Author Topic: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?  (Read 5646 times)

jeromedawg

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Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« on: May 10, 2017, 02:41:56 PM »
Hey all,

Never been a coffee drinker and started gaining some interest in it. Picked up a bag of Starbucks Sumatra which a lot of people seem to really like. Read some reviews on Amazon where people say it's not bitter at all and "smooth"

That said, I've always had the perception that coffee is bitter regardless; particularly if you drink it black. The cup I brewed this morning was no exception. Now, I've also read articles that say it's possible to over-extract by grinding too fine or if the beans were over-roasted. The grinds were between medium to fine (my wife took the bag in to a local Starbucks to have grinded). That said, is "bitter" a relative term when coffee drinkers say things like "Oh it's not so bitter! It's smooth!" - or is it likely that they've added a ton of milk and sugar (seems those two can make *anything* "smooth" lol). I don't really have a benchmark for this, so I'm trying to understand that line.

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 02:48:37 PM »
People have different tolerances for bitter. Some people think lettuce is bitter, others LOVE the bitter. So when they say it's not bitter, I think they mean it relatively. Coffee IS bitter, but maybe some are less bitter than others.

As you consume more bitter, you'll get a taste for it and while it will still be bitter, it won't be off-putting.

geekette

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2017, 03:15:10 PM »
I hate bitter (romaine lettuce is fine, but arugula is right out).  My DH is fine with bitter, so he drinks coffee (and eats arugula) and I don't...

That said, there are a few decaf coffees I can drink (with a dash of cream), but they're local. 

Caribou's "Amy's Blend", which is only available in October (Amy was a roaster who died young of breast cancer, so each year they recreate it).  It smells wonderful and isn't as bitter as most.

Why fight it?  I drink water.  It's not bitter!

Frankies Girl

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2017, 03:19:43 PM »
I recently switched over to coffee as a lifelong soda drinker (diet tho). I don't particularly like coffee, didn't want to switch, but it was because a little artificial sweetener in coffee is better than a soda in every possible way.

I have to have powder creamer or real half and half/cream to stop the bitter flavor. Cream really makes a huge difference for my palate. And skim milk doesn't work, got to be powder or full fat cream/milk.

I use sweetener too (no cal usually stevia or in a pinch a Splenda knockoff), but I found that drinking coffee reduces the hunger cravings that used to cause me to snack/crave sugar and carbs all day. (which was the main reason I switched)

Totally my opinion, but there are plenty of decent/cheaper coffees for a non-coffee drinker. I'd steer clear of dark roasts and even medium ones unless/until you develop a taste for them. Breakfast blend, "donut shop" blends - anything that is a light roast will be less bitter in my experience. I do love Community Coffee now and get the dark roast (whenever it's on sale - right now they have a bag @ $3.99 which is the same as my regular coffee) but that's after months and months of drinking. I personally am perfectly happy with the Aldi brand ground coffees, but there's also 8 O'Clock and Chock full o Nuts Original that are rated pretty highly and not nearly as expensive as Starbucks (where you're paying more for the brand name than actual quality coffee).

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2017, 03:24:29 PM »
Definitely relative. Just like some people will find dark chocolate or a dark beer bitter, and others won't. Or dark greens. Personally, I love all of them- coffee, dark beer, red wine, dark chocolate, bitter greens. But that switch didn't happen until my early 20s. Before that it was milk chocolate, iceburg lettuce, and candy ;) So I think it reflects the totality of your palate, as well.

As for specific coffees- don't over extract or grind too fine, like you said. Darker roasts are more bitter. African origin coffees are more citrusy and bitter than central american ones, which are nuttier. No matter what, a touch of cream will take a substantial amount of the bitter edge off. A lot of people like their coffee black but need to drink it with some cream so it isn't quite as much of a gut bomb =) Haha, black coffee can... get things moving, shall we say, in a lot of people. Anyway, that's a reason a lot of people use cream, in addition to the taste aspect.

