How To Fix Sour Coffee? [7 Barista-Approved Fixes Inside]

Sour coffee, when not intended, is bad. There is no other way to put it. There are many reasons why your coffee has turned sour. But we start answering all your questions, it is important to give a direct answer to the most important question.

How to fix sour coffee? You can fix sour coffee by using finer coffee grounds, increasing your brewing time, ensuring correct water temperature and correct coffee to water ratio, and also with periodic cleaning of your coffee machine. Sour coffee is a result of under-extraction and the above tips can help extract your coffee better.

Why Does My Coffee Taste Sour?

There are a few simple reasons why your coffee tastes sour.

Bad Coffee Beans

Using fresh coffee beans is a prerequisite for good coffee.

If your coffee bean is not fresh, then your coffee grounds are not going to give you excellent coffee. In most cases, you are going to get weak coffee that is sour in taste.

Short Brewing Time

Brewing your coffee for a short time can lead to under extraction. Under extracting your coffee is one of the main reasons why your coffee tastes sour.

Whether you’re using a coffee maker or brewing your coffee cold brew style, you need to give enough time for the extraction to happen completely.

Don’t overdo it, as over-extraction can give you a warm cup of bitter coffee.

Water Is Not Hot Enough

To extract coffee compounds from the grounds, the water you use should be at the right temperature. The correct range of temperature for perfect extraction is between 195 F and 205 F.

When the water is too cold during the extraction process, sourness creeps in your coffee and there is nothing you can do about it.

Coarse Grind

Another important reason for under-extracted coffee is the grind size.

When your coffee grounds are coarsely ground, the water can’t extract all the coffee compounds required to make a good cup of coffee.

There are brewing methods that make use of coarse coffee grounds, but that doesn’t mean you can use them in any brewing method you want.

Under Roasted Beans

The lighter the roast, the more sourness you will have in your coffee.

If you’ve bought light roasted coffee beans, then your coffee will have a sour taste. The same is true for both green and white coffee as well as they are under roasted.

Not Enough Water

To extract the right amount of coffee compounds in your brew, you are going to need a certain amount of water.

When there is not enough water, you will get under-extracted coffee which is naturally sour to taste.

Whether you’re using an espresso machine, a Keurig, or a french press, ensure enough water for extraction.

Dirty or Old Equipment

When you’re using old equipment, sour coffee is a possibility. Even though it is clean, there will be a buildup that can cause your coffee to taste sour.

A dirty piece of equipment will almost always give you bad coffee. You might think that you’ve done a good job, but you may have overseen something.

Check each part of the coffee maker and see if it’s clean. If you don’t remember when you cleaned your coffee-making equipment, then it is time to bring some shine back.

How To Make Your Coffee Less Sour?

Fixing your sour coffee doesn’t have to be hard.

Here are some simple but effective fixes for sour coffee.

Ensure Freshness of Your Coffee Beans

Fresh coffee beans = Good quality coffee.

When your coffee beans get stale, there is a good chance that you’re going to end up with a sour cup of coffee.

Make sure you’re getting Arabica coffee beans over Robusta coffee beans and store them well without losing freshness. Do not keep them in storage for longer periods than necessary.

Grind Your Coffee Beans Finer

The easiest way to combat under-extraction when using coarse coffee grounds is to grind your coffee beans finer.

With finder coffee grounds, extraction is better giving you more coffee compounds in your brew resulting in a fantastic cup of coffee. This will come in handy regardless of the brewing method you try.

Ensure Right Water Temperature

The right water temperature for making coffee is 195 F to 205 F.

Maintain this temperature when brewing coffee and you can be sure that water has done a pretty good job in the extraction process.

When your water is not hot enough, extraction is under and you will not like that sour taste.

Increase Brewing Time

Increasing your brewing time is another way to bring more coffee into your cup.

When everything else is perfect, adding a couple of minutes to your brewing process might get you a better result.

Just be sure to not over-brew your coffee. If you want to try this out, then the right thing would be to increase the brewing time in steps until you’ve reached the point of the best coffee.

Use The Correct To Water Ratio

Using the correct coffee to water ratio is one of the well-known secrets of good coffee.

In most cases, you might not use enough water. This means the extraction process doesn’t have the right amount of water for complete extraction.

In some cases, there will be too much water which can result in weaker extraction.

Ensure you have the right amount of water for the brewing process you choose, and you’re golden.

Clean Your Equipment Often

Maintenance of your coffee equipment might not look like a big deal, but it will be an undercover reason for bad-tasting coffee.

This is the last place you would look and that’s why it is important to keep your coffee makers clean and tidy.

Buy The Right Roast

If you are not a fan of sour coffee, then you should avoid the following roasts.

  • Light roast
  • Green coffee
  • White coffee

Go for a medium roast and dark roast coffee as they do not give sour flavor when done right.

Why Does Instant Coffee Taste Sour?

If your instant coffee is made from lightly roasted coffee beans, then it can be sour.

We discuss this topic in detail here: Why is instant coffee sour? Do give it a read if you’re interested.

Is It Bad To Drink Sour Coffee?

No, it is not bad to drink sour coffee as it doesn’t seem to have any adverse health effects. Most third-wave and specialty coffee makers only brew sour coffee as there is a demand for sour coffee among coffee lovers.

But if your coffee is sour because it is under-extracted, then you may not want to drink it as it is not a proper cup of coffee. Having said that, drinking it will not cause any problems.

Closing Thoughts

We hate under-extracted coffee.

It is not proper coffee as it comes with a sour taste and also without half the coffee compounds that make a good coffee.

The fixes we talked about can work miracles on your coffee. Just try them one at a time to see what’s the real problem. Once you find the culprit, remove that from your system.

If you have any questions, do let us know and we’d be happy to help.

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