Licensed Q Arabica Grader, M.A. Journalism
- October 23, 2019
the coffee chronicler
Coffee, in general, is an acidic beverage with a Ph level of around 5. However, soda and orange scores around Ph 3, so comparatively it’s not that acidic.
Green coffee beans contain acids from nature’s side. The most desirable ones are citric and malic acids. These compounds make coffee taste like lime and apples as well as a whole range of stone fruits and berries.
But coffee beans also contain something known as chlorogenic acid, which isn’t known to be tasty. It often gives off a flavor and mouthfeel which can be described as ‘unripe banana’. Not pleasant, at all.
When coffee is roasted, all the acids gradually disappear. Then the Maillard reaction and caramelization occurs. In regular cooking, we call this effect ‘browning.’
A good rule of thumb is that coffee becomes sweeter and less acidic the longer you roast it – up to a certain degree, of course.
There are actually some robust rules of thumbs you can use when shopping for coffee.
A higher amount of acid (or sourness) is often found in lighter roasts. In that sense, it’s a good idea to go for a darker roast. However, you shouldn’t go for an espresso beans, as the sweetness will be subdued and replaced with some bitterness.
Instead, you should look for what is known as a ‘full city’ roast. This is a roast profile that can be described as ‘the darker spectrum of a medium roast.
Okay, but now you had enough of my specialty coffee rant, and just want some recommendations for low acid beans? I hear you.
Some countries are also known for producing exactly this kind of flavor profile. This has to do with the altitude the coffee is grown at.
This is a seasonal blend, most often sourced from a small cooperative in Nicaragua. It offers low acidity and delicious notes of caramel, nuts, and chocolate. This coffee is very clean, sweet and smooth.
Reviewers claim that this coffee is excellent for pour over coffee or any kind of immersion brewing.
Counter Culture is a well-known and respected coffee roaster. They promise that the coffee is always freshly roasted and that the beans are from a new harvest.See more reviews
Intelligentsia is one of the founding fathers of the American artisan coffee movement. When buying from this brand you can be sure that the beans are ethically sourced and from reputable farmers.
This coffee is a rather dark roast, and it’s among the most well-regarded blends from Intelligentsia.
The notes are of chocolate, caramel, and molasses. Many customers on Amazon recommend this one mainly for the customers with sensitive stomachs, who want something round and balanced.See more reviews
This is probably one of the most popular low acid coffee brands on Amazon with more than 2000 reviews and consistent top ratings.
It’s a dark roast but not entirely French or Italian style, as the beans aren’t oily and shiny. Still, this is fully developed in the roaster, meaning that the body and caramelized sugars are brought to the forefront, while the acidity has been muted.
The flavor notes are hazelnut, cocoa, chocolate. You can brew this pretty much any way you want and still get excellent results.
This coffee is a straightforward, solid coffee that doens’t have any acidity to speak of. It’s hard to go wrong with this one, if you’re in the market for a low acid blend.See more reviews
This is a single origin coffee from the Indonesian Island Sumatra. Coffee from this South-East Asian country is known to be full-bodied and low in acidity. It has more unique notes of dark spices and tobacco compared to the blends containing Brazilian coffee. I
If you want to go for low acid, while still getting some exciting coffee experiences, this is a good bet.
Also, Stumptown is known for having excellent quality control, in both sourcing and roasting.See more reviews
As mentioned before, low acid doesn’t always mean tasty. In the world of specialty coffee, acidity is also used to describe the brighter flavors that can be found in expensive, high-altitude coffees.
Real coffee lovers actually distinguish between
The two first ones are negative traits, while the last one is an essential part of a quality coffee.
A perfect cup, according to true coffee snobs, is one that combines sweetness and acidity.
Think of it as a hamburger. You don’t only want the sweet or umami flavors from the bun and the beef patty – you also crave the acidic and fresh flavors from pickles, tomato, and raw onion. It’s a more complete experience that way. That’s the way coffee geeks approach the cup.
It’s worth remembering that your idea of what constitutes acidity is not the same as a pro coffee cupper’s view on the matter.
The reason that acidity might be undesirable in your cup of morning joe is that the coffee isn’t sweet in the first place, or because it’s actually sourness.