It's been theorised that room temperature coffee tastes more bitter might be due to the smell sense being activated by hot coffee (particles moving around), which improves the taste.

However, as a congenital anosmic (no sense of smell since birth), room temperature / cold coffee is still awful. I love a hot cup of coffee, on the other hand.

Any proven theories?

  • 4
    This is a question about the physiology or science of taste perception, not cooking or culinary arts. It may fit better with Biology or one of the other Stack Exchange sites.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 4:28
  • 1
    @SAJ14SAJ - really? Comparable question: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/22327/…
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 4:41
  • That is a pretty poor match too.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 4:42
  • I think this is probably too subjective to answer. I actually prefer my coffee closer to room temperature as I think it tastes less bitter when cooled.
    – SourDoh
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 4:43
  • @SAJ14SAJ indeed most of the related links on the right are quite similar - coffee after reheating, why food tastes bland when sick, why instant coffee tastes burnt etc...
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Jul 30, 2013 at 4:45

1 Answer 1


The initial statement is too broad. It is not true that room temperature / cold coffee tastes awful. It is highly dependent on how good the roasted coffee is. This is why coffee cuppers drink coffee at room temperature.

ANY defects in the coffee are amplified as it cools. This is why almost everyone likes hot coffee. Unless you have really good coffee, you can detect off flavors and bitterness as it cools. With really good coffee, the flavors actually improve /expand as it cools.

Source - I roast my own coffee every week on a Hottop roaster. I drink coffee black, and I can drink my coffee cold with no problem. Can't say that about Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc.

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