a sour espresso shot, I adjusted my grind to be finer, but that caused another problem, now I can’t get enough extraction.

Here is my setup:
- Double espresso filter.
- 6-7 seconds pre-infuse
- ~30 seconds of total extraction

If I use finer grind to prevent sour taste I only get 10-15ml coffee which has a very bitter taste.

How can I prevent sour taste and get more extraction? I have tried two separate beans with different grind levels, both of them were medium roasted.

All the best!
James

Hey Ryadan,

Thanks for this excellent post.

I use Sage(Breville) the Oracle, in order to fix a sour espresso shot, I adjusted my grind to be finer, but that caused another problem, now I can’t get enough extraction.

Here is my setup:
- Double espresso filter.
- 6-7 seconds pre-infuse
- ~30 seconds of total extraction

If I use finer grind to prevent sour taste I only get 10-15ml coffee which has a very bitter taste.

How can I prevent sour taste and get more extraction? I have tried two separate beans with different grind levels, both of them were medium roasted.

All the best!
James

Ryadan Jeavons

Ryadan Jeavons

Hi Rudra!
Thanks for writing in. I definitely suggest you invest in a grinder. It’s the best way to eliminate the bitter, sour burnt flavours that can occur. Plus your coffee stays fresher longer and you’ll be able to make a much better cup of coffee. The best low-cost grinder is the Breville Smart Grinder Pro but I know that will be more expensive than the machine cost you, however, it’s probably the most important accessory to any coffee brewer. If you can afford it, I would absolutely suggest you buy one. If you can’t afford there are cheaper blade grinders out there and they’ll be better than preground at least.

If you’re going to keep buying preground coffee then you should look for a local roaster where you can guarantee the coffee is about 7 days old when you purchase it. Afresh roast will have a lovely amounts of oils remaining in it even after you grind it. Whereas Lavazza is usually around 6 months old by the time it hits the shelves. This alone will change the flavour (as long as you choose a great local roaster.)

Yes, if the puck is dry and powdery and you’re tasting a burnt flavour then the coffee is too old and too fine. You could try adding less coffee in the puck but I doubt you’d be able to fix much with the coffee.

All the best!

Hi Rudra!
Thanks for writing in. I definitely suggest you invest in a grinder. It’s the best way to eliminate the bitter, sour burnt flavours that can occur. Plus your coffee stays fresher longer and you’ll be able to make a much better cup of coffee. The best low-cost grinder is the Breville Smart Grinder Pro but I know that will be more expensive than the machine cost you, however, it’s probably the most important accessory to any coffee brewer. If you can afford it, I would absolutely suggest you buy one. If you can’t afford there are cheaper blade grinders out there and they’ll be better than preground at least.

If you’re going to keep buying preground coffee then you should look for a local roaster where you can guarantee the coffee is about 7 days old when you purchase it. Afresh roast will have a lovely amounts of oils remaining in it even after you grind it. Whereas Lavazza is usually around 6 months old by the time it hits the shelves. This alone will change the flavour (as long as you choose a great local roaster.)

Yes, if the puck is dry and powdery and you’re tasting a burnt flavour then the coffee is too old and too fine. You could try adding less coffee in the puck but I doubt you’d be able to fix much with the coffee.

All the best!

Rudra Barot

Rudra Barot

Hi,
I’m a homemade barista, with a budget espresso machine(Morphy Richards Fresco to be precise). At first I was using a Colombian dark roast ground coffee, I thought that the burnt taste of my coffee is due to the dark roast. So I ordered a medium roasted coffee(Lavazza Club Ground Coffee). The coffee is too fine. I can only find some minute difference in the taste.
I observed the puck, it’s dry and powdery, and the coffee still tastes burnt and there’s no distinct layer of crema, also the water isn’t running fast enough and evenly throughout the puck. I saw cracks in the middle of the puck.
I’m inaccessible to change the grind size.

Hoping for your reply,
Thank you for your time.

Hi,
I’m a homemade barista, with a budget espresso machine(Morphy Richards Fresco to be precise). At first I was using a Colombian dark roast ground coffee, I thought that the burnt taste of my coffee is due to the dark roast. So I ordered a medium roasted coffee(Lavazza Club Ground Coffee). The coffee is too fine. I can only find some minute difference in the taste.
I observed the puck, it’s dry and powdery, and the coffee still tastes burnt and there’s no distinct layer of crema, also the water isn’t running fast enough and evenly throughout the puck. I saw cracks in the middle of the puck.
I’m inaccessible to change the grind size.

