Coffee Acidity

One thing was painfully clear at the SCAA show in Houston, acidy coffee is in! Really! I even heard one coffee described as having "aggressive acidity." Dark Roasts are out, Light Roasts are in. Light Roasts are complex, refined, have good acidity. Dark Roasts, well, Dark Roasts just aren't cool anymore. I mean, Starbucks over roasts their coffee. And we all know that Starbucks is not cool. Light Roasts are Third Wave and Third Wave is in.

Along with the trend towards Light Roast is this new found appreciation for Acidity. Acidity is what gives a coffee its brightness, its liveliness. Good Acidity can be likened to carbonation in a soda, without it the beverage is flat. Something I heard repeated time and again was the necessity of educating the customer about coffee acidity. But not all acidity is good, and a lot of what I tasted was acids due to defects in the coffee.

Of the plus 1000 different chemical compounds identified in coffee about 50 or so are acids. Many of these are volatile compounds and diminish in roasting. Light Roasts tend to emphasize these acidic compounds and bring them to the fore. This is why coffee tasters in the import/export trade roast their samples very light to expose these particular defects. Trade Cupping or Defect Cupping is a necessary skill for any coffee professional but one would be remiss into assuming that this is some higher form of taste.

Coffee's acidity comes from a combination of its inherent acidity along with the coffee bean's production cycle: growing, processing, and roasting. Coffee's inherent acidity is chlorogenic acid, which, along with caffeine, is part of the plant's defense against insects. Chlorogenic acid breaks down in roasting into quinic and caffetic acids depending on the amount of time the coffee is exposed to heat. Roasting machines with poor heat transference produce more of these acids resulting in a tinny, bitter taste. I have written more extensively on this acid in "Bitterness and Acidity in Coffee."

One of the more oft quoted acids is Citric Acid. This acid is usually associated with fresh crop coffee and indicates new harvest. Experienced cuppers will tend to opt away from these lots and wait for later deliveries, giving the coffee a chance to mature. If the flavor persists it is an indication that too many immature green coffee cherries are making their way through. I have notice in my own travels that first time cuppers often take a liking to this taste largely due to the fact that it is the first taste that they learn to identify. This acid is less volatile than other acids and so cannot be "roasted" out. Its easy to identify, since most of us are familiar with citric acid from citrus fruits.

Another common acid is malic. I have noticed an increase in this acid over the years as sun grown coffee has become more commonplace. It is due to excessive day/night time temperature deviations. Shaded coffee farms have more stable temperatures which benefits the plants night time expiration. This acid has a distinct tart apple peel taste that lingers on the palette.

Acetic acids come about from the just pulped coffee beans sitting in the fermentation tank. The time in the fermentation tank is critical since the enzymes break down the silver skin on the coffee beans. Too much time, or if the temperature is too high, however, results in a vinegar like taste. Sometimes this is confused with wineyness.

Most of these acids will decrease in roasting, aside from the Quinic, but as more roasters opt for a Light Roast these acids come to define the coffee's flavor. I hear a lot of pontificating about this coffee's blueberry taste, or apricot, plum, or jammy, as if they are talking about their favorite wine. The one thing that these acids have in common is that they invariably lead to a soury cup. You can mask some of these flavors by increasing the brew temperature, but as the cup cools so returns the sour. What's more, these acids tend affect a person's body, resulting in an edgy, uncomfortable feeling. Some assume it is caffeine, but it is these acids.

In my years of roasting I have never had a customer come in and ask for an acidic coffee: you know, something that tastes like fresh squeezed lemons? Something that will sour my stomach and make me feel all jittery?

Maybe its time the customer educated us.

70 comments:

  1. Excellent view!Great Article.This is possible only when we have a good quality Coffee Equipment

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great, the bit about the acids reveals what I was searching for in the variety and roast of coffee. I have been trying to discover what I like in a black cup of coffee, so far only pleased by the the Whole Foods brand City Roast.
    After several days of being quite annoyed with Mr. Overly for distracting me from working, and recalling the not so pleasing mochas from Kaladi Brothers around 2009-2010, I was forced into my car, perhaps an entire mile. In the past, I was not crazy about the chocolate sauce, caramel sauce or the flavor imparted by the black lids on the cups (yes, yes, not even tasting the coffee). However, today's cup of Indian, unadulterated, was the best cup of coffee I've had from a coffee shop (and I came in with the attitude of "you talk a good game, so you better impress me with flavor, not spin, lol). Socratic contrarianism is totally acceptable when it heralds true quality and the display of technique in product, rather than trumped up, unfounded snobbery.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I almost can't drink coffee due to this acidity. I'm one of the rare super-tasters in the world, and I can taste these acids to extremely keenly that unless I neutralize them with a lot of milk and/or cream it's like drinking caffeinated vinegar to me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. In Africa country, coffee beans are soaked in water mixed with spices and served as candy to chew.

