It has an even and more intense taste and taste than most filter espresso. The reason for bitter espresso is usually from two major reasons, the pour time may be too long or the type extraction used.
Espresso was originally developed in French and later on after sometimes it extended to Italy. Espresso usually has a deep and intense taste as compared to the common black coffee.
There is nothing worse feeling than that of tasting a bitter cup of coffee, the bitterness normally arises from the natural caffeine in coffee.
There are different types of espresso and are categorized by their volume, for example, Ristretto is a type of espresso that is finer and has less color density as compared to others, it has a volume of about 1.5 to 2 oz.
Lungo is one of the largest espresso (long), this type of espresso involves the addition of hot water and much water is allowed to flow through the coffee beans.
This gives this espresso a bitter taste and flavor, the volume of the espresso is also large.
Another espresso such as cartado is with milk, the espresso has water, and the addition of warm milk is incorporated in its preparation giving a volume of about 10 ounces.
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Three Reason's for Bitter Espresso
There is nothing worse than having an experience of a bitter-tasting espresso. But did you know that about 10% of bitterness is brought by the natural caffeine present in your coffee?
Now the question is where is the other 90% bitterness coming from? The 10% bitterness I would say it is normal and for a matter of fact small bitterness help in neutralizing the acidity in your espresso.
What is true is that a bitter taste in your espresso is not good; the following reasons may be the reason for bitter espresso.
During the brewing process, the coffee flavor is usually due to the extractions from the coffee. The amount of dissolvable solid extracts greatly impact the flavor of your coffee and thus will be a determining factor in the quality of the espresso.
In brewing, the amount of ground coffee and amount of water needs to be used using the correct ratio. Having little or too much water in your brewing process will result in a bitter espresso.
The ratio of ground coffee and water should be maintained at 1:2 for great results.
Just like the amount of water and ground coffee affect the taste of your coffee so is the grind size of your coffee beans.
Using a grind setting that will give too fine coffee or using a grind setting that will give large ground coffee particles will greatly affect the taste of your coffee.
A fine grind will result in espresso pouring slowly and this is the major reason for bitter espresso. The espresso should pour for about 27 seconds to 33 seconds for greater taste.
Dirty Espresso Machine
Depending on how much you use your machine ensure regular clean-up of your espresso machine.
The espresso machine builds up oil over time thus blocking water flow leading to uneven extraction and therefore bitter taste will result.
How do you actually fix bitter espresso?
If you are faced with the difficulties of having a bitter espresso there are few things you can do to fix this issue.
But before we get to the solution part you need first to know the reason for bitter espresso or the problem that is bringing bitterness in your espresso. You need to be able to diagnose the problem so that you can fix it.
This is why we started by looking at why espresso can be so bitter. You need to understand the espresso extraction process and this will help you troubleshoot the issues. Here are things you can do to resolve this problem.
Adjust Your Coffee Grind Size
This is one of the easier things you can do by yourself. Even a simple change in the size of your grind will have a significant impact on your espresso.
Increased grind size allows water to flow freely between the grounds and the shot pull faster depriving time for the extraction process and therefore you will have less extraction.
On the other hand, fine grind size makes the flow of water longer between the grounds the shot pulls more slowly, and prolonging contact time this means more extraction.
It is important to note that when adjusting the grind size make a very slight change until you reach that spot that provides your desired taste and flavor.
Clean Your Espresso Machine
You need to regularly clean your espresso machine of the old grounds and oil build-ups. The old grounds and oil usually stuck in your machine and this will greatly influence the taste of your espresso.
You must wipe the portafilter after every single shot. You can pass warm water through the machine to wipe out stuck ground and oil.
What Should Espresso Crema Look Like?
The term crema comes from the Italian word meaning cream. Crema is a whitish layer cream formed on top of the espresso.
It is formed as a result of a reaction of ground coffee and the trapped air in the ground coffee when the water has added a formation of a compound known as melanoidin and bubbles result.
Perfect espresso shot, the crema part should have a brown color. Crema color entirely depends on the type of coffee you are using, some may have a darker color than others.
If your crema forms a light yellow color means your coffee is not fresh. This is the major importance of crema as it is a means of testing if the coffee is fresh.
Recommended Article: Why is Espresso so Good?
Final Thoughts for Why Espresso Can Be So Bitter!
While espresso has been linked to having high caffeine content, I would say it depends on the amount of espresso you consume.
Espresso is usually served in small cups, you end up taking less coffee and in most cases, you will end up consuming less caffeine than a person who drinks ordinary brewed coffee.
Another thing is that espresso can be made from different types of coffee its acidity can vary based on the roast.
When you have lighter roasts you will end up having a more acidic espresso than having darker roasts as the dark roasts hide the natural acidity of coffee.