Coffee Tastes Sour? Here Are 3 Easy Fixes

If you’ve ever taken a sip of your beloved morning brew and encountered an unexpected sour taste, you’re not alone.

Coffee enthusiasts around the world have been puzzled over this common occurrence.

In this blog post, we embark on a quest to uncover the secrets behind the sourness in your coffee.

By the end, you’ll be equipped with valuable insights to enhance your coffee-drinking experience and savor every sip with newfound appreciation.

So, grab your favorite mug, and let’s explore the enigma of sour coffee together!

Why Does My Coffee Taste Sour? The Most Common Causes

Before discussing solutions to fixing sour coffee, it’s important to understand why it occurs in the first place.


One of the most prevalent reasons behind sour-tasting coffee is under-extraction during the brewing process.

When coffee grounds are not adequately extracted, the acids are the first to be released, overpowering the brew with a bright and sour flavor.

To balance the taste, proper extraction, ensuring sugars, oils, and other flavors are also extracted, is crucial.

Bad beans

The quality of coffee beans plays a significant role in the taste of your brew.

Under-roasted beans can contribute to a grassy and sour taste, while old and stale beans may introduce sharp lemony flavors.

However, chances are that your beans are not the issue if you’ve ensured their freshness and roasting level.

Brewing method

Your chosen brewing method can also influence the coffee’s taste.

Whether you opt for French press, espresso, pour-over, or any other method, the extraction sequence remains consistent.

If your coffee tastes sour, it’s likely due to under-extraction, regardless of your preferred brewing technique.

Water quality

The water used in the brewing process can have a significant impact on the coffee’s flavor.

Hard water, containing high mineral content, is known to produce sour-tasting coffee.

Ensuring the use of high-quality water can help mitigate this issue.

Grind size

Grind size refers to the coarseness or fineness of coffee grounds used for brewing.

It plays a crucial role in determining the rate of extraction during the brewing process.

Finely ground coffee offers a larger surface area, leading to faster extraction, while coarsely ground coffee slows down extraction.

When it comes to sour-tasting coffee, grind size can be a contributing factor.

If the coffee grounds are too coarse, they may not fully release their flavors and acids during brewing, resulting in under-extraction.

As a consequence, the brew may taste overly sour as the acids dominate without sufficient balance from sugars and other flavor compounds.

On the other hand, if the coffee grounds are too fine, over-extraction may occur.

This leads to an overly bitter and astringent taste, masking the desired acidity and resulting in a bitter-sour or unpleasantly sour brew.

Here’s An Important Consideration

Remember, acidity in coffee is desirable, but it should be pleasant, not sour.

If you consistently encounter sour-tasting coffee, let’s explore the solutions in the next section, where we discuss how to rectify this common problem and unlock the full potential of your brew.

How Do I Fix Sour Coffee?

Brewing coffee at home allows for experimentation, which is one of its best aspects.

If you notice a sour taste in your coffee, consider trying one of these 3 solutions.

Adjust your brewing recipe

When faced with sour coffee, a simple remedy is to tweak your brewing recipe.

Experiment with increasing the coffee-to-water ratio, as using more coffee can lead to better extraction and a less sour taste.

Additionally, try elevating the water temperature slightly, as hotter water can aid in extracting a wider range of flavors.

Lastly, consider extending the brewing time, allowing more time for the flavors to develop and achieve a well-balanced cup.

Grind your coffee finer

For those who grind their coffee beans at home, adjusting the grind size can significantly impact the taste.

Opt for a finer grind, as this increases the surface area of the coffee, encouraging enhanced extraction during brewing.

With more flavors and oils extracted, the overpowering sourness can be mitigated, resulting in a smoother and more flavorful cup.

Use fresh coffee beans

Using fresh coffee beans is a crucial step in preventing sour-tasting coffee.

Over time, coffee beans lose their flavor and freshness due to exposure to air and moisture.

To ensure the best results, opt for recently roasted beans and grind them just before brewing.

This practice preserves the natural flavors and aromas, reducing the risk of a sour taste in your coffee.

Tips for Brewing Great Coffee

As a bonus, here are some essential tips to consistently brew excellent coffee:

  • Use fresh roasted beans and grind them just before brewing: This ensures maximum freshness and flavor in your cup.
  • Start with cold, filtered water when possible: High-quality water free from impurities allows the coffee’s true flavors to shine through.
  • Use the correct grind size for your brewing method: Different brewing methods require specific grind sizes for optimal extraction.
  • Use the correct coffee-to-water ratio: Finding the right balance between coffee and water is essential for a well-rounded taste.
  • Brew at the correct temperature: The ideal water temperature ensures proper extraction without scalding or under-extracting the coffee.
  • Brew for the correct amount of time: Timing your brew ensures that you extract the desired flavors without overdoing it, preventing bitterness or excessive sourness.

Acidity vs. Sourness

Acidity and sourness are distinct attributes in coffee, often misunderstood or conflated.

Acidity is a desirable quality that adds a pleasant snap or crispness to the taste, creating a vibrant and lively experience.

It is not related to the coffee’s pH level but instead represents a range of characteristics, from sweet and crisp to tart and dry.

