How to Make Iced Coffee Less Bitter

People love iced coffee, though many don’t love the bitterness they experience when it is made and left to sit for too long. There are super simple hacks that you can use to reduce that bitterness allowing your cold brew to be more enjoyable!

How to Make Iced Coffee Less Bitter

Iced coffee is a wonderful way to enjoy your favorite coffee drink; however, sometimes, it can get a bit too bitter. There are several ways to make iced coffee less bitter. Here are some tips:

Two glasses of iced cold coffee with black straws placed on a table

Add Sugar or Sweetener

You can make coffee less bitter by adding sugar or sweetener. This will help balance out the bitterness of the coffee so that it is not as noticeable when drinking it cold.

If you prefer unsweetened drinks and still want them to be less bitter, try adding cream or milk instead of sugar or sweetener. This will help hide some bitterness while giving you an unsweetened drink that tastes delicious!

Grind Coarser

Another way to reduce the bitterness of coffee is to grind the coffee coarser. By grinding coarser, hot water and coffee grounds have less time to contact each other, thus reducing extraction.

A coarser grind is recommended with darker roasts because it will reduce the bitterness extracted from the grounds. Ensure that your grind size balances bitterness and sourness.

Use Filtered Water

Water is one of the main ingredients in coffee and can greatly impact the taste. You don’t need to invest in an expensive water filter or pitcher; buy filtered water instead if you have hard water. If you don’t want to spend money on bottled water, get a pitcher with an activated charcoal filter that removes chlorine and other chemicals from your tap water.

Use Good Coffee

You don’t have to use fancy beans or grinds for an iced brew; use good quality beans that are freshly roasted. Coffees with lower acidity tend to be smoother than ones with higher acidity levels. The type of bean also matters — some people prefer light roasts, while others prefer dark roasts. Experiment until you find what works best for you!

If you bought a whole bag of beans, store them in a vacuum container at room temperature until you’re ready to brew. You can also freeze unused beans to keep them fresher longer — just remember to thaw them before using them!

Use Freshly Roasted Beans

If you’re brewing with stale beans, your coffee will taste stale and bitter. That’s because as soon as the beans are roasted, they start to lose their flavor. This is why it’s important to use freshly roasted beans when making coffee. They’ll retain their flavor longer than pre-ground or whole-bean coffee sitting in your pantry for weeks (or months!).

Add Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened condensed milk is another option for making your coffee less bitter. Sweetened condensed milk is just regular milk with sugar added and then boiled down until it becomes thick, like caramel sauce.

This thick substance will help reduce the bitterness from the coffee beans without adding more sweetness than you want in your drink.

Add Some Lemon

There are several ways to make coffee less bitter without watering it down. One of the easiest and quickest ways is to add some lemon. Lemon juice adds a natural sweetness to the drink, and its sourness helps balance the coffee’s acidity. It also has a cooling effect, which is nice on a hot day.

Use Fewer Coffee Grounds

Another way to reduce bitterness in coffee is by using less ground coffee per cup than what is called for by the recipe when making hot coffee. For example, suppose a recipe calls for two tablespoons of ground coffee per six ounces of hot water.

In that case, you should only use one tablespoon per six ounces while making coffee instead (unless otherwise specified). This will give you less caffeine per serving and less bitterness overall.

Why Is Your Iced Coffee So Bitter?

Iced coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the U.S., with more than $470 million in sales each year. The popularity of this coffee has led to a rise in the popularity of other cold brews like nitro cold brew and turmeric lattes.

While an iced drink can be delicious, it can also be bitter. There are many reasons why coffee can taste bitter or off. Here are some of the most common:

  • Over brewing
  • The wrong type of beans
  • Bad water
  • Too much roasted coffee grounds
  • Coffee roast level

Over Brewing

This is a common mistake that leads to an unpleasant-tasting coffee drink. If you leave your hot water on the grounds for too long, you’ll end up with a very strong and bitter brew instead of something more diluted and milder in flavor — which is what you want when making coffee!

A person adding milk to iced cold coffee placed on a glass

The Wrong Type of Beans

Using freshly roasted beans for each batch of coffee is important. The quality of the beans will affect your brew. If you use cheap beans, you’ll end up with a cheap-tasting cup of joe.

Bad Water

Whether tap water or bottled water, bad-tasting water can ruin any drink – including coffee! Try using filtered water instead and see if that makes a difference in how your coffee tastes.

Too Much Roasted Coffee Grounds

If you’re using a home brewing method, then you may be adding too much roasted coffee grounds to your brew. This will result in an overly strong flavor that can easily overpower the other ingredients in your drink. When making coffee, you should only use two tablespoons of ground coffee per 6 ounces of water.

Coffee Roast Level

The most common reason for coffee to taste bitter is that the coffee has been roasted too dark. The usual rule of thumb is that the darker the roast, the more caffeine it contains. A lighter roast will also have more acidity, which helps balance out some of that bitterness. Though when roasted too dark, the acidity can be overwhelming and leave you with a cup of bitter sludge.

Related Questions

What Is the Easiest Way to Make My Iced Coffee Sweeter?

One of the easiest ways to sweeten iced coffee is with sugar or artificial sweetener. If you want to use sugar, add a tablespoon or two to the bottom of your cup, then fill it with coffee or water and stir until dissolved. You can add it directly to your coffee maker’s filter basket before brewing.

Is Iced Coffee Made With Hot or Cold Water?

You make iced coffee by brewing hot water the same way you make regular hot coffee. Once the hot coffee is ready, add the ice, milk, and the sweetener of your choice.

Is Iced Coffee More Bitter Than Regular or Cold Brew Coffee?

Iced coffee has the same bitterness as regular coffee, using the same bag of coffee beans and the same brewing method. Nevertheless, since coffee is usually sweetened before being served, the sweetener reduces some bitterness.

In contrast, cold brew coffee is smoother and less bitter than regular coffee since it is brewed using cold water that extracts very little bitterness.


When you make iced coffee, a few things can make it too bitter. For example, over-brewing, using the wrong bean type, and using too much-roasted coffee grounds can make your coffee bitter. However, you can fix this by adding sugar, lemon, or salt to your coffee.