What are the elements that influence the acidity of coffee?

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Premium coffee must have the right level of acidity to satisfy the most demanding consumers. Acidity is a characteristic that causes pleasant sensations, being perceived through the tongue while stimulating the senses.

The importance of acidity lies in its combination with the sweetness of the bean, getting a refreshing drink and intense flavor. The roaster should consider some natural factors and the coffee beans’ processing to achieve the perfect degree of acidity.

The acidity of coffee: what is the cause?

You have to look for a balance for everything, and coffee is not the exception. The degree of acidity must be balanced and have specific qualities:

  • Intensity: enough to appreciate the natural flavor of the coffee.
  • Juiciness: causes salivation.
  • Shine: good taste.
  • Sweetness: sensation generated by the organic acids of coffee, such as citrus, malic, lactic, and tartaric.

The acidity is produced by the natural acids of the coffee, which change according to the influence of several factors (species, origin, soil) and techniques (roasting, method of preparation) applied while it’s processing.

Influential elements

Coffee can adopt different acidity levels, and this attribute is considered if the expert wants a fruity, refreshing, and select drink. The acidity provides flavor and body to the coffee. 

An inadequate acidity results in a sour, astringent, sharp flavor and eliminates the coffee’s wide variety of natural flavors. These are the elements that influence the acidity of coffee:

  • Species: Arabica and Robusta species are very different; the first has more acids with various sweet flavors, while the second is bitter with a soft taste of nuts, wood, and straw.
  • Origin: the characteristics and composition of the soils are decisive in the acidity of the coffee.
  • Height: heights above 1,500 meters above sea level are conducive to producing an acidic and aromatic drink. Coffee grown at a lower altitude has decreased acidity levels.
  • Process: dry-processed coffee is less acidic than wet-processed.
  • Roasted: soft roasted produces more acidic coffee than dark roasted. The difference in taste is also significant since roasted coffee is more bitter.
  • Preparation: the methods used in the brew can also affect the acidity in the final cup. For example, the Chemex accentuates the acidity and brings a light body to the coffee, while the French press reduces and brings a denser body.  

To conclude, a cup of acidic coffee requires high-temperature water, coarse grinding, and little time for preparation. However, everything depends on the type of coffee to get a balanced drink and the flavor of your preference, considering the elements and variants previously exposed.