How does milk reduce bitterness in coffee?


While making my morning coffee it struck me that a dash of milk reduces the bitterness in coffee, yet the same amount of water doesn’t dilute the coffee as much, so got to thinking, what is it in milk that lessons the bitterness in coffee? I did a google search and was met with “X best ways to reduce bitterness in coffee” which didn’t help.

In: 113

Milk contains sugar. You could also reduce the bitterness of coffee by adding sugar or sugar alternatives such as saccharin or stevia. Not to mention coffee creamer, which also contains sugar.

It’s the fat content. Milk vs cream, try it and you’ll see. Some people talk about putting butter in coffee.

There are compounds in tea which are commonly referred to as “Tannins” and they can be bitter. The proteins in milk interact with those tannins in such a way that they no longer “fit” into the taste receptors which signal bitterness.


Imagine bitter taste like spikey shaped things. The fats in milk sort of wrap these up in a bubble that keeps the spiky bits from making things taste bitter.

This also works for cholate.