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Why Your French Press Coffee Tastes Bitter

A person places coffee grounds into a french press.
Jason Montoya / LifeSavvy

So many people love making French press coffee because of the relaxed process. It’s simple, straightforward, and makes a killer cup of joe. But, if you feel like you haven’t mastered the art of the French press because your coffee tastes bitter, there’s likely one crucial mistake you’re making.

Your grounds might be too fine.

When brewing a pot of French press coffee, it’s best to grind your own beans. Doing so gives you full control over the coarseness of the grind. Bags of pre-ground coffee you can find at the store are typically meant for drip coffee makers. They have a finer grind.

French press coffee requires a coarse grind. The coarser the coffee, the longer it will take for the natural flavors and oils to extract. It takes longer for the water to settle into the grounds, letting the flavors settle slowly. If you use a fine grind with a French press, you could over-extract the coffee.

Sound familiar? That’s probably what’s causing your cup of coffee to taste bitter. A fine grind doesn’t give you the time you need for things to steep properly. That can lead to an acidic taste that makes you wonder where your brewing process went wrong.

If you think you have your French press brewing down but you’re still struggling with bitter coffee, check your grind. If you’re not able to grind your own beans, ask a local coffee shop or cafe to do it for you. They’ll be able to provide the coarse grind you need for a smooth, bold cup.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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