Rosy

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2017, 03:35:17 PM »
I love coffee, but it isn't easy to find one that suits my palate.
Bitter is relative.
I just had Starbucks Espresso at a friend's house and loved it. Not a bean I would have picked myself in a million years. It tasted great.
Sumatra is smooth and strong, I can see why you considered it bitter.
I'm using Verona - also Starbucks, and a no name brand coffee mix, but I can't wait to buy some of Starbucks Espresso, especially after she told me that sometimes it goes on sale at BOGO prices - not all the Starbucks coffees do.

jeromedawg

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 03:37:15 PM »
BTW, I was using a standard coffee maker w/ filter to make it. Would the result have been different using a french press, etc?

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2017, 03:43:44 PM »
BTW, I was using a standard coffee maker w/ filter to make it. Would the result have been different using a french press, etc?

Absolutely. The speed at which water goes over, the temperature, the pressure, all of those affect the ultimate flavor. IMO, the smoothest coffee tends to come from a pour over with a filter, with the water slightly off the boil (bring to boil and then rest). Drip coffee machines are very hit and miss IME- some are way too hot, and most either drain too fast or too slow, so you get really weak or really strong coffee.

jeromedawg

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2017, 04:07:51 PM »
BTW, I was using a standard coffee maker w/ filter to make it. Would the result have been different using a french press, etc?

Absolutely. The speed at which water goes over, the temperature, the pressure, all of those affect the ultimate flavor. IMO, the smoothest coffee tends to come from a pour over with a filter, with the water slightly off the boil (bring to boil and then rest). Drip coffee machines are very hit and miss IME- some are way too hot, and most either drain too fast or too slow, so you get really weak or really strong coffee.

LOL, so I just tested this out with a cheapo french press we have and it's definitely not as harsh as from the machine. On the other hand, I added about 11oz of water to 1tbsp of grounds so that might be why. I read that it should be about 8oz of water per tbsp (but I suppose this is by preference too). So I know the purists out there love drinking coffee black with no sugar and definitely no cream - what's all that about? Does it go back to the whole idea that "good coffee doesn't need sugar, cream, etc" ? That said, I think if I get hooked on it, I'm gonna just use the press from now on.

Hargrove

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2017, 07:27:22 PM »
Bitter is somewhat relative to the taster, but it is measurable.

Go to someplace like Beer Advocate and look up IBUs for Czechvar or Warsteiner, Harpoon IPA, Uinta IPA, and Lagunitas Hop Stoopid. Instant education in bitterness scale. Off the top of my head I think this ranges from 20/30 to 120 or so.

When it comes to coffee, the sharp (hopefully not acrid) character is easy to taste, but perceived bitterness and acid are different characteristics. Sumatra is not a bad blend, but buy a Gold Coast pour over if you really want to give this a try. Then try Medium Breakfast Blend next to it. The Gold Coast is roasted in a way that should technically make it more bitter, but it's the acid content that really makes it.

Now you see what they mean by "smooth."

Gold Coast is so gentle, people who don't like coffee can drink it black. The Medium Breakfast on the other hand is almost zesty.

http://globalassets.starbucks.com/assets/155ef189824c415ea81d7894ccaae6fb.pdf
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 07:43:27 PM by Hargrove »

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2017, 07:31:35 PM »
We LIKE the bitter! It's not about being a purist. It just tastes good to me black, really. However, I don't like bitter as some of my Italian customers do. They love radicchio. Gross! Try that and see what bitter is!

Cali Nonya

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2017, 07:36:48 PM »
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TAS2R38

Well "bitter" is genetically linked.  I'm someone with the double bitter receptors and LOVE bitter things (especially ESB beer), but I personally can't tell the difference between the bitter levels between different types of coffee.  The darker roasts taste more burned, but not more bitter.

Eat a raw poppy leaf if you want to taste true bitter.

