Sour drinks, like coffee, from the coffee berry, is a normal part of the taste of fruits grown in the tropics.
Acidity is one of the main characteristics of the coffee beverage. It creates that enchanting heady aroma of coffee brewing; making it possible to appreciate the notes of sweet and bitter nuances which vary in each regional variety.
There are actually 30 different types of acids in coffee beans, wow, who would have known!
Coffee beans acids are classed into 4 subgroups:
- Citrus which has shades of orange, lemon, or grapefruit, these are the 1st acid to appear from the coffee bean.
- Apple, kiwi, or lime acids is formed during the processing of the grain ripening or the berry.
- Grape, or acetic acid which adds wine notes is normally synthesized from overripe berries or in long-stored coffees.
- Orthophosphoric acid is absorbed by the coffee bean when grown in phosphorous rich soil. This adds more astringency and a light cola flavor to your coffee.
It is not the degree of acidity that is important but creating a harmonious taste without pronounced bitterness is best.
Doctors, dieticians and nutritionists have alluded that lower acid coffees have several health benefits, for those who want their coffee but their body complains over the acids.
- It is much better for those who have a sensitive stomach, suffer from gastrointestinal issues, like Gastric Esophageal Reflex Disease (GERD).
- It is easier on those with Celiac or Crohn’s Disease and even Irritable Bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Higher acid content can spoil your teeth and enamel, so lower acid is better for dental hygiene.
- Lower Acid coffee benefits those over 60 years old since it causes less health issues, so the elderly or senior citizens do better with lower acid coffees.
- If you have sleep problems of insomnia a lower acid coffee will help with these issues.
Most Arabica coffee has sour intensity and a rich taste. Robusta has much less sour taste but better density and strength. Lower acid coffees usually come from Sumatra, Indonesia, Sulawesi or Pacific Islands.
The Terrior or Environment of Coffee Plant
The larger the coffee trees the more intense the sour taste. The most valuable are higher altitude grown and lower oxygen content, which makes taste and smell more intense and brighter, which gives it a higher acid content. But if grown in a lower altitude then it has a lower acid.
Processing Methods used on beans changes acid notes; washed beans have more acid than more traditional methods.
Roasting of the Beans
Roasting or caramelizing the sugar in the coffee bean mutes sour notes, darker roasts are weaker sour notes. Higher quality beans are only light to medium roasted to form a milder acidity.
Brewing Your Coffee
Depending on how you brew, it can bring out more acid notes in your coffee: Drip coffee has more acid, darker roast, cold brews, or French pressed coffees are lower in acids. Of course, decaffeinated coffee is lower in acid also.
Tips to help Lower Acid after Brewed
It helps to not keep your coffee on the heat after finished brewing, which can increase the acid.
You can try salt or baking soda tricks, just a pinch at a time, to lower acid or bitter taste.
Or brewing your coffee with eggshells since the calcium in the shells alkalize the acid in the coffee.
Or use milk, or products on the market to help neutralize the acid in your coffee.
Cindy Burrows, B.S., M.T., Herbalist and is a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant helping individuals with health programs to improve life and happiness. She is a writer, speaker and owner of several businesses.