Hoping for your reply,
Thank you for your time.

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Ryadan Jeavons

Ryadan Jeavons

Hi Dalal, yes it’s difficult to work with the grinder because it only has 12 settings so there’s not much room for precision. But also, the extractions will always be a challenge because they don’t have the same pumps that more manual machines have.

Have you tried going right down to the finest setting and working your way back from that. If the extraction doesn’t change you may need to take it back in. At the finest it should basically not come through at all, or drip for most of the time. Then change it up a step and run two shots through (this is to get rid of any grind retention) keep going until you find the right extraction. Let me know how it goes!!

Hi Dalal, yes it’s difficult to work with the grinder because it only has 12 settings so there’s not much room for precision. But also, the extractions will always be a challenge because they don’t have the same pumps that more manual machines have.

Have you tried going right down to the finest setting and working your way back from that. If the extraction doesn’t change you may need to take it back in. At the finest it should basically not come through at all, or drip for most of the time. Then change it up a step and run two shots through (this is to get rid of any grind retention) keep going until you find the right extraction. Let me know how it goes!!

Dalal

Dalal

Hello, i have a philips 2200 fully automatic coffee machine. Its one week old and i’m trying to get the perfect espresso from it. My espresso shot from forst drip is around 10-12 seconds. I tried changing the grinder setting several time but i’m still getting the same extraction time and the coffee does not taste good. Currently my grinder is set on 7, i am using medium roast coffee beans. I am not sure how to extend the extraction time as changing the grinder setting is not helping?

Thank you

Hello, i have a philips 2200 fully automatic coffee machine. Its one week old and i’m trying to get the perfect espresso from it. My espresso shot from forst drip is around 10-12 seconds. I tried changing the grinder setting several time but i’m still getting the same extraction time and the coffee does not taste good. Currently my grinder is set on 7, i am using medium roast coffee beans. I am not sure how to extend the extraction time as changing the grinder setting is not helping?

Thank you

Ryadan Jeavons

Ryadan Jeavons

Thanks Russell!

And thanks for adding in some tips. That’s what I love about coffee, there’s something for everyone.

Take care!

Thanks Russell!

And thanks for adding in some tips. That’s what I love about coffee, there’s something for everyone.

Take care!

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Ryadan Jeavons

Ryadan Jeavons

Hey Pedro!

Yeh, it seems strange that the grinder was working well before and isn’t now but I think you should first try some different coffee. Being 1-2 months old it’s definitely losing its oils and this will cause the shot to come through more quickly. If the coffee hasn’t been stored correctly (airtight and in a dark cool cupboard – not a fridge!) it will deteriorate even more quickly.

Things to check, have you been adjusting the time the grinder goes for when you make it finer. The finer you grind the slower it will grind so to get the right amount you’ll need to grind for longer.

I think because you can get a decent shot with the double-wall basket (which is meant for preground coffee) this indicates that the coffee is losing all its oils. So grab some week old roast and see if that makes a difference.

I highly doubt the grinder has worn out in one year unless you are grinding light roasted beans through it all the time.

Let me know how you go.
Ryd

Hey Pedro!

Yeh, it seems strange that the grinder was working well before and isn’t now but I think you should first try some different coffee. Being 1-2 months old it’s definitely losing its oils and this will cause the shot to come through more quickly. If the coffee hasn’t been stored correctly (airtight and in a dark cool cupboard – not a fridge!) it will deteriorate even more quickly.

Things to check, have you been adjusting the time the grinder goes for when you make it finer. The finer you grind the slower it will grind so to get the right amount you’ll need to grind for longer.

I think because you can get a decent shot with the double-wall basket (which is meant for preground coffee) this indicates that the coffee is losing all its oils. So grab some week old roast and see if that makes a difference.

I highly doubt the grinder has worn out in one year unless you are grinding light roasted beans through it all the time.

Let me know how you go.
Ryd

Pedro

Pedro

Hi Ryadan

With the finest grade of grinding (grade 1) the water is flushing through way too fast (around 10 to 13 sec in a double shot) and I can’t go smaller than 1. Previously I used grade 4 to 8 on the grinder with the same coffee grains and worked perfectly. Yes, I know how to tamper, yes, I pressed it well, and yes, the basket was full.

The machine is pretty new (less than a year old) so, I don’t think the burrs of the grinder are worn out
The coffee is a bit older (1-2 months) could it be that ? .
Thanks

Hi Ryadan

With the finest grade of grinding (grade 1) the water is flushing through way too fast (around 10 to 13 sec in a double shot) and I can’t go smaller than 1. Previously I used grade 4 to 8 on the grinder with the same coffee grains and worked perfectly. Yes, I know how to tamper, yes, I pressed it well, and yes, the basket was full.