    Kopi Luwak

    ReplyDelete
  5. Great post. Before coming here, I also read from What exactly is coffee acidity? the brewing process, location, and processing method also affects the acidity of coffee

    ReplyDelete
  6. This post is extremely informative. I think you are right on about the fact that people only seem to "like" acidity merely because it is tricky to first identify. But the third wave seems to be taking acidity out of control. Thanks for the post

    ReplyDelete
  7. I enjoyed reading this post; I have recently become interested in coffee and it is fun to read your insights.

    I have a question about acidity: I have noticed that coffees with higher acidity - whether from location (like Central America) or lighter roasting - tend to give me a piercing headache after I drink them. I use French Press and Clever Brew, and prefer to drink my coffee black (but I only drink about 3 oz at a time) because the flavor is so good on its own. I don't have these problems with med or dark roasts and in fact they help me with migraines (I started drinking coffee for this reason).

    I haven't been able to find anyone discussing this, so I was hoping that with your greater exposure to coffees of various sorts, you might have seen or heard something about this. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Walked into a new coffee shop in Raleigh, NC the other day. Asked for a dark, smokey roast and after they looked at me funny, offered me the "closest thing". Took much care with the pour-over brew and later asked me how I liked it. I told them it was fresh but too acidic. I then received a lecture from the barista half my age (I've been drinking coffee since before he was born) about how light roasted acidic coffees contain more of the original coffee flavor. I said that I did not agree; that I was overwhelmed by the acidic tartness and that what he was saying just didn't sound right. I knew in my gut that their take on things was a sham, but it wasn't until reading this article that I knew the reasons. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I have a sensitivity to citric acid. Swollen throat inflamed glands..I am discovering the amounts I can tolerate and I was just crying "say it ain't so!" about having to give up coffee. The description of the jitteryness matches my reaction to the coffee I have been drinking..Thank you. I will try your advice on the roasting level. I may just have to get my own roaster. Or "gasp" the unthinkable, give up coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I used to be very proud of Sydney as a city of good coffee.
    3 good modern breakfasts from 3 young cafes in a week and I was left befuddled.....
    I came looking for answers
    A good friend warned me "They have a boutique roast here"
    The coffee was acidic swill under roasted bitey bilge.
    I have witnessed this movement grow since 3 or 4 years ago. At Bondi I was boasted to 'We have to change our grinding wheels every 6 weeks.
    To prove it they kept the old ones kicking around as talking points.
    I took them for nutters- , but they have made their mark.
    The wheel was not broken it did not need re-inventing but somehow the generation that decided trousers were made to hang off your buttocks have now got their hands on the tiller and coffee drinking has gone back to being the risky venture that it used to be when traveling.
    Look out for the tea revival!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anyone know any good places to buy gourmet coffee online?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Replies
    1. I agree with the problem of acidity these days in the trend in lighter roasts. I cannot understand why anyone would opt for an acidic light roast over a darker roast. Thanks for this article!

      Delete
  13. I like to drink coffee but a lot of coffee has too much acid and messes up my stomach. One brand of coffee that I really like and doesn't mess up my stomach is "Seattle's best coffee". the only problem is it is kind of expensive for the amount of people that drink it. are there any cheaper brands of coffee that I could try that might not mess up my stomach. Good flavor is not really a priority since I use flavored creamer anyways.
    non acidic coffee

    ReplyDelete
  14. I have often compared citric coffees to lemon furniture polish, musing that the feeling I have after downing a cup is similar to how Billy Joel must have felt after he tried to commit suicide by ingesting Pledge during his breakup with Christie Brinkley. These roasts give me a headache, make me feel edgy and uncomfortable, and destroy the happy hum I get from the caffeine. Brash and brassy coffees seem to reflect the American temperament, but they don't reflect quality. I believe a fully roasted cup is more healthy-- at least for me.

