Why Does My Espresso Taste Burnt

Have you ever consumed an espresso and thought your Espresso tastes burnt or bitter? That isn’t how it should taste because Espresso should possess a rich, smooth flavor stronger than an average cup of non-bitter coffee.

When making it at home and you face Espresso tasting burnt, you may wonder what causes it and how you can fix the sour taste. Espresso flavors that are sour, bitter, and burnt are caused mainly by both over- and under-extraction of pre-ground coffee.

Under-extraction results in too few tasty flavors, making the beverage weak and sour. In our guide, you can learn more about the roasting process and how it affects the brewing process, thus leaving you with a coffee burnt taste.

espresso taste burnt

By the end, you’ll have more idea how to get a decent shot without tasting burnt coffee. (Learn How Long Can Cold Brew Sit Out)

Why Coffee Beans Have A Burnt Taste?

1. Espresso of Poor Quality

The tannic acid in the coffee bean gives coffee its sour taste. Tannic acid accumulates in the bean’s more durable outer skin. As a result, it serves as the coffee plant’s natural defense against insects that prey on them.

It takes higher temperatures and pressures to extract tannic acid since it is located in a harder bean region. As a result, when pouring an espresso shot, it will start to leak at the end of the pour.

The maximum time for an espresso brew is 20 to 25 seconds. The chance that the bitter tannic acid will leak out into the cup increases as the extraction is let to run longer.

2. Over Extracting Espresso

Aside from just tasting it, you can know if the extraction time was prolonged by looking at an espresso shot. The secret to a flavorful, non-bitter espresso is a rich, dark brown crema topping. The color of the crema becomes “blonding” because of tannic acid leaking.

A subpar espresso will have a much lighter shade of brown in the crema. In this situation, a good coffee shop barista will know the difference. So if they unintentionally pour an over-extracted Espresso, they throw it, and brew some more.

You can do a fast test to determine the impact of a longer extraction time.

  1. Run a 15-second espresso pour into one cup.
  2. Switch a second cup beneath the pour as soon as possible to catch the last 15 to 30 seconds.
  3. Smell and sip from both cups.

You’ll notice that the first cup tastes and smells considerably nicer than the second cup’s burnt, sour, and bitter flavors. For those interested, here is our comprehensive guide to preparing Espresso.

What Causes Bitter Coffee

There are many components to coffee; bitterness is not only present in Espresso. Although we know the substance responsible for the nasty taste, there are many ways for it to wind up in the cup.

1. Clean Equipment:

Your coffee set needs to be clean whether you’re making Espresso or using a French press. Otherwise, a buildup of old, over brewed material will spoil the beverage’s taste.


2. The Grind:

A varied grind is required for various brewing methods. For example, you want a fine grind when making Espresso. For French press coffee, a coarser grind is preferred. For drip coffee, a medium grind is selected.

The ideal type of grinder is a burr grinder since you can control how coarse or fine the final product is ground, and it produces a highly consistent grind. The alternative is a blade grinder, but it produces reasonably fine ground and can easily result in over-grinding the beans.

One thing to remember here is the type of roast can affect the overall flavor, such as a medium roast compared to a dark roast. However, using dark roast over another doesn’t make a bad coffee, just a different-tasting cup. (Read White Coffee Vs Black Coffee)

3. Quality:

You should use good quality beans; however, sometimes you may only find your beans are poor quality after you purchased them.

4. Ratio:

Strange flavors can come from using too much water compared to the number of coffee grounds and beans Generally, 2 teaspoons of ground coffee should be used for every 6 ounces of water while brewing coffee. Creating the perfect coffee taste is an art with some science thrown in.

5. Time:

The foul flavors that spoil the bean juice will inevitably come out if you brew your coffee excessively long. The time required varies depending on the type of brew. For example, while an espresso shouldn’t last 25 seconds, a French press takes 4 minutes to release more oils.

6. Temperature:

Both long hot water and prolonged brewing will cause harm. 90.5°C to 96.1°C is the ideal temperature for brewing coffee, which is between 195°F and 205°F.

Why Does My Coffee Taste Bitter?

If your espresso crema appears to be thin, and on top, there are big patches of white and yellow.

  • The espresso maker’s puck is clogged and sludgy.
  • Your Espresso has likely been extracted for too long. Near the conclusion of the brew, the lighter hues and the unpleasant bitter taste genuinely show.
  • Reduce the time of your brew. Keep the duration at 20 to 25 seconds.

Why Does My Coffee Taste Sour?

Did your espresso brew pour too quickly?