The machine is pretty new (less than a year old) so, I don’t think the burrs of the grinder are worn out
The coffee is a bit older (1-2 months) could it be that ? .
Thanks

Ryadan Jeavons

Ryadan Jeavons

Hi WIll!

I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling to get a good shot out your machine. You certainly shouldn’t be having to compete with a pod machine!

Ok so lets break things down systematically:

Your machine is only 3 months old so unless it’s a lemon we can assume it’s working as it’s supposed to.

The coffee you are buying could be the issue. Make sure you buy Medium roasted high-quality beans. I’m not sure where you live but if it’s Australia, you can buy great coffee from most local roasters. If you’re elsewhere you’ll have to do your research on the coffee but if it’s cheap it usually isn’t great quality. I’d look for a place that does specialty coffee with medium roast profiles.

Check the roast date on the coffee as you want it to be about 7 days old before you start using it. This means the coffee has properly degassed and doesn’t contain a whole lot of carbon dioxide.

The preinfusion needs to go. You should be able to override it by holding the manual button down. so use that method to get rid of it. Shot should start coming through at around the 6-7 second mark.

Now, you haven’t talked about what grinder you have, which basket you are using, the single or the double (hopefully you aren’t using the double-wall baskets as they are for pre-ground coffee.) what dosage you are using and how long is the coffee extracting for?

If you can answer these, we can get closer to the issue.
But you definitely should be able to get a better result from the BES870 than a pod machine!

Hi WIll!

I’m sorry to hear you’ve been struggling to get a good shot out your machine. You certainly shouldn’t be having to compete with a pod machine!

Ok so lets break things down systematically:

Your machine is only 3 months old so unless it’s a lemon we can assume it’s working as it’s supposed to.

The coffee you are buying could be the issue. Make sure you buy Medium roasted high-quality beans. I’m not sure where you live but if it’s Australia, you can buy great coffee from most local roasters. If you’re elsewhere you’ll have to do your research on the coffee but if it’s cheap it usually isn’t great quality. I’d look for a place that does specialty coffee with medium roast profiles.

Check the roast date on the coffee as you want it to be about 7 days old before you start using it. This means the coffee has properly degassed and doesn’t contain a whole lot of carbon dioxide.

The preinfusion needs to go. You should be able to override it by holding the manual button down. so use that method to get rid of it. Shot should start coming through at around the 6-7 second mark.

Now, you haven’t talked about what grinder you have, which basket you are using, the single or the double (hopefully you aren’t using the double-wall baskets as they are for pre-ground coffee.) what dosage you are using and how long is the coffee extracting for?

If you can answer these, we can get closer to the issue.
But you definitely should be able to get a better result from the BES870 than a pod machine!

Pedro

Pedro

Hi Ryadan

Question: With the finest grade of grinding (grade 1) the water is flushing through way too fast (around 10 to 13 sec in a double shot) and I can’t go smaller than 1.

Previously I used grade 4 to 8 on the grinder with the same coffee grains and worked perfectly.
Yes, the coffee is a bit older (1-2 months) but it is still weird that grade 1 is not enough. isn’t it?

The only way that I can achieve the 20-25 sec. is by using the single-shot double wall basket

Yes, I know how to tamper, yes, I pressed it well, and yes, the basket was full.

The machine is pretty new (less than a year old) and has the grinder incorporated

So, could it be the burrs of the grinder are worn out or should I try with a different (new) coffee?

Thanks

Hi Ryadan

Question: With the finest grade of grinding (grade 1) the water is flushing through way too fast (around 10 to 13 sec in a double shot) and I can’t go smaller than 1.

Previously I used grade 4 to 8 on the grinder with the same coffee grains and worked perfectly.
Yes, the coffee is a bit older (1-2 months) but it is still weird that grade 1 is not enough. isn’t it?

The only way that I can achieve the 20-25 sec. is by using the single-shot double wall basket

Yes, I know how to tamper, yes, I pressed it well, and yes, the basket was full.

The machine is pretty new (less than a year old) and has the grinder incorporated

So, could it be the burrs of the grinder are worn out or should I try with a different (new) coffee?

Thanks

Russell Volz

Russell Volz

Ryd,

Now that’s what I call a thorough article on bitter coffee, especially when using an espresso machine. I personally prefer coffee made via steeping methods, like cold brew, AeroPress, and French Press. Even so, you’re advice largely still holds true for these methods as well.

