Does Salt Help Salvage Bad Coffee?

If you wake up in the morning and immediately reach for coffee, then you know that not every cup of coffee you make tastes its best. Even if you use the same coffee each day, you can end up with a cup of Joe that doesn't taste quite right. Maybe it's too bitter, or just not strong enough. It could be too watered down, or you accidentally burned it. Whatever the case, making bad coffee doesn't have to ruin your day, because you can (probably) fix it.

For example, if your coffee tastes sour, you can fix it by ensuring that you are brewing your coffee long enough and that your beans are ground up enough so they aren't too large, (per Roasty Coffee). Espro says you can add brew time by adding water. But what happens if you run into bitter coffee? There are a few ways to fix this and you might be shocked to learn that one common household ingredient may help.

This chef swears by salt in coffee

If your coffee is bitter, there are some reasons this may have happened. Brewing coffee with water that's too hot can result in bitter coffee, as can brewing the coffee beans for too long, says Roasty Coffee. The outlet also notes that bitterness can occur when the beans are too finely ground.

Of course, you know that adding coffee creamer and sugar can help sweeten up a cup of coffee, but the opposite of sugar — salt — can also help if your brew is bitter (per Home Grounds). This is because salt neutralizes the bitterness by blocking how your taste buds receive the coffee.

In fact, author and celebrity chef Alton Brown suggested using kosher salt in coffee way back in 2009 on an episode of his show, according to Perfect Daily Grind. According to them, Brown suggests that you add half of a teaspoon of salt and two teaspoons of ground coffee for every cup of water. This helps to neutralize bitterness. But what is the best way to add salt to your coffee? 

Adding salt to your coffee

The best way to keep coffee from tasting bitter is to add it to the grounds, per Uno Casa, but be sure not to add too much because the salt can overpower the coffee beans. According to Little Coffee Place, though, you can add a pinch of salt to an already-brewed cup of coffee if you find you have brewed a bitter cup. Again — be sure to use it sparingly, especially when using this method, because it can ruin your coffee if you overdo it. 

Is there a right type of salt to use in bitter coffee? BuzzFeed reports that Alton Brown recommends kosher salt in the coffee grounds, but regular table salt may be better when you are adding it directly into the coffee, because it is finer and will melt faster and easier, per Healthline. So, the next time you make a cup of coffee that turns out just a bit bitter, try reaching for the salt shaker instead of the sugar bowl to help even it out.