This study was aimed to analyse the impact of the debittering process (DP) in the overall sensory properties of orange juice (OJ) (Citrus sinensis L. Var. Salustiana). The fresh industrial squeezed orange juice (FOJ) and the corresponding OJ after the DP (DOJ) were taken. No significant differences were found in acidity, pH and total soluble solids. Colour was evaluated by image analysis (DigiEye System). Hue and lightness were lower (more reddish and darker) after debittering (P < 0.001). Odour profile (limonene, α-pinene, ethyl butanoate, octanal, linalool, citral and terpineol) decreased significantly (from 16% to 61% on average) as well as total phenolic compounds measured by Folin–Ciocalteu (P < 0.05). The influence of the debittering on the perceived colour, smell and taste was evaluated by paired comparison tests. The naïve panellists found significant differences not only in taste but also in colour and aroma between FOJ and DOJ; however, preference was not clear.