Help, there’s a metal taste in my coffee!

in Brewing Coffee, Coffee Maintenance

Question: “My sister’s coffee always smells and tastes like tin. No matter what she does. I have recently started using my daughter’s coffee pot and find the same thing happening to me. Is it the pot or are we doing something wrong?  Thank you very much.” – Donna

Answer:
Hi Donna,  Thanks for the question.  I’ll try to narrow it down by pointing out three different possibilities and some remedy for each.

The Machine: Give the coffee machine a cycle of one part vinegar, two parts water.  Vinegar has a non-toxic cleaning power that may clean the metallic flavor out of the system.  Then, run a couple water-only cycles to rinse the vinegar out.  You will either notice an improvement or nothing at all.  If you don’t notice a difference, move on to the next steps.  If you do notice an improvement, run one or two more vinegar-water cycles, we’ve isolated the problem.

Read: Vinegar Cleaning the Coffee Machine

Water: More than likely, it’s the water that’s the culprit.  I’ve even heard stories of cities changing some piping, causing the water to have a metallic tinge to it (at least in the short term).  Use filtered water instead of filling the coffee pot from the tap.  There are alot of minerals in tap water that could stand to be filtered out before you drink it, and coffee is 99% water.  I suggest buying a Brita pitcher for your fridge.

Read: Does the Coffee Maker Purify My Water?
Read: Why Water is So Important to Coffee

The Filter: This is the least likely culprit, but worth trying for good measure.  Try using a paper filter, if you haven’t already.  The mesh “perma-filters” will not cause a metallic taste in the coffee, but paper will pick up more from the coffee before it drips into the pot so you may find that it helps.

Read: Paper Versus Mesh Filter…fight!

When I first read your question, it sounded like the coffee pot itself was the constant.  If it’s a steel pot, it’s possibly to blame.  In this case, you may consider buying a universal glass pot.  If your daughter’s pot is glass, then it wouldn’t cause the metallic taste.

Everybody deserves great-tasting coffee, and no food or drink tastes good with something metallic in it.  I hope these suggestions help you get back to drinking great coffee.

13 Comments

  1. My mothers coffee pot does the same; it is a metal pot but I wonder…Does the fact that it’s a grind and brew machine, could it have anything to do with the grinder? Thanks for the tips btw 😉

    Comment by Valerie — October 18, 2011 @ 10:24 pm

  2. Very interesting. What I hear is that anything made from a metal pot is slightly different, but shouldn’t be metallic in taste. I wouldn’t blame that it’s a grind and brew. I hope these tips help solve the problem.

    Comment by Marc Wortman — October 20, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

  3. Okay, so we did the vinegar and changed the Charcoal filter. My mom got this machine from her brother and had no idea that it was there until I noticed it. Anyhow, the first pot after all that there was only a small hint of a metal taste. Hopefully less the next time but regardless, a huge improvement. Thanks again for the tips 🙂

    Comment by Valerie — October 28, 2011 @ 2:39 pm

  4. That’s excellent news, Valerie! I’m glad the metal taste is mostly gone. If you’re still tasting a little bit of it, it’s possible that you developed such a recognition of the taste that you’re picking up any trace of it. If that’s the case, I’d hate to say you may just want to get used to that small trace as you might stop noticing it over time.

    Comment by Marc Wortman — October 30, 2011 @ 11:01 pm

  5. I’ve had the same problem and I found out that it was the metal spoons I used when I mixed my cream and sugar. I love the taste of coffee and I drink decaf just for the flavor all day long so when my coffee started to taste bad I had to find out what was causing it.

    To figure out what it was I changed the coffee at first to the coffee I Know has great taste but it was the same. I switched to instant coffee, was the same so it wasn’t my coffee maker. Then one day I made my coffee it tasted good so I took note on what I did when I make my coffee. The only thing I change all the time is the spoon I used so I tested all the metal spoon I had and it all tasted bad. I tried using my daughter’s plastic spoon and my coffee tasted wonderful!

    So now I only use plastic spoon to mix my cream and sugar. I think what happened is that I just got sensitive and I taste things I didn’t notice before.

    Comment by Shakkira — March 28, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

  6. Shakkira, great comment and great job experimenting with the different variables until you found what was causing the change in taste. I’m glad you’re back to enjoying wonderful coffee!

    Comment by Marc Wortman — March 29, 2012 @ 1:11 am

  7. Surprisingly, if you grind your own coffee and the ground is too course the result can be a weak brew which (depending on your type of coffee) can have a metalic taste.

    Comment by Steve — August 6, 2012 @ 10:16 pm

  8. Interesting, Steve. I would have thought it possible that too fine a grind in your propeller grinder would add a metallic taste since the propeller is burning the coffee where a burr grinder doesn’t. Thanks for the insight!

    Comment by Marc Wortman — August 9, 2012 @ 1:46 am

  9. Amazing blog mate

    Comment by Peter Oliver — October 13, 2012 @ 10:40 pm

  10. I don’t understand why our brand new coffee pot makes our coffee taste like metal. we have cleaned the pot with vinegar, followed all directions, it worked great the first 20 pots of coffee and now it tastes like metal. why????
    It is a glass carafe…..not metal

    Comment by Dee Tomlinson — August 6, 2015 @ 9:07 am

  11. Interesting. Since the carafe is glass, the metal taste is most likely coming from the machine itself or the water you are using. What water are you using to make coffee, and tell me about your coffee maker. We’ll figure this out!

    Comment by Marc Wortman — September 6, 2015 @ 5:32 pm

  12. I recently purchased a Mr Coffee maker and find that the coffee has a strong metallic taste. I did the vinegar wash and this has not helped. I use the paper filters and have not had this with other coffee makers.

    Comment by Bobbye — October 22, 2015 @ 5:19 pm

  13. I’m on my way to the doctor…just got that same metallic taste from Coffee Bean. So it has nothing to do with my coffee maker, filters etc. I’m also feeling weak and coughing some. The metallic coffee was a warning that something more than a cold might be taking place.

    Comment by sylvia boyd — April 11, 2017 @ 2:28 pm

Add your comment