Coffee is one flavor that most people look forward to during the day, so it can be a serious let-down when you take a sip and your coffee is sour. Everybody has run into a sour cup of coffee at one time or another, whether it's an old pot of coffee that has been sitting out in the office break room for
Coffee can taste sour for several reasons. These reasons include under-processing, under-brewing, and staleness. Some sourness is natural in coffee due to its acidity, but excess acidity can be reduced by diluting the coffee or brewing it longer.
Sour coffee can ruin your morning, but learning how to brew it correctly can help you avoid a lot of acidity that creates that sour flavor. Read on to learn more about the causes of sour coffee and how you can fix it.
In This Guide...
What Causes Coffee to Turn Sour?
There are several reasons why coffee can take on a sour flavor. Some of them have to do with how the coffee is prepared, and some are natural. Here are the main reasons why your coffee might taste sour (Source: JavaPresse):
- The coffee wasn't brewed long enough. Under-brewing coffee can give it higher acidity than coffee that has been brewed for longer periods.
- The coffee is under-roasted. Coffee beans that haven't been roasted long enough during processing might have an acidic, vegetal flavor when brewed compared to coffee that has been roasted correctly.
- The coffee is stale. As coffee sits, it takes on a more and more acidic flavor. When people complain about stale coffee, they usually refer to the sour, bitter flavor that coffee takes on if it is brewed for too long or left sitting.
- The coffee is naturally acidic. Some types of coffee have a naturally high acid content compared to other cultivars. These coffees might have an especially sharp, sour flavor even when brewed properly.
Some causes of sour coffee can be fixed by learning how to brew it differently. Others can be avoided by changing up the type of coffee that you buy.
How to Fix Sour Coffee
Sour coffee may make your mouth pucker, but if you prefer your coffee a little more mellow, there are several ways to adjust your coffee's acidity to remove some of the sour flavor. Here are a few methods for sweetening up your sour coffee:
- Grind coffee more finely: One of the major causes of under-extraction in coffee during brewing is that the coffee hasn't been ground finely enough. This is an especially common mistake among people learning how to grind coffee at home for themselves. Grind your coffee until it is finer for a smoother brew.
- Increase brewing time: Not brewing your coffee for long enough is another cause of under-extraction that leads to higher acidity in coffee. Try adding a few more minutes to your brewing time to help mellow your coffee and reduce any sour notes.
- Increase the amount of water in your coffee:<span style="font-weight: 400;"> Diluting acidic coffee can help mellow any strong acidic or sour flavors. This is a good method for making coffee less sour if you're dealing with a naturally acidic coffee type.
- Add salt: It might sound like an odd tip, but adding a teaspoon of salt to every six tablespoons of coffee grounds can help reduce the coffee's natural acidity and bring out the sweeter flavors in the brew. (Source: Perfect Daily Grind)
- Try nitro brew: Nitro brewed coffee has a lower acidity than coffee brewed with either cold or hot water, and nitro brewing also gives it a creamier mouthfeel. However, this coffee is served chilled rather than hot since nitrogen is a cryogenic liquid. (Source: Healthline) Pick up a nitrogen dispenser and nitro charge coffee for a smoother sip.
Sour coffee might put a damper on your morning, but in most cases it's easy enough to fix. Picking a coffee with low acidity and brewing it properly will go a long way towards improving the flavor.
How to Avoid Sour Coffees
There are several reasons due to brewing and processing that can cause coffee to taste sour even if it's not supposed to. However, there are some types of coffee that have a naturally sour or sharp flavor compared to other cultivars because of their high acid content.
If you have a sensitive palate, you might find sour notes in coffee more sharp or unpleasant than the average person. To avoid these sour flavors, try seeking out low-acid coffees. These coffees have a more mild, mellow flavor than acidic varieties. Kona coffee from Hawaii is a naturally mild coffee variety that has a sweet flavor free of sour notes.
Control Acidity to Avoid Sour Coffee
Acidity is the main cause of sourness in coffee, so if you want your coffee with a more mellow flavor, choose coffee that is naturally less acidic or be sure to brew it right. Some coffees may be naturally acidic, but there are plenty of ways to brew a more mellow mug if sour coffee isn't to your taste.