Do you know the difference between pleasant and unwanted acidity of coffee? If not, read on.
Acidity should not be feared with coffee
Coffee is a drink that carries a diverse range of different flavours and aromas . We often enjoy coffee with the taste of nuts, milk and hot chocolate, tobacco, honey and molasses. It’s a taste we’re used to. After all, who would mind a tasty nut-chocolate coffee with a mild bitterness?
But you can also discover a slightly different taste in coffee. It is a unique refreshing and juicy taste of lemon, grapefruit, and even wine. In this case, we are talking about fruity, acidic varieties of coffee trees, for which pleasant acidity is characteristic. On the other hand, there are coffees that have acquired unpleasant acidity, even vinegar, through poor preparation, and this does not suit them at all.
Therefore, in coffee we recognize two basic types of acidity – desirable acidity and undesirable acidity.
Fruitiness: when acidity is desired
For the most widespread and highest quality type of coffee tree – Coffea Arabica, a certain dose of acidity, or fruitiness, is characteristic. This plant grows at higher altitudes (600-2000 meters) and this, together with the air temperature, causes a longer ripening of the coffee tree. The coffee fruit therefore has a longer time to profile the best taste, but also the acidity. This acidity, whether fruitiness or burgundy, is typical and natural, especially in the African fruit of the coffee tree.
African, especially wild coffee would lack its characteristic taste with floral to grassy tones without this acidity. They try roasting to preserve their natural taste as much as possible and lift it.
When coffee is too “wild”…
The coffees from Ethiopia, Rwanda and Burundi boast a really interesting taste of citrus, which you would never find in American coffees to such an extent. Of course, this cup of coffee is not suitable for everyone. For a novice coffee maker or, conversely, for a coffee maker who is already used to stronger, hot coffees, this coffee can be really wild. On the other hand, it can pleasantly surprise you and once in a while it can be a small coffee adventure. At the opposite end of the taste spectrum are, for example, coffees from Brazil or Colombia, in which you will find tones of chocolate and hazelnuts, characterized by low acidity and long aftertaste.
Unwanted acidity of coffee
The second type of coffee acidity is caused by poor preparation of coffee beans. Such acidity is no longer pleasantly spread on the upper climate of the mouth and does not resemble fruitiness or burgundy. It is a heavy acidity to acetic acid that will suppress any other flavours of coffee. They may cause stomach problems or heartburn. It is with undesirable acidity that the fruity tones of the above-mentioned African coffees are often confused.
How does the unwanted acidity of coffee actually form?
Most often by incorrect roasting. In large-capacity roasters, it is often the case that coffee is roasted in excessive batches, at relatively fast times and at high temperatures. The resulting coffee bean is roasted on the surface – often directly roasted, but inside the bean is still raw and unprocessed.
Subsequent espresso from such coffee has a strongly hot to earthy taste due to the frostiness of the grain surface and at the same time severe acidity caused by the unprocessed – unroasted core. Excessive roasting at low temperatures can also be considered bad roasting. The grain thus remains dried, its unroasted taste disappears under the influence of sharp acidity. The resulting drink is of really low quality and can cause these stomach problems.
The second most common reason is poor espresso extraction time. The espresso should be extracted for about 25 seconds. At the beginning of the extraction, dense oily substances are precipitated, which are characterized by their acidity. If the coffee in the lever is badly pressed, the water will flow over your head quickly and you will only have this sour, original coffee profile left in your cup. If you want to get the whole taste profile of coffee, you really have to pay attention to the extraction time. For a hot and sweet taste, you must wait a few seconds after starting the extraction, as these substances do not attach to the acid emulsion until later.
Another aspect of taste is the temperature and quality of the water that is used to make coffee. Temperature fluctuations, too low or too high a temperature can distort the final taste of coffee, whether it causes heat or acidity. The temperature of the water for making espresso should be approximately 93 ° C. For other alternative preparation methods, the recommended temperature may be different and therefore always follow reliable instructions.
Bad habits in the area of freshness of roasting and subsequent storage of coffee can also cause an unpleasant taste. Coffee should not be put in consumer packaging immediately after roasting. It should have at least a day to mature, in order to acquire its typical characteristics and taste. The packaging that the manufacturer then chooses will affect the freshness of the coffee itself.
The packaging on our Ebeica coffees has protection against the weathering of coffee by a one-way valve. We thoroughly close each bag with a heat seal, which together with the valve prevents the penetration of excess air and light to the contents. In addition, our 220g and 500g packages have a zip-lock system, which will serve you when opening and closing it repeatedly.
We hope that we have brought you a little closer to the difference between pleasant acidity and unwanted acidity. If you really want to taste fruity and refreshing coffee, try our ETHIOPIA DIMTU TERO or KENYA TEKANGU TEGU.