When you order filter coffee in a coffee shop, the barista sometimes asks: “Are you sour or sweeter?” It’s all about the acids found in roasted coffee. They give the taste. We have previously written about the acidity in coffee. In this article, we will talk in more detail about the main acids that are responsible for the taste of coffee – citric, malic, tartaric, and orthophosphoric.

What is acidity in coffee: what depends on and how we feel it?

Acidity is the very first thing we feel on the tip of our tongue when we taste coffee.

For high-quality coffees, acidity is a fruity taste, not a sour sensation. A good way to tell one another is to think of acidity as a sparkling tingle on the tongue and acidity as an unpleasant, annoying taste.

When describing acidity, the intensity is indicated – below average, average, or above average. And in terms of quality, it can be sweet, juicy, or bright. Usually, this information is indicated on the packaging or when describing the coffee in the online store.

The intensity of acidity in a drink depends on the following factors.

  • Method of processing grains. With natural processing, the berries are dried whole, so more sugars from the pulp and gluten remain in the grain. And with washed processing, the pulp is removed, and the grains are dried in the patch. Therefore, this coffee turns out to be more acidic.
  • Roast degree. Roasting helps shape the acidity that is already present in the beans. But some acids are destroyed if the grain is roasted for too long or at high temperatures.
  • Cooking. The coffee components are not extracted simultaneously during preparation. First, many acids and oils dissolve in water, then sugars, and only then – bitter substances. If, for example, you reduce the time, increase the grind and lower the temperature, the acidity will appear brighter.

You can brighten the acidity of your coffee by changing the brewing parameters.

At championships, acidity is described at two temperatures of coffee – hot (about 70 ° C) and warm (40 ° C). When the drink cools down, the acidity changes – it becomes more intense, juicier, new descriptors may open up. Try the drink next time immediately after preparation and cooled down. You will most likely feel the difference.

Types of acids: why one coffee has an apple, and another has a lemon

Each type of coffee has its own “taste,” especially acidity. It depends on the acids that got into the drink from the ground coffee. They can be divided into two main groups – organic and inorganic.

There are about 40 types of acids. But we will tell you about the main ones that are responsible for the taste of coffee – lemon, apple, wine and orthophosphoric. And we will consider in what products they can be tasted to feel more clearly in the cup.

  • Lemon acid. Possesses high brightness and juiciness, most pronounced in green coffee. Destroyed if the coffee is roasted too hard. It reveals itself as citrus on the palate. Also found in cranberry juice, pineapple, pine needles.
  • Apple acid. Helps to achieve a tart and viscous sourness in the taste of the drink. Feels like a green apple. It can be found in the fruits of mountain ash, raspberries, berries, and grape leaves.
  • Wine acid. Gives the drink an astringent aftertaste and tastes like vinegar. Too much of it will spoil the taste of the coffee. Found in grapes, mountain ash, bananas, cherries, pears, and currants. It is also used as one of the ingredients for “super sour” candies.
  • Orthophosphoric acid. Creates a slight tingling sensation on the tongue. Provides a soda bubble fresh sensation. Unlike the acids listed above, phosphoric acid is classified as inorganic and is the main ingredient in soft drinks.

All types of acids are present in coffee but different proportions. Their ratio depends on the type of coffee, the region of cultivation, and the preparation method. Accordingly, the more a certain acid is, the more you will feel it in the drink.

Expand the flavoring experience to experience new flavors in the cup

Acidity is a completely natural characteristic of the taste of coffee. It is felt like a sparkling tingle on the tongue and fruity notes. We suggest you practice and observe the taste sensations. You can try lemon, raspberry, and compare – how the acidity of lemon differs from raspberry.