On thing I might add; if you steep your grounds too long it will produce a bitter cup of coffee. If you want smooth coffee, a medium grind works well. Additionally, if smooth is your preference, then start with a smooth bean. I’d suggest searching the internet for “Smoothest Coffee”. There are several good choices there.

Again, thanks for the good article. Not being an espresso guy, I learned a few new things. Thanks.

Ryd,

Now that’s what I call a thorough article on bitter coffee, especially when using an espresso machine. I personally prefer coffee made via steeping methods, like cold brew, AeroPress, and French Press. Even so, you’re advice largely still holds true for these methods as well.

On thing I might add; if you steep your grounds too long it will produce a bitter cup of coffee. If you want smooth coffee, a medium grind works well. Additionally, if smooth is your preference, then start with a smooth bean. I’d suggest searching the internet for “Smoothest Coffee”. There are several good choices there.

Again, thanks for the good article. Not being an espresso guy, I learned a few new things. Thanks.

Is TikTok Coffee or Dalgona Coffee Worth The Hype? - Coffee Beans Delivered

Is TikTok Coffee or Dalgona Coffee Worth The Hype? - Coffee Beans Delivered

[…] The coffee industry is no stranger to sudden trends and patterns. In the 1980s latte art was invented out of a trendy craze in the US. Today, 40 years on, having a latte at a cafe without a beautiful rosetta or heart design just seems odd. However, some trends aren’t as long-lasting as latte art. For example: Recently, the global coffee giant, Starbucks, introduced the ‘blonde espresso‘ (an espresso coffee made with lightly roasted beans) which is merely yuck. […]

[…] The coffee industry is no stranger to sudden trends and patterns. In the 1980s latte art was invented out of a trendy craze in the US. Today, 40 years on, having a latte at a cafe without a beautiful rosetta or heart design just seems odd. However, some trends aren’t as long-lasting as latte art. For example: Recently, the global coffee giant, Starbucks, introduced the ‘blonde espresso‘ (an espresso coffee made with lightly roasted beans) which is merely yuck. […]

Will

Will

Omg i hope you can help me!
I got a Breville BES870 2 or 3 montgs ago. I have watched and read literally 100s of how to videos inc many Bes870 specific ones.
I have made over 100 shots easily and not one has been decent.
Let me be clear. Im not a coffee snob – 95% of the time i order an espresso from a cafe im happy.
So to my problem.
I cant seem to differentiate between sour or bitter, so ive been up and down the grind setting knob. The big problem is 2 fold.
1) coffee pours out during pre infusion ALWAYS. No matter how fine i frind or how hard i tamp. In the end i get to the point ive tamped too hard and or gone too fine because the coffee is truly disgusting, so i start working my way back – but the pre infusion leak never changes.
The closest ive gotten to passable tasting coffee is when it clearly brews too quick so it has minimal crema.
Ive tried all sorts of different beans literally spending close to $200 so far. I told my wife her Nespresso was too expensive but right now im a moron because $800 for machine means ive spent $1000 for not one good coffee. Shes spent $300 and had 100s!!
What am i missing???

Omg i hope you can help me!
I got a Breville BES870 2 or 3 montgs ago. I have watched and read literally 100s of how to videos inc many Bes870 specific ones.
I have made over 100 shots easily and not one has been decent.
Let me be clear. Im not a coffee snob – 95% of the time i order an espresso from a cafe im happy.
So to my problem.
I cant seem to differentiate between sour or bitter, so ive been up and down the grind setting knob. The big problem is 2 fold.
1) coffee pours out during pre infusion ALWAYS. No matter how fine i frind or how hard i tamp. In the end i get to the point ive tamped too hard and or gone too fine because the coffee is truly disgusting, so i start working my way back – but the pre infusion leak never changes.
The closest ive gotten to passable tasting coffee is when it clearly brews too quick so it has minimal crema.
Ive tried all sorts of different beans literally spending close to $200 so far. I told my wife her Nespresso was too expensive but right now im a moron because $800 for machine means ive spent $1000 for not one good coffee. Shes spent $300 and had 100s!!
What am i missing???

Why Is My Coffee Sour? - Coffee Beans Delivered

Why Is My Coffee Sour? - Coffee Beans Delivered

[…] Sour coffee is caused by an excess amount of carbon dioxide in your beans. Good news though – it’s relatively easy to combat. […]

[…] Sour coffee is caused by an excess amount of carbon dioxide in your beans. Good news though – it’s relatively easy to combat. […]

ameena

ameena

hey,that is good but along with good taste coffee should be healthy right ?

hey,that is good but along with good taste coffee should be healthy right ?