Case

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2017, 07:47:55 PM »
Hey all,

Never been a coffee drinker and started gaining some interest in it. Picked up a bag of Starbucks Sumatra which a lot of people seem to really like. Read some reviews on Amazon where people say it's not bitter at all and "smooth"

That said, I've always had the perception that coffee is bitter regardless; particularly if you drink it black. The cup I brewed this morning was no exception. Now, I've also read articles that say it's possible to over-extract by grinding too fine or if the beans were over-roasted. The grinds were between medium to fine (my wife took the bag in to a local Starbucks to have grinded). That said, is "bitter" a relative term when coffee drinkers say things like "Oh it's not so bitter! It's smooth!" - or is it likely that they've added a ton of milk and sugar (seems those two can make *anything* "smooth" lol). I don't really have a benchmark for this, so I'm trying to understand that line.

Overextracted coffee is bitter, underextracted is sour.  You can experiment with coffee:water ratio, water temperature, brew time, and grind size to modulate this.  If you want to get hardcore you can use a coffee refractometer to determine total dissolved solids and quantify it.  20% is generally the target TDS for optimal balance.

And yes, darker roasted coffee is more bitter, lighter roasted coffee is more acidic.

Blatant

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2017, 08:47:12 PM »
If you develop a coffee taste, there's nothing better than a press. Seriously. My wife drinks pour-over and it's fine; not like press though.

I drink one cup a day. Five scoops of grind for one cup in a press. Tiny bit of raw sugar. Thick enough to stand a spoon up in. Awesome.

MarioMario

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2017, 09:57:36 PM »
Bitter is overexposed, think Starbucks.

Bright is underexposed.

You don't want your coffee to be either so that is where finding the right grind.  Too coarse underexposes, too fine over exposes

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Axecleaver

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #15 on: May 11, 2017, 04:46:48 AM »
I will also add to the above great comments (coffee refractometer? I learned something) that when you use the french press, water temperature is really critical. You are shooting for about 200-205 degrees. You can get there by boiling water in a kettle, then taking it off the heat and waiting a certain number of seconds before infusion. The difference is stark - starbucks is famous for overextraction (and burning). You also get more of the oils in the press, which a paper coffee filter will remove.

Another thing you can do, upgrade from Starbucks beans to Peet's, or even better, find a local roaster who knows what they're doing. I've also had surprisingly good results from the large bags of Sam's Club French Roast beans, which I did not in a million years expect.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #16 on: May 11, 2017, 08:59:59 AM »
I will also add to the above great comments (coffee refractometer? I learned something) that when you use the french press, water temperature is really critical. You are shooting for about 200-205 degrees. You can get there by boiling water in a kettle, then taking it off the heat and waiting a certain number of seconds before infusion. The difference is stark - starbucks is famous for overextraction (and burning). You also get more of the oils in the press, which a paper coffee filter will remove.

Another thing you can do, upgrade from Starbucks beans to Peet's, or even better, find a local roaster who knows what they're doing. I've also had surprisingly good results from the large bags of Sam's Club French Roast beans, which I did not in a million years expect.

Personally, I find press to be a little to tart for me normally, but I've found a nice middle ground- I got a metal mesh pour over cone, so there is no filter for the oils, but it extracts at a similar rate as other pour overs. Plus I love not having to deal with filters anymore. =) Anyway, until a friend got one I didn't know they existed, so throwing out another option for people! This is like what we got, not sure if it's the exact one: https://www.amazon.com/Bartelli-Paperless-Pour-Coffee-Dripper/dp/B0114XW80G

Case

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #17 on: May 11, 2017, 10:04:01 AM »
I will also add to the above great comments (coffee refractometer? I learned something) that when you use the french press, water temperature is really critical. You are shooting for about 200-205 degrees. You can get there by boiling water in a kettle, then taking it off the heat and waiting a certain number of seconds before infusion. The difference is stark - starbucks is famous for overextraction (and burning). You also get more of the oils in the press, which a paper coffee filter will remove.