    ReplyDelete
  15. This article is really helpful.I love coffee but i didn't know about coffee acidity.But i think if you take a fresh cup of coffee from Oceana Coffee Shop it will be good for your health.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Really!!! I am very impressed after reading this blog. thanks for providing deep information for
    new orleans art

    ReplyDelete
  17. Kawatiri.coffee
    They roast their coffee properly. Coffee that taste like coffee, not raspberries or pineapple. They mail order world wide.

    ReplyDelete
  18. What puts me off from these citronella meets listerine coffees is not only their acidity, but being lectured about 'this is how it is supposed to taste' or 'this is what the grower was looking for'

    Coffee production must never be confused with wine. Wineries integrate and control more steps from the grape to the final product, where coffee growers are no blending, nor roasting nor grinding nor brewing.

    ReplyDelete
  19. i read a lot of stuff and i found that the way of writing to clearifing that exactly want to say was very good so i am impressed and ilike to come again in future.. coffee maker choose

    ReplyDelete
  20. I'm with you on this. Preach, brother! I'm also like Alexander Nordenson above. Not one of those roasts agree with me. If the beans are exceptional I can maybe appreciate a less dark roast. I went looking online for a confirmation of my tastes and am happy to have found one. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I'm with you on this. Preach, brother! I'm also like Alexander Nordenson above. Not one of those roasts agree with me. If the beans are exceptional I can maybe appreciate a less dark roast. I went looking online for a confirmation of my tastes and am happy to have found one. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Mediocre folks rarely realize how mediocre their tastes are. This is true in one's taste in music, food, wine, dance, literature and about everything else on the planet. Coffee roasters have to concede to a majority rule approach when roasting. It is more profitable to sell a mediocre product to a mediocre majority than selling an excellent product to the very few that have the ability to appreciate excellence.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hey, Wow all the posts are very informative for the people who visit this site. Good work! We also have a Blog/site by name Simply herbal which covers Health related products. Please feel free to visit our site. Thank you for sharing.
    Green Coffee Weight Loss

    Keep Posting:)

    ReplyDelete
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Well this explains why coffee lost it's smokey roasted nut flavor to where it's more like mild bitter tea without the fresh plant taste. Mostly hints of smoked charcoal.

    I tested the acidity amount of my flavorless but tart organic locally medium roasted Columbian Supreme bean grind by stirring a teaspoon of baking soda in my boiling hot micron filtered spring water and poured it over the grounds in my French press glass beaker. The previous 1/4in. high foam head now rose almost to the top of the beaker. That's a lot of acid!

    The taste of the brew changed to what I used to get from a Bunn drip brew at truck stops which wasn't that bad but at least it tasted like coffee.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hey, Wow all the posts are very informative for the people who visit this site. Good work! We also have a Blog/site by name Simply herbal which covers Health related products. Please feel free to visit our site. Thank you for sharing.
    Green Coffee Beans

    Keep Posting:)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hlo Mark!
    very useful informaion,coffee described as having "aggressive acidity." every thing have their pros and cons,
    drinking this dark black beverage, from helping prevent diabetes to lowering the risk of liver disease.
    Cut the Pain. ...
    Increase your fiber intake. ...
    Protection against cirrhosis of the liver. ...
    Lowered risk of Type 2 Diabetes. ...
    Lowered risk of Alzheimer's disease. ...
    Reduces suicide risk and Depression. ...
    Protection against Parkinson's. ...
    Coffee drinkers have less risk of heart disease.so buy ood qaulity here:- https://www.javatimescaffe.com/users/seller_register_now

    ReplyDelete
  28. Very impressive and interesting site. Keep updating..Kona Coffee is the original Taste of Aloha! Grown in Hawaii, in the Kona Coffee belt, 2500 feet up the side of Mauna Loa, the world's largest active volcano. The Kona Coffee belt is a tiny strip of land, barely 1 mile wide and less than 30 miles long. The combination of rich volcanic soil and Hawaiian sunshine produces one of the best coffees in the world!
    Best in America

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hey, Wow all the posts are very informative for the people who visit this site. Good work! We also have a Blog/site by name Simply herbal which covers Health related products. Please feel free to visit our site. Thank you for sharing.
    Green Coffee Bean

    Keep Posting:)