Ryadan Jeavons

Ryadan Jeavons

Hi Matt,

Yep well before you throw it out, I would check two things. The bitterness can be caused by either the beans themselves or the way they pour. If the extraction is just dripping through for more than a few seconds at the beginning of the pour, you’re grinding the coffee too fine. If your extraction is pouring evenly and is a nice golden thick creamy texture, AND it still tastes bitter, your beans have been roasted too dark. Check the look of the beans and see if they are oily and dark dark colour. This is where the bitter flavour can come from and it is possible your palate has developed and now you’re able to recognise the bitterness.

I honestly don’t think it’s the pump though, although it would be something that can definitely go, but you’ll know it when it does, because the water won’t flow through even if you haven’t got coffee in the portafilter. So ttest that first and see if the water is flowing with nothing in.

So try those things and let me know.

Hi Matt,

Yep well before you throw it out, I would check two things. The bitterness can be caused by either the beans themselves or the way they pour. If the extraction is just dripping through for more than a few seconds at the beginning of the pour, you’re grinding the coffee too fine. If your extraction is pouring evenly and is a nice golden thick creamy texture, AND it still tastes bitter, your beans have been roasted too dark. Check the look of the beans and see if they are oily and dark dark colour. This is where the bitter flavour can come from and it is possible your palate has developed and now you’re able to recognise the bitterness.

I honestly don’t think it’s the pump though, although it would be something that can definitely go, but you’ll know it when it does, because the water won’t flow through even if you haven’t got coffee in the portafilter. So ttest that first and see if the water is flowing with nothing in.

So try those things and let me know.

Samir Hanna

Samir Hanna

Great info
Thanks

Great info
Thanks

Matt p

Matt p

I purchased a “cheap” espresso maker several months ago, and initially I had fantastic results with Starbucks espresso beans, ground fine in a burr grinder.
But in the last month the shot is tasting more and more burnt. Now it is undrinkable. I’ve bought a new basket, cleaned all the filters and anything accessible that can be cleaned. Still horrible even with freshly purchased beans.
The only think I can think of is that the water pump in the machine has become weak and not producing enough pressure for a proper extraction.
Any thoughts or tips before I throw the machine out? Thanks!

I purchased a “cheap” espresso maker several months ago, and initially I had fantastic results with Starbucks espresso beans, ground fine in a burr grinder.
But in the last month the shot is tasting more and more burnt. Now it is undrinkable. I’ve bought a new basket, cleaned all the filters and anything accessible that can be cleaned. Still horrible even with freshly purchased beans.
The only think I can think of is that the water pump in the machine has become weak and not producing enough pressure for a proper extraction.
Any thoughts or tips before I throw the machine out? Thanks!

Ryadan Jeavons

Ryadan Jeavons

Hi Kaan!

Excellent sounds like you have a great setup and just need to tweak a few things.

Firstly, I would remove the preinfusion setting. I have never liked it on. It’s actually a small fad that coffee went through where people baristas wanted to use fresh coffee (as in day old roasts) and light roasted, so to counter the affect, they used preinfusion. It’s not a good method in my opinion and as the roast ages it just gets worse.

So turn that off and then try again aiming for the 25-30 second extraction.

Assuming you’ve chosen high quality coffee beans that are medium roast, you should comfortably be able to extract a balanced shot.

Hi Kaan!

Excellent sounds like you have a great setup and just need to tweak a few things.

Firstly, I would remove the preinfusion setting. I have never liked it on. It’s actually a small fad that coffee went through where people baristas wanted to use fresh coffee (as in day old roasts) and light roasted, so to counter the affect, they used preinfusion. It’s not a good method in my opinion and as the roast ages it just gets worse.

So turn that off and then try again aiming for the 25-30 second extraction.

Assuming you’ve chosen high quality coffee beans that are medium roast, you should comfortably be able to extract a balanced shot.

Бариста рассказали о 20+ секретах своей работы, после которых придется подумать дважды, прежде чем сделать заказ — Модная дама

Бариста рассказали о 20+ секретах своей работы, после которых придется подумать дважды, прежде чем сделать заказ — Модная дама

[…] Или же если он слишком долго находился в воде. При мытом способе сортировки и обработке ягод […]

[…] Или же если он слишком долго находился в воде. При мытом способе сортировки и обработке ягод […]

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