Another thing you can do, upgrade from Starbucks beans to Peet's, or even better, find a local roaster who knows what they're doing. I've also had surprisingly good results from the large bags of Sam's Club French Roast beans, which I did not in a million years expect.

Personally, I find press to be a little to tart for me normally, but I've found a nice middle ground- I got a metal mesh pour over cone, so there is no filter for the oils, but it extracts at a similar rate as other pour overs. Plus I love not having to deal with filters anymore. =) Anyway, until a friend got one I didn't know they existed, so throwing out another option for people! This is like what we got, not sure if it's the exact one: https://www.amazon.com/Bartelli-Paperless-Pour-Coffee-Dripper/dp/B0114XW80G

Same principle as refracrometer used for beer brewing.  The latter are calibrated against sucrose solutions I believe, and thus used to give an estimate of effect on density on refractive index.  From this you can determine dissolved sucrose, which is close enough to brewing sugars (glucose, fructose, maltose, longer chains).  I presume the coffee refractometers are calibrated for coffee, but am not certain.  In any case, they are much more expensive than brewing refractors because they zoom in on a much smaller portion of the Brix scale.

Anyways, since most judgement on coffee taste is subjective, this is one of the rare consumer approachable ways of getting into something quantitative.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2017, 10:07:02 AM »
After I put four tablespoons of eggnog in my coffee I don't taste any bitterness.

redbird

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2017, 10:46:33 AM »
I'm not a coffee drinker. I personally consider pretty much all kinds of coffee too bitter for my tastes - yet I am a tea drinker and even love bitter Japanese ceremonial matcha tea (which sometimes even tea drinkers can't stand). But coffee is just like tea. Some you will like, some you will love, and some you won't be able to stand. You have to be prepared to try multiple kinds over time so you can get a taste for it and figure out what you like. Regardless of what you think of that Starbucks coffee you purchased, there may end up being coffees you like more than it.

CNM

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2017, 10:55:16 AM »
Yes, it's subjective like others have said.

I typically make a cortado- which is espresso with a little milk- with my espresso machine at home.  I find it to be very smooth and delicious, with plenty of "crema" (which is the golden colored dense foam from the coffee).  Drop coffee tends to get bitter, especially if it has been sitting in the pot for any length of time. 

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #21 on: May 11, 2017, 10:56:13 AM »
I will also add to the above great comments (coffee refractometer? I learned something) that when you use the french press, water temperature is really critical. You are shooting for about 200-205 degrees. You can get there by boiling water in a kettle, then taking it off the heat and waiting a certain number of seconds before infusion. The difference is stark - starbucks is famous for overextraction (and burning). You also get more of the oils in the press, which a paper coffee filter will remove.

Another thing you can do, upgrade from Starbucks beans to Peet's, or even better, find a local roaster who knows what they're doing. I've also had surprisingly good results from the large bags of Sam's Club French Roast beans, which I did not in a million years expect.

Personally, I find press to be a little to tart for me normally, but I've found a nice middle ground- I got a metal mesh pour over cone, so there is no filter for the oils, but it extracts at a similar rate as other pour overs. Plus I love not having to deal with filters anymore. =) Anyway, until a friend got one I didn't know they existed, so throwing out another option for people! This is like what we got, not sure if it's the exact one: https://www.amazon.com/Bartelli-Paperless-Pour-Coffee-Dripper/dp/B0114XW80G

Same principle as refracrometer used for beer brewing.  The latter are calibrated against sucrose solutions I believe, and thus used to give an estimate of effect on density on refractive index.  From this you can determine dissolved sucrose, which is close enough to brewing sugars (glucose, fructose, maltose, longer chains).  I presume the coffee refractometers are calibrated for coffee, but am not certain.  In any case, they are much more expensive than brewing refractors because they zoom in on a much smaller portion of the Brix scale.

