Want to know what makes coffee acidic and whether the acids are healthy or not?
We will tell you all about this topic.
In this article, you'll also learn how you can reduce the acidity of your coffee.
Let's get started.
What Acids Are in Coffee?
Below, we will consider what acids are found in coffee and how they are revealed in the taste of the drink.
Chlorogenic acid gives coffee a bitter taste. Robusta has more chlorogenic acid than does Arabica.
During roasting, chlorogenic acid decomposes and produces caffeic and quinic acids.
The concentration of quinic acid in coffee increases as the chlorogenic acid decomposes.
This is why dark-roasted coffee beans have more quinic acid.
Quinic acid gives the drink a tartness and a denser body.
Caffeic acid is another decomposition product of chlorogenic acid. This one is also responsible for tartness and a denser body.
Another main acid found in coffee is citric acid. It's especially brightly revealed in freshly harvested beans with notes of lemon and citrus. This acid can be found in coffee from Ethiopia or Central America.
Malic acid adds notes of green apple to the taste of coffee. These notes are less noticeable in the finished drink than are citrus notes. Malic acid can be found, for example, in some coffees from Burundi and the Dominican Republic.
Lactic acid is thick. It gives brewed coffee a creamy sensation.
Acetic acid tastes like wine. Coffee with too much acetic acid will taste unpleasant.
What Makes Coffee Acidic?
Let's take a look at the reasons why your coffee can be highly acidic.
The same coffee variety grown on different plantations can have completely different tastes.
The higher the elevation at which the coffee grows, the more organic acids are in the beans.
This is because there are strong changes in day and night temperatures at higher elevations.
Coffee takes longer to mature at higher elevations, so it has more time to accumulate substances like acids.
A coffee berry consists of a pulp and two seeds. Coffee processing is the removal of pulp from the seeds.
The acidic taste is most pronounced in washed coffees.
Natural processing gives the least acidity in the drink.
The honey coffee processing method falls somewhere in between the first two methods.
If you want a rich, bright taste with pronounced acidity, choose a light roast coffee.
In the initial stages of roasting, moisture evaporates from the beans and the acids become more pronounced.
By the time beans are medium-roasted, the acids have begun to be destroyed. In a dark roast, there are very few acids.
Dark-roasted coffee is dominated by caramel and nutty flavors, but no apple, citrus, or berry notes.
The extraction of flavor components and essential oils from ground coffee beans takes place at different rates.
Acids and volatile aromatics are extracted first, followed by sweet compounds, then by bitter compounds and caffeine.
The shorter the extraction time, the more the acidity of the drink is expressed.
If your coffee tastes too acidic, the reason may be insufficient extraction.
Is Acidic Coffee Bad For You?
Acidity is measured on a pH scale from 1 to 14.
If the pH is below 7, the product is characterized by high acidity.
Coffee has a pH of 5. For comparison, orange juice has a pH of 3.
For many, the acidity of coffee is fine, but for some it may cause intestinal discomfort.
If you have acid reflux, stomach ulcers, or irritable bowel syndrome, you should be careful about your coffee intake.
How to Reduce Acidity in Coffee
We have some tips on how to reduce the acidity of your coffee.
Try low-acid coffee beans
There are two types of low-acid coffees: inadvertent low-acid coffee and specially processed beans.
Inadvertent low-acid coffee naturally has a lower acidity than most coffee.
Slow, intermittent roasting also helps reduce the natural acidity of the beans.
Try darker roasts
The darker the roast, the less acid remains in the coffee.
For a less acidic drink, buy dark-roasted beans.
Experiment with extraction
Under-extracted coffee will have a pronounced and unpleasant acidity.
To fix this, make sure you're using the right parameters for your brewing method.
Brew the coffee with water that is between 195.8 and 204.8°F (91 and 96°C). This is the optimum temperature for correct coffee extraction.
Then pay attention to the grind size and brewing time. They are directly related.
The area of contact between the coffee grounds and water particles changes based on the grind size.
The finer the grind, the larger the contact area and the less time it will take to extract.
A coarse grind will take longer to brew.
Add other ingredients
Milk, cream, or sugar can help reduce the acidity of coffee.
These added ingredients help balance the pH of the finished beverage and soften the taste.
Acidity is essential to coffee's taste, but it must be in balance with sweetness and bitterness. Only then will the drink be delicious.
To reduce the acidity of your coffee, choose beans that are grown at low elevations. You should also choose medium or dark roasts.