Acidity can even carry subtle fruity notes reminiscent of citrus, lemon, or berries, enhancing the complexity of the coffee’s flavor profile.

On the other hand, sourness is an undesirable taste that results from specific factors during the coffee-making process.

It can be caused by under-extraction during brewing, under-roasted coffee beans, stale beans, incorrect water temperature, or using ultra-fresh beans that haven’t had sufficient time to degas.

While sourness is often confused with acidity, they are not the same.

Coffee can have high acidity without being sour, or conversely, it can be sour without having high acidity.

The key difference lies in the balance between acidity and sweetness.

Sourness in coffee arises when there isn’t enough sweetness to complement the acidity, leading to an overpowering and unpleasant taste.

This lack of sweetness is often a result of under-extraction during brewing, where the coffee’s flavors, including sugars, oils, and other compounds, are not adequately extracted from the grounds.

Choosing the Right Coffee Beans

To avoid sour-tasting coffee, it’s important to choose the right coffee beans that suit your taste preferences.

Consider the type and origin of the coffee beans, the processing method, and the roasting level.

Also, make sure to use fresh coffee beans and avoid under-extraction during the brewing process.

Type of coffee bean

Selecting the ideal coffee bean type is crucial in creating a cup of coffee that suits your taste preferences.

Each type, such as Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa, offers distinct flavor profiles and pairs differently with various brewing methods.

The processing and roasting methods further shape the taste.

For example, washed coffee beans tend to have a more consistent flavor, while naturally-processed beans showcase unique and bold characteristics.

Lighter roasts bring out intricate flavors, whereas dark roasts offer bolder, more robust notes.

Origin of coffee bean

The origin of coffee beans significantly influences their flavor.

Factors like altitude, rainfall, soil composition, and climate all play a role in shaping the beans’ taste.

Beans grown at higher altitudes and in cooler temperatures often exhibit smoother, more mellow flavors, while those from lower altitudes with less water may possess a distinct acidity.

Processing method

Coffee bean processing also contributes to the final flavor profile.

The various methods, such as washed, natural, or honey process, yield different taste experiences.

For instance, anaerobic coffee is renowned for its complex and nuanced flavor, blending sweet, fruity, and savory notes.

In contrast, washed coffee beans maintain a more consistent taste.

Roasting level

The roasting level of coffee beans profoundly affects the resulting brew’s taste.

Longer roasting times tend to bring out bitter elements, while lighter roasts highlight the bean’s nuanced flavors.

The freshness of coffee beans

Ensuring coffee beans are fresh but appropriately settled is essential.

Freshly roasted beans need a few days to degas and settle before brewing.

Ultra-fresh beans can result in a sour taste due to the gases they release.

Allow the beans to rest for a few days before use to achieve a more balanced and flavorful cup.

Brewing method

Finally, the brewing method plays a vital role in avoiding sour-tasting coffee.

Under-extraction, where insufficient flavor is extracted from the grounds during brewing, is a common cause of sourness.

Factors such as overheating and using an ultra-fine grind size can also lead to this undesirable flavor.

Adjusting brewing techniques and finding the right balance between extraction time, temperature, and grind size can significantly improve the taste of your brew.


Understanding the reasons behind sour-tasting coffee and employing simple solutions can transform your daily coffee ritual into a delightful experience.

By adjusting your brewing recipe, experimenting with grind size, choosing the right coffee beans, and fine-tuning your brewing method, you can unlock the full potential of your brew and savor the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness.

Remember, sourness and acidity are distinct characteristics, with acidity being a desirable attribute that adds vibrancy to your cup.

Embrace the art of coffee brewing, and with a little experimentation, you’ll be rewarded with a rich, flavorful coffee that leaves a lasting impression on your taste buds.

So, grab your favorite mug, let your creativity flourish, and embark on a journey to make each coffee moment a truly enjoyable one.

Happy brewing!


Does sugar make coffee taste sour?

No, sugar does not make coffee taste sour.

Adding sugar to coffee adds sweetness, not sourness

Sourness in coffee can be caused by factors such as the extraction process and the balance of acids, sugars, oils, and other flavors in the coffee beans.

Does coffee taste sour when pregnant?

During pregnancy, it is possible for some women to experience a change in the way foods and beverages taste due to changes in taste buds and hormones.

This may include a sour taste in the mouth, even when drinking coffee.

This altered taste sensation, known as dysgeusia, is influenced by pregnancy hormones and can result in a dislike for foods that were once enjoyable.

What does coffee acidity taste like?

The taste of coffee acidity can be described as a delightful sharpness experienced toward the front of the mouth, sometimes accompanied by a numbing sensation on the tip of the tongue.

Additionally, it may create a dry feeling at the back of the palate or underneath the edges of the tongue.

This acidity is a fundamental flavor characteristic in coffee that contributes to its overall complexity and vibrancy.

Photo of author

Jacob Harris

Jacob is a coffee enthusiast who turned his passion into a career. As the owner and editor of Karma Coffee Cafe, he shares his extensive knowledge and recommendations, captivating fellow coffee lovers.

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