This situation seems to involve under-extraction. It may result from a variety of factors alone or in combination:

  • Tamping too lightly.
  • The basket of coffee isn’t full enough.
  • Your coffee is ground incorrectly; as for Espresso, a fine grind is required.

Ensure you use a fine grind, add enough coffee, and tamp enough to create more resistance for the water.

Why Does My Coffee Taste Burnt?

After 30 or even 45 seconds, the amount of Espresso you have is a small volume.

Your Espresso was over-extracted, and there was too much resistance to the water, and the coffee cannot pour out as quickly as it should.

  • You are tamping too hard.
  • The basket of coffee has too much.
  • Over-grinding your coffee.

To avoid overfilling the basket, try a slightly coarser grind, lighter tamping, and these other adjustments.

bitter coffee cause

What Else Causes A Bad Espresso?

Here are more reasons Espresso Taste Burnt.

  • The temperature of the espresso machine is too low or too high.
  • Perhaps the coffee beans are old.
  • The device might require cleaning. A buildup of previously brewed coffee residue could drastically throw the flavor.
  • The machine’s rubber seals may be worn, causing the pressure to drop.

Reheating Coffee

Reheating old coffee is one of the simplest ways to get a burnt coffee flavor. Reheating brewed coffee causes it to continue to brew, which invariably gives it a burnt taste.

When warmed at a high-temperature coffee will taste burnt and leave you with bitter and burnt flavors. (Learn How To Get Rid Of Film On Coffee)

Coffee Grinder Friction

The heat produced by coffee grinders frequently causes the coffee beans to cook. Therefore, coffee overexposed to this heat may taste burnt. A coffee grinder’s blades and burrs frequently generate enough heat to cook already-roasted coffee beans, destroying their flavor.

However, some coffee grinders are superior to others.

  • Blade grinders, for instance, will produce more friction than burr grinders.
  • Faster coffee grinders will generate more friction than slower ones.
  • Pulsing the coffee instead of continuously grinding it is the best way to ensure a coffee grinder is not frying the coffee beans.

This permits the heat generated by friction to escape before more heat is produced.

It could be better to use a conical burr grinder to reduce this friction while providing fine, uniform ground coffee for Espresso.


All the reasons mentioned above can cause a burnt-tasting coffee, not just Espresso. Over-roasted coffee beans, a high brewing temperature of reheated coffee, and friction from a coffee grinder can all cause coffee to taste burnt.

For Espresso specifically, burnt-tasting coffee could result from over-extraction. Espresso requires precision and in-depth knowledge of how coffee is brewed, which makes it one of the most challenging brewing methods.

Over-extracted Espresso will taste burnt and is one of the easiest brewing mistakes. This happens when the grind is too fine, leaving a lot of surface area of the coffee grounds for the water to interact with.

The flavors of the coffee grounds will continuously soak into the water until they become over-saturated. This will make them taste bitter and often burnt if the over-extraction is bad enough.

By paying close attention to the grind size and the brew time, burnt-tasting Espresso can be easily avoided. By experimenting with better coffee beans, the water temperature, the brew time, and the grind size, anyone can discover how to brew quality Espresso.

Burnt-tasting espresso comes from over-extracted coffee in your machine or low-quality coffee beans. Your grind may be too fine, tamp too hard, causing too much coffee build-up, or your beans have been over-roasted. There are many variables, one or all of which can cause a burnt taste.

Why is my Espresso acidic?

Good Coffee beans come with relatively high acidity. However, too much acidity causes the Espresso taste to be sour and tastes burnt. Remember that the small amount of acidity delivers a distinctive bite to coffee.

Your Espresso could taste too acidic and leave you with a burnt flavor for many reasons, including:

  • Your use of high-quality beans might be the cause. But, on the other hand, your Espresso will probably be too acidic if your beans are over-roasted or old.
  • Your beans’ amount of acidity may also depend on the size of the grind. The number of acids released into your Espresso will increase if your grind is too fine.
  • The acidity in your Espresso may vary depending on the water you use. For example, your good Espresso may taste more acidic if your water is too hard.

Final Words On Why Does My Espresso Taste Burnt

There are a few potential causes behind why an espresso tastes sour, or the Espresso tastes burnt. The most frequent causes include drinking too much coffee or too hot water. (Learn How To Cool Down Coffee Fast)

Not tamping down the ground thoroughly is another potential culprit. However, you should be able to find the ideal espresso recipe for you by adjusting these variables and using less coffee so your Espresso tastes better.

These easy instructions will help you quickly produce a tasty, perfect espresso.