If your espresso has been tasting salty then you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons that your espresso might taste salty and what you can do to remedy it.
So, why does my espresso taste salty? One reason could be that you are using single sourced beans with a light roast that can have a salty flavor to them such as those sourced from Indonesia. It could also be that you are under-extracting the espresso, pulling at too low of a temperature or the beans could be too fresh or old.
And, what can you do to reduce the saltiness of your espresso? Try using a blend of beans with a dark roast that
There are actually a number of things that could cause your espresso to taste salty and it would be helpful to experiment by only changing one thing at a time so that you can get a better idea of how it is impacting your espresso.
Why your espresso tastes salty
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your espresso might taste salty, what you can do about them and other things to consider.
You’re using beans that have a salty flavor to them
The reason that your espresso tastes salty could have a lot to do with the beans that you are using.
There are some beans that have a salty taste to them which is especially the case with beans that have been sourced from Indonesia.
In addition to this, whether or not they are single sourced beans will also have an impact on how salty they taste. If the beans are from a single source then it could result in them tasting more salty.
This is because they tend to have more acidity since they don’t go through as much processing as coffee blends where the acidity would normally be lost.
Whereas, with a blend, you will be able to get a more balanced flavor since the individual flavors of each of the different types of beans will balance each other out. It also helps that blends tend to have a darker roast than single sourced beans which helps to reduce how acidic they are.
Another aspect of the beans that could result in them tasting more salty is the type of roast that they have. Typically, beans with a light roast will taste more salty since they don’t lose so much of their acidity in the roasting process.
If you are not already, consider using a blend of beans that have been sourced from multiple locations that make use of a dark roast. By doing so it should help to reduce the level of acidity in them and to reduce how salty they taste.
Change the extraction time
The reason that your espresso tastes salty could be that you are under-extracting or that you are over-extracting.
Under-extracting is where you pull the espresso shot too quickly and it results in less of the oils from the coffee being mixed with the water as it passes through the coffee. Under-extraction will normally result in more of a sour taste and if your espresso tastes salty then I would say that this is more likely to be the cause.
Over-extraction is where you take too long to pull the espresso shot and it results in too much of the oil from the coffee being mixed in with the water. Typically, over-extraction will result in more of a bitter taste.
Generally, it should take you between 25-30 seconds to pull the double espresso shot. If your espresso is taking less time than that then you should take measures to increase the amount of time that it takes to pull your espresso shots. While, if your espresso is taking longer than that then it would be worthwhile to take measures to reduce the time it takes.
There are a number of factors that can impact the time it takes for you to pull your espresso shots.
One of the main factors is the type of grind that you are using. If you use a coarse grind then it will result in the shot coming out more quickly since the water will be able to pass through it more easily. While, if you use a fine grind then you will be able to increase the time that it takes for the espresso to be made since it will be more difficult for the water to pass through the grind.
Another factor influencing the time that it takes for you to extract the espresso is the dose that you use. The dose is the weight of the coffee that you put into the portafilter. If you use a small dose then you will lower the time that it takes to extract the espresso since there will be less coffee there to resist against the water while the opposite is true for a higher dose.
Generally, it is recommended that you avoid changing the dose until you have tried changing other factors first since it is difficult to replicate the taste of the espresso that you get when using a different dose.
How you tamp and the distribution of the
If the distribution of the grind is uneven before you tamp it then it could result in the espresso being under-extracted. This is because it could result in one area of the grind being easier for the water to pass through. To remedy this, make sure to distribute the grounds evenly before you tamp it.
Once you have distributed the grounds evenly then put the portafilter on an even surface, put your elbow at 90 degrees to it and apply pressure until the coffee has an even and polished look.
Below, is a video showing you how to tamp correctly.
The type of grind could be contributing to the saltiness
The type of grind that you use could cause your espresso to taste more or less salty.
If you are using a fine grind then it could be that you are using a grind that is too fine which is causing you to over-extract the coffee where the water is picking up too much of the oil from the coffee as it passes through it.
If this is the case then it would be likely that your espresso would have a bitter taste as well as salty. If you are over-extracting then it would be more likely that it is taking longer than 30 seconds to pull the shot.
On the flipside, it could be the case that your grind is not fine enough. If the grind is not fine enough then the water will be able to pass through it more easily resulting in less of the oils being picked up and a more sour and salty taste. If your espresso is taking less than 25 seconds to pull then consider using a finer grind.
If you can not grind any more fine than you already are then you might need to get a new grinder. I would recommend this coffee grinder. It allows you to grind the coffee to an ultra-fine level which should help you in reducing how salty the espresso tastes assuming that you’re not already grinding finely enough.
The impact of temperature on how salty your espresso is
The temperature that you are pulling at could also have an impact on how salty the espresso is.
If you’re pulling at too low of
Generally, it is recommended to pull the espresso at between 195-205 degrees Fahrenheit.
Change the tamping
The way that you are tamping the coffee could be what is causing it to be salty.
If you don’t distribute the grounds evenly before tamping them then it could result in an uneven distribution after tampering. This could cause the espresso to taste more salty since the water will be able to pass through certain parts of the coffee more easily in the portafilter.
Additionally, it could also be the case that you are tamping too lightly or too hard which could impact the taste and the saltiness of the espresso. Watch the video linked to above to see how to tamp correctly.
How the freshness of the beans impacts the saltiness
The freshness of the beans that you are using could also be what is causing your espresso to taste more salty.
If the beans are not very fresh then it will result in the espresso being weaker and possibly more salty. This is because, if the beans are not fresh, then it will mean that they will have had too much time to oxidize and to lose the amount of oil that they contain. This will mean that less oil will be picked up by the water when you are making the espresso causing a more salty taste.
Generally, it is recommended that you use the beans within 3 weeks of roasting and many people say that 2 weeks should be the max.
On the other hand, if you have been using the coffee beans within 4 days of being roasted then that could also cause the salty taste that you have been experiencing. This is because if they need a few days after being roasted to reduce the amount of CO2 that they contain.
Consider the pressure of your machine
It could be the case that the pressure of your machine is off and it is causing the salty taste.
If you think that your espresso machine might not be working at the right pressure then pull a blank shot and see if the pressure stops at the set pressure. The pressure of an espresso machine will normally be around 9 BARs.
Change the dosing
Reducing the saltiness of the espresso could be helped by changing the dose of your grind (the weight of the grind that you use).
A double shot espresso should normally have a dose of 14-16 grams if your dose isn’t in this range then consider changing the dose that you have been using.
When trying to get your espresso to taste less salty and to taste the way that you would like it to it will be necessary for you to do some experimenting.
When trying to adjust the flavor of your espresso I would recommend only changing one thing at a time while keeping the other factors the same. By doing so you will be able to get a better idea of what exactly has been causing your espresso to taste more or less salty.
The machine needs cleaning
It could be the case that your espresso has been tasting salty because the machine needs to be cleaned.
The video below shows a good guide on how to clean an espresso machine.
Why does my espresso taste salty suddenly? It could be that you used different beans to normal, a different grind or that you have been tamping differently. It could also be that your machine has been acting faulty where the pressure or temperature might be off or it might just need cleaning.