How To Increase Or Reduce Coffee Acidity

How To Increase Or Reduce Coffee Acidity

Acidity has always been controversial in coffee. Some people think that acidity is sharp, irritating, and odorous, but some people believe that good acidity is representative of high-quality coffee.

It is true that smelly and sour coffee will not make people happy, but it is bright, lively, and rich in acidity, and this acidity may remind you of fruit and sweet orange flavors. This kind of acidity is quite acceptable to coffee lovers.

Whether you want to emphasize the coffee's natural, juice-like acidity or avoid the unpleasant sourness of coffee, these are all achievable.

As a coffee lover, do you grind your beans by yourself for daily brewing? And do you know where do the coffee beans you use come from?

Understand The Characteristics Of Coffee Beans

You can emphasize the flavor characteristics of coffee beans. Knowing the characteristics of your coffee beans is very important at this time. Is he a hard or soft bean? Hard beans grow in colder or higher altitude environments, and the harder the texture of coffee beans, the richer the fruit flavor and acidity.

Treatment Method

What kind of beans are you making? Washed? Sun exposure? Or honey treatment? Coffee seeds are taken out of the fruit to become green beans, which is the process of processing, so the processing method greatly influences the coffee flavor. Well-treated sun and honey treatments usually have higher sweetness and mellowness, while washing often has a purer flavor, and washed beans have richer acidity.

Roasting Degree

Are the coffee beans dark-roasted, medium-roasted, or light-roasted? The darker roasted beans will taste, the more roasted flavor, usually the darker roast will also have a heavier bitterness, and the lighter roasted coffee will have a higher acidity.

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Water Is The Most Important Ingredient In Coffee

94-98% of a cup of coffee is water, which means that the flavor of the coffee will be deeply affected by the brewing water. Water quality is a very broad topic and needs to be discussed separately, but we can discuss it briefly here. Water is mainly divided into hard water and soft water. Hard water has a higher content of minerals, especially calcium and magnesium. Soft water, on the contrary, has a lower content of minerals.

At higher concentrations, part of the minerals will become acid buffers, reducing the acidity in the coffee. The coffee still has a sour taste, but it will not be so obvious when drinking it. Minerals will also speed up the extraction of coffee. If you brew for more than two minutes, it will often extract a bitter taste.

Carbonate is the key to acid buffer—the more carbonate in the water, the lower the acidity of the brewed coffee. But carbonate is not the only substance that acts as a buffer. In addition, the prerequisite for carbonate to function is that there are no other substances in the water or the content of other substances is low.

On the contrary, the higher sodium content of soft water will extract more coffee acidity. However, this does not mean that soft water is always suitable for brewing coffee. If the water contains more calcium and magnesium (hard water), it will extract more flavor and contain more acidity.

So what is the answer?

The above sounds very professional and difficult for ordinary people to explore. However, whether you make coffee at home or in a coffee shop, you can use the water quality information to improve brewing. If the coffee tastes dull and lifeless, does not show the expected bright acidity of the beans, or tastes foul and sour, but you don't think it's the coffee beans or the brewing problem, try adjusting the brewing water. Use filtered water, bottled water, and adjust the water to experience the change of coffee flavor.

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Adjust Brewing Parameters To Control Acidity

As mentioned above, water is the main ingredient of coffee, but water still has to be combined with coffee to create flavor, which means how the combination of water and coffee affects the taste of the brew.

Mixing water and coffee is called extraction. The flavor and aroma of coffee beans slowly diffuse into the water. The amount of coffee powder, water, brewing time, grinding size, and water temperature will all affect the amount of extracted substances. This is not just to create a stronger or lighter coffee because some of the flavor and aroma substances will be extracted at different times.

At the beginning of brewing, acidity is extracted, followed by sweetness and balance, and finally bitterness. This means that under-extracted coffee will have a stinky sour taste, and over-extracted coffee will have a bitter taste. The ideal extraction result is high sweetness, good balance, full-bodied, and moderate acidity.

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Grind Size And Extraction

There is no so-called universal grinding size, but there are some basic principles that can help you make better or reduce acidity. Coarse grinding will reduce the extraction rate because the surface area of ​​the coffee powder is smaller (note that the extraction rate is different from the brewing time. The extraction rate refers to the extraction of flavor and aroma substances, and the brewing time refers to the contact between water and coffee powder time). This means that coarser grinding will bring out bright acidity, but too long brewing will cause the coffee to smell sour.

If you want more acidity, use a coarser grind. If you want less acidity, you can grind it finer. Of course, the grind size is only one of many variables, and the ideal size will vary depending on the nature of the coffee. For example, darker-roasted coffee is easier to dissolve substances, and the extraction speed is faster, so dark-roasted coffee is usually suitable for coarser grinding.

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The Effect Of Brewing Time On Acidity

Another major factor affecting extraction is the brewing time. The longer the brewing time, the more substances will be extracted. You can use your favorite beans, good water, and proper grind size to brew, but you may ruin the cup of coffee because of the wrong brewing time.

The grind size does not affect what material is extracted. The grind size only changes the time point of the extracted material. If you brew coarsely ground coffee for a long time, the acidity in your coffee will not be too high. And if you use a shorter time to brew finely ground coffee, the coffee may have a sour taste.

Therefore, if you want more or less acidity, it is recommended to shorten or lengthen the brewing time.

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Adjust Water Temperature To Emphasize Acidity

Water temperature is also a very important factor affecting the extraction rate.

The higher the water temperature, the faster the substance will be extracted. The lower the water temperature, the slower the aroma and flavor will be extracted. However, there are still many substances that will not be extracted at certain temperatures (this is why cold brew coffee has the characteristics of high sweetness, smooth taste, and low acidity). In addition, remember that all of these results are surrounded by variables such as grinding size and brewing time.

Some people prefer to use higher water temperatures with shorter brewing times. In order to brew the acidity of the coffee, a high temperature is used to bring out the acidity, which is about 95~96 degrees.

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Some people may brew at a lower temperature to avoid the bitter taste of coffee. However, if you use suitable water (of course, other variables should be controlled properly), the brewing water temperature of 94 degrees will bring out more obvious acidity than 91 degrees.

The biggest advantage of brewing coffee by ourselves is that we can adjust according to our preferences. Although it is difficult to control the skills and techniques of the time, mastering these variables can reproduce your favorite flavors during brewing.

Let’s create a brewing recipe today, try to brew with different water, and experiment with the brewing results of different water temperatures. Because even if it is a gap, it may affect whether the coffee is a sour, sweet and bitter, or good flavor.

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