How To: Make Bitter Coffee Taste Better with This Secret Ingredient

Make Bitter Coffee Taste Better with This Secret Ingredient

Finding the formula to the perfect cup of coffee for your taste can take a while. I finally got around to buying a French press a few weeks ago and I'm still tweaking the right ratio and brewing time to get it just right (though I am drinking it at the right times each day).

Even the most dedicated coffee addict occasionally brews a cup that just doesn't taste right. Using a different kind of coffee or machine can throw things off, and there are few things more disappointing than a whole pot of coffee that's too bitter to drink.

But if you don't have time to make more, there's a quick way to make it drinkable: just add a pinch of salt.

Image by Aayesha Siddiqui/Flickr

If you use a too-high ratio of coffee to water, or leave it to steep for too long, a pinch of salt will counteract the bitterness. That's because sodium interferes with the transduction of bitter flavors. It's even a tradition in some parts of Northern Scandinavia, Sibir, Turkey, and Hungary.

The salt won't make bad coffee taste good, but it may be enough to make it drinkable. You can add it to the finished cup if you've already messed up, or try sprinkling it on top of the ground before brewing and see how it affects the taste.

Image via Martin Lersch

Still not convinced? Check out food scientist Alton Brown explaining his method for making perfect coffee, which includes—you guessed it—a pinch of salt.

Image via Food Network

Have you ever used salt to take the bitter edge off a cup of coffee? Or do you use another trick? Let us know in the comments below.

Cover images via Shutterstock (1, 2, 3)


I use a drop of lemon juice. Acidity and bitterness cancel each other out, and it has a pretty soft taste. But do not drink that in the evening or you will not sleep.

Whoa. Did not know this. Mind is blown

Seems like I have heard that sprinkling a bit of baking soda over the grounds will take the bitterness out as well.

My dad puts a couple of orange peels in the basket with the coffee grounds.

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