Anyways, since most judgement on coffee taste is subjective, this is one of the rare consumer approachable ways of getting into something quantitative.

I am so sad that they're so expensive. I know a couple people this would make a PERFECT gift for.

FLBiker

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2017, 11:06:24 AM »
After I put four tablespoons of eggnog in my coffee I don't taste any bitterness.

Not sure if you're joking, but I buy eggnog from Thanksgiving through Christmas so I can use it as creamer in my coffee (aka Christmas coffee).  Unironically my favorite part of the Christmas season. :)

Re: OP, I'm also a big fan of the pourover method (rather than a coffeemaker).

Tyson

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2017, 11:06:31 AM »
If bitter is a problem, get a light roast coffee from South America.  As a class it's the least bitter and most full/smooth I've tried (and I've tried a lot).

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #24 on: May 11, 2017, 03:38:37 PM »
I don't get the whole bitter thing. I buy what ever coffee is on sale and it all tastes a little different but thats about it. I drink it black. Having said that, what i dont like is coffee that is old or is like mud. Starbucks for some reason I cant drink because i can drink 5 cups a coffee at home and be fine but one cup of that and I shake for the day. But thats a good thing as its cheap to make at home so I never go to Starbucks.

Roland of Gilead

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #25 on: May 15, 2017, 07:20:32 AM »
I wasn't joking about the eggnog, eggnog in coffee is ambrosia (maybe I don't use quite 4 tablespoons though)

Don't ever try true Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee or you will think all other coffee is shite.   And the blue stuff is $30 to $40 a pound, so not affordable.

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #26 on: May 15, 2017, 08:12:11 AM »
I am a coffee lover since age 15, and I always drink it black.  I second everything BrakenJoy has said in this thread.

Stick to light roasts and central American beans to start, and branch out as your palate develops.

I love all bitter food, and I still think most dark roasts taste like crap.  I was talking to a coffee plantation owner (who specialized in 100% Kona), and she said that coffee producers mostly think dark roasts destroy all the work they put into their beans, because essentially you are scorching the flavor out.  I agree...dark roasts all taste burned to me.

However, as your palate develops you might become one of the large population who likes dark roasts.  It's unusual to start out liking them, though.


Rimu05

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #27 on: May 15, 2017, 11:36:16 AM »
I love coffee, but I must say it is in general bitter, hence I like mine with a drop of whole milk and lot's of sugar. I'm a total sweet tooth.

The funny thing though is sometimes I vary, there are coffee's I will only put three sachets of sugar and others where I'll dump in six.

Speaking of Starbucks, their pike is very over done and incredibly bitter and burnt. Sometimes it tastes like you shoved burnt paper in your mouth.

I am not even a coffee snob. On that note, I buy it when I have no choice because every other coffee shop is the exact opposite, light and watery. So burnt paper wins out.

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #28 on: May 15, 2017, 01:14:12 PM »
I think of bitter to be on the opposite end of bright (tart, sour, acidic) on the coffee taste spectrum.  I think bitter usually results from over roasted beans or over extracted coffee.  On the extreme end of bitter, I would say it tastes burnt almost.  I'm no coffee connoisseur, but I do not like bitter coffee and prefer lighter roasts.

You wouldn't believe how many factors can go into making the perfect cup.  DH works at a coffee shop.  He really enjoys coffee, the process of making it, the science involved, and geeks out with the equipment.  (Yes, that sentence was about justifying the value to him, because this is MMM, he kind of spends a lot on coffee, but is otherwise extremely frugal.  Coffee as an interest is pretty cheap as far as hobbies go, anyway...)  I'm talking a $150 bluetooth smart scale that measures in 10ths of grams with response time of 20 ms that communicates with his iphone.  I can't remember what the phone tells him, the scale, phone, and other equipment all work together to make his coffee exactly as he likes it.  He does a pour over w/ a kalita wave brewer for himself, and uses a chemex for a crowd.  (Like, a crowd of a few...)

