Oh No! Why Is My Espresso Sour? (And How to Fix It)

There you are, enjoying a lovely espresso at home. You take a sip, and suddenly your face puckers up like you’ve just taken a swig of vinegar. What gives? More importantly, how do you fix it? Don’t worry, we’re here to help. Below, we’ll explain why your espresso might be sour and how to fix it. Who knows, maybe by the end of this blog post you’ll be able to teach even your local barista a thing or two!

Why Is My Espresso Sour?

There are a few potential reasons why your espresso might be coming out sour.

  • The first possibility is that your beans are rancid. This can happen if they haven’t been stored properly—for example, if they’ve been exposed to too much light or heat. If your beans are rancid, there’s not much you can do except start over with fresh beans. Sorry!
  • The second possibility is that your grind is too fine. When the grind is too fine, the water has a harder time flowing through the grounds and extracting all of the flavors. This can lead to overestimating the amount of coffee needed, which will make the final product taste sour. To fix this, try coarsening your grind slightly and seeing if that makes a difference.
  • The third possibility is that your dose is too high. This is related to the grind—if the grind is too fine, you might inadvertently use more grounds than usual in an effort to reach the desired dose. As we mentioned before, using too many grounds can lead to an over-extraction and make the espresso taste sour. Make sure you’re using a consistent dose each time you make espresso so that you can troubleshoot more easily if something goes wrong.
  • Another possibility is Water Quality. If you’re using really great beans and you’re grinding them fresh but you’re still not getting results, then it might have something to do with your water quality. If your water is too high in minerals, it can make your espresso taste off. The best way to solve this problem is to use filtered or distilled water for brewing.
  • Hard water can cause deposits to build up on your espresso machine over time, affecting both the quality and taste of your shots. If you live in an area with hard water, make sure to descale your machine on a regular basis following manufacturers’ instructions. Doing so will help extend its lifespan and keep your shots tasting great.
  • Finally, it could be that your espresso machine needs a good cleaning. Over time, coffee oils and residue can build up inside the machine and affect the flavor of your espresso drinks. If you think this might be the issue, descale your machine and give it a good deep cleaning. This should help get rid of any funky flavors and get your espresso back on track.


We hope this blog post helped clear things up (no pun intended)! If your espresso is tasting sour, there are a few potential culprits: rancid beans, a too-fine grind, or an incorrect dose. By troubleshooting each of these factors one by one, you should be able to figure out what’s causing the problem and get back to enjoying a delicious home-brewed espresso in no time. Happy sipping!

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