I’m a fan of strong dark roasts but sometimes find them to be too acidic. Any suggestions?
Dear lovely Kate:
It is common to equate acidity with bitterness. Even for a classy coffee aficionado such as yourself. However, in the coffee world, acidity can mean bright, clear, snappy, dry, clean, winey, etc. Coffees without acidity tend to taste flat and dull, like flat soda. Acidity is to coffee what dryness is to wine. Interestingly, coffee acidity levels are high in beans that have a light roast and low when the beans are roasted to dark roasts. Also coffees that are processed using the wet-process method have a higher level of acidity as compared to coffees that are processed using the dry-process method. Usually coffee from Kenya, Ethiopia, and a few other countries are known to have high acidity levels while coffee from Brazil and India is known to contain low acidity levels. A cool lady I work with loves charts. Let’s make one.
|Light RoastKenya / Ethiopia / Wet Processing||Dark RoastBrazil / India / Dry Processing|
Your preference for dark roasts indicates you are already enjoying a low acidity coffee. So where is that taste coming from you are wondering. Being a whiz at math, I have come up with a simple equation for you:
Beans + roasting, processing technique = acidity level
Brewing technique = sweetness or bitterness
Aha. Brewing seems to be the culprit. Brew your coffee only for 3 to 4 minutes. This will prevent your beverage from leaving a bitter aftertaste in your mouth, which in turn might compel you to think that the coffee itself was too acidic. How is that water you are using? How much freshly ground beans are you using? And of course you are grinding them minutes from use as ground coffee loses its flavor so quickly. Coffee is complex. So check your water, brewing time and technique, and origin of your bean. Then, sign up here for our newsletter for more important coffee information. In our next issue we will have a cupping lesson! Thanks for a great question!