Starbucks is a worldwide known coffee company – famous for their extravagant Frappuccino’s lavished with flavor and whipped cream, their Christmas spice lattés, and their name-calling baristas. However, although Starbucks thrives in their original, sugary drinks, people have complained about the quality of the actual coffee produced by Starbucks. A common complaint is the burnt taste of the coffee. See Why Does Starbucks Coffee Taste Burnt?
Why Does Starbucks Coffee Taste Burnt?
There are three possible reasons for a bitter coffee: Bitter coffee can be caused by roasting the beans for an extended period, using stale beans or ground coffee, and lastly, overheating the coffee.
Over-roasting Coffee Beans
The most common reason for coffee to have a burnt taste is the coffee being over-roasted. Coffee beans that are roasted for longer than usual are termed “dark roast”, with the beans being darker in color and the flavor being full-bodied. Dark roast is popular amongst working people due to its high caffeine content and strong flavor. The longer the roasting time of the beans, the more bitter the coffee tastes. Starbucks may be taking their roasting a little too seriously.
Another potential reason for burnt-tasting coffee is that coffee beans themselves, may be stale. Coffee becomes stale when it is oxidized on exposure to oxygen in the atmosphere. If coffee is not properly stored or is stored for too long, exposure to oxygen could lead to the unpleasant taste of bitter coffee. Ways to prevent this are to stock only the necessary amount of coffee needed and not buy in excess, as well as to seal off any beans that have already been opened in an air-tight container.
The last potential culprit of bitter coffee is that it is overheated. The science behind this phenomenon is that heating coffee results in a release of quinic and caffeic acids, which can result in bitter coffee. This is more likely to be found in restaurants where coffee is being brewed and kept warm by a machine, rather than at a Starbucks, where the coffees are made fresh for each customer.
Where Starbucks may be faulty is their brewing temperature. If the water used for brewing coffee is boiling or too hot, the same phenomenon can occur, resulting in bitter coffee.
A bad cup of coffee every now and again is normal, however, if you have more burnt coffees than delicious coffees, it may be time to look somewhere else for your daily cuppa joe. If Starbucks is not your ‘cup of tea’, consider finding a coffee shop that uses a lighter roast of coffee beans.
Q & Ans
What is the maximum amount of time that beans can be stored?
For the freshest brew, coffee can be stored for up to one month in the cupboard, and between three and six months in the freezer.
What is the ideal temperature for brewing coffee?
Macallie Atkinson from Verve Coffee Roasters conducted an experiment where he brewed multiple coffees at different temperatures, either using freshly boiled water, or water that was left to stand for a few minutes. He found that it doesn’t make much difference to the temperature of the water to leave it in the kettle for s few minutes.
Atkinson’s argument was that by adding water to a French press, the water temperature drops drastically from its boiling point of 212 ℉. If coffee has already been added to the press, the temperature drops even more. After giving five people a taste test, most of them voted for the coffee that had been made with freshly boiled water. On the other hand, according to the National Coffee Association, the ideal temperature for brewing coffee is 195 ℉ to 205 ℉.
How can I make burnt coffee taste better?
The answer is SALT! This is a tradition in some Scandinavian countries, Sibir, Hungary, and Turkey. Adding sodium to your bitter coffee will counteract the bitterness and improve the taste of your coffee. It may not be the best cup of coffee you’ve ever tasted, but it sure will be better than before.
What are alternatives to Starbucks?
If you are looking for pods for machines at home, a popular coffee brand is Nespresso. The advantage of Nespresso is that you can choose coffee based on its taste and intensity. If you prefer a lighter, sweeter coffee, you can buy the Tokyo Vivalto Lungoor the Scuro, whereas the darker roasts include the Inspirazione Firenze and the Stockholm Fortissio. These are great coffees to give a try and are made at the perfect temperature so as not to taste burnt.
In terms of coffee-to-go, Biggby Coffee, Caribou Coffee and the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf might be nice alternatives to try.