does sugar really make coffee taste sour?


I’m new to the forums and I was kinda interested in one of the threads here about the “sourness” of coffee so I thought of asking for your opinion…

I’ve started drinking my coffee without sugar since i reached college and up to now I still find it more enjoyable than drinking it with sugar. For one reason: with sugar, i seem to find it more sour than just taking it black or with little cream. I tried to search the net for scientific explanations on this and found very limited answers. Just want to know if its just me or does anyone else have this kind of experience with sugar and coffee?


raven :cool:

Try it with just a tiny drop of vanilla extract in the basket when you brew it =)

I have issues with coffee now, some damned med i am taking has changed the aftertaste to it totally =(

However, back before I used to put the sugar and cream in first, then added the coffee and it tasted smoother than if I added the stuff after pouring the coffee.

People perceive flavors differently - you might just be tasting something that someone else doesn’t.

Moving to General Questions.

No, but then I don’t like sugar in coffee. Sugar is sweet and coffee can be bitter. Still I have never found sugar makes anything bitter? Try Columbian coffee made with spring water and brewed in a Bunn coffee maker. Heaven!

If coffee is sour or bitter, it’s probably not being brewed correctly in the first place. The number one mistake people make when they want to improve the flavor is that they start using fewer grounds or more water because they think it will make the flavor more the way they want. Coffee making is actually a chemical extraction process, and adding extra water just means that you’ll extract more of the bitter/sour components relative to the flavors people like. (For people who want weaker coffee that isn’t more bitter, they should brew at full strength, then add some hot water directly to the pot or to their glass.)

Of course, different roasts of coffee can have significantly different flavors as well. I tend to like a lighter roast than the almost-burned French or Italian roasts.

But, as far as the original questions… no, I’ve never found that adding sugar makes it more sour. It could be that you’re tasting the sweet more at the beginning and then the bitter/sour components are hanging around in your mouth longer than the sugar. The contrast between the two might make it seem more sour.

I do know what you mean. I used to add sugar and cream, because I’d always thought it was supposed to make it more pleasant. Eventually, though, I started to wonder why it still tasted so bad. I guess “sour” is a good way to put it, since I actually thought it might have been that the cream was bad. So one day at my local coffe shop I finally “snapped” (not really psychotically, or anything) and decided I was through with it, so I tried the cream by itself and it was fine. Since it must then be that the coffee was badly brewed, I tasted it black to see if that was it. It was fantastic! So I poured a mug full of plain black coffee and have only ever added anything to it a couple of times since…and sugar (real or artificial, doesn’t matter) always makes it bad. And so it goes, I suddenly became a drinker of straight black coffee.

I have found that sugar often makes coffee taste more bitter (or “sour”) than drinking it without sugar.

It’s a strange, unexpected result.

Lots of badly brewed coffee, and low quality coffee, is acid/sour tasting. Sugar, of course enhances flavors, including the flavor of acidity. However, if you have good quality coffee without that inherent acidy taste, sugar won’t make it taste sour.

In my experience.

Just needs MORE sugar.

Is this similar to the people who add salt to watermelon and say it tastes sweeter?

In my experience, I didn’t drink coffee for years because I hated the “sour” taste.

But then I saw a label on an airpot that had the “BRIGHT to DARK” continuum. And I thought, maybe that brightness is what I’m interpreting as sourness.

So I tried the French Roast, and the Black Like Me, and the Ebony Roast and all the other darker roast coffees – and they had less sourness. And more of a dark/woodsy/umammi/almost-burnt taste. Yeah, I’m not wild about that almost-burnt taste thing, but it’s smoother, less tangy, and… less sour! And now I drink coffee. Which is good news for my ADD.

But I still can’t drink the cheap stuff. I have the same problem with beer.

I would say if you drink your coffee black, you should take especial care to drink good coffee. That is coffee from good beans, brewed correctly.

The big coffee companies take special effort to mix different harvests and regions to get the same brand-specific taste every year. A good coffee comes from one region (Columbia, Kenia etc) and one type of beans (Arabica vs. Robusta), and will vary with each harvest, and from region to region.

A good brew - the best for the stomach - is an espresso. Second the push-type glass thingies that came in fashion some decade back, but only if you pour into another container right away - if the grounds sit beneath the filter for half an hour, the bitter aromes will seep upward. The worst method is the drip-down of the conventional filter.
The advantage of espresso is that the water is forced through with enough pressure to get the taste, but short time, so the bitter stuff is left in the grounds.
You then, after brewing (as has been mentioned) pour additional hot water for a prolonged coffee, add milk for a cappuchino etc.

So while coffe might taste strong (which could be interpreted as bitter depending on taste variance), it should never taste sour.

True Italian or Austrian coffee is served with sugar and a sweet cookie, to counter the strong taste. And cappucchino is made with foamed milk, not with cream. Never use cream from a can!

are you sure it’s not the aftertaste? I find that if I drink anything sugary, I have a slightly sour aftertaste not too long after. I had assumed it’s the little critters in there feasting on the sugar and putting out acids.

I use Sweet-n-Low or Splenda almost exclusively to avoid the empty sugar calories. On the rare occasions when only sugar is available (like at the car shop) and I put some in the coffee, it definitely has an off taste to me. I would have to put in a lot to make it taste sweet again. I’ve wondered about that too…maybe the artificial sweeteners have had an effect on my taste buds. Regular soda tastes strange to me also after drinking diet for so long.

Was one of the options really called “Black like Me”?