Why Does Espresso Taste Sour? 5 Things You Should Know

For those who are new in the coffee world, any espresso shot is an excellent espresso. But, for those with a sophisticated palate, espresso should be a combination of tastes in which no single taste overpowers the other.

Espresso is a type of acidic drink. But that is not to say that an espresso being sour is fine. You can usually blame the extraction process for your sour coffee.

Let’s go technical on this topic. We will address the most pertinent concerns, such as why your espresso is sour and how to lessen the sour flavor. Let’s dig in.

Reasons Why Espresso Tastes Sour

Extraction Process

The poor extraction process of the coffee is frequently the main reason for sour coffee. 

Therefore, if you notice your espresso is sour and have yourself wondering why or how it tastes like that, it could be due to the under-extraction of your espresso.

The technique of brewing your coffee is that the sourness, acidity, and bitter taste are the first tastes to emerge when brewing. Once the coffee is considered to be under-extracted, all that has been left is the acidic consistency but none of the sweet and bitter taste will make the espresso excellent.

Water Ratio

If you’re familiar with the fundamentals of the brewing process, you’ve probably come across the phrase “golden ratio.”

This golden ratio seems to be the ideal water-to-coffee-grounds proportion that works for almost all coffee beans. But, this golden ratio is merely a guideline, it’s not really a “one-size-fits-all” answer to any espresso proportion issues.

Another factor to bear in mind would be that the golden ratio varies greatly depending on the specific coffee bean used. When the amount of water you use for a specific round of coffee is not enough, you may observe a more powerful sour taste that swiftly overwhelms your tongue.

Brewing Time

Have you ever noticed how your brewing periods are just 10 seconds long and also that the drink that flows out is frothy and light yellow in color? What you do have here is espresso coffee that has been brewed quickly.

Espresso is typically prepared for about 20 to 40 seconds, based on your personal liking as well as the coffee beans used.

When espresso is made too quickly, it becomes sour and unpalatable.

Brewing very fast presents a huge issue in the flavor of the final espresso due to the under extraction process, specifically because the hot water at a certain moment might have hardly roasted the grounds enough yet to release their delightful nutty deliciousness effectively.


Because heat is required to extract aroma components within coffee grounds, adding water that is not heated enough to meet brewing requirements can lead to under-extracted coffee, even though prepared within the acceptable time period.

What’s the deal with this sour espresso? Well, next time, double-check the temperature.

Pro Tip For You: For the extraction process, the optimal brewing temperature for espresso is about 80 to 95 degrees Celsius. But, if the coffee beans were slightly roasted, the suitable extraction temperature would be around 90 to 95 degrees.

Sizes Of Coffee Grounds

How many of you have observed that brown sugar burns slower than white sugar? It is due to the fact that brown sugar granules are substantially bigger in size than white sugar granules.

Similarly, boiling with coarser, bigger coffee grounds would demand more work than brewing using finer ground coffee.

Dealing with coarser grounds necessitates a great deal of foresight and skill. Furthermore, in brewing, every cup requires a varied amount of time and heat.

Use uniformly ground coffee to keep the whole procedure more constant and controlled mostly to avoid under-extracted and sour coffee.

How To Avoid Making Sour Espresso

Since you’ve learned about some of the most prevalent causes of why your espresso turns sour, now let’s take a look at some solutions. So, thankfully, those early morning miseries of coffee gone terribly wrong and taste odd may be remedied with very little adjustments.

Correct Coffee Grounds Size

Assess the grind size you are using, and if it’s way too rough, try re-grinding your coffee grounds to a finer grain. If the grinder you use is incapable of producing a smooth texture, think about buying the necessary gear.

Appropriate Brewing Period

The brewing duration has a significant influence on the taste of the coffee. Allow about 25 to 30 seconds to brew your espresso shot.

Water Content

The level of taste in a cup is generally determined by the amount of water you use in every batch of coffee. The water used to make an espresso shot is specified mostly by the equipment.

Change The Wet Dosage

Regardless of ground size, this might be a fantastic alternative for getting the appropriate taste. The suggested wet-to-coffee-dose proportion is 1:2. As a result, per each 10 g of coffee inside the filter basket, you must take 20 g of the yield.

Change The Dry Dosage

Implementing tiny modifications to a dry dosage may also greatly enhance the taste of your espresso. You can boost the dry dosage by making the very same volume of coffee with extra grounds. Every grind may be slightly less strained, however, the taste will be well-balanced overall.

Keep Your Espresso Machine Clean 

One effective approach to guarantee that the espresso consistently delivers the right amount of taste would be to clean this after every usage. Clean equipment is happy equipment, so there’s no questioning this fact. Because bitter and sour taste in your coffee might be caused by a dirty machine, it’s important to take good care of your equipment.  

What Is The Taste Of A Good Espresso?

Good espresso ought to have a thick caramel-like flavor plus sweeter undertones, rather than sour. When the sour flavor causes your tongue to quiver, the espresso was most likely under-extracted.

How Many Coffee Grounds Should You Put In A Cup Of Espresso?

If you’re making a single espresso shot, you need to have at least about 6 to 8 g of coffee, and the double shot would take about 14 to 16 g. If the amount of ground coffee used to make espresso is insufficient, then you risk ending up with a bitter or sour espresso.

Coffee Verdict

Preparing the ideal espresso may appear challenging, but don’t give up without trying all your cards.

Try different proportions, ground sizes, and brewing periods. Take into account the desired outcome and take note of every modification.

When you’ve determined the right figures, strive to meet them on a regular basis. Enjoy your espresso coffee but don’t forget to sip your espresso in moderation!