Acidity is a respectable but controversial attribute of coffee. It’s loved by third-generation users and appreciated by competing judges, so it often confuses. So, what is acidity, and why the perfect amount of acid is necessary for your coffee? Why are some coffees more acidic and some comparatively less? And how do you emphasize or reduce it when roasting or brewing?
One of the most controversial topics when discussing coffee’s blends and flavors is undoubtedly acidity. Coffee has some natural acidity, but the amount of acid and the flavor produced can vary widely from cup to cup. Some people like sour coffee and others don’t like the taste or have gastrointestinal problems that prevent them from drinking it.
What is Acidity?
Vibrant, sharp, bright, fruity, shiny… these are other words used to describe acidity. But we have a lot of adjectives for this, but none of them explain it. The acidity is not easy to determine.
This is mainly because it takes a variety of forms. More acidic coffee affects its taste and aroma and acquires the properties of stone fruits, sweet nectarines, or juicy apples. However, acidity is also a chemical compound, and certain types of compounds affect the taste of the coffee. Whether it’s good or bad. Understanding the chemistry of coffee can help roasters (and even breweries) get the best flavor out of your cup.
So, what is the difference between high acid coffee and low acid coffee? This is not a factor. The amount of acid is determined by many factors!
6 Factors That Define Coffee With High Or Low Acidity
Soil type is one of the reasons why origin is so important for coffee. The level of acidity in the soil is different, which directly affects the growth of beans. The higher the acidity of the soil, the higher the acidity of the beans.
The shape of the coffee tree is also important! Arabica coffee, for example, has low acidity. Or other coffees sometimes tend to contain a much higher acid. It usually depends on the genetics of the plant.
Coffee grown in cold climates warms more slowly and has a higher acidity. Coffee in warmer regions ripens faster and does not have time to produce a lot of acids. This also applies to altitude, as this is one of the most important ways to control the climate. Coffee grown at a cooler and higher altitude becomes more acidic.
4. Processing method
How are coffee beans extracted from raw coffee cherries? The faster and more accurately you extract the cherries, the higher the acidity of the beans. With a more natural drying/processing method, if the cherries remain in the beans, they deliver more sucrose and fructose to the beans, reducing acidity.
5. Roasting method
It’s that simple. The longer the coffee beans are roasted, the more acid they burn. Light steaks are almost always more acidic than dark steaks.
6. Brewing method
Fine coffee is more acidic than ground coffee. The hotter the water, the higher the acidity of the cup. If you want low-acid coffee, try cold-brewing!
Variation in Acidity
Several factors can play a role when it comes to caffeic acid.
One of the most important factors in determining the acidity of a coffee is the roasting method. The duration and temperature of frying are correlated with acidity. One study found that the longer and hotter roasted coffee beans, the lower the chlorogenic acid level. This means that light rust tends to have a higher acidity, while dark rust tends to have lower acidity.
Another factor that affects acidity is how it is brewed. One study found that cold brew coffee had significantly lower acidity than hot coffee. Brewing time also affects the overall acidity. The shorter the duration, the more acidic beverages are produced and the average duration is less acidic beverages.
The size of the coffee grinder can also affect acidity. Smaller coils have a larger surface area relative to their volume, which can lead to more acid extraction in the brewing process. So fine grinding can make more acidic Perfect coffee in your mug.
How to Control Acidity?
When roasting or brewing, it is impossible to give the aroma that the coffee does not have. However, it can be fried in a way that emphasizes or masks the acidity.
First, you can consider the scale of the degree of completion. There are many acids that lose their concentration and acidity during the process of roasting. You need to understand what beans are, control the temperature when roasting, and ultimately get a balanced cup even if the acidity shines.
Try roasting and brewing coffee with a different aging time and profile. This will give you a better understanding of how the grill profile affects the acidity of your coffee. The more often you do it, the more ideas you can get!
The lighter the roast, the more natural the aroma of the coffee in the cup (of course, you don’t want the roasted coffee to be sour or herbal). The darker the roast, the more likely it is to roast or even hide these flavors behind the bitter taste. Jellyfish says, “It’s an art to fry dark dishes without bitterness.” But roasting isn’t just about how long beans are kept in a frying pan. It’s all about how to handle heat and airflow to improve coffee’s best performance.
Let’s say you have a high Ethiopian coffee with a lot of sparkling acids and the roaster has perfectly emphasized it. Does this mean that delicious coffee is waiting for you? I do not need it. Even if you boil it the wrong way, you can still drink a flat drink.
Likewise, medium-dark chocolate Brazilian steaks can become sour if not pulled enough. But what is the prey? How does this affect coffee? The moment the water touches the coffee, the taste and smell begin to seep into the water. This is extraction. Not all compounds are extracted at the same time, so the degree of extraction affects the taste and aroma of the cup.
First, fruit and sour fruit are extracted, then sweet and balanced, and finally bitter. In other words, under extraction results in a sour taste because it lacks the sweetness and soft bitterness necessary to maintain the acidity balance. However, if you suppress the sweetness and acidity, the extract will taste bitter. You need a perfect balance.
Fresh Coffee Is the King
More factors have an effect on the acids than just roasting and brewing. While sitting, chemical reactions occur in the acids and that changes the level of coffee acidity for the drinking. This is why consuming a cup of Joe directly from a hot plate is a different experience. If you want to avoid coffee with a weird taste, make a fresh cup.
Other Ways to Reduce Coffee Acidity
- Consider altitude – because coffee from high altitude regions tends to be more altitude. If the coffee bag doesn’t say where it’s from, just email the provider. They’re likely to share the origin of the coffee with you.
- Add milk – Milk balances out the PH level, making it a simple way to reduce your coffee’s acidity. Light roasts don’t mix well with milk due to their acidic nature, especially if it’s soy or another plant-based milk. That said, you can add a hint of cream without worries in a dark roast to help bring down the acidity.
- Arabica beans FTW – This bean variety is less acidic than other caffeine-infused counterparts. If you drink good quality coffee, you’re probably already using Arabica beans. But if not, it’s the perfect time to shop for a new batch.
- Be particular about the region – Although most coffee regions have their own flavor, there are some basic traits that each region’s coffee tends to have. For instance, coffee from Sumatra and Brazil is low in acidity, while coffee from Kenya is more acidic and fruiter than other coffee types. Feel free to try various coffee growing regions until you find the perfectly balanced coffee.
Acidity is a very complex problem and its presence is influenced by several factors. However, choosing and preparing coffee to your taste doesn’t have to be that difficult.
The good thing about coffee is that it has so many shades, flavors, and aromas for every taste. Some roasts, varieties, processing methods, and sources may differ in acidity and type. So, try a few different coffees and experiment with the brewing. Find what you like. And when you figure it out, follow the guide above to always brew the perfect and authentic cup of coffee. Acidity gives the drink balance and vitality. Whether you like it or not, it’s an important part of a delicious morning coffee.