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When coffee beans or ground coffee smells bitter is this always a sign that they are over roasted / burnt?

When I prepare coffee with these beans in French press it tastes bitter - the residual after taste is bitter - the initial taste is fine.

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When do you know coffee beans are over roasted or burnt?

When coffee is roasted beyond the "second crack", it completely loses all its origin characteristics, and tastes bitter. If the roasted beans look oily and shiny, they are most probably roasted too dark.

When coffee beans or ground coffee smells bitter is this always a sign that they are over roasted / burnt?

Fortunately no, bitter coffee can also mean overextraction. This can be mitigated by using colder water, shorter brew time, less stirring or (the best solution) grinding the coffee coarser.

When I prepare coffee with these beans in French press it tastes bitter

These two videos might help guide you in the right direction:

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The beans will look dark and oily, sometimes even approaching black.

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Assuming that it's not the beans themselves, a french press can yield bitter coffee if there is too much extraction, ie. one or more of the following:

  • Steep time too long
  • Grind size too small/uneven
  • Water too hot
  • Too much downwards pressure
  • Coffee/water ratio

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