    ReplyDelete

  30. You create sense out of the foremost complex topics.
    Bulletproof Coffee and Weight Loss

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hey, Wow all the posts are very informative for the people who visit this site. Good work! We also have a Blog/site by name Simply herbal which covers Health related products. Please feel free to visit our site. Thank you for sharing.
    Green Coffee Bean Extract

    Keep Posting:)

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hey, Wow all the posts are very informative for the people who visit this site. Good work! We also have a Blog/site by name Simply herbal which covers Health related products. Please feel free to visit our site. Thank you for sharing.
    Green Coffee Bean Extract

    Keep Posting:)

    ReplyDelete
  33. Excellent post Mr.Blogger. The more I peer into the world of third wave coffee, the more I hear that dark roast is out, and that its just burnt coffee. Which to me is sad. I can really appreciate a 'balanced' cup of medium roast, but with my overly strong taste buds if the coffee is too acidic (which it is at most shops I visit)its like sucking on a roll of pennies. On the other hand I really appreciate dark roasts. Not to mention, much easier on my stomach and palette. Sure the flavours are often muted in a dark roast, but sometimes I think I prefer the subtleties better, rather than blasting them over a megaphone. I also enjoy the burnt and bitter flavours, which is often missing with lighter roasts. Is my palette just rather unsophisticated, or are these flavours something that is being overlooked and underappreciated when evaluating coffee?

    Regards,

    Steve

    ReplyDelete
  34. Hi,
    Your post is too good with lots of information. Our company caters extravagant qualities of Roasted Coffee prepared to satisfy your tastebuds. We have top grade ingredients designed for a healthy start to your day. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Hi,
    Your blog post is too excellent,Very informative blog for the information of Traditional Roasted Coffee. Thanks for sharing this excellent blog with us.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Awesome post.I really like it.Thanks for sharing such a valuable post.You can find more beautiful things here.best coffee makers review

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hey, Wow all the posts are very informative for the people who visit this site. Good work! We also have a Blog/site by name Simply herbal which covers Health related products. Please feel free to visit our site. Thank you for sharing.
    Green Coffee Weight Loss

    Keep Posting:)

    ReplyDelete
  38. If you wish to stay informed about technology, you have to be ready to be open minded. Click here to know more about products - Elevate Brew by Elevacity.

    ReplyDelete
  39. The information which you have provided is very good. It is very useful who is looking for Java online course Bangalore

    ReplyDelete
  40. https://kaladicoffee.blogspot.com/2011/05/coffee-acidity.html

    ReplyDelete
  41. https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/116276257-connect-techies
    http://www.genina.com/user/profile/928974.page
    https://profile.hatena.ne.jp/connecttechies/
    https://ecastats.uneca.org/acsweb/cr/UserProfile/tabid/866/UserId/832981/language/en-US/Default.aspx
    http://danmooredesigns.com/UserProfile/tabid/61/userId/946253/Default.aspx
    http://www.sydneycityairportshuttle.com/UserProfile/tabid/695/userId/369101/Default.aspx
    https://www.italymagazine.com/user/42785
    http://connecttechies.aircus.com/
    https://www.justhelicopters.com/UserProfile/tabid/519/userId/50368/Default.aspx
    https://journals.eco-vector.com/index/user/profile
    http://rosalind.info/users/connecttechies/
    http://www.pokerinside.com/profiles/view/375031
    http://uid.me/connecttechies
    https://www.tor.com/members/connecttechies/
    http://newmedicinefoundation.com/UserProfile/tabid/42/userId/458006/Default.aspx
    https://moz.com/community/users/15037855
    https://www.dead.net/member/connecttechies
    https://trib.com/users/profile/connecttechies/
    https://www.transifex.com/user/profile/connecttechies/
    https://dzone.com/users/4383471/connecttechies.html
    https://qiita.com/connecttechies
    https://www.myvidster.com/profile/ConnectTechies
    https://jiki.cs.ui.ac.id/index.php/jiki/user/profile
    https://www.pantagraph.com/users/profile/connecttechies/
    https://directory.yogajournal.com/fitness-connect/account/2500648
    https://stackoverflow.com/users/13677028/connect-techies
    https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/Connect%20Techies
    https://rhizome.org/profile/connect-techies/

