Bitter tasting Espresso is a common complaint from the home brewer, the coffee shop drinker, and the restaurant diner, Espresso shouldn’t taste bitter if it has been made correctly.
The wrong grind size is the most common cause of Bitter, Salty or Sour tasting Espresso if your beans are not ground finely enough and are coarse your drink will be sour. On the other hand, if the beans are too fine, you will end up with bitter Espresso.
So what’s the ideal grind size?
It depends on your brewing method and the beans; you will need to experiment with different grind sizes with your favourite beans and brewing method to find your perfect cup of Espresso
Over-extraction (pulling the flavour out of ground coffee beans) is a common cause of bitter tasting coffee. This is common with Espresso made in a french press, a viable but inferior way of making Espresso. As soon as the plunger is pushed down the extraction starts and coffee left in the press will keep extracting (and eventually turn bitter if left for too long) until it’s removed.
If your local barista makes Espresso in a french press, they need a good talking to, and you need a new coffee shop. If you use a french press remove your Espresso from the French press as soon as it’s brewed.
Finally, your water needs to be an optimal temperature for the best possible extraction. Coffee should be made with water temperatures between 90-95 degrees celsius. Never use boiling water to make coffee it will scold the beans and won’t taste as good as it should. You should boil your water and let it cool down for a few minutes before the brewing process; this method is, however, hit or miss so for better results use a Barista Thermometer
If all of the above seems to much hassle, don’t resign yourself to inferior bitter tasting Espresso invest in a Nespresso Machine the coffee pods contain ready to go correctly ground coffee beans and the machine will ensure that the water is heated to the optimal temperature.