What is Acidity?
Acidity is a primary coffee flavor sensation that is perceived as a pleasing sharpness toward the front of the mouth, a numbing sensation on the tip of the tongue, or a dryness at the back of the palate and/or under the edges of the tongue. It denotes or helps to describe the quality of a coffee.
Acidity is one of the major coffee characteristics along with body, aroma, sweetness, bitterness, and aftertaste used by coffee professionals to describe the taste of a coffee. Acidity is a pleasant snap or crispness and is a desirable characteristic. It has nothing to do with the level of acid (the pH) of the coffee.
Acidity is generally very noticeable and can be described as being sweet, crisp and/or tart, somewhat like a dry wine. This enhances other qualities in the coffee. Other terms used to describe a coffee's acidity are dry, sharp, vibrant, lively, moderate, or dull. A coffee’s acidity may have a subtle fruity quality like citrus, lemon, or berry-like as well.
As you drink our Verena Street coffees, note the vibrant and pleasurable acidity of many of our blends and how it compliments and enhances the flavor experience. You will find our lightest roasts are not too light, sour or acidic tasting while our darkest roasts are not too dark, burnt, bitter or smoky tasting, and our coffee is always freshly roasted. This will leave you feeling satisfied, accomplished, excited and ready to take on the day with Verena Street Coffee.
Julien's Breakfast Blend is smooth and flavorful without being bitter at all. Highly recommend! - Leah, verified customer
Shot Tower Espresso is full bodied but still manages to remain smooth tasting throughout the entire cup. Love it. - Gary, verified customer
Simply put, Lock & Dam #11 is one of those coffees that's great in the morning or after dinner. - Nathan, verified customer
Nine Mile Sunset is the best coffee I've ever had. So much complexity in the flavor. - Jack, verified customer
As you may, or may not know, coffee roast levels play a part in the acidity of coffee. Acidity will generally decrease and become less prominent as a roast gets darker – a light or medium roast will have higher acidity than a dark or espresso roast.
A high acidity coffee is described as bright, while a low acid coffee may be described as smooth, but if it is too low it will be considered unexciting and boring. A total lack of acidity may also result in a flat coffee.
Differences in Roast, Grind and Beans
The size of the grind is usually determined according to the type of coffee maker and how quickly water needs to flow through the coffee. If you have a choice, go with a little coarser ground coffee, which has less acid than a fine grind.
There are two primary types of coffee. Arabica beans are more acidic than Robusta beans. Arabica coffee grow and mature more slowly allowing for improved flavor development and higher acidity. Verena Street Coffee only uses 100% Arabica beans in all of our blends, so they will naturally be a little more acidic. This, of course, means that you will have a more flavorful cup of coffee!
Cold Brewing Reduces Acid
A sure way to reduce the acidity in your coffee is to use a cold-brew process. You may also hear it called cold-drip coffee. This type of coffee is made by allowing ground beans to steep in cold water for at least 24 hours.
Compared to using hot water, cold water extracts less of the coffee’s natural acids. As a result, your coffee is about 70% less acidic than a typical cup of hot-brewed coffee.
Top 3 Best Coffees for Acidity
High-altitude premium coffees known for their bright and vibrant acidity include:
- Guatemalan Coffees
- Kenyan Coffees
- Costa Rican Coffees
Central American coffees tend to have a bright, clear acidity. Arabica coffees grown at higher altitudes tend to have a higher acidity, due to the slower growth at those elevations, which allows the beans to develop more of their chemical compounds (chlorogenic acids) that contribute to flavor. Many of our Verena Street coffee are a blend of high mountain grown Specialty grade coffees from Central America which brings out a remarkable taste and flavor.
Best Low Acid Coffees
If you’re looking for a coffee with low acidity, you’ll find your coffee tends to be easier drinking and smoother. Your best bets are Brazilian or Sumatra coffee. This is contributed to way the processed after harvesting in these countries and growing regions.
The tradeoff here is that the coffee will have less of a “kick” or pronounced flavor. Coffees with low acidity are often looked down upon, but since coffee is a personal experience, only your own opinion should matter.
We have been asked many times what the acidity level of our coffee is. As you can see, this is a complex matter and not easily answered. Each of our coffee blends are made up of different types of beans. This will yield a coffee that is rich and flavorful, but hard to pinpoint the exact acidity. Only your taste judgement can determine what satisfies your palate. Not sure what you like? Try our Sample Pack! You can sample 6 of our deliciously unique blends in a sample size. Be sure to let us know which blend is your favorite.
Okay...so what about the pH level of coffee?
This is really another way of looking at acidity of coffee and defined entirely different. Coffee does indeed have a pH level, but is not a useful measure of flavor. It would vary depending on brewing method and roast level, but not significantly. Black coffee generally lands around a pH of 5 (acidic, not basic) and milk has a pH of 6 (slightly more neutral). This means that adding milk to coffee makes it slightly less acidic by way of dilution.
If your stomach rebels at the acids in coffee, there are several ways to make your favorite brew more tolerable. Calcium-containing products like milk help neutralize acids, but the best way to enjoy coffee doesn’t rely on neutralizing existing acids. You can choose beans that are naturally lower in acids, or reduce acidity by changing the type of grind, roast and brewing method.
Caffeine content of coffee also will impact how acidic a coffee may feel to someone as it is consumed and digested. Caffeine in coffee actually stimulates the production of stomach acid, thus coffees lower caffeine can reduce the chances of acid reflux or feelings of heartburn.
The most abundant acids in coffee belong to one large group known as chlorogenic acids. These acids are antioxidants that may help lower your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Chlorogenic acids are also one of the ingredients in green coffee beans that may support weight loss. Say what? I better start drinking more coffee.
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Our mission is to elevate our customers’ coffee experience by providing fresh, high-quality, and affordable craft roasted coffee. It’s convenient to buy and enjoy at home or on the go. Our unique, charismatic blends are always freshly roasted to precise levels and are never too light (sour), and never too dark (bitter). Let us become the go-to coffee at work, at home, and on the go for anyone tired of bitter, boring coffee.
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