During the training courses for Baristas at the Academy, or in the introduction to coffee for enthusiasts and the most curious who approach the world of coffee, one of the first questions we receive is: why is coffee bitter?
Inextricably linked to the word coffee there are different aromas, sensations, memories, but almost always a single taste ... the BITTER one.
When we don't put sugar in the coffee we mistakenly say "I drink it bitter" instead of "I drink it without sugar" assuming that the taste of coffee is just that bitter!
Let's see together why you should attend our courses at the academy and discover with your taste buds that coffee should be anything but bitter:
1- Coffee is a shrub that produces fruits called drupes. These fruits with very sweet pulp are kept and seeds that also contain bitter substances (such as caffeine and chlorogenic acids) but carbohydrates (mostly simple sugars) and fats are also present. It depends on the type of coffee, but in nature the fruit does not have a marked bitter taste.
2- There are many species of coffee trees, but the ones used are Arabica and Canephora (or Robusta). The taste of the two coffee beans is very different, in fact the arabica has a sweeter and more acidic taste while the robusta more bitter (also due to the presence of more caffeine).
3- After harvesting, the coffee undergoes a manufacturing process (Natural, Honey, Washed or other) in order to have a dried bean. These processes clearly affect the body, flavors and taste of our drink, giving more or less sweetness and more or less acidity. A careful selection eliminates the defective beans which affect the sensory experience by giving unpleasant and in some cases bitter flavors.
4- In the transformation of the beans, roasting plays a fundamental role. Since coffee is a food, toasting it in itself means "cooking" it. If we take bread in the oven as an example, we will perhaps be able to understand better: the crust that forms gives flavor to the bread, but does not make it bitter (which, however, a burnt bread would do). The Barista can therefore choose to serve a more or less bitter coffee also based on the roasting.
5- After training, starting with the basic barista skills course, consciously extracting the coffee will allow you to dissolve the tastiest and most aromatic substances.
Using water as a solvent, the barista must be able to dissolve only a few substances from the ground coffee and not lead to overextraction. Good professional training will allow you to be able to manipulate the recipe to obtain different flavors in the cup and not make your coffee bitter.
Basically, therefore, coffee is not always bitter and we will be able to drink sweet coffees without resorting to sugar.
We have training courses for professionals, made by professionals who will teach you the techniques and how to use the tools available correctly and how not to resort to sugar to "save" a drink that has nothing good about it.
Sweetness, balanced acidity and scent of flowers, fruit and spices that you would never have associated with our beloved cup can instead stand out, but this thanks to a correct method of extraction. Coffee is only bitter if you make wrong choices like not training or not knowing your raw material!
To make sure you're not wrong again, you can take a look at our courses below.