    ReplyDelete
  42. Verizon AOL Email Settings – I made this relative to the Verizon email transfer over to the AOL platform, as a tutorial goes to mail > application, come down and go over the preferences, and preferences click the sign, don't click right here where it says AOL which will not work, the reason why which will not work is that’s getting to be. I’m using an automatic program which will try to set the AOL Mail up as a pop server.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Discover Best Quality electronics Products with their rating reviews and Description, Best coffee maker machine, Kitchen Appliances, deals at Our site

    Electronixcenter| Best Electronics Products |Top Coffee Maker Machine

    perfect drip coffee maker espresso in drip coffee makergrind for drip coffee makerbest coffee grinder for drip coffee makers
    Drip Coffee Maker | Perfect Top Drip Coffee Maker 2020

    ReplyDelete
  44. nice post ! Thanks for providing such a wonderful solution. How to update printer driver We all are facing multiple problems with general learning and to cover up these issues, we need to run different algorithms to see which one gives a good result. Thanks for highlighting such issues, as an printer, I would like to take some valuable data from here.

    ReplyDelete

  45. Discover Best Quality electronics Products with their rating reviews and Description, Best coffee maker machine, Kitchen Appliances, deals at Our site best coffee grinders

    ReplyDelete
  46. I simply want to tell you that I am new to weblog and definitely liked this blog site. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your blog .You absolutely have wonderful artical. Cheers for sharing with us your blog.
    Contact Chime Bank Support

    ReplyDelete
  47. Longest River in India:भारत में हिमालय और प्रायद्वीपीय नदियों का एक विशाल नेटवर्क है और इसे नदियों की भूमि के रूप में भी जाना जाता है। गंगा भारत की सबसे लंबी नदी है। भारत में नदियों के किनारे कई प्राचीन सभ्यताओं का विकास हुआ है। भारत में नदियों की पूजा की जाती है क्योंकि वे हर जीव की जीवन रेखा हैं। भारत की नब्बे प्रतिशत नदी बंगाल की खाड़ी में गिरती है और शेष अरब सागर में मिल जाती है। उनके उद्गम के स्रोत के अनुसार, भारतीय नदियों को हिमालयी नदियों और प्रायद्वीपीय नदियों के रूप में वर्गीकृत किया गया है। सिंधु, गंगा, यमुना, ब्रह्मपुत्र जैसी नदियाँ हिमालय की नदियाँ हैं और महानदी, गोदावरी, कृष्णा और कावेरी प्रायद्वीपीय नदियाँ हैं।

    ReplyDelete
  48. You did an excellent job on this post! I’d like to add an extra productivity tip to your list if you don’t mind? I decided to start my specialist review blog with the brand name “Bow Advisor”. Best compound bow for beginners Best crossbow for Women Here's you can review the latest articles on this niche.

    ReplyDelete
  49. These are some of the main issues I’ve found there and because of it I decided to start my own taxi/ chauffeur company in London Heathrow Taxi London Chauffeurs Here's you can find taxi services 24/7.

    ReplyDelete
  50. I decided to start my own powertools specialist review blog with brand name “Power Tools Report”. I’m glad to announce here that you will greatly benefit from our reviews. Best snow blower for gravel driveway Best cordless drill under $50 Here's you can review the latest articles on this niche.

    ReplyDelete
  51. Animated artworks can be made more games boxes interesting with the 3D effect. Add a tint of exclusivity to your Custom Boxes by adding catchy and terse fonts.customboxesbulk You can imprint a lasting impression on the minds of your customers with mind-boggling game boxes.

    ReplyDelete
  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  53. भीमराव रामजी अम्बेडकर को बाबासाहेब अम्बेडकर के नाम से जाना जाता था। वह एक भारतीय अर्थशास्त्री, राजनीतिज्ञ और समाज सुधारक थे। अम्बेडकर भारतीय इतिहास के एक ऐसे महान व्यक्ति हैं जिन्होंने दलितों को सामाजिक अधिकार दिलाने के लिए अपना जीवन समर्पित कर दिया।
    उनकी बहुमुखी प्रतिभा और विद्वता की झलक उनके विचारों में भी साफ दिखाई देती है, पढ़िए उनके अनमोल विचार: "बुद्धि का विकास मानव के अस्तित्व का अंतिम लक्ष्य होना चाहिए।" और बाबासाहेब अम्बेडकर के मोटिवेशन कोट्स को पड़ने के लिए क्लिक करे Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar Quotes

    ReplyDelete