How To Like Coffee: 4 Reasons People Don’t & How to Fix Them (The Reasons...Not The People)

There are a lot of great reasons to want to drink coffee. For example, consider the following health benefits:

  • Decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Decreased risk of Alzheimer’s disease
  • Decreased risk of Parkinson’s disease
  • Decreased risk of heart disease
  • Decreased risk of colorectal cancer
  • Decreased risk of multiple sclerosis

Then there’s the endless energy coffee provides.

And don’t forget the social aspect. I mean, how many first dates started with “Do you want to get a cup of coffee?”

If you don’t like coffee, that’s OK! Not everyone was born loving coffee like young romantic Manny Delgado.

Generally those who don’t like coffee are divided into 4 camps:

  1. Too bitter or don’t like the taste
  2. Makes them too jittery
  3. Too expensive
  4. Just like being different

Learning how to like coffee differs depending on which camp(s) you’re in!

how to like coffee when you think it's too bitter

Reason 1: Too bitter or don’t like the taste

Most people who don’t like coffee say it’s because of the taste. Specifically, coffee is just too bitter. When they go to coffee shops they typically prefer hot chocolate or tea.

If you don’t drink coffee because you don’t like the taste, there are a few ways you can overcome it.

Solution 1: Stick with a light or blonde roast

The longer coffee beans roast, the smokier and more bitter they get. Stick to light and blonde roasts and you’ll get something naturally sweeter and brighter.

Among light roasts, I recommend African coffees. The Ethiopian coffee from Stone Street Coffee Company is a wonderfully bright and fruity cup without much bitterness at all.

Don't like bitter coffee? Try this light, fruity Ethiopian roast from Stone Street Coffee!

Solution 2: Change your preparation

The unpleasant, bitter taste comes from specific acids which are extracted from the coffee bean. These acids are one of the 3 major types of compounds extracted, and they’re the last ones to be extracted as the image below shows.

Extraction rates vary by compound being extracted.

To get your coffee to taste less bitter, you want to stop extraction before you pull those organic acids out of the bean. There are several ways to do this:

  1. Don’t steep your coffee as long (shorter contact time between hot water and grounds means less extraction)
  2. Use cooler water (the hotter the water the more rapid the extraction)
  3. Use a coarser grind (coarse grinds have less surface area, which minimizes contact and slows extraction)

Related: How to Grind Coffee Beans: 9 Ways (With & Without a Grinder)

Bonus Tip: Try a delicious cup of Butter Coffee! With creamy butter and healthy fats, butter coffee (sometimes known as Bulletproof Coffee) can be a creamy, frothy delight.

Experiment with those 3 variables and you’ll have a smoother, more pleasant cup.

Solution 3: Add milk, cream and/or sugar until you can tolerate the taste

A lot of coffee snobs try to shame people for adding milk, cream or sugar to their coffee.

Seriously, who cares?

So go right ahead and start with the frappuccinos, sugary lattes and milky white cups of coffee. Over time you can reduce the amount of creamer and sugar and gradually come to enjoy the taste.

Mocha beverages are also a good “gateway cup” since they have chocolaty sweetness built right in.

Solution 4: Add a pinch of salt!

It may sound weird, but salt can act as a “bitterness reducer” by changing the way the tongue and brain perceive those bitter compounds. Try adding a pinch to the dry coffee grounds before adding water.

Reason 2: Makes them too jittery

Researchers in multiple studies have found that people break down and process caffeine differently at a genetic level. This means the same cup that barely wakes Sally Jo up each morning could keep you up until midnight.

(If you’re Sally Jo, try your hand at making double brewed coffee. Or you could just straight up eat some coffee beans.)

There are 2 solutions to this problem.

Solution 1: Try half-caff or watered down coffee

There’s nothing wrong with blending your caffeinated coffee with decaf to a caffeine concentration that works for you.

Solution 2: Try a darker roast

If bitterness isn’t a problem, try switching to a dark roast. Caffeine is broken down during the roasting process, which means coffee beans that have been roasted longer will contain less caffeine.

However, there’s a flip side to that argument: Though darker roasts have less caffeine per bean (or by volume), the beans continue to lose water the longer they roast and thus darker roasts have more caffeine by weight.

What does this mean for you?

If you’re used to measuring out your morning cup in tablespoons (or any other measure of volume) you’ll get less caffeine by switching to a darker roast. If you tend to weigh out your coffee, which is less common, then it’s better to stick with the light roasts.

Reason 3: Too expensive

A daily $4 cup of coffee at your local coffee shop would cost you $1,460 per year, so I get that coffee can be expensive.

The solution? Make your coffee at home.

Single serve coffee makers like Keurigs go for $80-$150 up front and then cost around $0.75 per cup thereafter. Still too rich for your blood? Get a simple pour over coffee maker for $10-$30, skip the pods and use coffee grounds for around $0.25 per cup.

Related: Best Single-Serve Coffee Makers

Coffee doesn’t have to be expensive if you’re willing to make it yourself!

Reason 4: Just like being different

We all know the person who does something differently just so they’re aren’t part of the crowd.

If this is you, you have bigger problems than just not liking coffee.

The good news is you can just pour yourself a cup! If you haven’t been drinking coffee because everyone else has been, odds are you’ll be part of the 83% of U.S. adults who like coffee enough to drink it every day.

Image Credits

  1. “I’m not a morning person”
  2. “If you are not coffee”
  3. “Bitter coffee”
  4. “Procaffeinating”
  5. “Manny Delgado gif”
  6. “Will Ferrell bitter coffee”


About The Coffee Maven
bryan de luca
Bryan De Luca

I'm Bryan but most people know me as The Coffee Maven. I grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts and received my Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry from Providence College. My first introduction to coffee was during my college days, when I used it as a source of caffeine to fuel late-night study sessions, but soon I became obsessed with the chemistry of coffee. How did changes to water temperature or contact time affect its taste? Why do beans from Africa taste fruity while beans from Indonesia taste spicy? I launched The Coffee Maven in February 2017 to explore these questions and help others brew their perfect cup. Welcome to my site, and thanks for reading!