We both drink coffee black if it is a well made cup, but find we need to add sugar/cream for not-so-well-made coffee.  (Starbucks and pretty much any place that isn't a third wave cafe = sugar and cream necessary.)

chasesfish

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #29 on: May 15, 2017, 02:04:21 PM »
Quality of beans

How long has it been since they've been roasted

How are you brewing your coffee...


Those three things drive bitterness in my opinion. 

rothwem

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #30 on: May 16, 2017, 08:58:09 AM »
I think of bitter to be on the opposite end of bright (tart, sour, acidic) on the coffee taste spectrum.  I think bitter usually results from over roasted beans or over extracted coffee.  On the extreme end of bitter, I would say it tastes burnt almost.  I'm no coffee connoisseur, but I do not like bitter coffee and prefer lighter roasts.

You wouldn't believe how many factors can go into making the perfect cup.  DH works at a coffee shop.  He really enjoys coffee, the process of making it, the science involved, and geeks out with the equipment.  (Yes, that sentence was about justifying the value to him, because this is MMM, he kind of spends a lot on coffee, but is otherwise extremely frugal.  Coffee as an interest is pretty cheap as far as hobbies go, anyway...)  I'm talking a $150 bluetooth smart scale that measures in 10ths of grams with response time of 20 ms that communicates with his iphone.  I can't remember what the phone tells him, the scale, phone, and other equipment all work together to make his coffee exactly as he likes it.  He does a pour over w/ a kalita wave brewer for himself, and uses a chemex for a crowd.  (Like, a crowd of a few...)

We both drink coffee black if it is a well made cup, but find we need to add sugar/cream for not-so-well-made coffee.  (Starbucks and pretty much any place that isn't a third wave cafe = sugar and cream necessary.)

I don't really understand all the Starbucks hate.  If you buy the beans and grind/brew it yourself, you'll get a pretty darn good cup of coffee.  That tells me that the problem lies in the coffee shop, and I think the problem is that a lot of coffee shops, especially in the late morning, let the coffee stay on the burner too long resulting in burned coffee that tastes awful.  If you go when the starbucks is busy, you'll get a pretty good cup of drip coffee. 

RichMoose

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #31 on: May 16, 2017, 09:19:36 AM »
I'm a huge coffee guy and drink it black. I like most coffee beans with the exception of Javanese/South East Asian beans. They're a little too earthy/muddy tasting for me.

Some of my favourites are the Costco Kirkland House Blend (roasted by Starbucks) for everyday drinking at a reasonable price. I also love Kenyan and Ethiopian coffees for their fruity, tart flavour. Brazilian coffee is great for high strength and low acidity. Central American beans grown at high altitudes tend to be nicely floral and a bit more acidic.

If you're new to drinking it black, try putting a pinch of salt in the grounds of a Central American coffee and doing a pour over. The bit of salt won't make your coffee salty, but it does cut the bitterness and acidity. It makes the coffee feel smooth on the tongue.

Finding a good coffee maker is important. I've done french press, pour over, and various drip machines. Personally I've found the press to be a pain as you have to get the grind just right and that's difficult with a home grinder. I don't want to get the coffee pre-ground in a bag as it tastes old quicker. The pour over is probably best, but you can't just hit the button and walk away. So I settled for a moderately priced drip machine with a cone filter and stainless steel carafe. Cone filters are better than baskets (generally speaking). The stainless steel carafe helps keep the coffee hot without burning it-a problem with glass carafes.

Bracken_Joy

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #32 on: May 16, 2017, 10:29:47 AM »
I'm a huge coffee guy and drink it black. I like most coffee beans with the exception of Javanese/South East Asian beans. They're a little too earthy/muddy tasting for me.

Some of my favourites are the Costco Kirkland House Blend (roasted by Starbucks) for everyday drinking at a reasonable price. I also love Kenyan and Ethiopian coffees for their fruity, tart flavour. Brazilian coffee is great for high strength and low acidity. Central American beans grown at high altitudes tend to be nicely floral and a bit more acidic.

