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Coffee Tips

Why is My Coffee Cloudy?

If you love drinking coffee, you know how horrible a lousy cup of coffee can taste.

Coffee should be aromatic and flavorful, with a great texture and caffeine content. A good cup of coffee that’s not acidic or bitter is made using the right coffee beans, grind size, and water temperature.

If the coffee you brew is watery, bitter, muddy, or cloudy, there is a problem. While you can always leave a bad cup of coffee at the coffee shop, you should find out and eliminate the reasons for brewing bad coffee at home.

Once you find out what causes your coffee to look cloudy or taste horrible, you can fix it and start enjoying great coffee every day. Here are a few things that make coffee cloudy or taste funny.

man looking at his cup of coffee and wondering why it's cloudy

6 Reasons Your Coffee is Cloudy


1. Dirty Coffee Maker

You may end up with cloudy coffee if you brew it using a dirty coffee maker. Therefore, it’s essential to clean your coffee machine after preparing each batch of coffee to ensure you get a pure brew.

Dirty coffee machines have residue from used grounds, old coffee, and some chemicals from the water. All these contaminants get into any batch of coffee that you make when you use a dirty coffee machine.

Cleaning your coffee machine is as easy as rinsing it out with hot water after brewing your coffee. You should also clean it with warm soapy water at least once a week. That will ensure you get fresh, clear coffee every day.


2. Mineral Build-Up in Your Coffee Maker

If you use tap water to brew your coffee, you may have limescale build-up in your coffee machine. That will make your coffee cloudy, especially when using an AeroPress coffee maker.

Limescale is made up of minerals such as calcium that layer the coffee equipment during coffee brewing. These mineral deposits can affect the taste of your coffee, giving it a watery and cloudy appearance.

The best way to get rid of limescale in your coffee maker is to brew a pot of half vinegar and half water in it. Let that sit for a while and break down the limescale, then brew a few rinses of plain water to eliminate any vinegar smell.

Doing this at least once a month will eliminate limescale as a possible cause of bad tasting or cloudy coffee.


3. Chlorine in The Water

If you use tap water to brew your coffee, the chlorine in it and other chemicals may cause your coffee to get cloudy. Water with a high alkalinity can also make your coffee cloudy.

Your coffee brewing water should have a pH of between 6.5 and 7.5. It’s the best pH to balance the acidity found in coffee.

And although some experts say the minerals in hard water make coffee taste better, they may also make it cloudy. Therefore, avoid water that’s high in minerals especially if it comes from the tap.

You can solve water issues by using a reverse osmosis water purifier. That will ensure all the water you use for preparing your coffee is purified and free of hard minerals.

If that fails, use filtered or bottled water to brew your coffee all the time. It will assure you of  great tasting coffee without any sediments, cloudiness, or funny taste.


4. Chemicals in The Coffee Filters

Although filters keep coffee grounds out of your coffee, they could also affect its taste and appearance. Bleached filters are especially harmful. The chemicals used to make them, such as chlorine, are dangerous for our health and can alter the taste of coffee.

Instead of using bleached paper filters to brew your coffee, use unbleached natural brown paper filters. These filters are unlikely to make your coffee cloudy or leave chemicals in it.

It’s important to note that some people complain that unbleached filters leave a paper taste in coffee. You won’t have to worry about that, if you rinse them with hot water before brewing coffee.

Paper filters remove most of the oils and residue from coffee, giving you a clear, light-bodied brew with a bright, crisp taste. If you are worried about the effect of paper filter waste on the environment, you may compost your filters or find other ways of recycling them.

And if losing coffee oils is a problem, use cloth filters. They remove all the sediments from coffee and maintain the oils giving you a clean, aromatic, light-bodied, and flavorful brew.


5. The Brewing Method

Some coffee brewing machines heat coffee too fast, making it bitter and cloudy. You could solve this issue by changing the way you brew your coffee.

The best coffee is brewed at temperatures between 195 and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. Always maintain these temperatures when making your coffee.

If the coffee grounds you are using are too fine, you may end up over-extracting your coffee, making it chalky or cloudy.

Therefore, always use a medium-fine coffee grind and avoid brewing the coffee for more than 2 ½ minutes to keep it from getting murky.

You should also watch how you brew French Press coffee as vigorously pressing the plunger can make it cloudy.  Aim for even presses to get the best flavor and aroma from your coffee.


6. Rancid Coffee or Old Coffee

Stale coffee beans can also give you cloudy coffee due to the rancid oils that coat them due to oxidation.The same thing could happen to brewed coffee if you leave it out for over 4 hours. That’s enough time for the coffee oils in the brew to go off, leaving a cloudy film.

Therefore, always buy coffee beans in small batches and store them in air-tight containers to keep them from getting stale. It’s also important to use fresh coffee grounds whenever you want to brew coffee to get a clear brew.

Also, make sure you drink your coffee as soon as you brew it because brewed coffee does not keep well.



If you’ve been wondering why your coffee is cloudy, now you have a few reasons. Check your coffee brewing process, find which of these fits, and fix your coffee brewing method to enjoy great coffee.

You may also try different ways of brewing coffee to find the one that works for you. That means sampling other coffee beans too.

Experimenting in this way will help you to identify the best coffee beans and brewing method. That will ensure you don’t complain of residue or cloudiness in your coffee anymore.