The Key To Fixing Bitter Coffee Lies In The Water

Good coffee can have hundreds of natural tasting notes, from molasses to cherry to musty earthiness. These nuances are often so subtle that companies employ certified professionals called Q Graders to evaluate coffee. But sometimes, coffee tastes like it just has one quality: bitter. Just take Dunkin', for example, which sells a stunning 60 cups of coffee every second – and to make their morning cups taste less burnt, Redditors have plenty of tricks up their sleeves.

Sometimes a pinch of salt can save your cup, thanks to science. On your tongue, sodium ions can help block bitter taste receptors, which can make coffee sweeter without having to add packet after packet of sugar. A pinch of baking soda — which has a high pH – can take the acidic bite out of coffee and help settle your stomach and digestive system, too.

But here's the truth: You don't need to add anything to your coffee or buy fancy products. The reason your coffee has a bitter edge could be the water, which means it's easy to fix.

Here's how to hack your coffee water for a delicious cup

Brewing coffee relies on extracting flavors from the beans, so any coffee — not just poor-quality beans — can turn out bitter if you prepare it the wrong way. In fact, many of us make plenty of coffee mistakes at home, from pre-grinding the beans to popping a cold mug of java in the microwave to reheat it. To nail your next cup of joe, make sure the water is just right to extract the perfect flavor from the beans.

When it comes to water, one of the biggest culprits is temperature. Water at its boiling point of 212 F is too hot and will essentially overcook your coffee grounds and make them bitter. But water that's not hot enough will brew coffee that's too weak.

So what's the perfect strategy? Grab a thermometer and make sure you're in the Goldilocks zone of 195 F to 205 F, which is also about 30 to 45 seconds off the heat after boiling.

And depending on what brewing method you're using, you'll want to make other changes so the coffee's flavors extract properly. Using coffee grounds that are too fine will produce bitter coffee, as will keeping the grounds in contact with water for too much time. So if coffee is in your DNA — seriously, that's why some people prefer their coffee black – make sure you pay attention to your water, too.