Reasons Your Coffee Tastes Bad- A Quick Guide

“Mamas Caffeinated Cup is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to” We may also earn a small commission at no cost to you for recommending other products or services on this blog. All opinions remain my own.

If you are having problems with the way your coffee tastes, you can use this quick guide to figure out why. There could be several reasons why your coffee tastes bad. The thing about brewing your own is knowing the right way to brew according to each method.

You need to know proper times, grind size, how to use the equipment and so on. Brewing can be a daunting task but once you master it, you can expect the perfect cup of coffee that is tailored to your taste buds.

fresh cup of hot coffee

Quick Guide of Reasons Your Coffee Tastes Bad

  1. Water Choice
  2. Bean Choice
  3. Coffee Maker
  4. Grind Size
  5. Brewing Process

Water Choice

Believe it or not, you can’t just add tap water to your coffee maker and expect professional results. There could be several contaminants in your water that is affecting the taste.

Chlorine is one common contaminant in tap water that can alter the taste of those precious beans. Minerals in your water is another. Your calcium hardness, sodium levels and alkalinity are also reasons the water tastes funny.

The best way to make sure your water is ready for brewing is to use a filter or buy filtered water. There are several choices for filters including bottled water which could be a good choice if you are brewing just one cup at a time.

Bean Choice

We all know that just because you buy the best machine and use all the highest quality methods to brew, it won’t change the taste if your beans are no good. There are so many choices when it comes to quality coffee and you might have to try several kinds before you find your perfect bean. My favorite is a local company near me called Jittery Joes. It’s my go-to because I love the taste.

You should also check the expiration date of your beans. Coffee releases carbon dioxide during roasting and continues to release it until its brewed so fresher is better.

Coffee Maker

If you don’t use the right equipment for the type of coffee you are making, you could get a bad taste. When you are making specialty coffees like Pour Over, you want to be sure you are using the right stuff.

It could also be the cup you are drinking from that is causing the problem. If its a plastic cup, you might want to make a switch to a mug, stainless or ceramic cup.

Make sure your equipment is clean or this could be a taste issue just like if you are using old equipment.

Grind Size

As I have said in other posts, size does matter…in relation to the grind. The size messes with how the coffee is extracted.

Brew Process

Several things go into play with this. The time, temperature, and method are a few. Make sure you have studied the brewing process for the type of brew you are after and do it correctly.

Your Coffee Tastes Sour

If you find that your coffee tastes sour, you could be doing a few things wrong. Your grind size could be too large.

You could also be under extracting the grinds. Not brewing long enough or having grounds that are too big can lead to under extracting.

lady looking at a mug in disgust

Your Coffee Tastes Bitter

Bitter coffee is most likely caused by over extracting. This means you have let it brew for too long. Try adjusting the time. Also, check to see if your grind size is too small, this too can lead to over extracting.

You could also have your water too hot. Make sure the temperature is between 195-205 degrees fahrenheit.

Coffee Tastes Metallic

You most likely need to clean your machine if your coffee has a metallic tase. It is probably just build up inside. I clean my equipment with a vinegar and water mix.

Check your water source. If you don’t use filtered water, the minerals and contaminants in your water could leave a metallic taste.

Coffee Pot Cleaning Hack:

This cleaning tip is one that I learned from my husband. At work, they turn the heating element on and fill the pot with scalding hot water. They add dish powder (has to be powder) and let it sit on the heater for 15-20 minutes. Then they dump it out and fill it halfway with ice cubes. They swirl the ice cubes around for several seconds and it magically cleans the pot. I didn’t believe it until he showed me, it really works.

I hope this quick tips guide helps you figure out why your coffee tastes bad. Sometimes the only explanation is to blame the actual coffee bean itself but let’s not jump to conclusions and point the finger until you have tested some of these to see if its another reason.

Brewing the perfect cup of coffee takes practice and lots of experimentation until you find the perfect cup that has been brewed just the way you like it. Remember that things happen and it’s ok. You will be a barista before you know it.

If you have any solutions you would like to add that could help another coffee enthusiast like yourself, please comment below. I’m here to help and I hope we can all be supportive of one another’s attempts to fix our coffee mistakes.

Leave a Comment