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Discover the acidity of coffee – How to identify coffee flavor through acidity


In specialty coffee forums, you’ll probably often hear experts use “acidity” to assess the flavor quality of coffee. The acidity of coffee is divided into many levels by which experts can judge whether a cup of coffee has lively, complex, medium or bright acidity equivalent to orange, blueberry, strawberry, etc. blue dream. Some coffees are even rated bland because of their low acidity. Are you curious about this miracle? Let’s explore with 43 Factory Coffee!


What is acidity in coffee?


Acids are a type of chemical that represents sour taste, composed of various compounds found in many foods, such as lemons, vinegar, yogurt, and even coffee. An aqueous solution of acid has a pH less than 7 and the lower the pH, the more acidic it is.

Acidity in coffee is a specialized term for the natural acidity of the beans. Acidity affects the taste and feel of coffee on the tip of the tongue. It gives you refreshing experiences such as tasting orange juice or vividly smooth as if you are biting the roots of your teeth into grapes, tight, crunchy, succulent apples. This is due to the properties of the organic acids present in the coffee beans. Each type of seed will have different components and concentrations of acidic compounds. If there is more acid, the coffee will have a clear acidity, complex or become too harsh. But without them, the coffee would be very “empty” or unbalanced and bland.

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Acids affect the taste of coffee


Coffee beans have many different types of acidic compounds from the common ones like Citric Acid to the rare ones like 4-Mono Caffeoylquinic Acid. In which, there are 4 main acids that affect flavor: citric, malic, tartaric, and acetic acids.

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Citric Acid


Citric acid is the most recognizable and common acid found in most vegetables and fruits. It exists in high concentrations in citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, tangerines, etc. Citric acid can account for up to 8% of the dry weight of these fruits and has a characteristic sour taste.


Malic Acid


The name Malic Acid is derived from the Latin word “malum” which means apple. As the name suggests, this acid has the aroma of apples, slightly acrid. They are abundant in any green food or unripe fruit such as kiwis, green apples, green grapes. However, when the fruit is ripe, the amount of Malic acid in the fruit will be reduced, the apple flavor in it will also gradually disappear.


Tartaric Acid


Tartaric acid is abundant in grapes, berries, and red wine, so people often refer to this acid to remind them of their flavor. Tartaric acid often gives the person a very explosive feeling. Once in the mouth, tartaric acid will cause a phenomenon like drinking carbonated water or leave a pungent, astringent aftertaste in the throat.


Acetic Acid


Acetic acid is a rather special type of organic compound. It not only has the characteristic sour taste of vinegar, but also its pungent smell. Depending on the concentration, Acetic Acid can give a mild or refreshing sour taste like lemon, or a sour and foul taste like fermented wine. When combined with other ingredients (especially sugar), it can create attractive wine or champagne flavors.


How to identify coffee flavor through acidity?


The taste of coffee can be identified by comparing the pH of the acid with different fruits. Depending on its pH, you can tell if it’s a lemon or an orange. If the pH is lower, you will feel the sour taste of lemons. If the pH is higher, you will taste oranges.

However, pH is not the only factor that determines what kind of fruit the coffee tastes like. Because on the pH scale, some fruits have similar pH values but they taste completely different. Therefore, we must take a comprehensive look at the composition of the type of acid contained in it. For example, green apples and oranges have roughly the same pH, but green apples contain more Malic Acid while oranges contain more Citric Acid. This makes a cup of coffee with a high Malic concentration (smell of green apples) more acrid than a cup of coffee with a high concentration of Citric (orange).

Coffee also has different types of acids, depending on the origin, roasting and preparation method. A cup of lightly roasted African coffee can have a pH of around 4.6, about the same as grapes, peaches, plums or pineapples. In addition, it has some tartaric acid, which makes you feel tight in the mouth. You can call this “grape acidity” or “sour fruit acidity.” It also has a bit of acetic acid, which creates a fermented, wine-like flavor. Another cup of coffee may have a citrus flavor due to the presence of Citric Acid.

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Preliminary chart linking common fruits to respective pH values edited by Christine Seah

As you can see, when saying coffee tastes like oranges, I don’t mean to literally taste orange. Its real meaning is something akin to “sour as an orange” like comparing the acidity of coffee to the acidity of a familiar fruit. So, to understand the acidity and recognize the flavors of coffee, you don’t need to be an expert. We just need to know the basics of pH and acids in fruit and coffee and taste it regularly to increase the sensitivity of the senses. Over time, you will be able to feel the wonderful difference between the flavors in hundreds of different types of coffee. It’s great isn’t it? If you want to challenge your taste buds, check out 43 Factory Coffee Roaster’s Specialty Coffee collection from famous growing regions around the world!

Source: perfectdailygrind

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