If you're new to drinking it black, try putting a pinch of salt in the grounds of a Central American coffee and doing a pour over. The bit of salt won't make your coffee salty, but it does cut the bitterness and acidity. It makes the coffee feel smooth on the tongue.

Finding a good coffee maker is important. I've done french press, pour over, and various drip machines. Personally I've found the press to be a pain as you have to get the grind just right and that's difficult with a home grinder. I don't want to get the coffee pre-ground in a bag as it tastes old quicker. The pour over is probably best, but you can't just hit the button and walk away. So I settled for a moderately priced drip machine with a cone filter and stainless steel carafe. Cone filters are better than baskets (generally speaking). The stainless steel carafe helps keep the coffee hot without burning it-a problem with glass carafes.

Do you mind linking the drip coffee maker you got? =)

catccc

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #33 on: May 16, 2017, 03:00:21 PM »
I don't really understand all the Starbucks hate.  If you buy the beans and grind/brew it yourself, you'll get a pretty darn good cup of coffee.  That tells me that the problem lies in the coffee shop, and I think the problem is that a lot of coffee shops, especially in the late morning, let the coffee stay on the burner too long resulting in burned coffee that tastes awful.  If you go when the starbucks is busy, you'll get a pretty good cup of drip coffee.

This "good cup" to which you refer is relative, really.  Some people (not me, but people I know) have really refined palates when it comes to coffee.

I don't hate SB.  It's ubiquitous, and consistent enough across cafes that I frequent it the most if I'm not near a cafe I know.  I don't believe SB uses burners, and DH doesn't actually trust them to do a pour over (prefers the batch brew).  But the problem isn't just the shop, it's the beans, I think.  They mostly sell frappaccinos and PSLs, stuff with so much added sugar, their customers can't even taste if the coffee part of the product is inferior.  Even if you buy the just beans for home brewing, you are probably taking home beans that are over-roasted and past their prime.  (They have 'best by' instead of 'roasted on' dates.)   

Other people have asked this same question:
https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Starbucks-considered-bad-by-coffee-purists

although perhaps I should be hitting the McD's drive through instead:
http://worldofcaffeine.com/2011/03/09/burned-beans-the-shame-of-starbucks/

RichMoose

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Re: Okay coffee drinkers, what is "bitter"?
« Reply #34 on: May 17, 2017, 10:44:35 AM »
I'm a huge coffee guy and drink it black. I like most coffee beans with the exception of Javanese/South East Asian beans. They're a little too earthy/muddy tasting for me.

Some of my favourites are the Costco Kirkland House Blend (roasted by Starbucks) for everyday drinking at a reasonable price. I also love Kenyan and Ethiopian coffees for their fruity, tart flavour. Brazilian coffee is great for high strength and low acidity. Central American beans grown at high altitudes tend to be nicely floral and a bit more acidic.

If you're new to drinking it black, try putting a pinch of salt in the grounds of a Central American coffee and doing a pour over. The bit of salt won't make your coffee salty, but it does cut the bitterness and acidity. It makes the coffee feel smooth on the tongue.

Finding a good coffee maker is important. I've done french press, pour over, and various drip machines. Personally I've found the press to be a pain as you have to get the grind just right and that's difficult with a home grinder. I don't want to get the coffee pre-ground in a bag as it tastes old quicker. The pour over is probably best, but you can't just hit the button and walk away. So I settled for a moderately priced drip machine with a cone filter and stainless steel carafe. Cone filters are better than baskets (generally speaking). The stainless steel carafe helps keep the coffee hot without burning it-a problem with glass carafes.

Do you mind linking the drip coffee maker you got? =)

I've got an older Hamilton Beach machine. The one on this link is the most similar:  http://www.hamiltonbeach.ca/programmable-thermal-coffee-maker-46896.html#features