Bitter Substances in Coffee

Bitter Substances in Coffee

A full coffee aroma with few bitter substances

Have you ever had the experience that your coffee had a more bitter than the usual aromatic taste? It doesn’t have to be. We’ll tell you how this unpleasant change in taste can occur and how you can continue to enjoy your coffee without the bitter taste of the bitter substances.

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How are the bitter substances in coffee created?

For coffee lovers, it is almost unbearable when the coffee tastes bitter or tart and not as expected. Basically: bitter substances are part of coffee and, together with other aromas, form the overall impression of the taste. A type of coffee is even often described by its bitterness, for example soft or fine. This way the different types can be better classified. In addition to the type and preparation, the roast of the coffee bean is decisive for the bitter substances in coffee.

Green coffee beans also contain chlorogenic acids in addition to various other substances. Roasting produces valuable antioxidants from these acids. In laboratory studies, a German-American research team led by Thomas Hofmann from the Technical University of Munich found that the main cause of the bitterness of coffee is due to these antioxidants. It depends on the degree of roasting whether the coffee aroma has a bitter or a soft aroma. Basically, however, the longer the bean is roasted, the tart the taste.

The secret to the bitter substances lies in the roasting

The roasting decides whether your coffee has an undesirably bitter taste or whether the bitterness can be seen as a balanced part of all aromas. Coffee that is traditionally roasted in the drum tastes guaranteed to be aromatic and free of undesirable bitter substances. Undesirable bitter substances are slowly and gently roasted out at low temperatures.

Outwardly, industrially roasted coffee hardly differs from a traditional roast. The difference is inside the bean. In industrial roasting, the roasting process is completed in a very short time at high temperatures. This means that the inside of the bean often remains raw and the bitter substances could not be completely roasted out.

Buying coffee is therefore buying with confidence. For master roasters at traditional roasters, the most important thing is to patiently adhere to the perfect roasting time at a low temperature so that the coffee tastes aromatic, without a bitter aftertaste.

You can still influence the taste of your coffee yourself

Have you bought the best beans from traditional roasters and your coffee still has a slightly bitter taste? This can have various causes, but they are easy to fix:

The grinding degree
The grinding degree can also make the coffee bitter. Owners of fully automatic coffee machines like to choose a very fine grind when buying their coffee. But be careful: Coffee grounds that are too fine produce more bitter substances. If you want to change your grind on the coffee machine, you should do this slowly. From cup to cup until you are satisfied with the new taste.

The water temperature
Never forget: coffee is not made, coffee is brewedTherefore the water temperature should never exceed 95 ° C. If the coffee is brewed with water that is too hot, more bitter substances are released and the aroma suffers.

The amount of coffee
The amount of coffee is also decisive for a bitter or rather soft coffee taste. As strange as it may sound, the less coffee is brewed, the more bitter substances are released. This means that the more ground coffee is used, the better the bitter substances can be retained. The coffee tastes more harmonious. There is also a guide value for this, which you can of course change to suit your own taste. Professional baristas say that 7-8 grams of ground coffee should be used per cup of coffee.

Coffee that has been stored for a long time:

Coffee that has been stored incorrectly and for too long can also lead to a bitter taste. It is therefore absolutely important to store the coffee correctly and not to stock it in excessively large quantities. The ideal route is still from roasting to the cup.

Contaminated equipment
Even a rarely cleaned espresso machine or a dirty fully automatic coffee machine can affect the taste of the coffee and make it appear bitter. This can be caused, for example, by rancid coffee oil that settles on the surface of bean containers or portafilter. Therefore, cleanliness is the top priority with the various coffee machines.

The bean with the least bitter substances

There is no coffee bean without bitter substances, because bitter substances are part of coffee and they vary from type to type. In the coffee market, two types of coffee share the coffee proportions: Arabica and Robusta beans. The beans Liberica, Kopi Luwak and the crossbreed Maragogype make up only a very small market share of coffee varieties.

Coffee - 46989
Coffee - 46989

The Arabica bean is a very sensitive plant in its rearing, which prefers a stable and rather cool climate. Therefore, this coffee bean grows preferentially at altitudes above 1000 meters. The Arabica bean ripens very slowly, but this is exactly why its diverse aroma can develop wonderfully. The result is a highland coffee with only a slight acidity, but it has a fine, fruity and round taste.

The Robusta bean, on the other hand, is, as the name suggests, a rather robust plant. It also thrives wonderfully at higher temperatures in the lowlands, strong temperature fluctuations do not cause this plant any problems. The taste of the Robusta bean is rather full and earthy. The aroma is rather low in acidity, but contains more bitter substances than the Arabica bean.

Conclusion: bitter substances in coffee

  • Bitter substances are contained in every coffee and form the taste impression of a coffee.
  • However, it is the roast that determines the bitterness of the coffee.
  • When buying coffee, you should therefore make sure that you only buy coffee that has traditionally been roasted in the drum, with little heat and a lot of time.
  • This is the only way to guarantee you a coffee full of flavor, without a bitter aftertaste.